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Search Engine Optimization - Frequently Asked Questions
If you have a question about search engine optimization, search engine marketing, affiliate marketing, or related services that you would like us to answer send an email to email@example.com.
Q: What is search engine optimization or SEO?
A: Companies and individuals define the term "search engine optimization" or "SEO" in different ways, and they often interchange them with other terms such as "Internet marketing," "web marketing," and "search engine marketing." For MWI's purposes, we define SEO as "all activities performed with the intent of increasing the rank of a website in search engines for a given keyword or combination of keywords." When we at MWI talk about search engine marketing we are referring to pay-per-click or PPC advertising, and when we talk about Internet marketing we are referring to marketing on the Internet in general which encompasses all web-based marketing activities such as web design, conversion analysis, SEO, PPC, and online ad banner campaigns.
Q: How long does SEO take?
A: Unfortunately if you have heard that search engine optimization takes time you heard right. In most cases you can expect to start seeing very positive rankings within about 3 months. Depending on how established your website already is, or is not, this number can vary from company to company. SEO is a long-term marketing option that has a very postiive ROI when looking at the big picture. Work that you do one month will benefit you for months or years to come.
Q: Why should I be doing SEO?
A: The Internet is quickly replacing printed phone books, newspapers, and magazines and is more effective dollar for dollar compared to TV, radio, print, or outdoor advertising. Internet marketing isn't just for Internet companies, it's for everyone, including traditional businesses. The business that can't benefit from Internet marketing is becoming more and more rare and more and more people turn to the Internet, not just to make online purchases, but to research offline purchases as well. Law firms, universities, car dealers, realtors, manufacturers, architects, home builders, and offline retailers have benefitted from SEO and so can you.
While there are many forms of online marketing, SEO is the one you should definitely include because it is not a directly variable cost. For example, if you run a PPC campaign you pay a fee every time someone clicks on your advertisement. If you stop paying, you stop getting any results. SEO is different. You pay a fixed, monthly cost and whether you get a 2x return or a 100x return your cost remains the same.
Q: How do search engines work?
A: A search engine tries to guess what you are looking for when you type in a certain keyword or keyword phrase. This is tougher than it sounds. For example, one person who types in "utah web design" might be looking to hire a web design firm in Utah, while another who types in the same phrase is looking for a job with a web design firm in Utah, and yet another is trying to sell something to web design firms in Utah. The goal of any search engine is to provide relevant search results for the greatest number of people possible. Search engines do this by creating an algorithm by which websites are ranked. A website shows up in the #1 spot for "utah web design" or any other keywords in Google because Google's algorithm has determined that website is what the majority of people want to see when they type in their search terms. Of course that may or may not be the case and you may find that in a majority of the searches you do you don't find what you want, but seeing as how Google is the #1 search engine by a long shot you can be sure they're doing a better job than any other search engine out there, which leads us to the next question and answer...
Q: Which search engines matter?
A: The ones that will bring you the greatest return, and that usually means Google. Google is the king of search engines and owns almost half the search engine market, with Yahoo and MSN taking distant 2nd and 3rd places. All other search engines combined make up such a small percentage of searches they are generally not worth considering unless there is a special niche search engine that happens to service your industry. But for the vast majority of our clients, Google is the #1 focus because it has the most users, the most searches, and therefore produces more leads than any other search engine.
Q: What is the SEO process?
A: SEO as a whole is not the simple process it used to be, although there are many seo strategies a firm can do on their own. A few years ago (decades in internet time) all a webmaster had to do to get decent rankings in Google or Yahoo was add meta tag data at the top of the code of the webpage such as keywords and description tags. Today most search engines virtually ignore meta tags, and packing meta tags full of keywords or including white text containing keywords on a white background is considered spam by search engines and can do serious damage to a website's rankings. At MWI we stay abreast of changing trends in SEO and marketing and we apply that knowledge, as well as our own experience, to get our clients' websites positioned well for the keywords that will bring the most high-quality traffic to them.
Although the specific techniques we use differ depending on each client's situation, there is a general set of steps we go through. These steps are repeated on a regular and frequenty basis, generally monthly.
Q: Is MWI really a search engine optimization firm? You seem to do a lot of other things.
A: MWI did not start out as a SEO firm and that is why we offer a host of other services such as web design and content management. However, SEO represents more than a fifth of MWI's business and is the fastest growing portion of MWI's business. While we don't plan on discontinuing our other services, we are being more selective about what clients we take on so that can focus more attention on SEO, which is where we see the greatest potential for growth.
Q: How are you different from other SEO companies?
A: Unfortunately there are many search engine optimization firms that use less than ethical means in either getting results or dealing with their clients. Many will promise top 10 results in a short amount of time at an inexpensive cost. The reason why some firms promise this is because they will get your site positioned in search engines to gain #1 rankings for keyword phrases that no one uses. Others use methods that may work in the short-term but over time will not be effective. And still others only give clients half of what they need. It's one thing to get a lot of traffic, but turning that traffic into revenue requires more than just SEO services. We focus on getting you quality traffic - website visitors that are truly searching for your product or service. Then we also work with our clients to make sure their website credible and is effectively leading those visitors down a path towards making a purchase or contacting the client for more information.
Q: Why should I use MWI to market my website online?
A: Results and integrity. We're good at bringing your website traffic and gaining rankings, but that's only part of the equation. What kind of traffic is it? Are you making more money from it? Is the traffic being brought to your website in an ethical manner or using gimmicks that will hurt your search engine rankings in the long run? MWI uses ethical, straightforward methods for improving your search engine ranking that deliver long-term results. No gimmicks, no tricks, just hard work and experience. And because we provide other services such as web design and web development we understand how SEO works as part of a web marketing strategy to increase revenue, not just rankings.
Q: Do you only provide SEO services to companies in Utah?
A: Although MWI is a Utah based search engines optimization firm we have clients nationwide. Our online project management system allows us to stay in constant contact with clients regarding the status of their campaign and we don't hesitate to travel when needed.