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JohnW, post: 199793 wrote:
Good post John R.

1. Let’s define SEO for starters.
How about we call it, the most cost-effective process of attracting potential clients using generic search engine referrals.

2. How is it done?
It is an ongoing process or cycle that involves:

  • Research
  • Planning
  • Implementation
  • Directing
  • Monitoring

Recognise this? It’s also taught in business courses as the “management cycle”.

Cost-effective SEO services should follow this approach. If they don’t, RUN AWAY.

3. Who is involved in the process?
The implementation stage of SEO may involve:

  • You or your staff
  • Your web designer/developer
  • Your copywriter
  • The SEO service

At the very least, you need to manage/control the process.

If you don’t know how to do this, a good SEO should teach you the essentials.

4. Where does good SEO start?
Research into the current site:

  • To identify any technical problems
  • To identify important information your site is NOT delivering

Research into the online competition. This is crucial to the “cost-effectiveness” of any SEO implementation program.

Your online competitors are likely to be very different for different types of information searches.

A lot of the cost-effective benefit of SE referrals is derived from tactics. You do NOT want to target the “most frequently used” keywords you want to target the most cost-effective search methods and phrases.

Tip: Avoid any SEO that says “you don’t rank top for the most used keywords”.

5. What does SEO cost?
A good SEO can’t quote you a price until they know:

a. What problems there are with your site
b. The level of competition in your market
c. The level of SEO activity you want to implement
d. Who you want to involve in your SEO program (staff, developer, copywriter and/or SEO)

You might expect an SEO to only quote initially on the research phase and the development of a draft SEO plan.

If so, you should expect to sit down with a resultant draft SEO plan and the SEO consultant to discuss what you want to do, who you want to implement what parts of the plan and how quickly you want it implemented.

There is always something that can be done to improve search engine referrals. An SEO plan may report on-page elements that you or your staff can implement with no additional cost outlay and which may generate a quantum jump in referrals. At the other end of the scale may be a rare recommendation for a total site overhaul.

6. Performance Parameters
Performance is mission critical. Any good SEO knows this and should go out of his/her way to address it.

An experienced SEO also knows that most website owners don’t know how to establish performance parameters.

Relevant performance parameters are not based on search engine rankings. There are a number of relevant paramaters but to focus on the type reported in traffic reports, you want to see increases in visitors to important product or service pages on the client’s site.

Tip: Avoid SEOs who focus on your ranking for search phrases.

7. General SEO Selection Parameters
IMHO, SEO expertise is a combination of:

  • General marketing training, knowledge and experience
  • Knowledge of how search engines work
  • Knowledge of how people search
  • Constant research into how search engines change their algorithms
  • Online experience of a search market for specific products or services
  • Experimentation with search engine results

8. Selecting an SEO
Selecting an SEO consultant should be no different to any other poisition.

Howver, there is no “qualification” that people can cite that indicates a basic level of SEO expertise.

Many people cite completing the Google Adword online learning program to infer they know SEO. (I suggest avoiding them like the plague.)

I hope this helps dispel some of the waffle imparted by SEO companies who hide behind “jargon”, “cant” and a bunch of technical implementation offers.

Do your research. Don’t just look at website info, search on LinkedIn and other online media.
Regs,
JohnW

JohnW, yet another well thought out and logical approach to SEO selection