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To SEO or Not to SEO - That is the Question

Aug 19, 2008
Or is it? In these times of saving one's hard earned cash, the questions on most peoples' lips are 'What is SEO?' and 'Why should I do it?'

To the average businessman, looking at his marketing strategies and considering how to expand them, SEO may come across as a daunting, even a scary prospect. That's understandable, with all the different terms floating around the Internet; black hat, white hat, spamming, and even the phrase SEO itself. To the uninitiated, this could mean a whole variety of things, Sign Error Over, Slightly Easy Order; who knows. That's why its important to know what SEO actually means, and what it is.

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization, also known as SEM, or Search Engine Marketing. It consists of various strategies and/or tactics that aim to influence the rankings of a given website for certain phrases in the search engines, primarily Google, and following on with Yahoo and MSN.

A common misconception is that this work is easy; the search engines are only robots after all and what do they know, anyway! This false impression of SEO can, and often does, lead to business owners' undertaking their own SEO to save money. This can end with disastrous results, such as the website in question being penalized or even banned from appearing in the search engine. This is why it is important to employ the services of SEO experts (known as Search Engine Optimizers ), from an experienced SEO company.

The role of an optimizer consists of optimizing the website for the best possible performance, whilst complying with the guidelines set out by the search engines. This is where people who only know a little of SEO fail, as they mistakenly employ techniques that are frowned upon by search engines. A lot of the time, people who are doing their own SEO don't even realize they have been penalized as a result of using these methods, right up until the day they are banned, their traffic levels and sales drop, and they are left wondering what on earth went wrong.

A Search Engine Optimizer will undertake the work needed to optimize the website to its full potential - not only to achieve high positions, but also to make the website itself convert traffic into sales. If a website has high positions, but is not user friendly, then the full benefits of SEO cannot be achieved.

Knowing what SEO stands for does not however instantly convince somebody of it's worth. With a lot of companies charging sky high prices for SEO, it's clear to see why the next question someone asks is: Why should I do it?

The reasons why are numerous, but the bottom line for anyone considering SEO is going to be: 'What profit will it make me?' Any professional SEO company will calculate what they estimate to be the best price for each individual client, based on the competitiveness of their target market and the money the client is willing to spend.

A couple of reasons why SEO should be considered as a profitable source of marketing are:

* A number #1 position can send much more traffic to a website than a site that sits at position #300. This of course can mean more sales for the business owner, especially if this #1 position is in Google. This is because Google handles approximately 80% of the search market.

* Marketing your website online will cause your business name to have more visibility and reach a larger market. It will also prompt more new visitors to the website. Whilst having an existing customer base is great, it's even better if this can be expanded. This will also mean that channels such as Word of Mouth will be being used by new and hopefully satisfied customers to attract even more business to the website.

Bearing these things in mind, the business owner in question can then make a more informed decision when considering the question 'To SEO or not to SEO?'
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