Search engine optimisation as a marketing tool

SEO (or Search Engine Optimisation) is the name for a wide ranging set of techniques where the ultimate aim is to move your website higher up the search engine rankings for a particular set of keywords/keyphrases. The higher up in the rankings you move, the more visitors your website will receive.

SEO is a vast topic, and so there's a group of articles that we have written that you can read which describe the various techniques (and tools on our system) to help your site rank better in search engine results.

You can read the articles by clicking here.

In this article we'll talk about your options for SEO.


Who can do my SEO?

SEO is a complex area. Its not as simple as putting a few keywords in your site and then ranking at the top the next day.

Many millions of websites are also constantly optimising their own site and, depending on the industry/sector that you're in, high rankings can be very sought after.

SEO is something that you can perform yourself but if you are competing against some big players you are unlikely to see good results quickly or easily.

This is because many companies hire a specialist SEO company to help them. Or, depending on their size, even have an in-house team that does the SEO. So SEO budgets for large companies can run into thousands or tens of thousands of pounds a month.


Where can you find an SEO company?

A quick search for 'seo' or 'search engine optimisation' will reveal hundreds of companies that are willing to help you.

A few things to consider when choosing an SEO company:

• Local does not necessarily mean better. Just because they're in the office next door it doesn't mean they're better at SEO.

• How does the company themselves rank in search engine results? If they're top for 'seo' then they likely know what they're doing. If they're on page 33 and say 'we're too busy to work on our own website' then just be a bit more weary of them.

• How do their clients rank? Ask them for references and check the rankings of some of their customers. Beware though, take note of the keywords their customers rank for. Its easy to rank for 'lead pipework in loughborough' but 'gifts for men' is much more difficult.

Finally, ask the company to give you an overview of what work they will do.

The key to SEO is to build a website that is worthy of a high ranking, rather than fool Google into ranking it highly. So think about the work they say they'll do and whether it sounds like one or the other.


How much should you pay an SEO company?

This is a question that doesn't really have an answer. Generally speaking the more money you spend then the more work the SEO company will do and so the higher you will rank for your chosen keywords.

SEO is expensive and that's because it is labour intensive, so be wary of companies that offer to get you good results quickly and cheaply.

Get quotes from a few different suppliers and compare them.


How can you do your own SEO

Doing your own SEO is not easy.

But if you do need to (or want to) do it yourself then you need to read, read and read some more. When you're finished reading, start again.

There are literally thousands of websites and millions of website pages offering advice on SEO. Google doesn't actually say 'here's how to get to number 1 in our results' - so you'll find a wide range of differing opinions on the techniques you should use and what does and doesn't work. You'll have to make your own mind up about what sounds sensible and reasonable.

As with finding an SEO company, a search on Google for 'seo advice' or 'seo techniques' will yield thousands of pages. It seems sensible to assume that the page that ranks at number 1 for that result is authored by a company or person that knows what they are talking about.


Resources

Check out our articles on SEO by clicking here.

External Resources

Take a look at these external websites to find out more information:

http://moz.com/learn/seo/external-link

http://pointblankseo.com/link-building-strategies

http://www.seomark.co.uk/off-site-optimisation