If you have a website then chances are you’ve heard of search engine optimization or SEO.

In simple terms, SEO is the idea of optimizing your website to rank as high as possible in the search engines (preferably page one of the results and within the top few listing). The idea is to drive relevant traffic to your website, and convert that traffic into sales or leads.

Not all SEOs are created equal
Optimizing your website to gain the highest rankings and maximum search traffic requires a highly complex set of tools and search crawler knowledge. An entire industry of SEOs has emerged selling their services on the marketplace today. But buyers beware, not all SEO is created equally.

The cons of the game
Since many with websites want to rank high and do it quickly, a crop of SEOs called Black Hat SEOs have surfaced. The tactics used by these black hat SEOs vary, most of their practices are unethical and play against the rules. They may gain quick results, but you run the risk of having your website banned from the search engines entirely.

The integrity of SEO
The good guys of the SEO game will tell you right up front, there is NO quick win. The White Hat SEOs maintain the integrity of your website, your brand and both yours and their reputation. A good SEO strategy takes time. And yes it’s a strategy; and long-term one at that. There is no set it and forget in the SEO world. You must be fluid and accept that change is occurring constantly in the world of search. What works today may not work in the upcoming months.

Finding your SEO partner
This is the hardest part for most business/websites that are looking to enhance their rankings. Most SEOs won’t identify themselves as white or black, right or wrong, good or bad. So here is just a quick guide you can use to interview the potential marketer you choose to work with.

Black tactics include:

  • Placing your keywords in your content too many times – also called keyword stuffing. This is typically fairly obvious since your content no longer seems to flow and is difficult to read.
  • Setting text the same color as the background so that it’s not visible to the reader, but search engines can read it – known as hidden text.
  • Adding pages to website for the sole purpose of targeting specific keywords but providing no value to the visitor – known as doorway pages.
  • Building multiple websites and linking them to one another in order to build link popularity – this practice is called interlinking.
  • Paying other websites to link to yours – link buying.

The white strategy includes these ideas and more:

  • Adding text links within your website that link to one another – this is known as an internal linking strategy
  • Exchanging links with other relevant websites. Reciprocal linking, this strategy should be natural and should make sense to both the search crawlers and the users who may click on reciprocal links.
  • Creating quality, unique content that provides high value to your visitors. – Content is still king when it comes to your website. It’s important to have a content strategy and a good writer that understands both the visitor and the search crawler.
  • Creating a keyword strategy. The ability to research what people are searching for, how they are getting to your website now, how you can generate new traffic, and knowing what your competitors are doing is critical for your SEO to know, understand and research.

Taking the next step
Finding a qualified SEO or search marketer will offer you the best chances of increasing your searching rankings, building your audience, and generating more relevant traffic to your website.

Amanda Engel is the owner of doublejack marketing. She has a background in graphic design, web development, search optimization and search marketing, and search optimization and search marketing. 


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