What is SEO?

What is SEO

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Search Engine Marketing (SEM) are all about getting your website to the top of the search engines. Because Google gets 70% of all search engine traffic, it is the main focus of almost any SEO or SEM effort. The important thing to realize is that SEO and SEM are complex, ever changing processes.

Search engines are always changing. They constantly modify their "algorithms" -- the formulas they use for ranking web pages. The only consistent thing about marketing online these days is that what works really well today probably won�t work so well tomorrow.

At Agilade, we are experienced search marketing professionals who monitor all the latest changes in the Google, Yahoo, Bing (Microsoft) search engines. We help you architect your website and marketing efforts to minimize the damage of major changes in the search engine ranking methods and respond quickly when Google or another engine shuffles everything up.

So How Exactly Does SEO Work?

SEO is an art, not a science. There are literally 100s of "ranking factors" and their importance can be different from one search engine to the next. Every web marketing firm will approach SEO differently but there is general agreement on the most important "factors" that go into a web page ranking for a certain keyword search term.

Fundamental Principles for Successful SEO

1. Content
"Content is king" and will always be a key factor in getting new customers and retaining top rankings. Without it, any rankings achieved will be short-lived. Most importantly, each page of content must target a specific keyword term. Google is increasingly valuing user generated content and fresh content.

It is possible to "cheat" and automatically generate the content for your website. This can be disasterous for a small business. Scraping information from other websites does nothing to get across your unique value and message. Over time, search engines like Google use human inspectors to visit and evaluate your website. If they do not find your website useful and informative, your search engine rankings will suffer. In the extreme case, your website could be banned from appearing in the search engines until you appeal and file a reinclusion request.

At Agilade, we work with you to craft well-written, keyword targeted content for your visitors. We employ pictures, video, and other "rich content" on your website to improve sales/lead conversion and attempt at all tiems to give the search engines EXACTLY what they are asking for in their terms and conditions.

2. Links
If content is king then links are queen. "link building" is the process of getting other web sites on the internet to link to you. This could be a review, a comment in a blog, or and article about a product that you sell that includes a web link to your site. Building "one-way links" from authoritative sites in your target market is the most common and time consuming task in any search marketing campaign.

Page Rank (PR) is the method that Google uses to measure the strength of the links pointing to your website. Having 1000 links from low value websites is not nearly as powerful as having 2-3 links from "authority" sites. No one can say the exact formula Google uses to calculate Page Rank, but all SEO experts agree that it is based more than just the raw "link popularity" of your website -- it's based on how strong the sites linking to you are. Their strength is based on how strong the sites linking to them are. And so on, and so on...

What this means for you is that you want as many high PR sites linking into your site as possible (without you linking back to them). This is because Google gives these sites a lot of "authority" treats their links as recommendations of quality.

Here's a simple analogy:

Google (and every search engine we can think of) score your website the way scholars judge academic papers. The more journals and other reputable papers cite your research and quote you, the more authoritative and "expert" you become.

At Agilade, we are constantly building incoming links for your site. We focus on links from relevant, quality sites in your market or niche. Search engines actually rank web pages and not websites so we spend just as much time on your "interior" pages as we do your homepage. Every page in your website is an opportunity for traffic and sales.

3. Visitor Behavior
Google knows everything. So does Microsoft and Yahoo. Using something called "cookies" and partners with browsers like Internet Explorer and Firefox, search engines are able to track the time you spend on a page and even your mouse movements. If everyone that visits your website immediately clicks off, this gives Google, Microsoft, and Yahoo the impression that your web page is not important -- not an authority -- and they'll adjust your rankings accordingly.

At Agilade, we perform website conversion optimization to improve the visitor's experience and help you close more business online. We can track everything from what links a visitor clicks on down to their mouse movements and eye movements as they navigate your web site.

4. Be Natural (Or At Least Emulate Nature)
Automated "content generation" software that adds 100s and 1000s of pages to your website overnight is a short term strategy at best. So are "free for all" mass linking programs that promise you 100s of incoming links with no work. Here's the thing - Google, Microsoft, and Yahoo want to know that a human being is behind the website. There is a place for some content discovery tools but over use is a sure "footprint" the search engines can use to identify your site as having low value.

At Agilade, we focus our efforts on direct response content that is written to get the visitor to take action. We leverage user generated content and syndication of videos and "feeds" to increase the visitor's experience but there is no doubt that the website is yours to any Google reviewer or inspector.

Universally Illegal SEO Practices: Avoid at ALL Costs

None of the search engines tell you what to do in order to rank. But they are very explicit when it comes to what NOT to do. In the extreme, engaging in deceptive practices intended to manipulate the search engines can get you banned. There is a fine line between being aggressive and violating Google's terms and conditions. Google provides Webmaster Guidelines that detail what you are NOT to do when promoting your website.

At Agilade, we've written a report detailing the common Illegal and Deceptive SEO Practices that you might encounter with other search marketing firms. We believe in 100% transparency with our clients and insist that you know EVERYTHING we are doing to promote your business and your website.