SEO (search engine optimization) and PPC (pay per click) are two tools used to get a website on the first page of Google. A lot of people believe that SEO and marketing are one and the same thing. While there are certain similarities, they are actually very different.
So, Just What Is SEO?
Unfortunately, because SEO is now so widespread (everybody knows it is needed, but few people really know what it is), there are lots of SEO scam artists out there. SEO experts aren’t software developers, programmers, or web developers. In fact, they generally understand it less than most other people. Instead, they are people who understand how traffic moves on the internet.
Good SEO firms do not engage in what is known as “black hat tactics”. These are tactics that propel a website to the first page of Google by using techniques that are explicitly forbidden by their terms and conditions. These sites always get found out, and this means they end up getting banned and blacklisted, sometimes for life. Black hat techniques should be avoided at all costs, therefore. This is, again, why it is so important to work with a true expert, someone who really understands what SEO is and how it works.
That being said, SEO is not a protected profession and it is one in high demand, which means many people want to become “experts”. If this is something you are interested in, you must be wary of a couple of things, including:
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- That there are many books available on the subject, but most of them aren’t any good.
- That there are thousands of good SEO strategies and tactics out there, so you will have a very long learning curve.
- That SEO is an ongoing learning process because search engine algorithms change on a nearly daily basis.
- That many SEO software packages and other tools that are available are completely out of date and therefore useless. Make sure, therefore that you do your research on what you are purchasing.
Good SEO Tools
There are a couple of places where you can get very good, free SEO tools. Examples include:
- WordPress, who have various open sources widgets and apps to help you with SEO.
- Google Sitemaps, which is free and incredibly powerful.
- Adcenter by MSN, which comes with a range of different SEO tools that help manage their PPC offerings.
Good, specialized SEO tools focus not on SEO as a whole, but rather on the different elements of it. This includes text formatting fonts, keyword density, header tags, alt image tag text, internal and external links, and more.
Key to good SEO has always been and will likely always be to have fresh, relevant content. The expression “content is king” has been around for a long time and likely to never go away. Content is what matters because this shows Google that you are working hard towards setting yourself apart as an authority, and it shows your traffic that you want to share information with them.