I’m a big believer in SEO strategies. I’m an even bigger believer in hiring someone else to take care of that for you. Like advertising, managing SEO is a real profession that requires a real professional. Unless you are a plumber, you shouldn’t run your own plumbing. And unless you are a professional SEO consultant, you shouldn’t manage your own SEO.
If you are targeting a local market like Utah, a market with a very particular social, political, and ethical worldview, a Utah SEO consultant would be advisable. The same is true if you are planning to branch out into a country like China. The opportunity is huge. But so is the path to failure. Cultural insensitivity can ruin any chances you have in a local market. There is no one size fits all handbook. You need the right market strategies for your business and your goals for a particular target audience. That is what a good SEO firm can do.
That said, you need to at least have a passing familiarity with the terms and tactics of the business. When you talk to your marketing head, you are going to need to know what he means when he starts speaking in industry jargon. When it comes to SEO, here are some terms and tactics with which you will need to become familiar:
This is Google’s algorithm for determining the importance of a webpage, and where it will be ranked in the search results. While aptly named, the “Page” has nothing to do with webpages. It was named after the Google cofounder, Larry Page. As CEO, we all know where he ranks.
If you want your website to get an equally high PageRank, it will have to be prominently linked by other important sites. As dailyblogtips.com describes it:
The basic idea behind the algorithm is the fact that a link from page A to page B can be seen as a vote of trust from page A to page B. The higher the number of links (weighted to their value) to a page, therefore, the higher the probability that such page is important.
Just from this description, you will begin to see the importance of alliances such as link-sharing partnerships.
PPC and CTR
High PageRank is the goal of search engine optimization (SEO). PPC and CTR is the alternative to SEO. If this did not cause you to drown in your alphabet soup, there is hope for you yet. PPC is pay-per-click It is a straight-up advertising strategy where you buy an ad, and pay only for the clicks that go through to your site. The metric used to measure PPC success is the click-through rate (CTR).
You can spend a lot of time trying to decide which is right for your site: SEO or PPC. It is not a matter of which is best, and more about which you can afford at the time. PPC gets you the audience you want without having to rise up through the page ranks. However, that comes at a price. Then again, so does any other form of advertising. PageRank is a matter of working the algorithm. It can be a slow and arduous process. It is not an either/or question. Think both/and, depending on budget.
So you’ve decided to pursue SEO, and have a good link plan for increasing PageRank. That’s a great start. But it still doesn’t get you to the top of the first page, which is the whole point of the exercise. What you still lack is effective keyword ranking.
When you do a Google search for a local pizza delivery, what do you look for? Pizza? Food delivery? Chicago-style pie? Floppy, sloppy, New York style, please bring extra napkins? The possibilities are endless. All of these are keywords. Your site features a number of keywords.
Some of those keywords are the most used keywords by people who are trying to order their favorite pizza. There are a number of paid and free tools to help you determine your websites keyword ranking.
All of these are words and acronyms you can expect to hear from your SEO consultant. You don’t need to be an expert. But you do need to be conversant with the terms and tactics that will define the success of your business.