Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

The best website in the world is WORTHLESS, if no one can find it.

No matter what you call it: S.E.M., Search Engine Marketing, Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Search Engine Positioning, or whatever buzzwords the industry is fond of today, getting your web site ranked favorably by the search engines has never been more important.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) costs less, but is slower, has less control

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) has a lower long term cost than Pay Per Click advertising, but is also slower to take affect and you have less control and no guarantees. Essentially, you are fine-tuning your web site and praying for the best results.
Organic Rankings - When a search engine ranks your site based on content and how it's developed vs. Pay Per Click bids. Some people think this "organic", or natural, ranking has more validity than a paid sponsored ad. Search Engine Optimization fine tunes your page to be better ranked by the search engines. Key Word Analysis - Reviewing your key word phrases for the best possible combination, comparing them to the competition, the amount they are searched, and expanding them to include your markets and areas of sale.
Content Optimization - Content is king and it is one of the key areas search engines look to rank your site. Key phrases must be in specific locations, in certain densities, and used appropriately in order to not get penalized and get the best rankings. Page Rankings - Google has an algorithm, named after one its founders (not web pages) Larry Page, this measures how many links with your specific key words link back to your web site. They figure the more links back to your site with this keyword more likely makes you an extra in that field.
SEO: Search Engine Optimization is partly technical and partly artistic. There is no one-size-fits-all answer to optimizing every page on every site, but there are some SEO: Search Engine Optimization basics that business owners can utilize to begin the process. Search Engine Optimization is about adjusting your pages so that they get high rankings on search engines (Google).
  • Content is king - have a lot of text. Search engines like content. Different types of pages require different quantities of words on a page.
  • Relevance - Your page content should be about the keyword phrase you want to have high rankings for. The more your page is about your keyword phrase, the more Google likes the page.
  • Keywords - pepper your page's content liberally with the keyword phrase you are optimizing for.
    • Headings - Your H1-H6 headings with keywords
    • Prominence - Keep your keywords toward the top of the page and the front of the paragraphs
    • Alt Tags - load the Alt tags of your pictures with your specific keyword phrases
    • Links - your images and links should have the keywords in not only the files you are linking to but the words they are linking from
Businesses that are serious about Search Engine Optimization should talk to a professional SEO firm. It requires a lot of expertise and time to optimize a site. You have to SEO each page for each keyword phrase for each search engine you want to rank on (Yahoo!, Google, etc.)


"Do I need to spend money on Pay-Per-Click? Can I just optimize my website?" The answer is: if you are doing well in a given set of keywords in the SEO organic rankings, you don't need to bid on those keywords in the Pay-Per-Click advertising. Save the money. In this article, we will explore the differences between SEO vs. PPC.

What's The Difference?

SEO (or Search Engine Optimization) is just fine-tuning your website, so the search engines rank it better. It's much slower but has a longer result. It also does not disappear as soon as you stop paying Google (or whatever search engine you are purchasing ads from).

PPC (Pay-Per-Click) advertising is bidding on select keywords, writing small ads and depending on where your ad is positioned in comparison to other ads, it drives traffic to your website.

That Doesn't Seem So Tough!

Obviously, there is much more to effective search engine marketing than just that. For example, in PPC, there is the long-tail strategy that gets your average cost per click (CPC) down and increases your conversion rate. You can also geographically target areas, bid on clicks based on ROI, and schedule your ads for key times. You'll also need to craft landing pages to increase your conversions from viewers to buyers. You have to manage your daily budget, maximum bid, your Quality Score, and making your ads both compelling and discouraging to non-qualified buyers. And that's just the top layer of PPC.

Getting Help

The smartest companies get experienced search engine marketing professionals to assist in their Pay-Per-Click and Search Engine Optimization efforts. That's where we come in. Don't forget to make sure your landing pages conform to excellent website design so that when they do get to your site, they are more likely to buy.


Web site owners should know both sides of Search Engine Optimization (SEO): the good and the bad. SEO is the fine tuning of your web site (content, alt tags, meta tags, etc.) to get better rankings on various search engines (primarily Google, Bing and Yahoo! which are about 75% of what people search for web site with). Better search engine rankings translate into more people clicking on your listings and more traffic to your web site. SEO, PPC, marketing, search-engine-optimization, pay-per-click, web design, web sitesMore traffic to your web site usually means more business (Results from SEO can vary greatly by how well your site is designed for usability, ease of navigation, how quickly you take your visitors to what they want, how competitive your offerings are in comparison to your competitors, etc. Professional web design is a completely different topic [We can help you there too!]). SEO listings are considered "organic rankings" because they "grow naturally" from the content of your site, not a bid on a keyword phrase.

  1. SEO is a WASTE OF TIME! (If your web site is not user friendly and results oriented) ((Results from SEO can vary greatly by how well your site is designed for usability, ease of navigation, how quickly you take your visitors to what they want, how competitive your offerings are in comparison to your competitors, etc. Professional web design is a completely different topic [We can help you there too!]))
  2. Developing and submitting a sitemap.xml file is WORSE THAN A WASTE OF TIME! (if your site is not optimized first. You just attract the search engines' attention only to have them rank you poorly. So now you have spent money to be ranked poorly and have to do it gain correctly to fix the problem.)
  3. SEO should be just one part of your marketing plan for your business, not the End All and Be All. Other parts can include: email campaigns, social media, Pay Per Click advertising, traditional marketing, direct mail, etc.)(We can help you there too!)
  4. SEO is slower to get results than PPC (Pay Per Click advertising). Essentially you are fine tuning your site for specific key phrases and search engines and hoping for the best. The search engines say they will rank your site organically in 4-6 weeks (Remember, there are millions and millions of web sites out there wanting to be ranked as well). It's usually faster than that but it does take time. PPC can usually be started (and stopped) in one day, but is more expensive over the long run.
  5. Professional SEO is time consuming and labor intensive. Anyone saying they can optimize your web site for $99 is very likely not doing it thoroughly.
  6. Most of your SEO cost is up front in the optimization and submission.
  7. SEO is not a quick fix. It is a long term marketing strategy that pays out over time.
  8. If you are not optimizing your web site for the search engines, you can bet your business that your competitor is.

The Good News About Search Engine Optimization:

  1. Search Engine Optimization does not require you pay the search engines every month, so it can be more cost effective over the long run.
  2. People trust organic listings more than Pay Per Click ads as they "feel" they are more relevant (not necessarily true) and not purchased by the highest bidder.
  3. Once your site has been optimized and submitted, you can either just wait for results, monitor the results, or continue to optimize.
  4. Properly done, SEO has a higher Return On Investment than Pay Per Click over the long run.

Search Engine Optimizations is just one portion of the marketing mix. By itself, it is not a catch-all solution.

  • The single goal for search engine optimization is to fine tune your web site in a manner that the search engines prefer (which is constantly changing) so that when the crawl your site...
  • they rank your site well among all the other sites vying for those viewers searching for those keywords.
  • The higher your ranking, the more traffic you can reasonably expect. This does not necessarily mean more sales, or more profit, it just means more visitors. (More about those issues later.)

The Process of Optimizing Your Site

In order to optimize your web site for improved traffic, there are a number of tasks that need to be performed in order to get you the best results:

  • Analysis of what you have now - keywords, quality and quantity of content, your rankings, marketing weaknesses
  • Keyword Development & Strategy - developing a keyword strategy based on your customers tendencies, competitiveness
  • Site & Content Editing - Your site has to be changed in order to optimize it for various keywords and search engines.
  • Submitting the Site to the Search Engines - besides sitemap.xml files, there are ways to submit your pages to search engines that do not make them think they are being spammed with requests. Remember, these search engines are ranking millions and millions of other sites.

Not Just ONE Keyword

And it's not just optimizing your site for ONE keyword, it's optimizing THAT SPECIFIC Page for THAT SPECIFIC Keyword for a SPECIFIC search engine (such as Google, which has a completely different ranking algorithm than say, Bing.) Now multiply the number of keywords someone may use to search for your products or services and then, multiply that ties the number of search engines. It's a bit of work. It may be time (and skill sets) that you do not have and need help with.
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The bottom line is: you should probably have a combination of both. Very few companies will completely kill it in a given keyword in the organics. It is not a question of saving money. Getting your site optimized for search engines takes time and effort, which costs money (up front). Paying a search engine every time someone clicks on your ad costs money.The real question is what combination of labor, effort, and advertising will get you the best Return on Investment.

See an educational video on the Basics of Search Engine Optimization (SEO)



Paul Metheney, president of Metheney Consulting, LLC, an SEO, web design, digital marketing, online, advertising agency
Contact Metheney Consulting on web site design, developing your online marketing, social media marketing, SEO (search engine optimization), PPC (Pay-Per-Click advertising), email campaigns, pay-per-click advertising strategies, web site maintenance and development, blog development, and traditional marketing consulting on a project-by-project basis or Our Marketing Group about how they can assist you monthly as a part-time marketing department, SEO specialist, PPC experts, and web designers without the full time cost. Our Marketing Group provides digital marketing services for a fraction of the cost via monthly retainers and sliding scale hourly contracts. Call or email us at

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