Optimizing your performance – Can SEO companies boost your small business web site’s search engine ranking?

This article featured a client of KS2 Solutions Inc., Sean Kennedy from Pixel Soup Design Group. Contained in this Globe and Mail article by Sasha Nagy is some great insights on search engine optimation and how Sean is using directories, like yellowpages.ca to his company’s advantage.

You can read the entire article at the Globe and Mail, here. However, we have summarized some of the key points below.

Is there a magic bullet that can propel your site to the coveted first page of Google? And if there is, why aren’t you using it?

The simple answer is, no. The various search engines employ their own, highly-secretive algorithms, which are mathematical formulas they employ to determine search engine rankings.

There is not a single company out there that can deliver on the promise of a guaranteed presence atop a search result because search engine algorithms are always changing their criteria.

Sean Kennedy, owner of Pixel Soup Design Group in Calgary, sees the issue from both sides of the fence. As a small business owner, he wants his web site to be seen by many potential clients as possible. As a web developer and branding specialist, he addresses customer concerns about search engine position. He is asked about optimization all the time.

“There’s a lot of generic things you can do, and there’s a lot that are blacklisted, shady things that you can do, obviously I don’t do those,” explained Mr. Kennedy. “It really boils down to how much competition there is for certain keywords or key phrases.”

Sean continues to discuss the importance of reviewing keywords and the competition surrounding keywords in order to optimize your site for specific results. One of the software tools he uses, and many of the top SEO companies use is called Wordtracker.com.

Sean continues to further explain keyword importance,

“For example,” Mr. Kennedy explains. “Type in ‘Calgary web design,’ there’s probably two million results in Google. Without spending some time and energy optimizing your pages and getting good links, it will be hard to see good results. Whereas, if I have a client that wants me to optimize a particular page for a particular keyword or key phrase, and there’s only 30,000 competing pages, it’s much easier to climb the ladder on that.” It is imperative to do the research on what search terms people are searching for, but online tools like Wordtracker.com can help you do that.”

Where your web site falls in a ranking of those sites comes down to each particular search engine’s algorithm. These algorithms are meant to prevent people from manipulating a web site’s position.

“Certain factors play in to these algorithms,” said Mr. Kennedy. “Some of it is, how many times you have your keywords on the page. Is it in the title, the description, throughout the body, the footer, the images . . .”

That doesn’t mean over-saturate your pages with keywords or key phrases, he said. If the content is unreadable, it defeats the purpose of getting users there in the first place.

Google, he says, takes into account how many quality sites link to your site. “So if a quality site links to your site, it adds to the credibility of your site, and that factors into the algorithm. That’s where the link exchange is really important with Google,” he said.

In this article are some great tips regarding search engine optimization and how you can get better results, however, Mr. Kennedy goes on to explain and lot of what we talked to clients about with KS2 Solutions Inc. and generating results for their business. He says,

“I’ll do a bit of research, see how many competitive sites are out there. And I’ll be frank with them,” he said. “It’s going to be tough unless we spend some time and energy to get you up there. It takes time too, it could take six months. If you do your research, see what your competition is doing, you will see results eventually.” We’re also finding that by using the suggested generic optimizing techniques for Google, our own site and client sites do quite well in the other major engines and directories like Yahoo and MSN. . . . and much sooner than Google.”

Mr. Kennedy doesn’t obsess over where Pixel Soup Design Group sits on search engine rankings. He focuses his advertising efforts on established directories like yellowpages.ca and other local Calgary media.

Mr. Kennedy finds that established directories provide a good return on his advertising dollar. “Those are qualified leads,” he said. Google’s local search results, he adds, are actually pulled from directory databases like Yellowpages.ca.

“More people are catching on to that, if they want a local search. Google pulls from those databases. Advertising there costs money, but I am getting better results from yellowpages.ca. I don’t even show up on Google,” he said.

Mr. Kennedy favours traditional methods of exposure mainly because search engines are volatile and web sites rise and fall on the rankings as the engines constantly battle against fraud.

“No one can promise that they are going to make your site No. 1,” he explained. “And Google could drop you off the face of the earth, in a heartbeat, if they change something [in their algorithm], and all of a sudden you spent all your money for on-line marketing. You might get blacklisted, then your gone.”

There are some other tips located in this article, so I strongly suggest that you read its content. Here is the link to the Globe and Mail article.

Some other previous posts of interest include:

Google Local Canada and Word of Mouth Advertising

Power of Front Page Placement

You can read the rest of my posts on search engine optimation here.

One Reply to “Optimizing your performance – Can SEO companies boost your small business web site’s search engine ranking?”

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