How to See if a Paid SEO Service is Already Working?

If you have just spent $500 to $1000 on SEO services, there are several things that may be bothering you. Probably, one of these is about how soon the positive results will be seen. There are search engine optimization service companies that include reporting of results on their offered packages. However, nothing restricts a website owner from monitoring or tracking results in his own way.

One of the first things to do is to search, select and get familiar with an analysis/analytics tool. There are free and paid options when it comes to this matter. The best examples of paid tools include Coremetrics, Mint, Moz Analytics, and Fireclick. Free tools include Google Analytics, AWStats, and Yahoo Web Analytics. One tool will suffice, but if the most accurate interpretations are desired, two tools will do the job perfectly.

It would be good to acquire these tools before availing of an optimization service. The main reason for this is that it is crucial to determine baseline figures. By using one of the selected tools as mentioned above, stats pertaining to SEO metrics will be gathered. This is the second step of the tracking process.

After carrying out the optimization procedures, there is a certain waiting period that needs to pass. This will depend on the kind of indicator (SERP, traffic, bounce rate, conversion, etc.) that will be measured. Some experts recommend waiting for at least 5 days before using analytics tools. Some companies also claim that they can produce results overnight. While such claims may be valid, it is highly unlikely for specific indicators to improve within that time period.

The next step is to run the analytics tool and gather all pertinent data. There are many sets of data that these tools can derive, but it is good to focus on a specific few most especially if the website has business goals. These should include page indexing, keyword ranking, back links, traffic, and conversion rates.

The last and most important step is to compare data before and after carrying out the optimization activities. Latest data should reflect an improving trend versus the old data. However, one must not expect big differences in these sets of data. For traffic rate, as an example, a 2% improvement is already marked by experts as desirable.

There is no need to worry if your SEO efforts are working or not. The tools and steps mentioned above should give you the ability to figure this on your own.

On-Page Practices that Harm the SEO Effectiveness of a Website

On a broad perspective, there are two categories of optimization practices that a website owner can do for the sake of SEO. These include on-page and off-page search engine optimization. The former is done mainly on the website, its pages, and its inner parts while the latter is completed with the help of other sites.

On-page optimization is easier to do. With the aid of basic coding knowledge and some free online website building tools, anybody can do it. Some newbies even see on-page optimization as just a smart way to create their websites.

Search engine optimization through this method can bring in a lot of traffic to a website. However, an individual doing it has the tendency to overdo things and even step into the “black hat zone” unknowingly. Yes, there are on-page practices that can harm the SEO effectiveness of a website. These include but are not limited to the following:

  • Improper use of keywords – Keywords are considered as the life sources of a website. Search engines such as Google, Yahoo and Bing use these to create SERPs (search engine results pages) when users submit their queries. Use of keywords that do not match the site’s content or niche is tagged as a black hat practice. The same thing can be said for keyword count, which exceeds the allowed density. Under the ethical search engine optimization standards, keyword density of a website must be within the range of 2% to 8%
  • Use of cloaking technique – There are many definitions of cloaking that have surfaced on the internet for the past few years. However, the most straightforward one is this: “The process of tricking search engines and users to crawl or click on irrelevant content”. For those who are designing their websites through the DIY method, it is tempting to use this technique. When one is aware of what high ranking keywords, content or materials are, the urge to put it in the pages of the site will be strong. This is, of course, if the website owner is really in dire need of traffic or rank.
  • Overdoing the aesthetics on the website – This is a common mistake done by newbies. They are led to believe that users will receive optimum browsing experiences, if they will be awed by stunning graphics, colors, and animations on the page. By overdoing the design of the website, one thing is compromised: loading speed. A website can lose as much as half of its potential visitors if they are made to wait a long time for pages to load up. The usual solution for this is to design a site optimized for both mobile and PC users. This way, graphics and loading speed are balanced.

There is nothing wrong on doing on-page optimization the DIY way. However, it is good to steer clear of practices that can harm the SEO of a website in the future.


The Costs of Local SEO Services

Local SEO can make or break your small online business these days. It isn’t a complicated premise: if you invest early and form a long-term strategy for your local business, you can come out on top very quickly, and hold it there, out-ranking even the biggest of competitors.  Not all local SEO service is created equal, though. That’s why we’ve put together a short summary of each type of service you will find and which one might be right for your kind of business.

Automated Services

Here is where you’ll find the most common local SEO service, where software and scheduled updates will maintain your business’ online footprint by submitting it to various listings, high PR blogs, and directories. This is a great way to get your feet wet and get your business out there very quickly. These automated services will charge either a monthly or yearly subscription, for each location that you need serviced.

Local SEO Campaigns

If you’re looking to hit a wider range of local SEO channels, you’ll need an SEO company that can actively market your business through social media tools, paid ads, and traditional backlink-building. Some services only provide one or two of these services, so you’ll have to shop around to see what is out there and what fits your budget.

This is another SEO service that works best for new or invisible businesses who need a big boost in visibility to go with a product launch, for example.  You can expect to pay more with local SEO campaigns, as you are getting more than just automatic software submitting your website.

Advanced SEO Management

If you are looking for custom local SEO management, you’re going to be searching for the big guys in the SEO management world.  These SEO providers use very targeted and effective local SEO campaigns that utilize things like Google Maps, local reviews, mobile apps, social media marketing, and tailored strategies to make your business stand out.

You can’t really compare these local SEO specialist companies with the rest out there, as you are essentially paying for their expertise and direct feedback, rather than a “one size fits all” SEO service that just does the work for you and hopefully shows a decent ROI the next month.  Here you will be able to see specific goals and get an idea of where your expectations will be very quickly.  You can expect to pay over ten times as much as the other types of SEO services, but this is difficult to measure in-terms of long-term value gained from these personal consultations.

Final Thoughts

No matter what your budget is or what your individual needs are, getting local SEO help is going to provide some sort of benefit to your company.  The takeaway here is not which type is superior, rather how much local SEO work do you want to invest for your business, in order to reach more customers and capture more of the market in the timeframe that is ideal to you.