There Should Be More To Your SEO Consultant Than Rankings

Perhaps one of​ the​ biggest misconceptions in​ SEO is​ that ranking at​ Google and Yahoo is​ all that counts in​ search engine optimization. Potential clients come to​ me with a​ single goal: "Get me a​ top-ten ranking at​ Google." Some will also mention MSN,​ and a​ few will rhyme off a​ list of​ search engines and want to​ rank well at​ the​ top 200 of​ them.

It is​ time to​ separate fact from fiction.

Yes,​ your SEO consultant can get you​ a​ top-ten placement at​ Google. But...

  1. if​ the​ placement is​ for "dirty brown shoes",​ it​ probably won't help your shoe store one bit,​ even if​ I get you​ the​ first place ranking. Few people are actually searching for that term.

  2. Being number ten might not help much either,​ depending on​ the​ term. People searching for "Essential Nectar liquid vitamins",​ will probably click on​ the​ first result they see,​ or​ at​ least on​ one of​ the​ "above-the-fold" results that do not require scrolling. on​ the​ other hand,​ someone searching for "liquid vitamins" might check through two pages of​ results to​ familiarize herself with the​ options available.

  3. if​ your title tag reads like a​ cheap list of​ search terms,​ it​ will not be enticing. For instance,​ if​ it​ reads: "vitamins,​ liquid vitamins,​ multivitamins,​ multi-vitamins",​ you​ might skip over it​ in​ favor of​ the​ next result that reads "Liquid vitamins from the​ Liquid Vitamin Supplements Store".

  4. If your description tag is​ a​ mess,​ people will more likely skip over your listing,​ even if​ it​ does rank number one,​ in​ favor of​ one that sounds like what they are looking for. Google and others use the​ description tag usually when the​ term searched for is​ found in​ it,​ so make sure to​ include your key search terms in​ a​ description tag that actually reads well.

I recently responded to​ a​ forum question,​ which went something like this: My site ranks number one for this term at​ this engine. the​ term is​ searched this many times per day,​ and the​ engine has this percentage marketshare. Can I expect this many visitors?

That's not an​ SEO challenge; that's a​ math problem: searches x marketshare = visitors

Beyond Your SEO Consultant's Control?

I responded with a​ few factors that override mathematics in​ the​ SEO game,​ including the​ site's title tag and description tag,​ as​ well as​ whether the​ term lends itself to​ scrolling. I also pointed out that it​ depends on​ the​ title tags and description tags of​ the​ competition,​ too.

Another factor that makes predicting traffic difficult is​ the​ abandonment factor – how many people click on​ none of​ the​ results because they get interrupted or​ confused,​ or​ abandon the​ search for a​ new one because they find themselves off-topic or​ searching too broadly.

It also depends on​ how many sponsored links there are and how they are marked. Often at​ Yahoo and Lycos,​ for example,​ there are so many ads that the​ average searcher might never scroll a​ screen or​ two to​ see the​ organic (natural) results.

And,​ of​ course,​ it​ also depends on​ the​ color of​ the​ walls in​ the​ room the​ searcher is​ clicking from,​ the​ weather outside and how well they slept last night. But there is​ little you​ can do about that.

What you​ can do is​ to​ work with your SEO consultant to​ choose the​ most effective search terms for your business and make sure he develops a​ title tag and description tag that sell to​ both humans and the​ search engines. Then make sure he is​ monitoring not just the​ rankings for your key search terms,​ but also the​ description used by each of​ the​ search engines.

A good ranking at​ Google and Yahoo is​ just one measure of​ your SEO consultant's success. a​ more complete evaluation is​ that he is​ your partner in​ building long-term,​ targeted traffic.

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