Preface: This is a massive guide where I cover everything from creating better content, to avoiding google penalties and getting yourself kicked out of the search results. So be warned it may take some time to read the entire post but if you read the whole guide you should a have very good understanding of SEO by the end of it. Don’t delay, read on below >>
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In the late 90’s, Alta Vista and Infoseek were among the more popularly used search engines. However, in 1998 Google was founded by Sergey Brin and Larry Page. Google quickly became the most widely known and used search engine in the world. It made searching the internet quick and easy. Search Engine Optimization was created when people realized being found in Google’s search engine was causing their businesses to flourish, but while SEO was created, so were companies offering cheap SEO services.
The first obstacle SEO enthusiasts had to overcome was finding out what qualities a website had to possess for it to be one of Googles top searches. Everything was an obstacle back in those days because everyone undertook SEO was an inexperienced beginner. Search engines, websites, and the internet were just starting to explode, and SEO was a newly found commodity. Cracking the code to Googles algorithm excited SEO pioneers, so they would often provide SEO services for a small amount of money in return. In the beginning, search engine algorithm wasn’t that complex, so cheap SEO services were great for getting good Google search results, at a low price.
The people that started at it back then, are the SEO experts of today. Since Google was founded in the late 90’s, technology has become more and more advanced. Google is constantly changing and evolving to keep up with technological advancement. Therefore, their algorithm is constantly changing; making optimisation services a necessity to anyone who wants to run a successful website. SEO experts are always studying Goggles search algorithm, and learning about the most up to date guidelines. A true SEO expert studies the current guidelines until they can fully understand them, and anticipate the next change in the algorithm. However, it’s important to remember that you get what you pay for. Hiring an expert SEO Company is going to cost you. But it is well worth it, due to Googles strict guidelines.
Cheap SEO services: The Beginning and the end
When the idea of Search Engine Optimization first came out, there wasn’t many people knew about it. Even the people who were studying SEO knew little about what it was, how to harness it for business and just what the search engines were trying to accomplish. So it was quite easy for someone with little or no skills to promise great SEO services and higher rankings. The person paying for the services knew nothing about it, therefore were blind to the fact that the services they were getting were amateur at best. Sometimes companies would fluke it and get rankings, other times not. And some companies employed a 1/6 ratio policy. Where only 1 in every 6 clients would rank.
A lot of people that took a shot at Search Engine Optimization in those days didn’t do so well. However, there were a select few that were able to maintain a stable business. The SEO entrepreneurs that made it were successful because they learned valuable tricks that helped a websites ranking climb to the top. Such as inserting commonly used search phrases onto the on-page copy, and building backlinks to their clienteles websites. They accomplished this by backlink purchasing, auto submissions, and article spinning.
However, tactics such as article spinning, and backlink purchasing didn’t take much time, effort, or knowledge. So it used to be somewhat easy, and beneficial to just hire cheap SEO services providers. You didn’t spend much money, and your website would get higher rankings. However, pages that had content full of nothing but keywords and backlinks were starting to lower the quality of search results on Google and people who were looking for good quality, authentic content were shying away. This is when Google started making some substantial changes to their system, and their algorithm. Poor quality SEO would have caused them to lose a lot of customers if they didn’t do something quickly.
Google is always updating their algorithm. But in February of 2011, Google released two major updates that would change SEO forever. They called these two updates Panda and Penguin. The Penguin update hits sites that have unusual backlink patterns with penalties, and the Panda update was designed to penalize websites that are all keywords with no substantial content.
The Panda Algorithm Update
After the Panda update was released, websites that had no useful content, plagiarized content, or content that didn’t match the description of the site ended up plummeting in the Google search rankings. The entire website would suffer a blow if they had a lot of low quality content on their pages.
There are 3 significant patterns that are a sure sign of cheap SEO, and will always fall victim to the Panda penalties:
- Too many pages with little useful content, and plenty of keywords will always be flagged by google. Now there will be pages on your site that don’t require a lot of content, but if every other page has only a couple of paragraphs with lots of keywords, you’re going to have an issue.
- Plagiarism will always get low google rankings, and hefty penalties. So it important to keep your content original. Some businesses may think it’s okay to copy a description of a product that is sold on their website. It’s just a description, that’s not going to affect anything, right? Wrong. Don’t copy anything. If you want avoid penalties and have a high Google ranking, make sure ALL of your website content is 100 percent original.
- Google has no tolerance for poorly written content. If the content on your website has nothing to do with the provided search term or purpose of the website, Google will reject it and you may suffer some penalties. The same goes for content that is not helpful, and does not help people get answers to their search. The days of filler content with keywords stuffed in it, is over. The content on your page has to be well researched and in depth. Otherwise your rankings will fall, and you will be penalized.
The Penguin Algorithm Update
The Penguin algorithm update has put a stop to cheap SEO services building backlinks by using shady tactics. Such as buying links from websites with nothing but backlinks, and little or no content. Heavy anchor texts links or even paying websites to put hidden links in their non-text widgets. There’s a software that would allow cheap SEO services providers to generate thousands of versions of the same article, which would all have backlinks to their clienteles websites. However, if a cheap SEO services provider were to do that now, they would suffer substantial penalties thanks to the Penguin algorithm update. Some websites, never recover from this.
There was a time where sites that had backlinks from shady publications didn’t have to worry about being penalized. Even after the 2011 Panda and Penguin update. It wasn’t until 2012 that Penguin started to crack way down on sites with shady backlinks. Even the businesses and companies that were affiliated with the backlinks were suffering penalties. All of those penalties could have been avoided if they didn’t purchase cheap SEO services in the first place. In short: Bad backlinks are like a contagious virus to your website and any websites linking from that. We call these: link neighborhoods.
Although Yahoo and Bing acquire a good amount of searches worldwide, Google holds a jaw dropping 63.8 percent of the world’s desktop searches. So if your website is not ranking high on Google, the chances of your site being successful are slim.
A true SEO provider will do whatever it takes to adhere to Googles algorithm, so they can provide a high ranking website that provides quality content. They will study search patterns and any information that Google releases. In the past few months, SEO experts have been noticing that mobile capabilities and user behavior are having a big impact on how a website ranks. It takes a great deal of knowledge and understanding to be a true SEO expert. Below are some ways to separate the Cheap SEO providers, from the experts.
- An expert will always study every algorithm change that Google makes, and will never use SEO techniques from the past. They will always reach out to other members of the SEO community, and always study the traffic on their clientele’s websites. A true SEO expert will endlessly study everything there is to know about Google, so they can soak up any knowledge that may enhance the SEO experience.
- A real SEO expert will always have the most up to date tools, so they can adequately analyze and test the effectiveness of the websites search patterns. They will make it their duty to pin point any issues, and resolve them. It is also an SEO expert’s job to learn about new trends, and make any adjustments needed to maintain a websites rankings, within those trends. In short, it is their job to improve and maintain the amount of traffic a website gets from a search.
- A sure sign that your cheap SEO agency is lacking in expertise is the longevity of their effective results, as well as the longevity of their clientele. A cheap and unknowledgeable SEO provider will have a hard time keeping your site in good standing with Google rankings, and will also have an inability to keep clients on a long term basis.
Most people will immediately question products or services that are offered at an abnormally cheap price. Who wouldn’t? If the price is astoundingly cheap, chances are the product or services are lacking in some way, shape, or form. The same rules should apply for anyone looking to pay for SEO services. If the price is too good to be true, that’s because it probably is. Be very weary of agencies and companies offering SEO services at cheap prices. Remember, you get what you pay for.
How Much Can The Ranking of My Homepage Effect My Business?
Chitika released data proving that the ranking of your homepage can have a substantial effect on your business:
- 33 percent of Google users will click on the very first website on page one of their Google search results.
- 18 percent of Google search users will click on the second website.
- 91.5 percent of the overall traffic on Google search will click on one or more websites that are listed on page one.
- User traffic decreases by 140 percent on the second page of Google’s search results.
A survey that was recently conducted by Google and Ipsos determined that 55 percent of small businesses currently do not have a website. Most small business owners are unaware of how lucrative a website can be for their business. So SEO services may seem overpriced and over rated to businesses that are lacking a website.
More and more people are starting to do business and make purchases online. A website can help your business grow and thrive. So eventually, you will have to create some sort of online presence for the success of your business. You may not see it now, but a lack of online presence in a digital world can substantially affect your business in the long run. The CEO of a U.K. marketing firm called, “Smart Insights”, describe two consumer trends that confirm organic search strategy is a necessity.
Most of today’s population will investigate a product online before they make a purchase. The days of phone sales, and face to face business discussions are rapidly becoming a thing of the past. In fact 74 percent of customers, (especially B2B customers), only make purchases after they’ve researched the product online. Low Google rankings, or no website at all, can cause a rapid decline of customers over the next couple of years.
For the first time ever, Google users prefer to use the search engine on mobile platforms, rather than desktops. It makes sense. Most people constantly have their phones close by. So it’s easy to just pick it up and use Google search on their smartphone. Especially when you can just tap a button and speck into the phone. So websites that are mobile friendly have an obvious advantage over sites that aren’t compatible with mobile devices.
Cutting corners to save a few bucks with SEO services can significantly hurt your business. When you hire agencies that provide cheap SEO services, you are cheating yourself out of new revenue opportunities, and cheating yourself out of maintaining your online presence in the future. In a world that is becoming more and more advanced, your business will have to maintain a strong online presence to avoid going out of business. SEO services will be able to keep your business maintained, as the world around it grows.
It is important to ensure your website is with a properly configured and reputable hosting company. A lot, and I mean a LOT of hosting companies simply hire out space on their systems. They cram you into a server with 2000 other websites, actions that those other websites take such as sending mass emails and installing resource hungry scripts will all affect your websites usability and ultimately your search engine rankings. If they send a spam email and get blacklisted, the entire server gets blacklisted. And you along with it, if someone installed a PHP script that crashes the server, down goes your site.
So who to use? – The answer is Siteground. Without a doubt Siteground are on the forefront of hosting services, they are completely performance and security focused and we have noticed on occasion that simply moving to their servers and getting a clients load times down can make a massive improvement on SEO.
Whatever you do, do not pay a cheap provider because you have a limited amount of money. If you pay a cheap SEO provider you will likely end up with poor results, less money than you started with, and maybe even a couple of penalties. In retrospect, you were better off holding onto that money and just not doing SEO at all.
There is something else you can do if you’re in need of SEO services and have limited funds. (This approach is not recommended for people with Google penalty issues.) You can help improve your Google rankings by executing these 5 steps.
- Study the basics of SEO
No one is saying that you have to become an SEO expert overnight. But you should at least know the basics. You should be able to easily tell the difference between a true SEO expert, and someone posing as an SEO expert. It is pretty simple: They will offer guarantees, a true SEO company will never offer guarantees and big gold badges. They only offer prior track record and previous client case studies. Because a real SEO expert knows that it is impossible to predict what Google will do next in their algorithm changes.
- Devise a Do It Yourself plan, and get an SEO analysis that is a one-time service only
After you have a basic knowledge of SEO, you can hire an SEO company to perform a one-time audit. They can even provide a strategy consultation. This will help you to understand the good and bad aspects of your ranking, and it will also help you establish a solid game plan to improve your websites ranking.
If you feel comfortable enough, you can even start doing some of the things that are outlined in your SEO game plan.
After the SEO audit, you should have an understanding of what your keywords are doing for the pages on your website that matter most. If your keywords are already beneficial to your rank, don’t change your keywords. You can enhance the content of the webpage, but don’t change keywords that are working for you.
- When you are creating content for your webpages, make sure that you break the content up into shorter paragraphs. The content should have bullet lists, headings, and subheadings. This makes the pages easy to scan and easier to read.
- Your content should be easy on the eyes for perspective readers, as well interesting enough to keep their attention. It may be a good idea to hire a writer to create the content on your page if writing is not your strong point. A content writer will be able to give your content depth as well as eliminate any grammatical errors.
- Do not get so caught up in keyword density that the content on your website sounds unnatural. You can use keyword phrases instead of one solid keyword. This will not help your density, but it will help to keep the content sounding natural and interesting.
- Remember, Google has little to no tolerance for thin content, or pages that don’t fulfil a user’s search expectations. Make sure your content is helpful, in depth, and is well researched. When someone does a search and clicks on your website, there should be no need for them to have to go back and do another search for the same thing.
How coding can help you’re ranking
You don’t have to be an expert to make a couple of code changes to your website. If you want to improve your ranking, you can make small adjustments such as Meta descriptions and title tags. This can make a big difference in how your page ranks.
- Activating a plug-in such as an All in One SEO pack, can help people who are using WordPress. You can use the spaces that are below your blog posts to insert Meta descriptions and titles. Although The Meta description will not help your ranking, it will drive more traffic to your site.
- People who do not use Word Press can use simple HTML codes for Meta descriptions, and title tags.
- You should change the internal links to your website if they lead to a page that normally has thin content. You can change them to rel=”nofollow” links, then add a no index tag to the page that has thin content.
Add Your Sitemap to Search Engines
If you have an SEO plug-in for WordPress, you can check the settings to determine whether it will generate an XML sitemap. Or, you can go to a free XML generator and follow the steps, if you don’t use WordPress. After you have generated an XML sitemap, you can submit it to google and Bing, by following these simple steps:
- Sign your sitemap up to Google
- Sign your sitemap up to Bing
Improve your load speed
The search engines now favor websites that load in a certain time, this is because they are looking for websites that are highly usable, and if your site loads slowly – Its not very usable at all is it!
Talk to us about getting your website to load within Google’s required timeline. We have over 200 checks to complete and test to get your website loading FAST.
Make Sure Your Website is Compatible with Mobile Devices
A lot of the themes used in WordPress are already compatible with mobile devices. However, you should switch to a theme that is compatible, if you find that your theme is not Mobile friendly. There is actually a Test tool by Google that can tell you if the theme is compatible with mobile devices.
- Business Listing Service
Business Name, Address, and Phone number is all you need. A business listing site like TrueLocal or LocalSearch will add your name address and phone number to the relevant category in there directory. They usually rank well in Google, Yahoo, and Bing, as well as other sites that are relevant. If you are on a budget and want to do the listing yourself, there are certain sites that promote small businesses that you can list with. You can also get featured status in these directories for a small cost, the results will probably be more effective than cheap seo services and wont damage your rankings.
- Adding Content
If you don’t have a lot of high quality content on your page, now is a good time to start adding some. A blog can actually help you a great deal. Businesses with a blog can generate 67 percent more leads.
- Type in the keywords you already rank for into a free keyword tool to find keyword phrases that are similar. Make sure you mix it up, instead of using the same words and phrases over and over again.
- Incorporate the keywords, or keyword phrases, you have come up with into your blog posts. But remember to stay within the guidelines.
When you have established a good blog for your website, you can even start guest blogging and provide links to your most liked and beneficial blog posts, Don’t ruin it with Cheap SEO Services that don’t deliver results.
If your website and blog posts don’t have Social signals, you are basically living in the dark ages. Social media is how people connect, share, and learn about new businesses and products. So if you want to be successful and see your business grow, it may be time to sign up for some social networking platforms. Our favorite tool for managing social media is Hootsuite but we recommend you figure out which social media platform suits your company.
BIG TIP: Use a social media platform like Hootsuite to manage all of your social media from one nifty control panel.
The important thing to remember here is, you get what you pay for. Hiring someone to provide cheap SEO services will usually give you poor results, and a pile of penalties. If you are going to hire an SEO provider, make sure they are the real deal. The money spent is well worth it, and the right SEO expert can cause your business to flourish. As a matter of fact, if you cannot afford an expert, you are better off tweaking your website yourself.