I'm just getting into SEO and have done a fair bit of research and realise it is an ongoing battle but I do have a couple of quick questions.
1. SEO is, I realise, an ongoing thing that needs to be done very often and there are several ways of achieving a higher ranking (keywords, metatags, links etc I'm sure you know more than me) but what actually is it that you do very often? I don't understand how it takes months to notice any changes yet you have to be on it all the time. What is it that your supposed to do? Check and change keywords? content? I just don't understand WHAT it is I should be doing on a daily/ weekly basis.
2. I've just had a call out of the blue to get a sponsored listing right at the top of the page for a month for £120. Is this a good price?
3. How do you find out when Google has changed their algorithm?
4. I went to list our company on Google places (maps) and missed the call back to verify it as I'm new at the office and the call didn't get through. How the hell do I pick it up again? I've just got lost in an endless downward spiral of the cycle of links on the google page that doesn't go anywhere.
I really need to learn this and am keen to do so but I'm finding it really frustrating that most of the stuff I'm finding on the net is less about actual content and more about how a little bit of SEO knowledge is a danger in the wrong hands.
James, you need to get yourself on some courses with recognised bodies. I'd recommended econsultancy (UK based) or online with Market Motive.
Because of the nature of SEO (i.e no one knows for 100% what it takes to rank) there is so much information out there which is incorrect / misleading etc, and you don't have the experience to know what is right / might be right / wrong / worth testing etc. You need to learn the ABC's from some acknowledged experts.
Once you have the fundamentals of SEO, forums like this will be much more beneficial. But learning something like this from the ground is difficult without expert advice.
Something were SEO still exists but is not something for beginners. You either have a team and lots of money behind you - or you have your own giant network of sites that are aged well.
What you should get in to is SEM. More than half of the Google results page above the fold is now Adverts. That's your market. As you can only see the top 3 organic results, you're probably better off paying per click in the 4-8 ad places than trying to rank in the top 3 for some terms.