What is SEO?
Find out about what is SEO, which services are included and which major options are available: in-house SEO or outsourcing it.
Why is SEO important?
Search engine optimization (SEO) is the art of designing and writing a web page so that people will be able to find it when they search using search engines. Search engines are one of the main ways that people find information they are looking for. SEO is a way of telling search engines and people what your site is all about. There are two key areas to address.
The first is writing the HTML code for your web page so that search engine spiders find your content. Search engine spiders are not interested in Java, Flash or images. They are only interested in code and part of SEO is optimizing the code so that the search engines can find it.
The second part of SEO is writing the text that people will see so that it makes sense both to them and the search engines. So overall, SEO is using keywords (the words people use to search for your site) in a way that makes it easy for people to find the site.
This is important for several reasons. You may spend a lot of money on developing your website. If people can't find your site or they don't get what they expect when they find your site, then you have wasted that money.
What people look for
SEO is important because most of the people who buy products online search for the products and information they need through a search engine. If you have products or services for sale, then your site needs to be optimized.
However, the other fact about internet shoppers is that many of them only look at the first page of results in their chosen search engine. This means that you want to make sure that your website is in the top ten. This is another reason to make sure that you have done search engine optimization.
Not all search engines use the same algorithms (strategies for ranking sites) so a top ten ranking in Yahoo doesn't mean you will have the same ranking in Google or MSN Live. Instead you will have to use SEO techniques that work for different search engines. There are two options for handling your SEO needs � in-house SEO or outsourced SEO. Here are some of the advantages and disadvantages of each approach.
In-house SEO: Advantages and Disadvantages
If you're one of the lucky ones, you may already have someone in your company that knows all about SEO. This is not as simple as having learned it once upon a time. SEO knowledge has to be kept up to date so that web pages can be optimized to rank well even when search engine algorithms change. If you have someone in house with the necessary skills and up to date knowledge, this may be the most cost effective option, especially if you have a small or medium sized site. The advantage of using someone who is already in the company is that this person will know the goals, products and services in advance and will be able to hit the ground running when it comes to SEO. However, the disadvantage is that one person may not be able to handle all the needs of a large and growing site.
Another option is to hire someone to work in-house on optimizing your site. Ideally this will be an SEO expert and several firms use this option. You will need to spend time familiarizing this person with the business in order for them to be most effective. The advantage of this approach is that you get an individual with the right skills and knowledge who is focused on your project. However, it can be difficult to find the right person, as people with SEO skills are very much in demand and may not have time for your project. In addition, if the person then leaves your company, it might be difficult to find someone who knows the exact techniques used. In fact, you may have to start from scratch. There have even been cases where bought-in SEO expert was putting hidden links to his own business in the client's web pages.
Outsourcing SEO: Advantages and Disadvantages
Outsourcing SEO may be another option. This may suit large companies, or companies with large sites that require a wide range of optimization tasks. The advantage of outsourcing SEO to a firm is that you get access to experts with a variety of skills and up to date knowledge. You are also less likely to be in trouble if a single person leaves, as there will always be someone to pick up the slack. Outsourcing may also have significant cost advantages, especially if you go offshore.
Outsourcing SEO means that you will get people who are objective about the firm and who have a broad experience of many techniques. The firm may be able to provide related services that you might need, such as tracking and reporting functions. And because you may have several people working on SEO tasks, the improvement in your site's ranking can be rapid. Finally, if you are not happy with the results of the SEO tasks, then it is easy to get rid of the firm and hire another. Here are some examples of the services you can get from SEO firms.