Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Your Frederick, MD Professional, Effective, Local SEO Experts
270net has been in the search engine optimization business almost as long as search engines have existed. We have worked with over 150 large and small businesses in Frederick, Maryland and beyond to help them improve the quality of their website content and increase search engine rankings. If done correctly, higher search engine rankings lead to increased traffic, increased leads and increased sales.
What is Search Engine Optimization (or SEO)?
If your website doesn’t rank as high as it should, let us help you. You’ve invested in your site, it should be seen. We are very good at this. We’ve been around since the infancy of the Internet, we have hundreds of website clients, we have helped sites move from invisibility to top placement.
How Search Engines Rank Your Website
Search engines will rank a website’s relevance for various search terms and this ranking determines why one site appears above another. But what makes a site more relevant? It depends on the unique algorithm used by each search engine. This is why your site will rank differently on Yahoo than Google for the same search phrase.
The specifics of each search engine’s algorithm is a closely guarded secret. However, SEO experts have been highly successful at deducing much of their workings. We know that there are many factors of your site that can be altered to directly improve your search result rankings. Meta data, for example, is part of the HTML code in the header of all your web pages. Meta data can pass important information to search engines regarding the purpose and content of your site via keywords, page descriptions and page titles. Backlinks are another important ranking factor. A backlink is a link to your site from another site. In general, the more backlinks your site can attract, the more important your site is deemed by search engines, and therefore they will bump your site up in the rankings.
By far the most important factor for your site is the text content. Search engines can read text and categorize your site based on what they read. For example, if the phrase “ice cream cone” appears 18 times on your home page, and the phrase “graphic design” appears twice, search engines will rank your site much higher for searches that contain the phrase “ice cream cone” than they will for
“graphic design” searches. Remember that search engines cannot read images, so it’s always wise to use text in place of images when possible. Images and photos make a site attractive to humans, so you should certainly include images on your website. Alt text can be assigned to images to give search engines a hint as to the topic of the image.
SEO Case Study
Here’s an example of SEO success. Cedarbrook Community Church in Clarksburg, Maryland contracted 270net to improve search rankings for keyword phrases containing surrounding locations. Cedarbrook saw that the site was ranked #1 on Google for the search “Community church in Clarksburg MD”. However, the site didn’t show up at all in the top 300 results for surrounding cities including Germantown, Damascus, Frederick and Mt Airy.
270net optimized their page content to emphasize Cedarbrook’s presence in the surrounding community and in some cases to de-emphasize its connection to one city (Clarksburg) because search engines had ranked them too narrowly. Links and Backlinks were improved and new landing pages were created containing information on Cedarbrook for the surrounding locations.
The results show the dramatic improvement in search ranking that 270net achieved for the church through dedicated, professional SEO.
|Target Keyword / Phrase||Google Rank||Bing Rank|
|Community church(es) in…|
|Mount Airy MD||#>300||#288|
After 1 Month of SEO
|Target Keyword / Phrase||Google Rank||Bing Rank|
|Community church(es) in…|
|Mount Airy MD||#4||#1|
Search Engine Statistics
The undisputed leader in search. If you don’t rank well on Google, you’re hurting. The numbers fluctuate a bit but Google provides roughly 65% of all web searches. That is billions of searches ever day.
About 16% of searches are run on Bing; not very much compared to Google, but good enough for second place.
Yahoo has about 12% of searches and has finalized a deal to team up with Bing. Combined, Yahoo and Bing hope that together they can eat into Google’s lead.
Other Search Engines -
All other search engines combine for the last 7% of searches. These include Ask.com, AltaVista and a slew of others. Many of these offer specialized results.
Common SEO Terms
Natural ranking -
This is the non-paid ranking for your website. Paid results will appear along the right bar and in some cases at the top and bottom of the search engine results page. Paid results are always designated as such through colored boxes and/or text titles. Natural rankings cannot be bought; they are the result of how popular and relevant or optimized your site happens to be.
Google Page Rank (PR) -
Google displays a page ranking scale to the public between 0 – 10. The higher the PR, the more important Google considers your site to be. Factors that contribute to age rank include age of you domain, number and quality of backlinks, the absence of certain frowned-upon SEO techniques, and of course page text content. You can see the PR for each site you visit by downloading the free Google Tool Bar. The page rank will appear as a small green and white bar. SEO experts can help you improve your page rank over time.
Sponsor Link -
A sponsor link or paid link is an ad that links to a website. The ads on top paid more for that placement than the ads underneath. Unlike natural ranking, sponsor link placement rankings can be bought.
Meta Data -
Meta data consists of the keywords, page titles and page descriptions that appear at the top of a web page, in the source code. Strong meta data is not the most important factor in SEO, but it is valuable.
A backlink is a link from another website that points back to your website. A backlink from a site with a high page rank is very helpful to your site.
One of the most important factors of search engine optimization is keywords. These are the words that best describe the information and service that your website is providing. For example “SEO” is an important keyword for 270net.
Key Phrase -
Not all searches consist of a single word. A key phrase is a string of words that do the same thing a keyword does. Often location is included in the phrase. An example would be “Search engine optimization in Maryland”.
The First Page -
Most search engines return 10 results per search by default (the number of results returned can be edited in the preferences). Therefore the first page refers to the top-10 results for a given search.
Local Search -
If you are providing location specific information and services from your site, and most of us are, than local search is very important. A dentist wants to attract web searches from potential clients in his or her city and county. A website designer in Maryland doesn’t benefit much if their site appears for searches in Idaho. However, searches for “website designer in Baltimore, MD” should be much more valuable. Search engines offer local listings such as Yahoo Local and Google business directory. In addition, community business directories are valuable (for instance InsiderPages, MerchantCircle and Frederick.com). Is your business listed on Google Maps? It should be.
Spamming a Search Engine -
Trying to blatantly trick a search engine into ranking your site higher than it deserves (meaning you are not supplying quality information and services to readers) is referred to as spamming a search engine. There are many methods; one of the oldest is to hide a bunch of white text on a white background at the bottom of your page. Search engines read the text but humans don’t notice it. Search engine algorithms have become clever enough to recognize this and many other spam attempts and will punish your site if it is engaged in too much of this behavior.
White Hat SEO -
As with any industry there are “best practices” and some methods that are deemed by some to be less ethical. According to Wikipedia, “the terms white hat and black hat have been applied to the Search Engine Optimization (SEO) industry. Black hat SEO tactics…attempt to redirect search results to particular target pages in a fashion that is against the search engines’ terms of service, whereas white hat methods are generally approved by the search engines. White hats tend to produce results that last a long time, whereas black hats anticipate that their sites may eventually be banned either temporarily or permanently once the search engines discover what they are doing.” Yes, search engines can ban or penalize your site if it is optimized in a way that
they consider unethical.