Saturday, July 28, 2007

How to avoid wrong kind of SEO consultants

Sony Center, Berlin
Let's say, after all, we really want to increase the traffic of our website. There is more and more consultants offering their services which may be called as Search Engine Optimization (SEO, hakukoneoptimointi in Finnish). But, as in every business, there are different kind of consultants, and unfortunately every SEO consultant is not the right one. In my couple of years experience from Finnish markets and again, with the help of Search Engine Marketing Inc., I offer you a list how to recognize and avoid wrong kind of SEO consultants:
  • Guaranteed top place in search results! No one can promise top rankings with "legal" ways, because there are simply too many outside factors also out of their control.
  • Minimal time for top rankings! No one can get your site on top of the search results in days or 1-2 weeks because search engine spiders do not visit and index your site so frequently (look out Webinfo in Finland at this point!).
  • Minimal changes to your site! Every decent SEO consultant will suggest changes to your website, whether they are big or not - it depends on your current situation and technology. Prepare about the changes because that's the only right way how search engines can find your site better.
  • Special code! No one can build technology which offers you automatically top spots. There are good tools which have to be used, but mostly it's all about hard specialist's work.
  • High permanent monthly fee! When the job is done, it's done. And it takes some time to evaluate how we succeeded. In my opinion, seach engines don't change so often and dramatically that there should be work to be done in weekly or montly basis.
The worst thing you might experience for hiring the wrong company, is that your website will be found search engines' black lists...

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

What are the goals of your website?

TV tower, Berlin
Vacation doesn't seem to be a maximum one because I thought about the next good topic for my blog during my visit to Berlin. Regarding to my previous post, some people may ask the question: why it's important to get your site on top of the search results and get more visitors to your site? And my answer is well uh...quite simple: if you don't want to increase traffic, why to have a public website in the first place?

It's a very though and a good question. But it's the very basic question before every campaign or development work you do at your site. There is no reason to measure just visitors if you haven't indentified your website goals. I give you couple of good examples to pick up:
  • Sales & Marketing. Direct web sales, indirect offline sales, leads or market awareness - they all got something to do with sales and every business decision maker should by now realize that people (both b2c and b2b) are using web for searching goods and services. And they are also buying...so don't be ashamed about being capitalist. Purpose of every business should be maximization of the profit and one way to do it is to grow your sales!
  • Information or Persuasion. More for the public good or non-profit organizations, but also companies which somehow wan't to ignore bullet #1 and maybe for politics too.
When we have defined these macro goals for the website, it's easy to define more detailed micro goals and measure your website success in numbers. I will write more about conversions later...