The Internet is a vast source of information in the virtual world today. Plenty of options are available for the average customer looking for a particular bit of information, a product or a service. Search engines help to narrow the field down and list out the top rankers, saving the user a lot of time and effort. So every website owner wants to gain the top spot, thereby generating a lot of income.
This is where SEO or search engine optimisation comes in. This is the process of affecting the visibility of a website in a search engine’s search. Keep in mind that the search engine is not paid to display any name at the top of the list. So, how do the search engines work?
Initially, these engines worked on a frequency of keyword to ascertain the position of a particular webpage. Those pages with a higher number of keywords would appear earlier on in the results. However, this fact was abused by webpage owners who proceeded to stuff their pages with the keywords and meta tags. Search engines have since refined their algorithms and have taken note of a lot of factors such as keywords, inbound traffic, etc.
Search engine optimizers are those firms which provide SEO service and help your company attain a higher ranking in the search result. Searches may be of different types like image, video, location, etc. and a business looking to tap into the online market will want to have his site as prominent as possible. Results First, Blue Mountain, Boostablity, etc. are some such SEO firms. It is the general trend of the consumer to look no further than the first page of the results, so if your webpage does not appear there, it is practically invisible except to those who take the time to go to the next page. The general perception is that a higher ranking page is more reputable.
There are both white hat and black hat techniques in Search optimization. As the names seem to indicate, white hat techniques are the legal and approved methods of boosting your page’s visibility. Improving web page design and code, refining written content, providing genuine linking between pages, etc. are some of these techniques. It is important to keep in mind the Google Webmaster Guidelines while using these techniques. Black hat techniques are of course, the illegal ones and are frowned upon by search engines. They may even get the web page removed from the search results or even shut down. So what are these techniques? Spamdexing or meaningless repetition of keywords and meta tags has been the most often used process. Another is the use of deceptive linking back to a page. Another type is the Grey hat wherein, though the site avoids penalty, more focus and strategy is on ranking only.
Broadly speaking, a good SEO technique should keep in mind the customer and not the search engine. If your customer is happy and comes back, the traffic will improve all on its own and so do the rankings. Most SEO work around the basis of circumventing the algorithms used by the search engines with the sole goal of a higher ranking.
How to Hire an SEO for the Job?
While your web page content should be able to do the job for you, a helping hand is often required and so Optimizers are hired. Keep in mind the following before you hire any firm.
a) There should be transparency in how the firm hired goes about increasing your rankings
b) Search engine owners are continually changing or upgrading their algorithms and the optimizer needs to keep that in focus
c) Strategies should be ethical
d) It is important for the client to know what he wants and if the current Optimizer is suitable for the job.
e) Past experience and success/ failure stories should be discussed
f) Basically the firm should offer expertise in the required fields and locations
g) They should be able review site content and offer technical advice on hosting, errors, HTML coding, etc.
h) They should manage online campaigns and provide training