Tuesday, August 30, 2005

SEO Facts: SEO Can't Be Done In-house... Or Can It!

This is a myth put out by a few SEO's, in truth, SEO is not some form of esoteric knowledge known only to industry professionals, but is rather a form of knowledge that you can quickly learn and apply yourself.

The myth revolves around claims by SEO's that;
  • In-house search engine optimization will not produce the same results as a professional SEO who has spent years studying how search engines work.
  • Search engines regularly change their algorithm so learning how search engines rank pages is not a one-off exercise, but it is a regular ritual.
  • A web site received a penalty because the in-house SEO guy did something that contravened the terms and conditions of a search engine.
  • If everybody could do their own search engine optimization then the SEO industry would never emerged.
  • In-house SEO may be cheaper but is not cost-effective.

Lets examine each of these claims one by one.


Claim 1. In-house SEO will not produce the same results as a professional SEO who has spent years studying how search engines work.

Obviously there is some sort of learning curve to attaining the relevant knowledge required to SEO your own site. While SEO's pass off their services as complex requiring expert knowledge that takes years to acquire, the truth is that search engine optimization is, for the most part, common sense.

There are many new terms that you will have to learn but the underlying concepts are not exactly rocket science. At the end of the day web optimization is about ensuring that all your pages are spiderable, relevant information and keyphrases are present in the important areas of a web page and ensuring that pages are linked correctly.

Claim 2. Search engines regularly change their algorithm so learning how search engines rank pages is not a one-off exercise, but it is a regular ritual.

Search engines do change there algorithms regularly. Many of these changes are made to counteract the latest spam techniques. If the changes were so drastic that results were radically changed with each algorithm change there would be no continuity to search engine results. If this were the case the SEO industry would die on its feet because there would be no way that anyone could optimize for such algoritims.

Google has many servers which are used to deliver results to users of their search engine. It is common practice for Google to test 2 or 3 different variants of there algorithm simultaneously over these servers. This does not mean that the results of one variant will be completely different from results of another, although there may be some slight differences. Nor does it mean that any of these variants will be maintained for any period of time.

At the end of the day chasing the latest algorithm is a waste of time, most algorithm changes are short term and for testing purposes only. Any real changes are few and far between and will be well reported on this site as well as many other industry sites.
If you use ethical, best practice SEO techniques any algorithm change will most probably be beneficial.

Claim 3, A web site received a penalty because the in-house SEO guy did something that contravened the terms and conditions of a search engine.

Each search engine publishes its terms and conditions. To claim this as reason not to employ an in-house SEO is just ridiculous. Read and get to know each search engines terms and conditions, they are in place to keep spammers at bay and allow relevant content to rise to the top.

Claim 4. If everybody could do their own web optimization then the optimization industry would never emerged.

The mystery that surrounds web optimization is based on misconceptions and the fact that it is seen by many as a 'black art'. The concept of search engine optimization was unheard of in 1990 when first true online search facility, Archie, was created. 1994 saw Yahoo and Lycos introduced to the market and it was around that time that a few webmasters began experimenting with the concept of search engine optimisation. Shortly after this the first Search Engine Optimisation Companies appeared.

The industry was founded on the very fact that everybody could do their own web optimization. None of these pioneers had any formal training in web optimization, and none had access to the reams of information available on the web today about the subject.
Search engines are much more sophisticated today than they were way back in 1994, this sophistication is designed to keep out spam as well as deliver highly relevant results. So while search engines have progressed from those early days this does not make the task of learning SEO more difficult, it just takes a little longer.

When you take into account that a web optimization campaign may take as long as a year to achieve the kind of results that you are after, an extra couple of months spent learning does not make such a great difference.

Claim 5. In-house web optimization may be cheaper but is not cost-effective.

The first part of this claim is correct, in-house web optimization is cheaper, the second part would be true if professional SEO's were guaranteed to deliver better results than in-house optimizers every time.

We have trained clients who now have web sites that are out-performing previous optimization work carried out by professionals. By out-performing we mean the sites receive more targeted visitors than they did previously and a higher percentage of these visitors are converted into customers. At the end of the day the only worthwhile SEO metric is the bottom line.

The Reality of our SEO Training Course

We wrote our SEO Training Course in response to not only an emerging demand on the part of web-designers and site owners to learn how to optimise their web pages, but also in response to the kind of SEO tutorials and courses currently available to such individuals. There are numerous free articles available online that claim to explain various aspects of the SEO process. However, the world of SEO changes rapidly, meaning that such material is often out of date or erroneous, and what advice exists is often piecemeal, meaning that you do not learn effective knowledge of SEO in a systematic or holistic fashion.

Unfortunately, much the same can be said of some of the SEO books available for purchase online. Although these books are often updated to reflect changes in search engine technology, we find that they tend to be speak to fellow SEO professionals rather than SEO beginners and that they often take an ‘anecdotal' approach to the subject rather than presenting it in a simple, systematic and progressive manner. The Syllabus course, by contrast, aims to take you through the whole SEO process in a series of simple, easy to learn steps, leading you from an understanding of search engines through to a practical knowledge of how to optimise web pages.

This course has been written in close consultation with both SEO professionals and educationalists to help ensure not only that it keeps abreast of current developments in SEO but also that such developments are presented in an accessible and pedagogically effective manner. The course is designed for self-study either at home or within a workplace and, as such, has been divided into sections are fairly short and easy to digest.

We understand that many people have jobs and other pressing commitments and that self-study can eat into your precious time. With this in mind, we have not imposed the kind of deadlines for study that might appear in a tutor-led course. You can read the course at your leisure, spending as much time on each unit as you can spare per evening or week.

For more information about Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) Training Courses contact Syllabus or call +44 (0) 1324 410926 today or visit our SEO Training Site.

Monday, August 29, 2005

SEO Facts: Server Geographic Location

If your web site is hosted on a server that is located in a country other than where you target your visitors, you could be seriously weakening your search engine visibility.

Full article: Server Geographic Location

SEO Facts: Buy Text Links or Text Link Ads at your Peril

Websites are continually emerging promoting the idea that buying text links will give you the edge and let you compete with the most competitive websites. What they don't tell you is that Google looks upon artificial linking strategies as spam and is taking measures to penalise sites that take part in the practice.

Full article: Buy Text Links or Text Link Ads at your Peril