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Black-Hat and White-Hat SEO

If you’re looking for an search engine optimization firm to spruce up your website, it’s important that you know the difference between “black-hat” and “white-hat” SEO. You may have heard these terms thrown around on internet forums or message boards, often in reference to the world wide web.

“White-hat” and “black-hat” are unofficial terms used to describe types of search engine optimization techniques. Both types can be effective in terms of getting results, but only white-hat SEO can offer you legitimate sustainability over the long term. In researching search engine marketing, you’ve probably learned a bit about search engine algorithms. These algorithms are complex formulae that Google, Yahoo!, MSN, and other services use to rank and classify websites. They are closely-guarded trade secrets, and SEO firms can only make educated guesses at the exact way a particular algorithm works.

Black-Hat vs. White-Hat Techniques

All search engine optimization campaigns strive to build sites which cater to these computer algorithms; the difference lies in the way they go about doing so. “Black-hat” SEO firms tend to use “shadier” tactics, such as covering a page with invisible keywords (white text on a white background) or creating networks of links from questionable sources. These strategies tend to pander only to search engine spiders while misleading or ignoring the human user.

“White-hat” SEO strategies, on the other hand, attempt to satisfy both search engine algorithms and search engine users at the same time. These strategies include creating links from other valuable websites, designing user-friendly websites, and expanding sites by adding relevant information. The downside is that “white-hat” SEO techniques take lots of time and effort, unlike “black-hat” techniques, which can be mass-produced nearly overnight.

However, it is very important to remember one thing – search engines do not like “black-hat” techniques. Although “black-hat” SEO is by no means illegal, it is generally frowned upon by major search engines, since such techniques artificially inflate website placement without giving the user any additional value. If a search engine discovers a “black-hat” optimized website, it may very likely remove that site from its searchable index, effectively dropping the site into obscurity. In other words, if you want your site to actually have value, and if you want your site to be valued by search engines over the long term, then white-hat SEO is the way to go.

Contact Us

Want to learn more about optimizing your site using purely white-hat techniques, contact search engine optimization firm The Search Engine Guys at (512) 806-7955.


The Frustration and Success of Pay-Per-Click Campaigns

Search engine optimization (SEO) is one of the many different types of online marketing strategies that you can use to promote your business or services on the internet. Another dynamic and often benefical option for an online marketing campaign is the use of Pay-Per-Click (PPC). While these various types of online marketing can be successful on their own, they are ultimately their most successful when used together to create an all-encompassing marketing strategy. If you’re not familiar with PPC, you may be wondering what it’s all about.

PPC campaigns can be executed using Google Adwords. Whether you are selling something as simple as homemade candles or as complex as legal services, Google Adwords has multiple settings to ensure that your advertising needs are met. Adwords is an ever-changing beast, however, constantly updating and improving their services to make the user experience more pleasant. You may want to start with taking a look at their Adwords “lessons,” but know that these study guides are only a starting point. The real way to learn how to successfully use Adwords is getting into the program and poking around. While there are strategies to building a successful PPC campaign, some success is found by good, old-fashioned trial and error.

You’ll need to constantly monitor your keywords to see which ads are working and which don’t seem to be getting any attention. Over the life of your campaign, you’ll undoubtedly start to catch on as far as what works and what doesn’t.

Perhaps the most important of a PPC campaign is properly targeting your campaign using location preferences and keywords. The more specific the better – otherwise, you may be wasting your advertising dollars advertising to someone who would never even consider buying your product. It can be tedious and frustrating to try to understand the logic behind why certain campaigns succeed while others struggle. Google is secretive about certain aspects of the Adwords program (much like they are with the algorithm that they use to determine page ranking for SEO).

At The Search Engine Guys, we’re dedicated to mastering the art of PPC campaigns, no matter how frustating it can be at times. It’s just another way that we help our clients to be found by potential clients in the clutter of today’s market.

Learn about us and the services we provide by contacting The Search Engine Guys at (512) 806-7955.

 


Content and Site Structure

Correctly structuring website content/pages is just as important as having content in the first place. While search engines can easily crawl content, regardless of where it is located, the same cannot be said of human visitors. If your website isn’t easy to navigate, and if information and resources aren’t easily accessible, many site visitors won’t be encouraged to stay on your website for very long. A short visit means a shallower impression and a lower chance of you getting new business.

A website should be designed to draw the visitor in by offering
information and services relevant to their needs
. A hierarchical
page-subpage structure is one great place to start, though there are,
of course, other viable options.

Recently, we decided to go back and do some reorganizing and rewriting on the website content for our Chicago personal injury lawyers, Friedman & Bonebrake. We expect the revamped site to appeal better to site traffic and search engines alike.


About Us

The Search Engine Guys handles SEO campaigns for law firms and businesses across the country. We operate on a unique exclusive partnership system, and are proud to say that our track record can speak for itself. Give us at a call at (512) 806-7955 to learn more about what we do.

 


Designing for Conversion

What is the primary purpose of a business website? Regardless of the type of business – whether it is a law firm, a retailer, a consulting agency, or a doctor's office – the goal of a company website is to bring in new business. If a website fails to do so, it is inefficient and a waste of advertising dollars.

In order for a website to bring in new business, it must be able to convert website visitors into actual contacts. In other words, the website must be able to persuade a person who has just come across the site to call, email, buy from, or otherwise interact with the company who owns the site. How does a website accomplish this? A large piece of the puzzle is design, or how a website looks, how user-friendly it is, and what browsing and buying behaviors it elicits. Let's look at this Boston bankruptcy lawyer website as an example.

There are several major features worth mentioning:

Attractive visual design: consumers make at least part of their judgments based on first impressions. If a site looks bad or cheap, it immediately loses credibility.

Easy-to-locate contact capabilities: the easy-to-find "Contact Us" button in the navigation bar, the prominently placed phone number in the header, and the large "Free Evaluation" button all provide site visitors with the abilty to immediately take action.

Testimonials and Credentials: The client quotes and accreditations of Boston bankruptcy attorney Josh Spirn are prominently displayed, allowing the site to immediately build value with a visitor.

Of course, there are dozens more factors to consider in developing, evaluating, and improving the conversion of a website. To learn more, give The Search Engine Guys a call at (512) 806-7955.


Choosing the Right Location

When launching a search engine optimization campaign, many people seem to forget the importance of location. Consider this: you launch an expensive, time consuming SEO campaign to capture placement for the search term "personal injury lawyer." After several months, you manage to reach the first page of Google, and you start getting site visitors. One problem – your office is located in Austin, TX, but the people who find your site are coming from all over the country. Though your site gets plenty of traffic, people leave after discovering that you don't practice law in their area. 

There are several problems with going after a general search term like "personal injury lawyer."

– First, as in our example above, people who find your site might not be in your area and won't actually give you any business.

– Second, general terms are often harder to capture, taking more time and resources out of your pocket.

In most cases, you would probably be better served by launching a website targeted to a specific location – such as a city or metropolitan area. The size of this target area depends on the resources you are willing to commit to SEO and the scope of your company; achieving web presence in a small community is much easier than achieving good placement over an entire state.


The Value of Multiple Sites

Why build multiple websites? Why not put all your resources into one website that covers all your products, services, and information?

For one thing, multiple websites can help improve your SEO campaign. For example, if you are a lawyer who handles both personal injury and criminal defense litigation, it may be in your best interests to build one site for personal injury and another for criminal defense. By doing so, you create sites that are highly specific to each practice area, boosting your relevance in the eyes of search engines. 

For another, having multiple, dedicated websites also benefits the end user. People gravitate towards specialists and specialized sites. Returning to the legal example, a potential client may be more interested in an attorney who handles only one type of case, rather than an attorney who dabbles in everything.

Compare these websites for the Charles D. Hankey Law Office –

Indianapolis personal injury lawyer

Indianapolis Social Security disability lawyer

Although the designs are similar, the content and focus of each site is highly specific to a certain area of law. Whether a potential client is looking for personal injury representation or Social Security assistance, he will find a website filled with relevant, persuasive information.

Learn more by contacting The Search Engine Guys at (512) 806-7955.

 


All Kinds of Optimization

SEO may not be right for every company, but it can be beneficial in almost every profession or market. Although the majority of our clients at The Search Engine Guys are practicing attorneys or law firms, we'd like to point out that online marketing is by no means limited to the legal profession.

Many of our clients, for example, are in the medical profession, including Chicago cosmetic dentist Dr. Bagai and Austin facial plastic surgeon Dr. Apostolakis. 

The reality – search engine optimization is advertising, and every business needs advertising. However, instead of buying TV time or billboard space in order to make an impression on as many people as possible, SEO relies on a relatively passive method – which has its perks. For example, while billboard advertising relies on mass exposure, SEO has the advantage of catering to a receptive audience. Visibility through online search acts a natural filter – the people who get to a website are people who have already shown interest (by searching) in the services or products that website has to offer. Not a bad deal, when you think about it.


Breaking into Highly Competitive Search Markets

Breaking into an existing market is almost always difficult for newcomers, and the world of internet marketing is no exception.

When a new business sets up shop, it must deal with older, bigger, and often wealthier competitors; when a company or firm launches a new website, it must compete with older, better-established websites. The longer a website is up, the more time it has to accumulate content, construct link networks, and build value with various search engines. In order to “catch up,” the new site must expand, network, and build value at a very high rate – often not an easy proposition.

It’s even harder when a website’s market or targeted search terms are highly competitive; a website targeting a small rural community would be far easier to optimize than one targeting a large urban metroplex.

Though SEO results may take a while to show up in these highly competitive markets, achieving strong placement is far from impossible. Case in point: the new website of Los Angeles employment lawyer Perry Smith. As you can imagine, breaking into a search market like Los Angeles is pretty difficult; dozens of long-established, well-monied firms have already built up strong footholds at the top of major search engines – and there are only 10 spots available on the first page.

For a long time, Mr. Smith’s LA employment law website languished in the doldrums of online search, unable to match up to first-page competitors. It took months of expansion, pages of new content, a revamped site plan, and countless hours of link-building to bring it up to the first and second pages of Google – and the battle isn’t over yet.

What I’m trying to point out is this – breaking into a highly competitive search market on the internet is just like breaking into a highly competitive retail market in the “real world.” There’s no way to do it except by hard work, dedication, and technical know-how. But then again, at The Search Engine Guys, that’s our specialty.


A Work in Progress

Our CEO, Joe Devine, likes to say that search engine optimization is “math, not magic.” There’s a lot of truth in that statement. Sustainable white-hat SEO doesn’t rely on some mystical formula to achieve results; taking shortcuts just doesn’t work.

In other words, SEO is a work in progress. Not only do you have to fight your way to the top of Google, Yahoo, MSN, etc., but you have to constantly fight to keep your position. Slacking off for even a week could cost you placement, especially in highly competitive markets or for highly competitive terms.

Every site that we take on is a battle; we believe that the only way to the top is through hard work and mathematical analysis.

For example, we have been working with Rhode Island criminal defense lawyer James Powderly for quite a while now. Though his DUI site has already achieved very strong first page placement, his criminal law website is still moving up through the ranks. We have every reason to expect dominant placement in the near future, but we also realize that the process does take time.

How honest is your SEO company about the techniques they use and the results they achieve? Call The Search Engine Guys at (512) 806-7955 for more information.


Helping Our Clients Grow

One of our big selling points here at The Search Engine Guys, is our exclusive partnership agreement. (Not sure what this is? Go to http://www.tseg.com to read about it). We believe that SEO works best through a long-term relationship with a client, not through a haphazard cookie-cutter approach.

Take Alexander & Associates, for example. They are a rapidly-growing family law and criminal law firm in the Denton, TX area, serving clients in Denton, Dallas, and Tarrant Counties. We have been working with them on an exclusive basis for quite some time, and we like to think that their rapid growth is due, at least in part, to the excellent web presence we have helped them develop.

Apparently Alexander & Associates agree, because they have asked us to build their first, second, and now their third website. Their newest is a new family and criminal law website specifically targeting the Frisco, TX area. Though the site is relatively new and is a work in progress, we expect it to be very successful in the near future. So if you need a Frisco divorce lawyer or a Frisco criminal defense attorney, give Alexander & Associates a call.

On the other hand, if you’d like to get in on the same kind of exclusive partnership that The Search Engine Guys have with Alexander & Associates, give us a call at (512) 806-7955.

Ready to start working with us? Call (512) 806-7955 or Email Us Now