The advertising medium in 2010 is quickly changing. Phone books, radio, television, and print advertising are falling away. When people want to look something up or or need information they go to the Internet. Of course we all know that Google is the top search engine they use.
Considering this fact it has become tantamount for local companies to be in top placements for their local keyword if they want any kind of significant online targeted traffic.
If you own a plumbing company in Vancouver, WA, then you need to be on page one of Google for that keyword “plumbing Vancouver WA” when someone looks it up.
Whatever business you are in you should have your website ranking on page one in the three major search engines for the main keyword that describes what you do and the city or town you do that in. If you do not, you are leaving leaving tons of business on the table. And again, people are not looking in the phone book like they used to. Its far easier to go online.
Oh, but if it were that easy! Who would not want to have their website #1 on Google for their keyword? But here is the catch. To be able to accomplish this you need on page and off page search engine optimization.
As far as on page SEO goes your website needs to be coded correctly with the proper CSS, your URLs need to be properly titled and optimized, you need to have at least 150 to 350 words of keyword rich content on every landing page, your H1 and H2 tags need to be adjusted for your desired keyword as well as secondary keywords, you need to have images, and your linking structures needs to be structured in a way where the “PR juice” all flows to your homepage but is also passed on to your sub pages based on how important they are.
Sounds like a lot. That is just your on page SEO optimization. What I just mentioned takes a lot of work and that is just on your actual website.
Once you have completed this you are only halfway done.
Unless your site is exceptionally strong, or powered/sponsored by another powerhouse website, you will have to do some off page search engine optimization. This mainly includes getting targeted back links.
And everyone wants them!
Getting good back links to help your organic rankings used to be much easier. It still took a lot of work but there were more angles in which you could get them. It was easier to drop links in forums, you could post comments and give yourself a link back, submit 100s links in general directories, massive link exchanges, and so forth.
It is not that easy any longer. Google has eliminated more than half of the linking strategies search engine optimizers used just four years ago. Now there is a premium for article writing, social media book marketing, networking with other bloggers and website owners, very targeted link exchanges, directory submissions to niche directories, and paying a high PR site to “review” your site (officially paying for any links is a big no no with the big G).
It takes a lot of work to do this. When you want a to be placed at the front of phone book with a bigger ad than everyone else you just pay more and they place you there. It happens as soon as you sign your yearly contract.
When you want to be placed at the top of the search engines it takes time and a lot of effort. No one can really guarantee you will get to a spot in a pre-determined time. All you can do is put your site, or your client’s website, in the best position to do that. And with the proper techniques it usually happens.
Here is my point. If you are local company you do not have the time to do everything that I just mentioned. You can try to do your own search engine optimization to be ranked number one for your desired keyword but unless you have time to time on your hands and the expertise you will not be able to do it.
It can take over 20 man-hours just for the on-page optimization. The off page optimization can take just as long and sometimes more.
To write a decent article like this one you have to research your topic and spend a good hour writing about it. If you are not a skilled copywriter if you take several hours. This is the reason why you need to outsource all of your SEO to a qualified and experienced local search engine optimization company that specializes in this field.
A local SEO company that is put together well will have several departments. It will have appointment setters, a sales team, website designers, coders, directory submitters, article and content writers, and some type of customer service department. It takes a full staff of everyone working together to rank a website on page one of Google.
This is the reason why a local SEO company will want you to sign some sort of mid to long-term contract with them. They are going to be coming up with a lot of money upfront to make and subsequently rank your website. You may be surprised by how much a good SEO company wants to charge you per month but in reality they lose money on you for the first six months at minimum.
They really end up making their money when they have happy customers who are ranking #1 for their search term, at the top of Google, and all they have to do is maintain your website and keep it up there, after all the initial hard work has been done.
We have clients who are with my local SEO Vancouver WA company that we have spent thousands on to get them to the top of their desired search term and will not recoup our money for a year. To make it worth it for us we need some type of guarantee that a client we work hard on with stay with us for at least a year.
Before you go with a local company that specializes in search engine optimization and other SEO services you need to ask several questions.
First, are they local. Every area is different and it will take slightly different tactics to rank a site in a smaller city like Vancouver WA than it would for a large metropolis like LA.
In addition to this you want to find an SEO company that is familiar with the area so they can write content related to the where you are at. A landscaping company, for instance, who operates in Washington state will be different from one operating in Arizona.
If there are any problems you also want to have access to them. Website changes, design issues, and technical questions pop up routinely. You do not want to be calling a company three time zones away.
Second, you need to make sure any local SEO company has several departments of specialists. This field is multi-faceted and one person cannot successfully do everything alone. I am not implying a potential SEO company has to have 100s of employees but you want to see that they have at least several qualified techs who work on different parts of your website.
Like I said before, even for a basic site, the optimization process could take 40 man hours for on page and off page SEO.
Third, ask any search engine optimization company to give you references. If they say they are good you should ask them to prove it. They should have a nice list for you to scan. You should see that they have ranked several websites for their desired keyword on page one of Google.
If they cannot produce this you know they either are lying about what they can do or they are not good at what they do.
Every city now has several SEO companies operating in them. The larger cities, of course, have more. But, in every city there are only 2-3 very talented firms who really know what they are doing and it is your job to find them. The success you have online depends on it.