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Posts tagged: first page placement

Affordable SEO Comes In Fast or Good: Which Do You Prefer?

Affordable SEO is a tough term to define, because depending on your business’ precise financial circumstances, the kinds of ways that you can afford something can change pretty dramatically. But let’s assume that you’ve figured out which services you can afford: there’s another decision you have to make. Like most things in life, SEO can be any two of affordable, fast, or high-quality.

Fast, affordable SEO
Fast, in this case, measures the amount of time it takes you to achieve a first page placement. Fast SEO might still take a month or two, but during that time you’ll be able to track your climb through the rankings. It’s exhilarating to watch — but of course it comes at a price.

Fast SEO isn’t truly high-quality SEO, which means that while you’ll reach the first page quickly, you won’t ever reach first place. To break into the top few spots for almost any keyword takes a pretty extraordinary investment — and for any keyword that’s actually worth breaking into, it can take months of strategy, planning, and execution. On the other hand, studies have shown that some 40% of clicks go to that top slot — and only 8% make it to the person in the #4 position. So it can be worth the wait when you finally get there.

High quality, affordable SEO
The other option, then, is to go for the high-quality links right out of the gate. Skipping things like directory submissions and press releases, the high-quality approach goes for links that require a lot more individual work, but are worth a lot more as well. Blog posts, social media mentions, article writing and distribution.

The downside, as you might imagine, is the pain of waiting month after month as your website crawls from number 12 to number 11 to number 10. The upside is that once you reach number one — often a year or more later — you’re not going to be toppled by some upstart with a decent SEO strategist and a slightly larger budget.

First Page Placement And The Good/Fast/Cheap Paradox

You’ve probably heard people say this: “You can get something cheap, you can get it, fast, and you can get it done right. You can even get any two of those at the same time — but never all three.” I’m not here to argue with that. It’s true — even on the vaunted all-powerful Internet.

For example, let’s say you want to get your website a first page placement on the Google SERPs. There’s a few ways you can do it — but none of them are all three, either.

Good/Fast
Pay per click. End of story. With a proper PPC management team at your side and a budget just south of Ferrari territory, any business can make it onto the first page quite literally in minutes. Then they just have to make good enough use of their visitors that they make more money than they’re spending — that’s the challenge.

Good/Cheap
The good/cheap way (slow as December molasses) is good old fashioned organic SEO. You invest a little money every month for a long, long time. As you wait, various smaller keywords come under your control, so the traffic ramps up…organically! Stick with it for a few years, and you’ll come to dominate some big-time keywords in your industry. All you have to do is keep your business alive that long.

Fast/Cheap
The cheap/fast way — but it ain’t terribly reliable — is a full-fledged social marketing campaign. Not just having someone post stuff to Facebook, but a real social campaign that hits on multiple levels. Forum posting, emailing lists, maybe even meatware acts like direct mail — anything and everything you can do to get people talking. It’s not good, by which I mean it has a distinct potential to utterly flop or even backfire on you, but if you’ve got a decent risk tolerance, social marketing can be the tool
you need.

There are plenty of ways onto the first page of Google’s SERPs. The question should never be “can you do it?” The question is always “HOW should you do it?” Take a look at your fiscal and temporal constraints, and figure out which route your business has the best tolerance for. Good luck!

Organic SEO vs. Social Marketing: Which Wins?

Organic SEO is the tried-and-true way: go forth, get backlinks, build authority, rank for keywords, get traffic. Social marketing is the cutting-edge method: go forth, build a crowd, raise fervor, post links, get traffic. Both are being promoted strongly by professionals in the traffic-building industry. Both are about the same cost per month (which is to say, they vary wildly within the same range. ) So which one is the better choice?

Organic SEO
Organic SEO is reliable. It’s stable. It’s been proven to work. You have to invest a bit of money up front, but in the long run, if you stick with it, organic SEO will always pay dividends. SEO companies have been around far longer than social media gurus, and they by and large have their business down pat.

The advantage of organic SEO is that the only way you can really fail is by quitting, or by hiring a complete nincompoop as your SEO guy. Any decently skilled SEO company will eventually get you a healthy dose of killer traffic if you pay them for long enough. The questions with SEO are not “will it work”, but “when will it work?” and “how much will it cost to attain first page placement?”.

Social Marketing
Social Marketing, on the other hand, is a higher-risk, higher-reward proposition. You can imagine SEO as a linear graph: for every $X you put in, you get Y amount of authority, which eventually translates into search rankings and thus into traffic. Social marketing, on the other kind, is kind of like buying scratch tickets. For every $X you put in, you get a chance to nail huge traffic, but most often, it’ll just sit there and spin.

Social marketing, when it hits, hits HUGE. There are some long-term, small crowds that do build around anyone who sticks with Social Marketing for a long time, but the goal in SM is to go viral. Viral, in this case, means your ideas leap from one head into a thousand heads virtually overnight, and traffic comes beating down your doors.

Which is better? That depends largely on your tolerance for risk. Most small businesses should probably start with organic SEO — most successful businesses should probably pursue both in varying degrees.

First Page Placement Isn’t A Goal, It’s A Process

When you go to an organic SEO company, you want the same thing that everyone wants — you want your website to get traffic, and that means getting your website placed on the first page of Google SERPs for your chosen keywords. But that vaunted first page placement isn’t something you can attain. At least, not in the sense that once you’ve attained something, it’s yours to keep.

SEO is more like natural selection — there is always a very real danger that your predator of choice will be outstripped by something faster, stronger, or smarter than your beastie. Every website that wants to rank is (or should be) constantly in the process of adding new backlinks — new more authoritative, more relevant, more powerful backlinks. In fact, in many ways the race to attain a first page placement is little more than a contest to see whose backlinks (and on-page SEO) is stronger.

Back off, and you’re toast. Someone who wants that keyword more than you do will hire a keyword analyst and a link tracker, figure out everything that you did right, and then do it just like you did only 15% larger. If you’re not on top of your game, noticing the up-and-comer and using his own tricks against him, your first page placement will rapidly become a third page placement, and you can kill your traffic goodbye.

Of course, not every keyword is that hotly contested. Some low-competition keywords can actually be pretty easy to stay on top of — but unless you find one of the rare ‘traffic bubbles’ that is getting lots of searches but not a lot of competition, you’re not going to get a lot of traffic from the keywords that allow you to sit pretty at the top of the list. (And those traffic bubbles always pop sooner than you think they will, too.)

If you want to target a keyword that gets solid traffic, you’re going to have to hire someone to work their butts off in order to get your site on the top of that pyramid. Then you’re going to have to keep paying them to make sure you can stay there.

Watch A Top Los Angeles SEO Company Build Backlinks

OK, it’s not often that a top-ranking Los Angeles SEO company goes into any amount of detail about what exactly it does when you hire it to put your website on the first page of Google. Every SEO company likes to pretend it has it’s own super-secret proprietary information that only it can use to succeed in a way that no one else can.

The truth, however, is much simpler: most SEO companies do exactly the same stuff. The difference is almost never in the techniques they use — it’s in the details, like customer service, speed, accuracy, and quality of content. The details that separate an all-American company from an outsourced train wreck.

Here’s what our company does when you ask us to guarantee first page placement for your website:

  • Analyze Your Website: We check out your website to see how it conforms to the rules of on-site SEO, and to make sure that it’s professional-looking and ready for the public.
  • Alter Your Website: If it’s not, we’ll give you the specific HTML changes you need to make sure the SEO is spot-on…and we’ll offer a few suggestions to make it a bit more polished if need be as well.
  • Keyword Research: The most important part of ANY SEO operation. We take our time on the keyword research, making certain the phrases we’re going to target will be money-makers as well as being within your site’s grasp.
  • Quick Links: Once we know what keywords to target, we split into four groups. The first group pumps out swarms of small, quick links like social bookmarks and directory submissions. These fast links give Google evidence that your site is growing and isn’t going to go anywhere anytime soon.
  • Slow Links: The second group starts putting together content and distributing it across the best content directories on the Internet. These slower links are stronger individually and cast a wide net with which to capture customers.
  • A Blog: The third group will create a blog for your company, SEO-optimize it, and start putting out fresh content on a regular basis. This helps remind Google that you’re an active and evolving company that deserves frequent attention.
  • PPC Management: The last time uses pay-per-click marketing to get your website on the front page of Google instantly and keep it there while the other three teams’ efforts kick in to give you a natural, organic ranking.
  • That’s the entire plan — sounds simple, doesn’t it? Of course, every one of those parts has an immense amount of experience and expertise that goes into it, which is why companies like ours exist.

Subdomain Links, Unique Root Domains, and First Page Placement

Here’s an interesting fact: of all of the various statistics that you can easily measure about a website, there is one single number that most directly correlates with high rankings on Google. It’s the number of unique root domains you have that link to your website.

So, for example: say you have a website that has 400 backlinks from 7 different root domains (say, for example, because 200 of those backlinks come from blogspot.com — because he does a lot of blog commenting — and another 195 come from squidoo.com because the guy loves his lenses.) Then you have another website that has 55 backlinks from 24 different root domains. The guy with almost 1/8th as many backlinks is more likely to be ranked highly on Google, because he has three and a half times as many unique root domains linked to his site.

Until very recently, this was also true of subdomains — a subdomain effectively counted as a different root domain. (A subdomain, if you didn’t know, is the part of the URL that comes before the website’s “main” name — so ‘arananthi.blogspot.com’ is a different subdomain from ‘taotenshi.blogspot.com’.) They were counted as separate domains for a long time because subdomains were only really used by big sites like blogspot to separate out their various authors.

Of course, SEO companies caught on and realized they could easily make hundreds of subdomains and backlink from each to a site and pull lots of linkjuice without ever even having to register a new domain name. So Google changed things up and made subdomains count as the same domain as the root domain.

What that means for you — or rather, your SEO company — is that it’s no longer profitable in terms of first page placement to invest in more than one Squidoo lens, more than one Blogspot microblog, more than one of anything on the same URL, really.

The exception that proves the rule, of course, being content that’s valuable for being content rather than as a backlink — so you still want regular blog posting, regular articles up on the top article directories, and all that. Content is still king — it’s just not quite as effective SEO as it was a short while ago.

Article Writing and Distribution is the Foundation of Long Term Success

When you get going with a Web-based business, there are two separate tacks that people take in order to establish their success. The first is to spend money on advertising, get people to come visit their sites, and hope that they make more than they spent on advertising. The second is to work, spend a lot of time building backlinks and raising their rankings through organic SEO, and hope that they rank high enough to start bringing in enough money to pay the bills.

Then, there’s article writing and distribution. It’s both at once, and it works wonders.

In general, you can pay someone to write the articles, to distribute the articles, or both — though frequently it won’t be the same person doing both parts. That’s because the kind of people who find it easy to string words together with flowing eloquence tend not to enjoy sitting there and mindlessly clicking “submit” over and over on dozens of different article directories, and vice versa.

Once you find the people who can tag-team the job appropriately, however, you’re golden. Here’s why: when you have a well-written article and you submit it correctly to an authoritative article directory, you get the total package. Your article will likely rank quickly for it’s chosen keyword (assuming you did your keyword research correctly, of course). Once it’s ranked, you’ll start getting organic traffic through it as people click from it to your homepage.

That’s targeted traffic, and it’s worth quite a bit. Moreover, every article provides you with a context-controlled backlink with the anchor text of your choice, generally from a quite reputable source. (If you’re submitting to Jackopff’s Article Bucket, you might want to reconsider and see what it takes to get onto EZineArticles.com or another major article directory.)

Repeat the process, coming up with quality topics, solid keywords, and reputable directories every time, and you’ll soon find yourself with a quite functional web-based business. It’s a lot of effort, and it takes both creativity and technical knowledge, but once you know the game, it’s very very worth your while.

The Power of Conversion: A Lesson in Targeted Email Marketing

Let’s do a little bit of basic math. Let’s say you’ve got a website, and for every 200 visitors that come to your site, you make a sale. (People spend a little time on your site, so you know they’re not just bouncing as soon as they land — there’s clearly something attractive about your copy that has them engaging, they just won’t buy.) You’ve got yourself a conversion rate of a meager 0.5%.

Let’s say you’re selling an ebook that doesn’t cost anything to produce, but you have to make at least $1200/month to pay your bills and whatnot. Every sale makes you $30. At this point, in order to make ends meet, you need 40 sales — or 8,000 visitors each month. Sound likely? Not unless you’ve got a lot of money and one hell of a PPC management team.

Solutions to the dilemma are obvious: get more visitors, or improve your conversion rate. Getting more visitors is going to get exponentially harder — but there’s an easy tool you can use to improve conversions; it’s called targeted Email marketing.

With targeted Email marketing, you collect Email addresses from the people who visit your site, and you send them Emails regarding the topic they visited about. For example, if your site sells a product designed to help them pick up men at a bar, you might send them Emails about common problems with bar patrons or how to drink without getting wasted.

At some point, you slip in a sales pitch for your product — and because they’ve had the chance to get to know you through your Emails, they’re a lot more likely to buy from you. The longer you wait to pitch them — and the higher-quality the material you send in the interim — the better it works.

The result, if done correctly, is a massive spike in conversions. Because after all, if you can convert a whopping 3% of your visitors through targeted Email marketing, you don’t need 8,000 visitors each month anymore — you only need 1,334. That’s an incredible decrease in the effort you need to put into marketing, all for just a little extra put into conversions.

Directory Submission: The Front Line of Backlink Building

When it comes time to get someone to do some basic website SEO work for you, there are a lot of different techniques that they could engage in order to get your website indexed and ranked quickly:

  • Article writing and distribution
  • Blog commenting
  • Directory submission
  • Forum posting
  • Video marketing
  • Social bookmarking
  • Custom blog creation
  • Web 2.0 properties
  • And those are just the most common…there are dozens more!

It’s important that SEO companies use a variety of these different kinds of methods. One thing that search engines hate is a monotonous link profile. In other words, if 80% of your links come from forum posts, the search engine isn’t going to give those links a lot of authority, because they’ll assume the same person is making all of those forum posts.

That said, there’s a pretty good logic behind doing at least one of those activities often and first: the directory submissions. The reasons are simple.

You Get Indexed
If you’re a brand-new site, you need Google to recognize your existence as a valid site before it will send you any traffic about any subject. Getting indexed can take weeks if you’re not smart about it — but when you submit your URL to a few dozen high-authority website directories, you virtually guarantee that you’ll be indexed within 24 hours.

You Get Authority
Website directories — at least, when they’re chosen well by your SEO people — have quite a bit of standing with the search engines. They tend to be old sites (that’s good), with pretty narrow categories, meaning your site is on a page with a bunch of closely related sites (that’s good), and the links are one-way rather than reciprocal (that’s good). All that goodness adds up to plenty of benefit for your website.

You Get Control
When you submit a link to most web directories, you get to control a few very important things. The first is the description of your site in the directory itself. That gives you control over the context your site is listed in. The second is the anchor text of your link — that lets you focus your site’s ranking impact on a particular search term.

With all of these benefits, a startup’s strategy should be obvious: start with the directory submission, move on to everything else. You’ll be glad you did.

Local Internet Marketing Is Good Small Business SEO

In the vast world of small business SEO, there are some practices that are obvious, and some that are overlooked by many small businesses. For example, it’s commonplace for small businesses to have a website and for that website to feature a blog. That’s just good SEO. But one thing that many businesses seem to completely overlook is the power of local internet marketing.

Local internet marketing is essentially the art of convincing Google and the other search engines that your business exists at a specific location. The result is that when people in your area search for a keyword related to your business, they see your website in the rankings. The second result is that when people someone else search for a keyword related to your business alongside a keyword related to your locale, they’ll get results that include your website.

The reason why local internet marketing is good small business SEO is simple: it’s easier to be a small fish if you’re in a small pond. A florist in remote Forks, Washington can reach the top of the local rankings with about twenty minutes of concentrated effort — compare that to the 55 million results for “floral delivery” without the location in mind. Even if you live in a big city like Los Angeles, local internet marketing can cut your competition by as much as 90% compared to the generic form of your chosen keyword.

Local internet marketing also has a bigger benefit to your business than generic internet marketing does. That’s because local internet marketing sends people through your front door. Broad-keyword internet marketing sends people to your website. The conversion rate from visitor-to-buyer on a website is excellent at about 5%. The conversion rate for visitor-to-buyer in a brick and mortar store is appalling at 5%; it’s average around 40%. So local internet marketing is easier to rank with and converts better.

If you own a small business, you have every reason in the world to look into local internet marketing — but just in case you need one more, here goes: most SEO companies charge less for local internet marketing than they do for broad-spectrum SEO work. Check it out for yourself, and jump on the bandwagon before someone else in your town takes the number one spot all for themselves!