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5 Questions About Search Engine Optimization

Welcome to week 2 of 5 Questions About… This week, we’re going to look at one of the most important topics in Internet marketing: search engine optimization (SEO).

  1. How important is it to perform SEO on your website? The three most visited websites in the U.S. – according to Quantcast – are Google, Yahoo and Microsoft’s various search sites. Google alone gets over 140 million unique visitors, or roughly half the citizens of the United States and over 4 billion visits. For most consumers, Google is the Internet. If you want to be found – and you do – SEO is about as important as it gets.
  2. What are the most important parts of SEO? The basics are, happily, relatively basic. If you’ve never done anything, you may not need to do much to improve your ranking. While there are few guarantees – and a lot depends on how much competition exists for your target keywords – you can often see benefit from fairly simple efforts.
  3. Can you do SEO on your own? Possibly. See question #2. If you’ve never done anything to your site, pick up a copy of Jennifer Grappone and Gradiva Couzin’s book, Search Engine Optimization: An Hour a Day, and start working your way through it. If you’ve already done everything Ms. Grappone and Ms. Couzin recommend, then it’s probably time to call in professional help. Even if you’ve done everything, you still might want to talk to a professional. Don’t forget, the search engines are constantly updating their algorithms, so even well-ranked sites can move around. Never be afraid to ask for help.
  4. Where can you find a good SEO company? I recommend SEOmoz’s SEO Marketplace. Lots of good people there.
  5. How much should you pay for SEO services? How much is each visitor worth to you? How many more visitors can you expect from your SEO efforts? Will those visitors stick around and buy or will they just bounce away? There’s no easy answer to this question. But I’d start by looking at your value per visitor and determine how many visitors you receive from search engines today based on current rankings. The level of increase you can expect will tell you a fair deal about how much it’s worth to your business.

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Tim Peter is the founder and president of Tim Peter & Associates. You can learn more about our company's strategy and digital marketing consulting services here or about Tim here.

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