Anyone who has had a website for any length of time has already come to realization that to succeed, you need traffic, and to get traffic, unless you have some pretty deep pockets for more traditional forms of advertising, search engines are most effective form of obtaining that traffic.
The next realization that comes is that simply being listed is not enough. To get traffic from search engines, you must come up at or near top of results for those searches that relate to your site.
Some call it search engine optimization, others search engine placement, and others search engine promotion. Regardless of name, it is all really same thing. It is art of getting traffic from engines.
Search engine optimization is a big business, and understandably so, but question is, "Is it worth paying a firm to promote your site or is it truly something you can do yourself?"
Unfortunately, there is no cut-and-dry answer to this question as it is going to differ from person to person. In some cases, it can be well worth money to hire an outside firm for your optimization needs, in other cases, you may be better off doing it yourself.
First let me answer a few questions and dispel a few myths that some of less reputable firms like to promote.
Q - Can I do optimization myself? A - Yes, and in many cases be extremely successful.
Q - Is search engine optimization hard? A - Yes and no. As with any new skill, there is a learning curve involved, but unless you are in an extremely competitive area, just having an understanding of how search engines work and rank pages, can be enough for you to design some good ranking pages.
Q - Do I need to have any expensive software or programming skills? A - No. Anything and everything can be done by hand. All you need to be able to do optimization yourself is a basic understanding of HTML.
Q - Don't I just need to put my keywords in Title and Meta tags? A - Unfortunately, while this was true a couple of years ago, it is a bit more complicated than this now. Meta tags, play an extremely small role in optimization in todays search engines.
Now that we have a few of most common questions out of way, let's take a deeper look at which option may be right for you.
First let's start with hiring an optimization firm and look at pro's and con's involved.
- Optimization firms will already be trained in getting your site to top of engines. - The will know what is required and you will often see results fairly quickly and results will often be better than if you were doing optimization yourself. - You will have free time to devote to other aspects of your business. Con's
- Optimization firms can range from moderately expensive to extremely expensive depending on your target market and number of search terms you want to target. This could mean you may initially spend anywhere from $1,000 up to $5,000-$10,000 to hire a good firm and then a maintenance fee of near that amount monthly to maintain rankings. - As with all firms, some will be top-notch, and some will be less than stellar. You could easily end up paying a few thousand dollars with little or no results ever seen. - No one will ever have same enthusiasm for your site's success as you do. Many of less reputable companies will often use tactics that will work in short-term, but may have some very negative long-term effects. - Many optimization firms will create a new site that funnels traffic to your current site. The firm generally owns this site, which means, that you are trapped into paying this firm for your traffic. If you stop paying them, you stop receiving traffic.