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01. What is Search Engine Optimization?
02. Why are high rankings so important?
03. What’s the difference between “search engine registration” and “search engine optimization”?
04. What are META-tags?
05. Why wasn’t my site optimized for search engines when it was built?
06. Can SEO companies guarantee high rankings?
07. Can you demonstrate increased sales from a site that can be attributed to site optimization?  
08. What about exclusivity? Do SEO's optimize competing sites?
09. How often will I receive search engine ranking reports?
10. How many search engines will my site be submitted to?
11. What information about my site do you submit to search engines?
12. 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?
13. How often do you resubmit my site to search engines?
14. When will I see my site ranking jump on search engines?
15. Can I see how my competitors are ranking for my target search terms?
16. What’s stopping my competitors from stealing my META tags?
17. Is it necessary to optimize pages other than the Home Page?
18. What if I want visitors to go to a specific page on the site and not the home page?
19. I have different web sites in different countries. Do SEO's optimize each differently?
20. What about pages that are in languages other than English? Can those be optimized?
21. How do SEO's handle site submission to non-English language search engines?
22. How experienced is Web Rank in this stuff?
 

Q1. What is Search Engine Optimization?

Ans: 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.

Q2. Why are high rankings so important?

Ans: 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.

Q3. What’s the difference between “search engine registration” and “search engine optimization”?

Ans:  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.

Q4. What are META-tags?

Ans: 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”.

Q5. 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 budget.

Consequently, your 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.

Q6. Can SEO companies guarantee high rankings?

Ans: 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 search engines.

On their Webmaster 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 marketing:

Via 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.  Top 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.

Q7. Can you demonstrate increased sales from a site that can be attributed to site optimization?

Ans: 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.

Results 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 All 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.

Q8. What about exclusivity? Do SEO's optimize competing sites?

Ans: 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.

Q9. 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.

Q10. 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 neighborhoods".

With 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.

Q11. What information about my site do you submit to search engines?

Ans: 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 it’s listing.

Q12. 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?

Ans: 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.

Q13. How often do you resubmit my site to search engines? 

Ans: 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.

Q14. When will I see my site ranking jump on search engines?

Ans: 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. 

Waiting 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.

Q15. Can I see how my competitors are ranking for my target search terms?

Ans: 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 search terms.

Q16. What’s stopping my competitors from stealing my META tags?

Ans: 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.

Q17. Is it necessary to optimize pages other than the Home Page?

Ans: 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.

Do 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.

Q18. What if I want visitors to go to a specific page on the site and not the home page?

Ans: We 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 clicks.

Q19. I have different web sites in different countries. Do SEO's optimize each differently?

Ans: 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. 

Currently, 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.

Q20. What about pages that are in languages other than English? Can those be optimized?

Ans: 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).  Once 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.

Q21. How do SEO's handle site submission to non-English language search engines?

Ans: 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 channels.

Q22. 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 submit to.

Not 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.

If you have a question about our services that isn't answered here, please submit your enquiry.

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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.