Steps to Follow When Looking for the Right SEO Firm

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If you want to get the most out of a city tour, hire the right tourist guide.

The same is true when it comes to hiring a search engine optimization company to provide your company with assorted online marketing services. Go out and do a search on Google for “[your city] + seo” and you will get a list of 300+ SEO firms offering you their services.

You begin by getting in touch with the firms, beginning with the top-listed one, since it seems obvious that the one at the top must know what it is doing. But as you get down to the other firms at the top, you realize they are saying the same things, or as one reader commented on a previous article I wrote, “SEO is definitely the biggest scam of all. How can every would-be Internet Marketer on the planet promise every client to put him or her onto the top page of Google natural search?” The clear answer is that some can deliver while others cannot.

If so, how then do you determine which SEO company to choose?

  • Firstly, let us remove a few misconceptions regarding SEO firms. A fancy or sleek website does not necessarily make a good SEO firm. If you need an SEO firm that can likewise undertake design of your new website, of course, you might need to consider how good their own website appears. But if your priority is to hire an excellent SEO firm, some of the best ones have only mediocre or above-average websites.
  • The highest-ranking SEO firm in your geographic location is not logically the firm you need to hire. 
  • The “SEO firm” you should hire need not be one most people will consider hiring. Size does not always matter. Often and, remember, not all the time, less is more. The SEO firm suited for your needs may only have a couple of workers down in a basement office. Or, perhaps, one that has 500 employees on hand. Either of the two could very well be the right SEO firm for you. You just need to find out which.
  • “All SEO outfits are con artists.” Of course, this claim is totally wrong because it is only 95% correct.  Be very careful about the SEO firm you choose. So many individuals hire a firm only to regret after a couple of years, wondering if they just wasted their money for nothing.

Finally, the main point – how do you go about choosing the right SEO firm?

  • List down the things you require from an SEO firm. Do you require reputation management, link removal, a one-time SEO audit, link-building, ongoing SEO, PPC management, content marketing, retargeting, or any of the other 20 services usually offered by SEO firms? If unsure which of those you need, begin by assessing the task that needs to be done. Do you need to increase sales by 20% across a period of one year, or leads by 50% for the next six months? Is your objective enhanced rankings, or do you just aim for the boss to know that an SEO company is doing its job for him and then you can cross off this nuisance of an item from your to-do list? Set a goal by which you will gage the success of your relationship with your SEO firm, and make that objective the focus of your interaction with it. Without that kind of success measurement of the SEO tasks, you are bound to lag behind your competitiors who do.
  • Make manifold consultations, but keep it confidential. Once you have decided what you require, meet with an SEO firm — face-to-face or via phone or email — that seems convincingly capable and inquire how it can assist you determine what you must do. Many SEO firms are willing to provide a free consultation, knowing that by doing so they could convince you and get your business. By doing so, you will also find out if you can work well with the firm and the people. Through the consultation, which may require several days if the SEO firm has to conduct a research on your website and industry, you should receive a proposal with the necessary services and the price. Then, unless you are in a hurry and will go for the first firm you meet, do the same thing with one or two other firms for comparison. But do not tell an SEO firm you are shopping around or talking to other firms; this sorts of dampens their interest for your business and end up becoming less competitive. This applies particularly to some of the best SEO firms over which clients are eager to work with rather than those SEO firms striving to work with a client.
  • Obtain case studies and references. The number one issue you want addressed by an SEO firm is: “Will you help me finish my job?” You need an SEO firm that has had the experience in helping other clients face the same problems you encounter. If you operate a self-storage company and you deal with an SEO firm that has done work with 10 other self-storage firms with great results, you have enough basis to be confident about working with that SEO firm. If your business is rather unique and you require a generalist SEO firm rather than one that is highly-specialized, obtain case studies and references from SEO firms that have done work for clients with comparable business parameters and parallel tasks as yours.
  • Allow the firm to narrate stories. An excellent SEO firm operates strategically and is also highly creative, telling meaningful stories. These stories permit you to get a more precise picture of what the SEO firm truly is. Case studies and references are like browsing through someone’s LinkedIn profile. You should do that before getting an employee; but you would never get someone based solely on their LinkedIn profile. You would do well to listen to their stories about their background, track-record, achievements and mistakes. This is one reason why video interviews from companies like are making points. Ask the SEO firm how they were established, what their best-client story was, what their worst-client encounter was and how they managed it, and how they have developed over the years. Although you might have decided to hire them after following the first three tips, listening further to their stories may abruptly turn your opinion into the opposite direction.

Establishing clear goals, getting a variety of bids, examining pointers to the future, and listening to stories – these are steps to take to assure you will choose the right SEO firm. Will there be exceptions? Certainly. We are so busy doing the work that creates results for our customers, and even though we know we should present case studies, somehow they are not the highest priority. And I know of some companies that I would not hire myself or endorse to anyone else, even though they have very appealing case studies. In both cases, hearing narratives of firm’s experiences is the best way to appreciate the reality behind the firm.

Have you ever worked with an SEO company? What steps did you take to ascertain you hired the right one?

Blogger’s Grammar Blues: What Really Matters

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To be or not to be — that remains the question today when it comes to the subject of grammar. No, not the school subject which can be traumatic and nose-bleed-inducing but the subject of applying grammar for blog-writing. And it covers just about all levels since ordinary people write blogs, just as senators (or their writers do) and professional writers do.

But often, when we mention grammar, the grammar guardians will always mean correct grammar. Someone might ask: Is there a different kind of grammar?

I believe there are as many grammars (or ways of writing in any language) as there are people. For example, Americans love to add the word “thingy” to every word they cannot recall or for any thing they do not know how to call – such as the pointed “thingy” that the pope wears during high mass or the green “thingy” you add to soy sauce to make a dip for sashimi.

So, who decides what correct grammar is or should be? Shakespeare? The English professors at Oxford or Harvard? My retired English professor-friend? Or the latest book on grammar from Amazon?

Grammar has rules or laws. But who made them in the first place?

Imagine the first human who ever spoke. Did he have a teacher? I suppose he had. Did his teacher teach him grammar? If by grammar we mean proper construction of words to form intelligible sentences that carry sensible or meaningful words, he must have for he had the best teacher of all time and eternity!

Reading the Bible (or any classic work) is one of the best ways to learn grammar. In fact, it has been the best way for centuries since many of the translators, particularly of the old King James Version published in 1611, were linguistic scholars who were contemporaries of Shakespeare (who may have been one of the translators) and were proficient in English as well as in Hebrew, Greek, and Latin. And remember, the last four hundred years gave us many excellent writers and leaders who grew up reading God speak in King James’ English: Twain, Dickens, Verne, Steinbeck, Lincoln, Darwin, and Livingstone, among others!

That reminds me of a country – Japan or China, I cannot recall – where some adults are taught to speak English by listening, singing and studying the popular songs of the Beatles. Not a bad idea actually as the Four Fab did speak Her Majesty’s English. Until, of course, they learned from the Americans and picked up some of the bad grammar. “One and one and one is three.” Here come them ol’ grammar cops come together with their batons flying in the air!

But we all know King James English is passé – not bad grammar, only outrageous conjugations. But if so, why do people still enjoy watching Shakespearean plays? I would venture to say it is not the grammar they are after but the sense of style and flair words are spoken. It is the passion in words, not the words themselves that matter. Rap music is popular because of that very reason. So is rock music and almost every kind of music, including grammar-less, sometimes senseless dance music. The beat in the spoken words energizes the heart to heights of rapturous flight!

But someone would say, “That is spoken language!” What about serious, written language we read online? Oh yeah? Did anyone ever really hear Shakespeare or his characters speak? We used the Bible and Shakespeare to prove that the written word can and do possess life and passion and truth.

We must write then to enhance life and all that is possible in it. The “thou”, “doth not” and “be still” may have given way to “yo”, “da’n’t” and “hush”; but the essence and purpose of grammar remain: clear and understandable sentences.

In the end, it is the message, news or story that matters. As long as the majority of people get the meaning, the grammar matters less. Good grammar may lift us high to fits of ecstasy as that balcony scene from Romeo and Juliet does to any hopeless romantic; but love is intoxicating enough without grammar getting into the picture. The words, spun masterfully by the bard, and flowing effortlessly from lovers entranced by each other’s beauty and each other’s surplus of words is the pinnacle of what human potential is all about.

Words can make us fall into endless love. And, conversely, love can make us fall endlessly into words and words and words. In short, we can fall in love with words and with perfect grammar. The dangers of Babel’s pride remains alive and confusion can arise from any writer who loses the fundamental goal of language.

So who really needs good grammar? If we could write like a poet every time we post a blog or a tweet, we would all be writers aware of the power of language and of the human potential for which we were destined. Meaning would flood our lives and no tweet would ever be wasted on the fly. Adam, the first language user for many of us, did clearly understand his destiny until the serpent twisted it with the use of “seductive” language. The grammar was good as well; but the purpose was evil.

There it is: While grammar is essential; it is the ultimate intention we use it for that matters. No matter how good or perfect our language may be if people are deceived or made to suffer, the truly wise among us would rather choose to use five “well-spoken words” — even in poor grammar – as long as we lead people along the right path.

Grammar is the basic technical requirement for good, acceptable language. But “well-spoken words”, though they violate grammar rules, will never violate any law. Grammar must pay homage to the higher, intangible standards of life, love and, well, language as well.

Article adapted from Search Engine Journal.

ABOUT LGO

LGO offers prompt and excellent writing services such as web-content building, link building, project feasibility and development studies, online marketing campaigns and press releases.

For more information, please contact LGO’s friendly representatives at this email address – webmasters@logicgateone.com

SEO Myths that need to die and Tips to keep you alive

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In case a friend calls and tells you Matt Cutts has said SEO is dead and link-building out, remind him of these undying myths and 10 tips to keep alive in your business:

Myth 1: Anything you Build People will Visit

Content marketing establishes its existence on this motto. Build a fantastic website with the best content and see traffic rush in. Not so!

While great writing and excellent content takes a big part of SEO and what your site clearly needs, you also need links, a firm technical base, rapid downloads, and other advantages.

Myth 2: Link-Building is Dead

Building links will not guarantee movement to your site.

Cutts never said links were dead, rather the opposite.

Cutts said Google has tried excluding links from the algorithm but the results were “much worse.” It will take years before they can possible disappear, according to Cutts.

What to do?

Do not go buying links. Hire an experienced guy to develop a strategic link acquisition program and to assist you implement it. Use strategic ways to obtain links that will make it appear natural.

For instance, you regularly sponsor a charity affair each year, tying it up with local news and press releases. All those tied back to you. This is a simple way of acquiring natural links to your site as part of a link-building plan, but NOT a link-buying one.

A link-builder will find so many other ways of innovating while keeping it entirely natural but with a little push. Most importantly, hire well since this is the most highly assessed area of SEO at present.

Some methods may be out; but links are not.

Myth 3: Using Google Analytics Allows Google to Spy on You

You need analytics. However, some clients have no Google Analytics on their site because Google they think spies on them, so they work blind.

True or not? Well, yes and no.

Example: If you are making multiple domains intended for criminal acts (as Google thinks) and these sites all have the same Google Analytics code then, yes, Google is aware of what you have done – linked the sites and made yourself known as the owner.

That is one sure way of outing yourself. If you have a penalty or you decided to merely start a new site without fixing the old one and used the same Google Analytics code, you still get booted out.

Does Google use Google Analytics as part of site positioning? No.

This is common sense. These are distinct parts of one company which do not interact at that level. Besides, many sites do not use Google Analytics, so if Google used Analytics to find out the results, it would probably be worse than excluding links as a ranking factor.

Bad data in = bad product out = bad business. Are you a regular company with a regular site? Go ahead and add Google Analytics. Only NSA does the spying.

Myth 4: Ranking (Positioning) Does not Matter

Some people will say ranking is not important and that traffic is what they measure. Although there is truth in that, it can be misleading.

Top 10 may not be as true now as before since with geolocation, personalization, and other factors, you cannot pull up an exact top 10 which everyone else sees.

Ranking has definite numeric order and stop and end points; but positioning is a more loosely defined placement within the SERPs.

Ultimately, converting traffic is the most important metric when measuring the ROI of you investment dollars, the difference between 1st and 5th and 5th and 10th greatly affects the flow and amount of that traffic. Hence, while we cannot ascertain what is seen in the site in the SERPs, we can have a good idea of the opportunities for traffic increases and where drops and where these are happening if we follow the keyword positions.

Position does matter. Rankings maybe not.

Myth 5: Social is the New Link Building

No. You can get links from social but only when you leave the walled garden, not from sharing itself (Google+ excluded here).

This is because in the history of Facebook and Google and Google and Twitter, neither company wants to give Google consistent access to their fire hose, so Google simply cannot factor them into the algorithm.

When Google tried to factor Twitter into the algorithm in the past, you ranked well for Twitter; but that changed when Twitter pulled the access from Google.

Link-building is still the new link building.

SEO Tips to keep you alive

Look now at the really important things: most common missed SEO opportunities.

1. Google Authorship

Is this or is this not helping with rankings? We often miss the very basic idea that an image by your result in the search engine increases your click-through rates.

Make sure, however, that you add this only on well-written, good content and give your site that extra lift.

2. Citations

Wherever you cite your business name (or where anyone else has listed it), make it the same – the name, phone number, contact, address, etc. – not just similar.

3. Content

Google prefers specific content, so keep topics clear and precise. Keep an average content of over 600 words per page to avoid being penalized for being thin.

4. URLs

Make sure your site URLs are absolute and not relative in your code, not too long and containing multiple query parameters. Rewrite them.

5. The Alt Attribute

Use alt tag properly. It belongs on every image on your site (sometimes it will be empty).

This is a tag for the blind. Treat it with respect.

6. Page Speed

Check your site on the Google Page Speed tool. Speed counts especially in mobile. Aim for a score above an 85-90.

7. Robots.txt

Your robots.txt doesn’t block your web page from being indexed, only crawled. If you want to block a page from being indexed, leave it off the robots.txt and add a noindex tag.

8. Penalties

If you try to recover your site and you fail the first time, get an expert to help you. Google penalties are tricky subjects. You may not know enough about penalty recovery to get your site out of penalty status, which can take very long.

A site auditor will know what to look for and how to communicate with Google in order to get the best outcome.

9. New Sites

To make sure Google will not find your new site: lock it down with a login. Robots.txt will not prevent site indexing and Google does not need a link to find you.

10. Get a Site Audit Every Year

How to keep up with new aspects of SEO?

A yearly site audit will help you avoid issues, avoid penalties, and make sure you your site is running smoothly. An SEO professional can also help you build out strategies and assess missing income opportunities.

A good auditor is worth their weight in traffic, conversions, and missed penalties. Hire someone with real knowledge and expertise.

SEO is not Black Magic or Even ‘Cow Dung’

Remember the past when SEO was called “voodoo” or “black magic” by unknowing people?

SEO is based on the rules of a mathematical algorithm. This means the site meets or doesn’t, certain points on a mathematical scorecard and your site is then adjusted accordingly.

Although the search engines have not given those rules, we can test against the algorithm and do things we know work because a + b c. Math is predictable, testable, and somewhat verifiable.

While Google may still consider SEO as “cow dung” – it is not, as long as you do it right.

Original article adapted from Search Engine Watch.

ABOUT LGO

LGO offers prompt and excellent professional services in Search Engine Optimization (SEO), link-building, web-content writing, Online Reputation Management (ORM) and other related services such as website management, project feasibility studies and press releases.

For more information, please contact LGO’s friendly representatives at www.logicgateone.com

What Social Media Marketing Can Do For You?

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Want to draw participants to an event? Or attract potential customers by launching a new product? Thinking about rebranding your company? We’ll take that to Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, YouTube, and even Pinterest.

Today, something like a product launch is not just a carefully-planned marketing event where you would expect lots of freebies, drinks, photos, and sharp dresses. And it’s not just about inviting major media personnel to cover it either — the Internet way is done quite differently. On the web, you have to be able to draw EVERYONE’s attention, and we can’t stress this strongly enough, be extra creative.

For instance, introduce promo deals as an incentive for users who will follow/like/re-tweet/repost/mention your brand. This is one surefire way to increase brand visibility. (In fact, every time you use the word FREE you just have to sit back and watch it skyrocket.) Plus, each user that mentions you or your brand becomes an ambassador for everyone can read and comment on it.

It’s a given that the higher the count of connections your account has, the higher the conversion rate is (more possibility of clients target market). But of course it’s not enough that you have numerous connections, it’s more important to have the right ones.
Making a positive stir by creating something that draws attention to your content and encourage others to share it is great but you have to handle it smartly. But that’s not to say be sensational in a way that will make you infamous (we’re not really a fan of the bad-publicity-is-still-publicity routine). LGO has ample experience and established accounts in place to start a wildfire of influence and let it take its natural course.

Since LGO specializes in SEO campaigns, this one’s a no-brainer for us. We could easily promote your brand online. We know how this thing works.

Contact us now! (http://logicgateone.com/contact_us.php)