As much as the title is vastly overstated, these questions will at the very least help you ponder SEO in a way you hadn't pondered before. At least that's my theory.
Question 11. How much time should I spend getting my SEO perfect?
Tough question to answer. You really have to weigh the cost/benefit ratio. Many small business owners want to do SEO themselves because it saves them money. But, at some point, business duties start to get neglected because you're trying to learn SEO. Once you hit this point, hiring out is the smart move.
Once you've hired a professional SEO, there is still a cost/benefit ratio to consider. And, how much you spend on an SEO must coincide to the expected payoff. I have to say "expected" because SEO is an investment, and, like most investments, the payoff isn't immediate.
But, the payoff AND the cost are both directly proportional to the time your SEO is expected to be involved in your campaign. Pay attention to this. If you're only paying for six hours of SEO per month, you'll only get the results those hours can provide. However, if you're paying for 50 hours of SEO per month, your expectations can be a lot higher.
12. I'm re-designing my site, should I switch to more keyword friendly URLs?
If the re-design of the site requires URLs to be changed (such as moving to a CMS), then yes, now is a good time to employ keyword friendly URLs. If changing the URLs is not required, then there are a few more considerations to mull over.
First, you have to look at how well your site is already ranking, how authoritative it is, and how much changing URLs will disrupt your rankings. If your site is uber powerful, than changing URLs will not have a huge impact, though it might make for a bad week or two. But, if your site is pretty weak in terms of search engine authority, then changing URLs won't really hurt and will likely only help you.
When you're getting lots of good traffic from the search engines, disruptions can be devastating, even if they are only temporary. Proceed with caution, and always consult your SEO to ensure the changes are implemented in a way to minimize the negative impact.
13. Once my site is optimized, will it stay optimized?
Sure, it'll stay optimized, but that doesn't mean the optimization will stay effective. Good SEO is always good SEO, but there are a lot of nuances to the search engine algorithms that change over time. For example, usability issues have become increasingly important to the success of the optimization campaign.
Things such as bounce rates and page speed can reflect either positively or negatively. These are things that were not considered even a few years ago, or the search engines were just adding them into the mix. While none of these really change how you optimize, they do change how we analyze a site from the SEO perspective.
SEO isn't a set-it-and-forget-it game. There is always something more to improve. From looking at your analytics, page performance, conversion rates, keyword rankings, keywords yet-to-be-optimized for, and so on, there really is no end. Your site is always a work in progress, and if you're not making progress then, well, you're not making progress.
14. Should I invest in SEO or PPC?
The short answer is both. SEO gets you the "free" traffic, but there is so much value in PPC that it shouldn't be ignored.
People often think of PPC as a temporary measure. It's just there until the SEO campaign achieves the rankings you're looking for. But, there is no reason to stop PPC once you're on the first page with organic SEO. The double branding effect you have far outweighs the potential that you're paying for a click that you could have gotten for free.
Here's the thing, the tracking you can do with PPC allows you to track everything, down to a minute level of performance. This allows you to tweak and test your PPC campaigns to ensure every dollar you spend makes more than a dollar in return. That, of course, means profits. As long as your PPC campaign is profitable, there is no reason not to keep it active.
And, since only about 30% of searchers click on a paid ad, you're really not in significant danger of losing the "free" click.
15. Should I engage in any "black hat" SEO strategies?
That's up to you. Just be sure you understand the risks you're taking by doing so. I have no problem with such strategies, as long as those employing them are open and honest about the potential consequences of such actions and you're on board.
If you can risk losing your domain name and don't mind starting over, then by all means, engage away. On the other hand if your URL and brand is important, then maybe the dark side isn't for you. This goes back to risk vs. reward.
Stoney deGeyter is the President of Pole Position Marketing, a leading search engine optimization and marketing firm helping businesses grow since 1998. Stoney is a frequent speaker at website marketing conferences and has published hundreds of helpful SEO, SEM and small business articles.
If you'd like Stoney deGeyter to speak at your conference, seminar, workshop or provide in-house training to your team, contact him via his site or by phone at 866-685-3374.
Stoney pioneered the concept of Destination Search Engine Marketing which is the driving philosophy of how Pole Position Marketing helps clients expand their online presence and grow their businesses. Stoney is Associate Editor at Search Engine Guide and has written several SEO and SEM e-books including E-Marketing Performance; The Best Damn Web Marketing Checklist, Period!; Keyword Research and Selection, Destination Search Engine Marketing, and more.
Stoney has five wonderful children and spends his free time reviewing restaurants and other things to do in Canton, Ohio.
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