Search Engine Optimization: Are You Getting Your Money's Worth
Face it, without considering SEO for your website, you may as well just not even bother having a site at all. After all, if nobody can find your website, it won't do you any good. And the recent trends point out that people almost exclusively use search engines to find what they are looking for on the web. And that usually, they won't go beyond the first page of results to find the sites they will visit.
Naturally website owners want their SEO to be top notch, and often they go to SEO firms who promise to get their site to the top of the listings. These firms charge thousands of dollars for SEO reports that provide the details needed, supposedly, to get their clients listings improved.
Peter Kent, author of Search Engine Optimization for Dummies, says that the time to hire an SEO firm is when you are still developing your site. Kent himself charges $225 an hour to have a look at your site, providing tips that will bring your site to the top listings. He mentions that SEO should be one of the most solid parts of the foundation of your website. According to him, by the time the site is finished, all the SEO work should be done.
One recommendation is to use Google's AdWords Keyword Tool. It shows you how many searches are conducted in a given month for a specific word or phrase. Be realistic--if the keywords you are using are getting over 50,000 searches within a month, that keyword isn't going to get you anywhere in your search engine rankings.
SEO firms are a dime a dozen, so if you choose to go that route, research the firm, and if possible, use one that charges you based on their performance, rather than the information they give you to raise your rankings. Use common sense, and make your SEO as important, if not more, than the graphics, domain name, or web design you use when you develop your site. Your business, and website success (or failure) depends on it.