right from the very start. Many small to mid-sized companies spend tens of thousands on a redesign,
and then they try to hire a company such as High Rankings for SEO. At that point, it can sometimes
be too late, or certainly not as cost effective as it could have been had they consulted with an SEO
firm during the redesign process.
Jerri: What changes have you seen in search engine optimization and search engine marketing
over the last few years?
The greatest changes have been in how companies measure the success of their SEO cam-
paigns as well as the advent of social media marketing as a link-building tool.
For measuring success, it used to be done via search engine rankings; however, as rankings have
become far less static, it’s actually an impossible measurement. Search engines are no longer showing
the same thing to everyone anymore. Most search results are personalized as well as geo-targeted.
Today’s measurement for success is in search engine traffic, conversions, and sales.
With social media marketing, web sites such as Digg and del.icio.us as well as numerous other pop-
ular online communities enable savvy search marketers to get their clients’ products and services
noticed in a completely new way. Since having numerous high-quality links pointing to your web
site is a big factor in getting found in the search engines, “link baiting” has become a popular new
form of viral marketing that can really help an SEO campaign get off the ground.
Jerri: Will SEO even be possible as social media grows? If so, how will it change the way that
SEO is achieved?
Yes, as in the previous answer, it has already changed things to a certain extent. However,
social media alone are not going to be half as effective if you have a “broken” web site. At High
Rankings, we like to say that we “fix” web sites to be the best they can be for the users as well as
the search engines. You’d be surprised how much good usability goes hand-in-hand with good on-
page SEO. Very often, the things that make a web site better for its users also make it better for the
search engines. After all, Google wants to find the best web sites for their users — the searchers.
Jerri: Any other changes that companies considering or even already using SEO should be
aware of? How are those changes likely to affect SEO in the future?
I’m of the SEO school of thought that the more things change, the more they stay the same.
The same fundamental principles I’ve written and talked about since the early 2000s are still often the
same ones we talk about today. The search engines want the same things they’ve always wanted — the
most relevant web site for the search query at hand. The trick, if you will, is making your site actually
be the best, and then getting the word out to others about it.
Jerri: Is there anything I haven’t touched on that you think is important for small and mid-
sized businesses to understand about SEO?
The greatest difference we see today is that you can’t fake being the best anymore. There
is simply too much competition out there. The best way to set yourself apart from all the others is
to truly be creative and unique. If you’re just going to offer the same product or service as everyone
else, you don’t stand a chance of making it in the search engines anymore.
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