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Sunday, May 6, 2012

What to Expect from SEO?

This is part 3 of the "What is SEO?" series.

Part 1 - What is SEO?  
Part 2 - What is SEO really?


Now that we know what SEO is lets look into what you can expect from search engine optimization.

First as I have stated in previous posts there is no one true SEO approach. Search engine optimization is really an ART with many varying styles and approaches. With that said know that there is also many varying levels of success. You can see how with these factors in mind it can be hard for a business/website owner to take SEO serious. You never really know exactly what the SEO consultant is going to do because much of the trade masked in secrecy and weird acronyms. On top of that the art is constantly evolving and changing to keep up with current user trends and the ever dreaded Google algorithm updates. What you thought you needed yesterday to get ranked will get you de-indexed by Google today. Wow really?

So..............What can you expect from search engine optimization.

Well, keeping the above in mind here are a few basics.

The Audit or Analysis

This can come in many forms and flavors but is always a necessary first step. Sometimes a firm will do this ahead of time and only call once they establish you are a good fit for their services. Some companies will charge a one time fee and check your site regardless of whether you want their SEO service or not. Others will give a free analysis in hopes in selling you on the areas in which you can improve. I personally prefer a basic free analysis upfront and a much more in-depth audit once services have been purchased.

Some things included might be (but not limited to) checking current ranking for desired keywords, doing keyword research, looking for popularity and competition, onsite and user experience analysis, checking current back links and social media.

The Plan

Once your website has had an overview its time to start formulating a strategy and plan. This is something that is either developed by the SEO consultant and the business owner together or the SEO is given full control as the online expert with only input and guidance from owners. Either way this is a crucial step in the process. You need to have a well defined plan as to what you hope to accomplish.  This will mark the target for you to aim at and provide clear benchmarks of success. Your strategy will obviously change and evolve as you hit goals or reach failure.

Implementation and Waiting

Now its time to put your plan into action. Your SEO consultant and web designer will implement the changes decided on. Next is possibly the hardest part of the process. The waiting! It takes time for your page to get indexed by Google and the other engines. After the first updates have taken effect in the search results it will also take some time for users to notice and adapt to the changes. You need to have a fairly large amount of results to track patterns and trends and this takes time.

Analysis and Change

No SEO campaign is flawless. Mainly because no one can predict exactly how the search engines will react to your changes and how the users will behave and interact with your site until they do. The results will be tracked and used as the basis for future updates and changes. Doing more of what is working well. Doing less of or approaching differently what isn't working so well. Adding content and doing A - B testing to find what works best. Once goals have been met you start the process over!
Are you getting results!

So what should you expect from an SEO company?

I would expect that any good search engine optimization company would be successful in significantly increasing search impressions and improving site traffic through search engine referrals. What exactly that means to you and your business/website is ultimately up to you and your SEO company to determine. Set your expectation realistically and let them grow with your site traffic.