Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of designing or
altering a website so that it will perform optimally in regard to
being ranked in search engine results that are associated with
specific keywords or keyword phrases used by individuals who are
searching for information on the internet through the use of a
search engine. Some website owners strive to do their own search
engine optimization while others opt to use an SEO service to
optimize their website. There are advantages and disadvantages to
each approach. Let’s take a look at the purpose of search engine
optimization, the pros and cons of doing your own search engine
optimization versus hiring an SEO service, and the questions to
ask when considering an SEO service to accomplish your search
engine optimization.

The purpose of search engine optimization is to obtain a
desirable position in organic search engine results (this means
getting a good listing in the search engines without paying for
search engine advertising). There are a number of techniques that
SEO service providers use to optimize a website and to secure
desirable search engine ranking. Getting ranked on the first
three pages of search engine results is highly desirable because
the majority of internet users use the search engines to find
what they are looking for and they don’t usually browse through
more than three pages of results. Getting an organic search
engine ranking is awesome due to the fact that you don’t pay for
the listing (just for the SEO services to get the listing), so
there are no ongoing fees and in effect, it is free advertising
that is really productive.

The advantage of doing your own search engine optimization rather
than contracting an SEO service is that there is no upfront cost
for getting your website ranked in the search engines. The
disadvantages, of course, are lack of expertise in the field of
search engine optimization and the time that may be spent on the
optimization process. On the flip side, the main advantages of
using SEO services is that you have access to expertise from
individuals who are experienced in search engine optimization and
using an SEO service may be more time efficient for you. The
disadvantage of using an SEO service is the initial costs
involved in search engine optimization and costs associated with
ongoing monitoring of the search engine ranking and adjustments
to the SEO service’s strategy and to the website.

Questions you should ask and have answered before contracting an
SEO service to do your search engine optimization include:

1. What strategies do the SEO service use to improve search
engine ranking?

2. What services are included in the SEO service package to
be provided?

3. Which search engines does the SEO service target?

4. Does the SEO service guaranty a specific ranking or
certain results?

5. How much experience does the SEO service have in the
field of search engine optimization?

6. What are the initial costs of the SEO service and what
are the costs for ongoing monitoring and SEO services to
maintain the ranking? Graham Paint and Paper

Common strategies used for search engine optimization include
keyword research to identify keywords and keyword phrases for
optimization focus, designing the website with metatags and html
tags using the keywords to be optimized, development of keyword
rich content for the website, and linking campaigns to build link
popularity and link relevancy. SEO services generally include the
use of all of these strategies and sometimes more. The major
search engines are Google, Yahoo! and MSN but there are many more
search engines include specialty search engines which may benefit
your business.

Most SEO service companies do not guaranty a specific rank in the
search engines because that is near impossible to do; however,
they may guaranty certain results such as an improvement in
website traffic directed through the search engines. The
experience and expertise of your SEO service company is very
important because search engine optimization is no easy task.
Both the initial costs of optimizing the website and ongoing
costs for having the SEO service monitor and maintain the ranking
should be considered.