SEO could benefit many companies looking to increase their online presence and drive more targeted traffic to their websites. Unfortunately, the SEO industry is not known for its transparency and this can be confusing for companies wondering what exactly they will get in return for their investment.

The SEO industry has also attracted many cowboys who employ "black hat" techniques that go against Google and other search engine policies. You must ensure that your SEO will be done using ethical "White Hat" techniques.

Companies that unintentionally employ SEO using these techniques may see short-term results until Google discovers the footprints left by these techniques, at which point they will see a negative effect on their search engine rankings. Black hat SEO offers quick fixes and usually doesn't exist anymore.

What about all the hats?

The term "Black Hat" comes from the old western movies, the bad guys always wore black hats! The good guys wore white hats, you will hear ethical SEO known as "White Hat" SEO. Remember that the bad guys always have their fair deserts!

What should your SEO do for your business?

It is important to know exactly what your SEO will do for you and how they will provide you with measurable results. Be careful with any SEO that offers a guaranteed ranking, it is impossible to guarantee a ranking with Google or any other search engine!

Any SEO that can guarantee results without even knowing what keywords you want to target is using this as a marketing strategy, how could you guarantee results if you wanted to compete for keywords like "Apple", "Google" or "Facebook"?

Without doing keyword research, it's impossible to know how likely an SEO campaign will be successful and how long it will take. SEO is an ongoing process of research, testing, and analysis. Careful planning is needed to identify the best keywords and then establish a sound strategy for ranking them.

On-site and off-site SEO

SEO takes into account factors that are both on-site and off-site. On-site SEO involves an analysis of your website. It involves looking at many factors, including site structure, keyword usage, site content, page load times, and the HTML and CSS that the site is built with. Good on-site SEO benefits the end user and also helps avoid any technical "issues" that search engines don't like, like duplicate content.

A good SEO will start by analyzing your site and making recommendations to improve and optimize the site for both users and search engines. Off-site SEO involves creating relevant backlinks from other sites to yours.

Search engines count each backlink as a vote for your site. Websites receive an authority score called Page Rank. Every time a site links to you, it shares a little of its page rank with you, links from high authority sites share more of this page rank than low authority sites. Inbound links to a site are known as backlinks.

To follow or for Nofollow ...

Some links have no authority, many links carry a nofollow attribute that tells search engines not to count that link as a vote. Webmasters and bloggers can add this attribute themselves if they do not make their link count as a vote for the external site or the platform they are using to publish their content to automatically add it, this is the case when a site offers to Its users add comments or content and the webmaster has little control over which links the site's contributors create.

Links without the nofollow attribute are called "dofollow" and pass the page range of your page to the linked page. In HTML there is no real dofollow attribute, dofollow occurs by default in the absence of a nofollow attribute. You should never follow internal links as this will cause any page ranges that have been passed to that link to simply evaporate!

Where did you get those links from?

You should ask your SEO how they will create backlinks, a good SEO will try to build a varied portfolio of backlinks for you. This portfolio should include high value links found in body text, such as blog posts. They generally have the highest page rank, but they also require the most work, as SEO will need to build connections with blog owners and often provide content.

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Companies that unintentionally employ SEO using these techniques may see short-term results until Google discovers.