When you’re ready to make an investment of time, money and effort into SEO, it’s important that you set realistic goals about the results that you are expecting to see. Many people know that SEO can be extremely beneficial for an online business, however they don’t quite understand how the process works, or what they should expect. Therefore it’s important to get an idea of what you should be expecting both in terms of the process itself and the success you and your business will end up seeing.
The Basic Process of SEO
There are many different elements of an effective search marketing campaign. With SEO, the details definitely do make a big difference, and the most successful campaigns are the ones that combine many different strategies into one cohesive plan. The element of SEO that gets the most buzz however remains the use of keywords.
Keywords, of course, are the actual terms that people type into the search engines in order to begin looking for something. By targeting the right keywords and key phrases, you can increase your chances of being found by more individuals. Research here is of the utmost importance, because by digging down into the data you can find great long-tail key phrases, which have three or more words, which will enable you to be ranked as highly as possible.
After all, very few people these days just type for something such as “football”. They may make a search however for “buying replica football jerseys”. Not to mention that ranking for generic terms and phrases is incredibly hard. Once you know the actual keywords that people use for your niche or industry, you can then go about including them on your site as a piece of your search marketing game plan. The result is that you will end up seeing not just more traffic, but traffic that is truly targeted, which will result in more prospects and customers for your business.
So how do you go about including keywords into your website after the research has been performed? Keywords can be used in any number of different ways, starting from the beginning of the process when you may want to choose a domain name that includes some of your targeted keywords. From there, keywords can be used in individual page names, in the links that you have from one page on your site to the others and most prevalently, in the written content of the page itself.
A crucial thing to remember with SEO is that you can’t overdo your keyword usage, a practice known as “keyword stuffing”. Not only with this turn off your visitors, who have a hard time reading the content you have on your site, but it also marks you as spam in the eyes of the search engines. Your rankings will plummet, and you’ll never receive the traffic that you have been craving. Ultimately, effective search marketing when it comes to the inclusion of keywords is all about walking the fine line between too many keywords and spam, and too few keywords and a lack of connection to those search queries.
It’s also important to note that while many people feel that “content is king” when it comes to SEO, content just for the sake of content isn’t valuable at all. Adding dozens of keyword stuffed pages to your website won’t produce results. What your site actually needs is high quality, unique and valuable content that serves a purpose beyond helping your search marketing efforts.
In addition to these onsite SEO tactics, effective search marketing also includes offsite SEO, primarily in the form of link building. Once your website is established, you can go about the process of generating incoming links leading to your site. Each incoming link from another site to your own is like a vote for your site in the eyes of the search engines.
The more votes the better, as your reputation and credibility will grow. Additionally, votes from more reputable sources do count for more, and will provide a bigger boost to your rankings. There are many different ways to go about link building, including directory submissions, article marketing, blog posting and commenting and on down the line.
Search Marketing Results
After you have begun work with an SEO strategy, what kind of results should you expect to see and how soon should you expect to see them? SEO works very quickly, but it’s not instantaneous and in many cases it is a gradual process. A few more links and a few pages of optimized content won’t send you to the number 1 spot in Google overnight.
However, continuing to develop your site in the right fashion and working hard to deploy a long term SEO game plan will get you to that highly coveted first page. You have to remember, all of those websites on the first page are there for a reason, and they probably have been doing a few things right. Therefore you can’t automatically supplant them when you start your own work, nor can you bypass all of the websites also undertaking their own strategies.
The bottom line is that you have to be in it for the long haul. The right combination of smart SEO strategies, consistently applied will get you to that first page, but you can’t expect to put a few keywords on your page and show up as number 1 tomorrow morning.
Once you know some of the basic processes involved with SEO you will be able to dive in for yourself. You have to remember to have realistic expectations though about what kind of work you’ll need to do, or what you would like to have done for you. Additionally, while there is an unlimited upside with SEO, there aren’t any free lunches either. It’s a process, and it can start working very quickly, but nothing is instantaneous or guaranteed when the competition is as fierce as it currently is with search marketing.