Search engine optimization for small and very small businesses.

Archive for the SEO companies Category

Do You Need an SEO?

Maybe. Probably.

Google has an excellent post that answers this question and more. Here’s how they start:

SEO is an acronym for “search engine optimization” or “search engine optimizer.” Deciding to hire an SEO is a big decision that can potentially improve your site and save time, but you can also risk damage to your site and reputation. Make sure to research the potential advantages as well as the damage that an irresponsible SEO can do to your site.

So how do you tell an “irresponsible SEO”?

We’ve addressed some of this before with posts that can all be found here. The recent article by Google overlaps a bit with that, and here are the main points Google stresses:

  • Avoid Be wary of SEO firms and web consultants or agencies that send you email out of the blue.
  • No one can guarantee a #1 ranking on Google.
  • Be careful if a company is secretive or won’t clearly explain what they intend to do.
  • You should never have to link to an SEO.
  • Choose wisely (our posts can help).
  • Be sure to understand where the money goes (organic or PPC?).
  • What are the most common abuses a website owner is likely to encounter?

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What are your thoughts? Do you agree? Disagree? Let us know in the comments below.

We encourage you, after reading what Google has to say, to put us to the test.

5 Tips for Avoiding Bad SEO Companies

Sometimes I feel like I’m in an industry that has more than its share of charlatans. Small Business Trends reported on five dead giveaways that you’re dealing with an SEO company that practices deceptive or “black hat” SEO.Snake oil salesman

Their descriptions of these telltale signs is worth reading. This is just a very quick listing of what they are. I encourage you to read the article to better understand the implications.

  1. Keyword stuffing
  2. Overuse of bold text and links
  3. Hidden links
  4. Complicated link schemes
  5. Multiple domains or subdomains with essentially the same content

One place to look for and compare some good SEO companies (if you’re in the greater NYC area) is a list from the folks at DesignRush of 40+ Best SEO Agencies In New York.

How Expensive is SEO?

Expensive? A Common Question and a Reasonable Concern.

SEO-best-practices-words1Since Rank Magic’s main market is “small and very small businesses”, expense control is always an issue. We hear often that business owners fear that SEO will be too expensive. We are very price-conscious here, and will be reluctantly raising some of our rates next year; our hourly rate has been the same since 2008. Nevertheless we remain highly competitive price-wise, and much more than competitive value-wise.

What do most SEO companies charge?

That question was asked on the LinkedIn SEO, SEM, and Social Media Marketing group, and here are some typical answers:

  • Around $700 per month for ongoing SEO, $350 per month for basic SMM.
    Karen Godfrey, Melbourne, Australia
  • In India generally around 50,000 – 80,000 for (SMM) close to $1000 and SEO ($400) per month [in US dollars] Raveesh Shrivastava, India
  • Depends on what client wants to achieve and the timeline in delivering it. For a small to medium campaign, $500 – $850 per month budget could drive a better ROI from the campaigns.
    Humar Priyam, India
  •  I have seen smaller agencies begin their pricing around $400-$500 in the U.S.
    Todd Bacile. New Orleans, LA
  • Hyper-Localized Management: $250-$750dollar-sign
    • This is based on a small business operating in a specific geographic region
      Example: Family-owned store in a local town that sells natural foods
      Anthony Capetola, Hicksville, NY 
  • Larger Brands w/ National Reach: $2000-$10,000 +
    • High competition range, National or Semi-National Reach
      Example: A new mortgage firm that operates along the eastern seaboard of the United States
      Anthony Capetola, Hicksville, NY 

Want to know how Rank Magic compares? Ask for a copy of our free Overview & Pricing Guide.

6 Ways Small Business Owners Can Get More From Their SEO

In a Nutshell

6 ways to make your SEOmore effective

While you don’t have to become a full-fledged SEO expert, you should do your homework and try to understand the basics of what’s happening to your web site. Be part of the process – The more involved you are the better results you’re going to see. The level of your involvement can make a surprisingly big difference in the success of your search engine optimization. There are six main ways your involvement is important. You can ignore them at your peril  — or you can take advantage of them and turbo-charge the efforts of your SEO consultant. The choice is yours.

6 things to do to get the most from your SEO

  1. You don’t need to become a full-fledged SEO expert, but you should develop an overall understanding of the process. Too many small business owners know just enough to be dangerous, and focus on the meta keywords tag or look for ways to “game” the search engines. Some of those things (the keywords meta tag) are useless and others (like trying to trick the search engines) will bite you in the tail sooner or later. You need to listen to your SEO consultant and, above all, ask questions.
  2. Your domain registration expiration date may affect your search engine rankings.You need to remain in control. Never hire an SEO company that’s going to go and make changes to your website. Not all of us in this business are competent, and not all of us follow the guidelines of the search engines in terms of ethical SEO. You and your webmaster need to retain control of your website. That way, any SEO recommendations have to pass two pairs of critical eyes: yours and your webmaster’s. If anything looks suspicious or if there’s anything you don’t really understand, you can ask about it before it’s applied to your website.
  3. You need to be involved.
    •   You can’t just hire an SEO consultant and think that paying them is all you have to do.
    •   You need to be the one to decide what keywords you need to be optimized for.  Selecting the keywords that will give you the best ROI requires more than number crunching  — it requires an understanding of your business and your customers.
    •   You need to be involved in any changes to the copy or content on your website.  SEO consultants and webmasters don’t understand your business well enough to rewrite your website copy.
    •   You need to be in charge of what it says on your site.  SEO consultants are not, by and large, effective marketing copywriters, and neither are webmasters. You may chose to hire a copywriter to hone the marketing message while ensuring the proper keyword placement on your pages, but you need to work with them so your site says what you need it to say in an engaging way that projects your personality. You can’t just turn copywriting over to anyone and expect not to be involved.
  4. You have to participate in the boring stuff up front. Make sure all the contact information on your site is correct and up to date. Participate in keyword selection. Start or maintain your blog and listings in social media like Facebook, Google+, Twitter and LinkedIn. Work on honing the copy on your site in accordance with SEO recommendations. Your level of participation in all this translates directly into the level of success you achieve with your SEO.
  5. Understand SEO success depends on the sum of all the parts and there’s no single magic bullet. Google has more than 200 factors that govern where you rank when someone searches for what you do. Here are just a few:
  6.  Don’t try to rush it. Don’t expect results overnight. Depending on where you start, expect it to take three or four months before you start seeing results. Trying to rush doesn’t help. SEO is not a sprint but a marathon. I’ve seen many people start a blog to improve their online visibility (a very good idea!) and write six or seven posts the first month, three the next, and then nothing ever after. A blog needs regular feedings. It would have been better to spread those same posts out, even only once a month, than be a flash in the pan blog. Ongoing link building at a steady rate is far more effective than getting a  blitz of new links all at once and then no new links for a long time.

Follow these simple principles and you’ll get much more out of your SEO.

Want professional help and a friendly hand along the way? We can help.

As SEO Budgets Grow, Google Tells You What To Do

Google’s been making SEO more difficult

As pointed out in an article at WebProNews, Google has been making SEO more difficult for years, and perhaps that’s why a new study from SEMPO has found that SEO spending is still healthy, despite all of the freely available online information that has spread across the web over the past decade or so, such as that in our blog over the past 7+ years.

SEMPO put out a 72-page report looking at a survey of nearly 900 companies and agencies. According to SEMPO,

Overall, the report depicts a stable industry, without dramatic changes. Although the practices of search engine and digital marketing may have changed significantly as new tools, algorithms and platforms have come into play, the survey depicts very much the same goals in place.


Google explains what to do  — and what not to do

Recent rumors are circulating about new updates to the dreaded Google Panda and Penguin updates. If those updates have you worried, Google has some advice, particularly if you’re planning to hire an SEO for your website.

“Before beginning your search for an SEO, it’s a great idea to become an educated consumer and get familiar with how search engines work,” Google says, suggesting its Webmaster Guidelines and Google Basics as starting points.

SEO trendsGoogle also suggests hiring an SEO early in the site development process, when you’re planning a redesign or planning to launch a new site altogether. In case you’re not familiar with it, Google has a list of questions that it says you should ask an SEO during the hiring process. The article at WebProNews lists those questions and we encourage you to read them and ask them of any SEO you’re considering hiring  — even Rank Magic.