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SEOs, metatags, metacrawlers, spider bots, organic searches, keywords — These are just a few words in web speak. Learn what they mean and how they can help your website gain attention on the Internet.
Getting Noticed On the Web
So you've paid $2,500 and built your website. Unless people find and visit your website, it is nothing more than a $2,500 investment with no return. No doubt you have received a phone call from someone offering to place your site at the top of all the search engines — for a fee.
So do you really need to pay someone? Should you really concern yourself with rankings, title pages, and metatags? It depends on your knowledge of how search engines work, what search engines are, and your ability to get noticed on your own. You definitely need to get your website to display in the top five listings or results of a search inquiry for the services you offer in your area. Studies have shown that people read a search results page from top to bottom and left to right.
Placement at or near the top of the rankings increases the likelihood of the viewer "clicking thru" to your site. A successful campaign may drive organic traffi c to web pages, but may involve the use of paid advertising on search engines where each time someone clicks the link to your site, you pay a fee for the click called a "pay-per-click."
In the beginning of the World Wide Web, Yahoo was the primary "search engine." Think of a search engine as a card catalog file in a library. You search the cards looking for a particular book or subject matter and the card tells you where in the library to find this subject. Except in the case of the Internet, each search engine such as Yahoo, Google, Ask or Dog Pile represent one drawer of card files and the entire Internet is your library. Some search engines such as Yahoo operate a paid submission service that guarantees to check your website for additions, changes or deletions for either a set fee or cost per click. This guarantees inclusion in the database, but does not guarantee a specific ranking.
What Is An SEO?
SEO is an acronym for "search engine optimization" or "search engine optimizer." Deciding to hire an SEO is a decision that can improve your site and save you time. An SEO will review your site, develop content, manage campaigns, and provide advice on keywords you should use. A campaign is a specific appearance in a specific place that is paid for. For instance, by using Google Adwords, you can buy a spot at the top of the results page so that your company name and website appear in a shaded box above the "organic" search results. This is called a "sponsored listing" or one that is paid for. However, this sponsored listing does not help you on any other search engine since you are paying Google to post only on the Google site.
All SEOs are not created equal and not all are ethical either. It is important, when you get an e-mail or call saying that a search of your website reveals you are not on the first page of results, to take this information with a grain of salt. Check yourself by going to a major search engine and typing in the same words a consumer might if looking for service in your area, such as "Limousines in Bakersfield." No matter what claim an SEO might make about getting you to the top, there is no way to guarantee a No. 1 ranking simply because rankings are based on hundreds of thousands of parameters based on the initial search request. An example would be offering a package that includes Dutch food with a limo transfer. A search for Dutch food could place your site in the No. 2 position based on content in your website that matches the search query. A dishonest SEO can attempt to place you in the No. 1 rank by adding title pages or content that is not relevant to what you do or sell just to try and match various search requests, so make sure you know who you are hiring. SEOs that offer to submit your site to thousands of search engines are not really doing you a favor since that only places you on the search engine's index but not necessarily at the top of the results.