Hobbs: Be concise to boost your firm’s spot in Web searchesby Quincey Hobbs on Apr. 20, 2009, under Edge
Q My question to you is how do I get my Web site optimized so that the various search engines can not only find it but rank it on the first page of their listings?
I have tried reading about optimization but just don’t understand the language. I would like to hire someone to do it for me. The Tucson-based companies listed in the Yellow Pages deal only with large corporations who have thousands of dollars to spend.
Is there anything you could suggest to help me. I purchased “Website Optimization For Dummies” but gave up after the second chapter, so that was no help.
A: SEO or search engine optimization is major concern of most businesses. There have been studies that show that the majority of search engine users don’t look beyond the first couple of search results pages. In some cases, users only consider the first few items listed. This makes the first few items prime real estate.
When entering the world of search engine optimization, it helps to understand how the process works. This can be of benefit if you are going to optimize your own Web site or hire it out. Otherwise, it may be difficult to know if you are receiving what you are paying for.
Since Google dominates the search engine genre, I will provide a general explanation of how its search results listing works.
Google uses a program called a spider that goes out over the Internet, makes copies of the Web pages it finds and returns those copies to Google’s database to be indexed. These indexed pages are then evaluated by a secret and constantly changing set of criteria. It is this evaluation that determines how relevant a Web page is to any given performed search. The degree of relevance is supposed to determine the ranking of a Web site on Google’s search results page.
Before hiring a company to optimize your Web site, there are a few things you can do yourself. If your business is about doulas, then have one of your Web pages named doulas.html. Also, the description of each page of your Web site should be clear and concise. Historically, the more Web sites that link to your site may increase your ranking. For this reason, you may want to consider joining groups that swap links.
Now if you have made the modifications previously listed and you still want a higher ranking – and who wouldn’t want a higher ranking? – you can hire an SEO company. They can be prohibitively expensive, but the most expensive ones have well established track records.
That is what you are looking for when vetting an SEO company. Ask to speak with some of their customers and find out their level of satisfaction and results. Don’t limit yourself to local companies. SEO can be done from anywhere.
Quincey Hobbs is a team member at the University of Arizona’s Center for Computing and Information Technology and an instructor at Pima Community College. Send questions to quinceyresponds @yahoo.com.