Just because you run a successful business doesn’t mean the search engines will automatically pick up all your products and services when potential customers are searching.
While these search engines algorhithms can seem confusing, but there is a method to the madness. Figure out that method, and you’ll end up with quality results.
Luckily, there are people who can optimize your website and manage marketing campaigns to make your business more visible online. This person is called an SEO expert. Search engine optimization is key for generating traffic on your site, which is the first step in growing your business using online marketing.
Do you need an SEO expert on your team? Let’s take a look.
What is an SEO Expert?
An SEO expert is someone who’s skilled in the art of building online traffic. It gets complicated, and it’s important to know what you’re doing because a wrong move could send you to the bottom of the barrel.
Search engines operate by reading your website and determining how much it can be trusted for your target keywords, which should reflect your primary products and services.
A good way to determine trust is to look at how many other websites are linking back to your site. If a popular website links to your website’s blog post or service pages, it’s a way of acknowledging your credibility for whatever that article or service may be. It’s kind of like the search engine algorithm’s version of a referral.
Typically, the more links to your site, the better. This gets tricky though, because not all links are created equally.
Think of search engines as crusaders for quality content in a never-ending battle against spam. Research shows that nearly 60 percent of the links on the internet are spam. Nobody likes spam.
The more spam that is associated with your site, the less likely you are to come up on a search. Alternatively, the more trusted sites that you’re associated with, the more likely you’ll be at the top.
That’s called link value, and we’ll get to that soon.
The process of acquiring links to your website is often known as linkbuilding, and is a critical part of improving your online presence. Linkbuilding is fairly technical and time-consuming, which is why many businesses prefer to hire an SEO expert to help guide their business to the top of the online search mountain.
With a few hours of research, you may be able to grasp and even execute a few basic linkbuilding ideas on your own. But you could also work on your own engine, build your own home, or defend yourself in court.
If you really want to dominate the search engine results, the most efficient route for many business is to hire an SEO expert.
The Link Almighty
So, why are links so important? How do they work?
The idea is pretty intuitive, but it can be helpful to get a run-through on the specifics. We mentioned a link is like a referral, but you can think of links as references on a job application.
The more references the better, right? That depends. You wouldn’t want to put a known drug dealer down as a reference on a job application.
You would, however, want to put Bill Gates down. That would immediately bump your resume to the top of the pile.
The concept is the same with links. The less trusted the links in your network are, the less likely a search engine is to trust you. If your site is frequently linked to websites like popular news sites or universities, you’ll be more trusted.
So the question is, “How do I get associated with the most trusted links?” The job search analogy applies here as well.
In order to be qualified for a high ranking job position, you need to have relevant experience, quality references, and the people skills to land the interview in the first place.
Thankfully link building is a bit more straightforward than job hunting, and unlike a job interview, it can be contracted out to the experts!
Types of Links
In the early days of the internet, search engines determined your spot by examining the material on your website. The status quo is now focused on how many people have linked to you.
We’ve established that having more links means having more SEO traffic. That’s a general rule, but as mentioned not all links give you the same pull in the eyes of the search engine.
Links from popular sites will hold more weight in a search engine. Popular sites tend to have more links, so they are seen as more important. Getting links from popular sites will make you a more popular site.
However popular sites also know their worth, and it takes a skilled SEO expert to land those links for your business.
Getting links from sites in your niche is also a huge plus. This means that you should try and buddy up with similar sites to your own, even if that means competitors.
Think of it this way: if you were a musician and you had links on the pages of every artist in the top 40, you’d get more traffic than if you had links from the 10 greatest plumbers in the world.
A good SEO expert will work to build relevant links from authoritative sites in your industry.
You will want to link to other sites as well, and by doing so you enter into new “link neighborhoods.” A link neighborhood is the nexus of links that you are connected with in a sort of link exchange.
Because of this, you’ll want to make sure that you aren’t linking to sites that aren’t trusted. Your best bet would be to link to popular websites that get a lot of traffic (but that doesn’t mean that you should avoid the chance to promote a friend, or local artist’s website).
When you comment on a social website, or post frequently on social media, you are also generating links. These don’t hold nearly as much weight as a link from The New York Times, but hey, it’s still something.
You may be thinking, “I could just post a million comments in every video I watch on Youtube!” Don’t think that.
If you throw an inhuman amount of low-ranking links into the internet, the internet will associate you with those low-ranking links. You would then be spamming. You would become the Internet’s enemy.
The internet has been around for a long time. Ever notice that you never see websites from before 2005? That’s because links lose value as they age if the website is not updated with fresh content and design.
You’ll want to keep your website current and maintain an active SEO linkbuilding strategy, even if you are already ranking well for your search terms.
Search engines do this to keep their searches up-to-date because some things just aren’t relevant anymore.
How Do I Improve My Link Value?
An SEO expert can help you, but you may already have access to some low-hanging fruit.
Just like anything else, you’re going to have to start small. Ask around to people that you know who have websites or blogs. If they’re in your niche, even better.
Build relationships with other people in your niche by commenting or messaging with them. The comments will add a little value to your site in the search engine, while the simple act of reaching out greatly improves your odds of getting links on this person’s site.
Another way to boost your site’s ranking is to start a blog that falls into your site’s niche. You’ll want to maintain it and write consistently. Many SEO experts can help you manage this as content and linkbuilding go hand-in-hand in a good SEO campaign.
Developing quality content on your blog will reinforce your linkbuilding campaign, as the search engines will see that not only do you have good links pointing to your site, but you are consistently producing relevant content related to your keywords as well.
It can be difficult to do all of the things listed above on your own. Hiring an SEO expert, as mentioned, can save you time and grow your business when done right.
What Should I Look for in an SEO Expert?
Just like links, not every SEO expert holds the same value. It may seem like a simple job at first glance, but there is a lot of detail and work that goes into optimizing your site.
Make sure to have an open discussion with the person or team you choose before they begin taking the internet by storm. A storm can be good and bad.
The person managing your site holds a lot of power, and they can do some damage to your reputation if they aren’t careful. That’s why you need to ask them a few things before you begin doing business:
Set clear expectations as to what you would like to see. Discuss a result that you would like to see in a certain time frame, and hold them accountable to that. They should be able to look at your keywords ahead of time and make recommendations to match your budget and timeline.
Next, make sure that their practices are going to be beneficial to you. Ensure that they aren’t going to turn your site into one that’s registered as spam, or link you to unfavorable sites. This is what happens when many “budget” SEO experts start running a campaign
Lastly, look for reviews and references. If your SEO expert can’t point to specific examples of successful work, your company probably isn’t going to be their first home run.
Start Doing the Work
Developing an effective and successfully-ranked website is not always easy. You can hire an SEO expert, but you’ll want to begin laying the groundwork as soon as you can with some of the tips in this blog.
Regardless of whether you go the DIY-route or contract a professional SEO company, make sure you have a good understanding of your business metrics and customers before you start.
Ready to go? Start brainstorming ways to generate high-quality links to your site that won’t damage you in the long run. If you’d like to talk to us about SEO for your business you can get in contact with an SEO expert.