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Soothing Your SEO Investment Woes
By Andrew Gerhart - August 29, 2001

Question Most Commonly Asked:
Why should we invest time and money into search engine optimization?
Search engines are the glue that holds together the millions of people searching on the Internet and the websites that they are looking for. Although a web master can buy placement on some of the search engines, search engine optimization is crucial for the other search engines that list their results according to algorithms. Optimization is best suited for the online business that does not have multitudes of money in their account to dish out to the search engines each month for a top listing, and also for the web master wants to reach every aspect of their target audience. A good ranking is not the extent of search engine optimization.

While gaining a good ranking in the search engine results pages is part of the optimization process, it is not the whole picture. Another aspect of optimization is targeted traffic. If someone comes to your "car insurance" website from a search engine results page for the search term "toys" then this traffic is not targeted.

When someone does a search on a search engine, there are three things that can happen. Either your website will show up, your website won't show up, or your competitor's website will show up. It is quite obvious which of the three is the desired choice of most online businesses, and the best and only way to get this desired effect is search engine optimization.

Search engine optimization is the most effective form of online marketing and advertising on the Internet today. The exposure and amount of visibility that can be reached is only limited to the optimization professional that is in control of the site.

But Search Engine Optimization is Risky!
This is another one of the statements that is pretty common among the statements that I have heard from people unfamiliar with the industry. Search engine optimization is a form of online marketing and promotion. If you were to sign on with an advertising agency, are they going to guarantee that the advertising campaign is going to be a hit? Absolutely not. There are always risks involved when investing money to promote or market your business, but there are certain things that you can do to make the decision process less painful.

When taking the plunge into search engine optimization, be sure to ask some questions to the company before making a decision. Who are you talking to? Is it a sales representative, or is it an actual person from their SEO team? From this, and your conversation, you should be able to decipher the type of client relationship style that this company has. What is the company's policy on spam? Spam is un-ethical and bad practice, and signing with a company that uses spam in their work is not a good idea. Is the company going to work with you continuously, or is it going to be a one-time shot? The SEO company that you choose should work with you monthly to achieve better rankings and more targeted traffic to your website, as well as bringing new ideas to you.

These are some things to consider when deciding on a company. The questions above, along with a few others, should take away some of the nervousness about search engine optimization, and ease your investment worries.

When Will I See The Effects Of My SEO Investment?
The time it takes to see the results of your search engine optimization campaign will depend on many factors. A few factors that come into play when determining how long it will take to see result are:

  • the intensity of your campaign
  • how much money was invested
  • the amount of submissions
  • the age of the site
  • the size of the site
  • the focus of the campaign.

It can take a few weeks to see results from your SEO campaign. What then? A good way to make sure that your SEO company is working for you and doing all of the work that they promised is to receive reports from them. Does the company offer bi-weekly, or monthly reporting? It will assure you that your money is well spent when you receive a report of all submissions, ranking reports, and traffic reports.

Final Thoughts
There are always risks that have to be taken when investing hard-earned money into your business, and search engine optimization is not an exception to this. This being said, there are things you can do to make sure that you make a sound decision in choosing the right company and the right optimization campaign that tailor to your website's needs and goals.