Do-It-Yourself Search Engine Optimization
Search engine optimization, or SEO, is big business. If you rely on search engines to bring visitors to your business website, you need to rely on more than luck. Your business will lag far short of its potential unless your site is optimized and re-optimized for search engine results.
What is search engine optimization?
SEO is optimizing your website for search engines, acquiring inbound links, and monitoring your traffic and referring links to use them optimally. SEO is also studying and monitoring your competitors' techniques.
The goal of SEO is to bring in targeted traffic that is organic, i.e., from search results. When people type in a keyword or phrase that you've optimized your site for, you want your site to appear on the first page, preferably high on that page. Good SEO results in increased traffic without the cost and time spent on advertising.
The SEO industry
Where there's a need, there's an industry ready to help you spend money on that need. SEO firms charge from a few hundred dollars up to six-figure amounts to optimize your site for search engines.
If paying thousands of dollars to an SEO firm isn't in your budget, consider using SEO packages to optimize your site yourself.
A combination of SEO tools is needed to get the best results. The SEO packages described below offer a variety of tools to help you optimize your site for search engines.
SEO tools compared
While we've listed numerous features of each SEO tool, these comparisons are summaries only.
Internet Business Promoter (IBP)
Known for their link popularity tool ARELIS, IBP also produces a three-step suite of tools to help you promote your website:
1. Page optimization
2. Page promotion
3. Results tracking
Price: $179.95 or $349.95.
Links Manager is designed to help users manage reciprocal linking. It doesn't require any software downloads, and current links pages can be imported into it. Some of its features:
Link organization and formatting
Link management and tracking
Price: $19.95 a month.
SEO Administrator automates website promotion with tools that can do these tasks:
Keywords and site visitors
Search engines and directories
Price: from $70 to $150, depending on the version.
With SEO Elite, you can find out exactly what your competitors are doing and copy their strategies. You can find out about your competitors' web pages:
? Keyword density and prominence
Concerning link partners and search engines, SEO Elite can:
? Find thousands of possible link partners
The focus of SEOToolset is to provide data to help with website promotion. The toolset includes:
Search engines and directories
Price: $90.00 per quarter per site.
The 10 tools in the Web CEO package are designed to help you promote and maintain your website, improve search engine results, and analyze site visitors. A summary of these tools:
At your website
Search engines and competition
Price: $295 for one person. A free version is also available.
WebPosition, one of the oldest and most popular SEO tools, offers a five-step SEO process:
1. Determine your position in search engines
2. Research and choose keywords
3. Optimize your pages
4. Design and submit your pages
5. Analyze your results
Price: $149 or $349.
How to hire an SEO firm
If you'd prefer to hire an SEO firm instead, do your research. You'll be spending a minimum of a few hundred dollars, more likely thousands of dollars for a medium-sized or larger website.
While many SEO firms are good at what they do, the field unfortunately has its share of scammers as well. They may tell you that a variety of tricks such as hidden text or cloaking will improve your site's position in search engines. In reality, these techniques may get your site banned from search engines. More information is at these pages at Google.com:
? Webmaster Guidelines
? Search Engine Optimizers
If you're considering an SEO firm, ask how they measure success. Will your site hits be organic? Look at the sites of SEO firms' clients and the site for the SEO firm itself. Do the sites rank well for keywords at these sites? The search engine results for relevant keywords will indicate how successful an SEO firm is.
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