What is Search Engine Optimization?
Search Engine Optimization (or SEO as it is commonly known in the industry) is the effective utilization of
search engines to draw traffic to a Web site. It is an ongoing, continuously
evolving and high maintenance process that includes the customization of a site
for higher search engine rankings.
Why are high rankings so important?
As users generally only explore the
first twenty or thirty sites in the
search results, achieving high rankings
on the search engines will make an
enormous difference in the amount of
visitor traffic your site receives.
What’s the difference between “search engine registration” and “search
Search engine registration is the submission of your site to the
search engines. Search
engine optimization is a proactive service ensuring your site will be
highly visible on the engines your site is submitted to (it generally includes
search engine registration). Optimization involves changes to your site code,
including development of tailored META tags, to ensure that you are ranked
highly on the search engines for certain keywords and phrases relating to your
site content. This makes your site more accessible to searchers and ensures your
site is found by your target audience, giving you an edge over your competitors.
What are META-tags?
META tags are part of the site’s HTML code and if your site has them, they can
be seen by choosing “View, Source” from your browser toolbar.
These tags include “keywords” and a “description” of your web
page. Generally, this is where the
search engines look to see what your web page is all about. If your site
doesn’t have META tags, search engines may not be able to list your site. But
having the tags is not enough – if they’re not carefully designed, the
search engines may get entirely the wrong message about your site content and
rank your site in their “back pages”.
Why wasn’t my site optimized for search engines when it was built?
Ans: Depending on who developed your
site and how it was built, you’ll find a
million different reasons for this. Many
web developers believe it is the site
marketer’s job to ensure the site is
found in search engines and vice versa.
Most don’t bother submitting your site
to the important search engines,
assuming you or your marketing
department will do it. Or perhaps it
wasn’t in your original development
site can be launched for many months without the search engines having any idea
it exists. Some development firms don’t include even the most basic META tags
in your site code when building it. Or those that do include META tags without
close consultation with you, resulting in the wrong search terms used and poor
performance. This is quite typical!
Remember that search
engine optimization is a relatively new science and is an aggressive
audience development and search engine
ranking service that requires constant
monitoring to be successful.
Consequently, not many firms know how or
have time to optimize a site
successfully, no matter what they tell
you. If they can’t show you the high
rankings they’ve achieved for other
clients, they won’t be able to optimize
your site properly.
Can SEO companies guarantee high rankings?
This differs from SEO to SEO. Keep in mind that there are no guarantees when it
comes to search engines. They don’t even
guarantee that your site will be listed,
let alone placed in the top rankings.
With no ultimate control over the
engines, we personally do not believe in
misleading our own clients that we have
such control by offering a guarantee for
a particular ranking on particular
Guidelines pages, Google states "Beware of SEO's that claim to
guarantee rankings" and we follow and agree with their guidelines on this. HOWEVER,
we do offer a satisfaction guarantee. We guarantee that if you're not
satisfied that we have lived up to our
rankings promise* within 3 months, we'll
refund your Up Front Fees. As members of
the World Association of Internet
Marketers, we follow their ethical
guidelines in relation to search engine
our own SEO company, we always aim to get clients in the Top 10 rankings on
major engines and we often achieve even higher.
In fact, ALL our optimization clients are ranking in the
Top 10 results for at least ten of their chosen search terms on major search
engines, competing with millions of sites worldwide.
Many of them have achieved the elusive number one spot for highly
competitive search phrases and held that rank for months at a time.
10 results are very difficult to achieve these days - we do it and we can prove
it. The Web Rank difference is that we follow-up with regular ranking
reports and once our clients are ranking
highly we work hard to keep them there.
Our promise of search engine
rankings is based on achieving higher rankings for your target search terms on
one or more of the most popular search engines worldwide.
Can you demonstrate increased sales from a site that can be attributed to site
Achieving a high ranking on the search
engines is like having the best
advertising bargain imaginable. Think
about it this way: of the millions of
searches conducted each day, the web
sites that appear at the top of the
search results essentially get free
advertising. The resulting visitors to
those sites are more likely to purchase
products and services since they were
specifically searching for that
information. This means you have a very
low cost of advertising with a probable
high rate of return, giving you an
excellent Return on Investment.
will differ from company to company, but you should always select an SEO firm
that closely tracks your results and is able to show you ROI over the set
contract period. Personally, we have received a number of testimonials from
clients that state they have received more business as a direct result of our
Web Rank SEO services. You can read about them on our Results page and
optimization clients should be able to measure the effectiveness of their
campaign by the sheer increase in visitor hits to their site from the search
engines and by the conversions of those visitors to sales. This can be measured
via visitor statistics software such as Web
Trends, which we offer as part of our monthly campaign maintenance. If you
don't have time to monitor your own stats closely, our monthly Site
Performance Reports offer detailed analysis of your site traffic and
measurement of your site’s performance over a specified period in terms
of popularity, usability and fundability.
What about exclusivity? Do SEO's optimize competing sites?
The Web Rank optimization service has always been exclusive for our
clients. For example, we would not
take on any new clients whose sites are in direct competition with existing
optimization clients. In other words, we would not optimize sites for the same
key search terms of our existing clients. To try and rank two sites competing
for the same search terms would be an obvious conflict of interest!
But every SEO has a different approach to exclusivity - you'll need to ask them
before you sign up.
How often will I receive search engine ranking reports?
Ans: Not all SEO's send out ranking
reports. We do and depending on which search engine optimization package
you have chosen, you will receive ranking reports monthly or on request.
How many search engines will my site be submitted to?
Ans: Again, this differs from SEO to SEO. Always be wary of any company that
promises to submit your site to "thousands of search engines for only
$9.95". There simply aren't thousands of engines worth submitting to. Most
of the time these scammy companies submit your site to guestbooks and Free For
All (FFA) pages using automated submitting software. This can actually do your
site more harm than good - because (as Google states here)
- you can be penalized in the rankings for linking to such "bad
our services, your site will always be manually submitted to the major search
engines and directories. Depending on which search engine optimization package
you’ve chosen and your target market, we will also submit your site to
relevant regional and industry-focused search engines and directories. Web
Rank has a database of approximately 1,500 engines & directories
worldwide for you to choose from, so if you prefer, you can tailor your own list
based on your site's target markets.
What information about my site do you submit to search engines?
In most cases we only submit your site URL to the search engines as it is often
the only information the engines accept. Some
search engines will allow us to submit additional information such as a
description or a title for your site. On
directories such as Yahoo!, we must first search for and locate a logical
category for your site. The way we submit information about your site can
“make or break” your position within the engines, so we do it very
carefully. Following submission, most search engines will use their web crawling
agents (often called “spiders” or “robots”) to collect information from
the site’s code, then rank and display it according to their own special
rules. Some engines and directories use staff to collect this information, which
is why there are often long delays between the submission of your site and
When the search engines show results, in addition to a URL, they sometimes show
a description and title of the site. Can
you control what appears here?
Again, this depends on the engine - some engines will take the META description
tag (best scenario), others will take what you submit during registration
process (e.g., Yahoo!), others will take the content of your page and tags and
come up with their own description for your site.
Still others will just take the first twenty words in the site body text
(worst scenario). However, we always use our know-how of the search engines to
ensure that no matter what the search engines use, users will find your page.
How often do you resubmit my site to search engines?
If your site is search engine compatible and optimized correctly, regular
resubmission to engines is unnecessary. Our ranking reports and maintenance
checks keep track of your site every four weeks. If your site is already ranking
highly, there is no need to resubmit it. However if any engines have dropped
your site altogether (as can happen from time to time), it will be resubmitted
to those engines. If an engine has dropped your rankings considerably since last
report, it is time to tweak your META tags or check the optimized pages for any
problems. This is included as part of your ongoing monthly fees. Search engines
will generally pick up the changes during their next edit and re-rank the site
accordingly. Resubmission is usually only necessary if your site has undergone
major content changes.
When will I see my site ranking jump on search engines?
A variety of waiting periods
must be endured before being listed on each search engine. They all have
different indexing times and waiting periods for reviewing and adding your site.
Knowing and understanding these waiting periods before beginning the process can
eliminate frustration and confusion.
periods can range from two days to four months on some engines. As a guide, you
should be able to see a boost in your rankings on Yahoo within 7 days (assuming
we use Business Express for your submissions). Rankings on Alta Vista, Google,
FAST, Lycos and Ask Jeeves should improve within five weeks of us submitting
your site. On other engines such as Inktomi, AOL and MSN, you may not see
results for a few weeks longer.
To speed up the process, many directories offer paid directory submission
services and most search engines offer paid inclusion services.
Can I see how my competitors are ranking for my target search terms?
Sure! For a small additional fee, you can have up to three
competitor sites included in your ongoing search engine ranking reports so you
can compare at a glance how you are ranking in comparison to them for the same
What’s stopping my competitors from stealing my META tags?
The law, usually. According to the latest research, META tags are technically
the intellectual property of the site owner. We put in a copyright comment
within your META tags we develop to ensure everyone knows the content of the
tags belongs to you. There have been a number of successful U.S. court cases, by
firms who have had their META tags “stolen” by competitors. The offenders
were prosecuted and ordered to pay significant fines and court costs. The
results have set a precedent for future cases and act as a warning to anyone
thinking about stealing anyone else’s tags.
Is it necessary to optimize pages other than the Home Page?
It depends on the size and content of your site, as well as your budget. Do you
have a lot of information on your site on a lot of different topics? Is your
site aimed at a wide range of people? Are there areas on your site dedicated to
completely different products and services? Do you want to target a lot of
search keywords? If “Yes”, then there may not be room in your Home Page META
tags to adequately describe your entire site content.
you want people to go directly to the page that best matches their search query?
If "Yes", then that's another reason to optimize multiple pages within
your search engine marketing campaign. Depending on your chosen search engine
optimization package, we can optimize up to ten individual pages on your site
with key search terms tailored for the content of each page.
What if I want visitors to go to a specific page on the site and not the home
would design your various page META tags to include logical phrases relating to
the content of that page. Once
tailored META tags are uploaded to your site pages, we submit your various page
URL’s to the search engines and then (depending on the engine), they assess
the pages and categorize them according to the META tag and page content.
So say your site was an online auction, ideally searches for "car
auctions" would be directed to the particular page on your site dealing
with car auctions, a search for "antique auctions" would result
in your antique auction page coming up and so on. However,
there are some engines that will only direct searches to the main URL of a site,
no matter the search, so try to keep your home page navigation as intuitive as
possible so people can find what they’re looking for in a minimum number of
I have different web sites in different countries. Do SEO's optimize each
Yes, this depends on the SEO in question. Not all firms cater to different
countries. Our approach would be to create META tags for each individual site,
tailored to the different countries. Apart
from the major search engines, we would also ensure each site was submitted to
the most popular foreign engines and directories in the appropriate country.
we have a list of over 1,500 search engines and directories, covering more than
100 countries. We keep adding new
search engines to this list every month, to ensure our clients can reach their
target markets effectively.
What about pages that are in languages other than English? Can those be
Yes. We generally develop
a list of 20 English search terms to cover each page (assuming the foreign
language pages have essentially the same content as the English). Then we
regionalize the search terms for each market/country and translate the search
terms into local languages (using
our 3rd party professional translation service if necessary).
that is done, we develop and test META tags for each page/site and have the site
submitted to the appropriate international and foreign search engines.
How do SEO's handle site submission to non-English language search engines?
Some SEO's only work with English-language sites. Others outsource foreign
language search engine submission to 3rd party contractors. Many foreign
language search engines provide an English version these days. For
those that do not, we
have access to a Global submission service that will manually submit your site
to any foreign language search engines that we cannot access via the usual
How experienced is Web Rank in this stuff?
Ans: To achieve a high ranking web site, you have to know
exactly the most effective META tag
design formula, best web copywriting
techniques, keep track of current search
engine ranking algorithms, know what
format to submit the site in to every
engine and how often to resubmit the
site. You also need to know whether your
site is technically compatible with
search engine robots, what types of
pages the engines will accept and which
will be barriers to ranking, plus what
sort of overall “relevancy score” your
site will receive from each engine you
only that, but once you’re ranking highly, you have to monitor your progress
and adjust your tags every now and then to ensure you stay up above your
competitors on all engines for your major search phrases. These are all crucial
steps to a high ranking, but very time consuming and not your core business!
Fortunately, Web Rank employs specialists in the area of search
engine optimization, whose full-time role is to place our clients high in the
search engines and keep them there. Our staff have been
optimizing web sites for over eight years. During that time they
have developed and streamlined a unique and ethical SEO formula that has
resulted in very impressive rankings for our clients on the major US and
regional search engines.
you have a question about our services that isn't answered here, please
||Working on a bespoke level, we consult on
search engine compatibility of site build plans, offer an insight
into how search engines will traverse and 'see' the site, how
search engine users will view the site, and much, much more. Our
behind-the-scenes consultancy is part of the backbone of some very
important sites, ensuring they get maximum search engine coverage,
and those all-important high conversion rates.