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New to SEO... what have I gotten myself into?



10:03 am on Sep 7, 2010 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Wow, just what have I gotten myself into?

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.

Many Thanks.


12:41 pm on Sep 9, 2010 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Be sure to educate your boss / colleagues etc re how G works.
When the shtf as it inevitably will at some point, there's going to be a whole lot less pressure on you if they understand how it works


...I asked God for a bike, but I know God doesn’t work that way. So I stole a bike and asked for forgiveness.


[edited by: tedster at 4:55 pm (utc) on Sep 9, 2010]
[edit reason] customer request [/edit]


1:02 pm on Sep 9, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member

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?

If they are offering a Google Adword for a broad term such as "widget", which is relevant to your industry I'd grab it like a shot

No, don't do that. Even Authorised AdWords Resellers do not get their clicks cheaper than anyone else. If someone is offering AdWords for a set monthly fee, then they aim to keep as much of that as possible. It's a scam.

Either pay for some proper AdWords training (or read a decent book on the subject) and then run your own campaign as part of your job. Your boss' money will go much further, and you'll also be doing great keyword research and learning how to write punchy snippets that you can use for your meta description tags.


1:29 pm on Sep 9, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member


1 - Take a class on basic SEO and PPC - or hire a consultant to do it (If he or she is good, they will also teach it to you). Good sources for 101 level classes: adult or continuing education. There may also be some decent video training out there but if so, I haven't found it yet. An expert can help you understand what might be productive and is worth doing, and what will be a waste of time.

2 - Read a basic book on SEO / SEM - the one I recommend to introductory students is Search Engine Marketing for Dummies by Bruce Clay.

3 - Pay attention to the site reviews here.

4 - Get some easy backlinks.

Sometimes hiring someone to do or teach will also result in the ability to get a backlink from their site. Often you can also get them from belonging to certain associations.

5 - Beware those who speak too fast, or get too technical for you.

6 - Google Webmaster Tools will help substantially, as will Google Places - and these are easy things to do. They will call you again as many times as you want. Google places will also take some time to get things right, but it does work and it will help - and it will be free. Google Analytics is also free and these free tools will help you get some benefit from the monopoly.

7 - spend a few bucks on Adwords (make sure you use the geotargeting feature correctly and do NOT use Content / Display type marketing, only search). This is an incredibly complex but extremely powerful tool.

8 - Have some customers write reviews for your business via Google Places or other review sites. Do not pay for these, and avoid 'for pay' type review sites unless you have no choice because your competitors are using them as well.

9 - Realize that SEO is only 1 small part of your marketing efforts - and the WWW (World Wide Web) is a WORLD WIDE tool - and for a business that services users within 1 hour's drive of one's location should not put too much effort into a world wide distribution of information.

10 - see number 1.


1:32 pm on Sep 9, 2010 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

If they are offering a Google Adword for a broad term such as "widget", which is relevant to your industry I'd grab it like a shot

No, don't do that. Even Authorised AdWords Resellers do not get their clicks cheaper than anyone else. If someone is offering AdWords for a set monthly fee, then they aim to keep as much of that as possible. It's a scam.

Ok, perhaps I should have qualified that: if you know it's a good keyword (very generic) with high clickthus and they are willing to run it world-wide 24 hours (and you can check this), then go for it. If they aren't (and I know a UK "seo company" which runs a sponsored ad only between 9am and 5pm, limits it to 0.5p per day etc), then avoid.


2:11 pm on Sep 9, 2010 (gmt 0)

I have a feeling that the basic structure of the site may need sorting since, if you cannot find your company name, something is fundamentally wrong and this is probably shown by the fact that forum pages can be found, the reason being that you did not build the forum, it came pre-packaged and ready for the search engines whereas your company pages seemingly are not being seen at all.


2:19 pm on Sep 9, 2010 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

I have only just skipped over this but one thing you will find yourself doing lots of is writing strong content. Some either love or hate this but you would be surprised at what can be achieved.

I think you will learn to love it. I find SEO fascinating and exciting and love the challenges that come along with it.

Did I mention you will end up doing lots of content writing?



2:47 pm on Sep 9, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

My two cents:

I understand what you got yourself into. Doing SEO for yourself is one thing but doing it for a company is a big potential problem. Yes, the algos are not what they used to be, one day you are up, other day down... and try to explain why to your customer... yes, a lot is trial and error as mentioned above but then again, try to explain that to your clients and ask them for more time while you try to get paid for your time.

I only do SEO for my websites and even so not everything works the same. I'm not saying is a bad job, I'm just saying its a lot of pain.


3:05 pm on Sep 9, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member g1smd is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

You mention problems with your home page.

Do a site:example.com search in Google. If the home page is not the first listed entry, you do indeed have a serious problem.

The URL for that home page should be www.example.com/ and should NOT have any index filename. Within the site link to www.example.com/ and not to a named index file.


3:17 pm on Sep 9, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member pageoneresults is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

Could someone explain 'html markup' please?

You've got a long road ahead of you young man. There are so many things for you to learn and not enough time to do it.

The absolute worse thing you can do right now is start making changes without understanding that which you are working with. It should be a hands off proposition until you get your feet wet and have a general understanding of the concepts involved.

One man/woman shows really need to be on their game. If you don't have a well rounded understanding of most things you need to do, you will be banging your head against the desk daily. Think about it, a one person show needs to do the work of approximately 2-5 people depending on the scope of the campaign. You've got to be a jack of all trades and a master of all too.

The best advice I can give you is that you find someone to take you under their wing and train you. There is no better education than a good mentor holding your hand through the entire process. You'll save yourself years of frustration, trial and error, etc. Expect to pay a premium for professional training.


3:46 pm on Sep 9, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Just to add a 2p worth.

It can be worthwhile examining the sites that are achieving what you want to achieve with your site.

So if you want to rank in the top 10 for keyword widget, you could look at the top ten sites ranking for that.

You could look at: what Google PageRank they seem to have, how many pages in the site they have that contain the keyword, how many other sites link to them (and which sites they are), how the sites are constructed how their pages are structured.

You could look at all sorts of things but it can be a good start to look at the competition.

If you have a PageRank 1/10 site with 5 inward links and the keyword on 5 pages and you find yourself up against PageRank 5/10 sites with 500 inward links 100s of pages including the keyword, then you will at least have some idea of what it might take to rank for that keyword.


3:52 pm on Sep 9, 2010 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Again, many thanks for your replies and PM's, I honestly didn't think this thread would still be going.

One thing I have perhaps not been clear about is that I WANT TO LEARN SEO, am willing to put the work in to get there and I know this won't happen overnight. I have been researching it for a short while and am slowly working my way through a highly recommended book (not sure if I can say which on this forum) that is large enough to injure a small child should it fall on it and have sifted and read through several web resources and forums before finding this one which appears to be the best.

If need be, I may be able to get an assistant to delegate work to but I need to be able to tell them what to do. My company does not have the budget required to outsource it and I would be highly sceptical about doing so if I don't know enough about it as there seems to be too many cowboys about rocking hard but saying nothing.


4:30 pm on Sep 9, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member tedster is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

Studying is good move - and never stop learning, or else your career will dry out and dry up. I carve out a minimum of 1 hour every day for reading, study and testing that is not related to any particular project I have on the table. Sometimes it eats my whole day, and those are usually the best days in the long term.


4:57 pm on Sep 9, 2010 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

After reading all of this I would say:

Stop. (If you don't know what html markup is and you are embarking on this you have a LOT of research to do)

Build your own website or blog and start playing with how it works - then once you have stumbled thru the vast forest of information, disinformation,and process, go back and work on your clients site.

With the level of skillset, I would be hesitent to suggest you start applying stuff to any site that has peoples livelihood dependent upon it.

Learn the technology and process that supports the website you are working on - then go for it. And make sure your client/boss knows its a process, not an instant fix.



9:03 pm on Sep 9, 2010 (gmt 0)

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?

These are positions that a user needs to have a toolbar for that give them a different set of results from a normal google search. Usually downloaded without their knowledge (scumware). Also, popular with junk search like RedZee, etc.

You can find complaints by googling the 'search engine/company name' then 'scam'. The traffic is either very cheap (nobody buys) or robotic, not sure which.


5:51 am on Sep 10, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member

IMHO, the whole "SEO is an on-going process" isn't true for all websites. I know of at least one website (a local business), that hasnt done anything SEO-wise for 2 years and still ranks #2 and #3 for its top keywords. the guy has done no link building during that period, nor changed anything else SEO-wise.

If a major algorithm update ever happens (such as links being heavily devalued), he'll obviously have to go at it again. But other than that for his site SEO is not an on-going process as many people claim.

It all depends on how competitive the SERPs for your industry/keywords are. If it's not totally competitive, SEO might not be an on-going process for your business.

PS: I'm reminded of wheel's posts about sites he did link building for still ranking after years..so im apparently not the only one who has experienced this


@OP ..why do you think SEO will be a big part of it? Do you have any indications that search traffic converts into customers for the business you're marketing? just asking, because if you're not sure I'd try to test this first (rather than spending lots of time on getting search traffic and then realizing it wont convert as well as you were expecting)


6:19 am on Sep 10, 2010 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

my goodness, hate is a strong word! i suggest you learn to work with the tools that exist and google right now is the biggest of them all

Are you saying Google is the biggest tool right now?


8:45 am on Sep 10, 2010 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Personally, I think its harder to improve ranking of an existing website than build one from scratch. As you could be doing more damage than good. Of course, you have the advantage of an established website, but it doesn't always work that way. Besides, it's not easy to tell your boss that the site ranking sucks after x months of work. As someone mentioned before, SEO for a business is one thing and for your own business/personal sites is another.

My advise is to document anything you do or plan to do so you can justify your pay. At least you've got something to show and prove you've done if the results are not what the client expects.

Also, never try to copy a competitor or apply any SEO rule you read. Especially if you are not sure what you are doing. Keep in mind long term objectives rather than shortcuts. G00gle owns most of the market share today, but who knows if this may change in the future and you will end up going back to the drawing board.

As some has recommended here, don't make any changes on your sites until you have gone through learning what web developer should know first. SEO is the creme on top of a foundation (HTML, CSS, JavaScript, PHP...etc knowledge). It's like IT Security, you can't secure something if you don't know where to starts and ends.


9:46 am on Sep 10, 2010 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member


I think SEO will be a big part of it as it's 'inbound marketing' where people are already looking for the service we provide rather than 'outbound' where you have to go looking for them. plus the site is pretty much purely counter productive as it is now and needs to be sorted as a priority before any money is spent on anything else like advertising etc

Also because the website is our 'shop window' as we provide a service. It will be the platform potential customers come to after hearing the sales speil.

everyone else:

I appreciate the need for caution and will be setting up a blog (once i've decided on either wordprss or tumblr to see how they differ) to practice on but considering our website has a ranking of 41 on website grader and no one actually goes on it anyway, i think i'm ok to start tinkering. especially as there's currently no real meta data on it which i intend to add and have spent a fair while rewriting the content but haven't yet added it as i want to 'measure twice and cut once.' the layout is also poor in that it's a mess which i intend to clear up. so those three factors would hardly be a risk to re do. surely they should have either already been done or should be the first things to do anyway.


10:00 am on Sep 10, 2010 (gmt 0)

I hope James2 doesn't mind me posting this.

I have had the privilege of seeing the site and giving it the once over and as I expected there are some fundamental errors but it works fine as a site.

For instance the site uses the same very short titlebar (the company name) and a very poor meta description for EVERY page. There is a lot of image navigation however no alt and title descriptions, in fact several pages are images only...period...and naturally there are many other tweaks that could be made.

It's the kind of site built by an enthusiastic amateur with no prior thought for the search engines being able to read and understand the site yet it does the job it was intended to for its customers but obviously could be a lot, lot better.

Before any new stuff is added the basics need to be addressed and then each page can be re-constructed one by one meanwhile leaving the exisiting site in its customer-usable state.

IMHO, the whole "SEO is an on-going process" isn't true for all websites.

Absolutely, find a good site constructor, I'm a site constructor not a web designer, and they should be able to construct a solid site that will last for years without any further modifications. It's all down to getting the basics done correctly to begin with, too many companies launch all singing, dancing and flashing sites and wonder why they don't rank and can't be seen.

Most of the time too much money and too many egos knowing absoutely nothing about what it is they're trying to achieve usually spurned on by the marketing department who have even less of an idea since they also want the bells and whistles and the entire project ends up as a camel.

I like camels, you just wouldn't enter one in The Derby!


10:19 am on Sep 10, 2010 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

I don't mind at all husky pup, i'm very grateful for your input actually. i found it both reassuring that i'm on the right track and very informative for the way to go forward. i also appreciate the way you gave constructive advice rather than 'oh no give up now, you've got no chance, throw money at it.' it seems the people who know most about the subject have no problems giving easy to understand, straightforward knowledge rather than nay saying and waffling.

just about to return your pm as there are one or two details i'm a bit unsure of but was taking the time to think about them so i won't be asking silly questions.

incidentally one or two others also pm'd me which i also appreciate, but husky has seen the goods (or bads) and been very helpful


10:53 am on Sep 10, 2010 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Incidentally, I think I should add that I've just looked at google analytics which I registered to yesterday and:

1. I started here 19th July
2. I did get the forum from our site removed (maybe prematurely but it was before I found this forum)
3. Since being here I've registered with about 20 free business directories.
4. The graph of site views has been 0 since August 10th (before I was here) and was 119 views yesterday

I'd like to add that I think I'm really going to enjoy this (although expect it to be equally as heartbreaking at times). There is no spoon Neo!


3:17 pm on Sep 10, 2010 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Also for an example of how technical it can get - read the posts about the image hijacking - just to get a feel for how complex this whole arena can be. It's under google seo news and discussion. It's not just adwords, or content, or coding... as I am sure you are finding out!

Also - do the adwords and the analytics training. Not to get certified, but to just get into the tools.

It has taken me fully three intense years to 'play' adwords and I still consider myself a newbie - its not something you can just set up correctly the first time - there is a learning curve, for sure. The complexities of the interplay between organic and paid are complex too. I think my musical training def. and orchestration definitely help with all of this.



4:34 pm on Sep 10, 2010 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

will do both, ta

although I'm going to stay away from actually doing anything on adwords until I'm a bit more confident

edit: where is the hijacking thread? can't see a search option in this forum


7:39 pm on Sep 10, 2010 (gmt 0)

It's my post here:



8:53 am on Sep 11, 2010 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Welcome James2 - best advice is to read as much as you can. Build your own opinions, but better build good links to your site and see if you can require a budget to test. This can be AdWords or other, but make sure to be keeping track of site goals and keeping a log of what is or is not working. Also, always be aligned with any traditional marketing campaigns that your company is involved with and keep an eye out for particular link opportunities that arise through that.

Arturo Bandini

10:48 pm on Sep 13, 2010 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

It's the link on the top of the page that reads "search".


7:34 pm on Feb 2, 2011 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member

Dont get involved - get another job seriously.
SEO is a joke these days - the goofle ranking algo looks like this

In answer to 3 - One way is when you get shafted by them - you lose positions, revenue, face, confidence, all your hard work is gone to nothing.

Get out before you start - it aint worth it.

im kinda with you on this but heck, you gota do something! i do agree you CAN NOT depend on SEO 100% for your business.

SEO stuff is becoming more and more shots into the dark with only a few basic rules.

SEO guys say yea we'll get you to rank 1st place for "enter term" but it will take 3 months.

you've paid them for 3 months and 3 months later you aren't there, then they bail.
OR you make it...you pay them, and 3 months later you are gone due to their black hat tactics.

its becoming pay to play + try that free SEO stuff in the downtime.


3:31 am on Feb 3, 2011 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member themadscientist is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

Wow, just what have I gotten myself into?

What I'm trying very hard to get myself out of...

My advice is find a way to build sites without SE dependence* and count search traffic as a bonus ... Yes, it's very difficult to do, but if you read back through the update threads here (go back years, like starting with Florida) and read about how many incomes and livelihoods have been lost because of SE dependence I think you'll see I'm trying to give you some solid advice.

I didn't read the whole thread, but skimmed a bit of it ... Those who say don't are giving some pretty good advice IMO, unless you're the overly committed type and have deep pockets or getting into a very small niche market.

Been around for going on 9 years and like I said, I'm trying my best to get out.

* When I say without SE dependence, I mean no SE dependence except ranking for your domain name, not 50%, 70% or even 80% 'search is unnecessary' ... I mean you can live on the site if it doesn't ever rank, except for it's domain name when people type it in.

My best bottom-line advice is:
If you can't do the preceding, keep your day job...


4:04 am on Feb 3, 2011 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member themadscientist is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

Just to add some numbers to my above post...

Here's how tough it is:
Type in a 3 or 4 word phrase you think you want to rank for then look at the number of results ... I talked to someone today who wanted to start a site about something he plays and wanted to get a domain name to make it rank ... When I typed in the 2 word phrase he said it would be about and he saw 488,000,000 results he adjusted his plan.

To have a page in the top 10 of a 1,000,000 result search an 'A' in class isn't even close to good enough... Top 10% (an A) puts you in the top 100,000. Top 1% puts you in the main results, you have a top 1,000 page. Top .01% gets you all the way up to the top 100 pages, but to be in the top 10 for a small 1,000,000 result phrase you have to be in the top .001% (better than 99.999%) of the pages the search engines find...

When you're dealing with that type of situation a slight 'twist of the scoring knob' (from 1.0004 to 1.00047) by a SE can drop you out of the top 20 or 50 easily.

Another thing to keep in mind is you're competing with all of us here (and then some) who happen to work in the same niche... It's not an easy game you're trying to play and the field is already crowed.

No Joke: If you keep going, best of luck, but make sure you've really thought it through, because it's definitely an art and a science and it's probably going to take some time to develop.


12:12 pm on Feb 3, 2011 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Welcome aboard James2!

I am pretty new myself but here are some tips I'd like to share:

1. Learn the basics of in-page SEO - tags (title, h1, strong etc). You have absolute control over it.
2. Build links - get links from other related websites. Don't buy them.
3. Find out what black-hat practices are and avoid them at all cost.
4. Keep yourself updated about the latest changes and tips on SEO. Hanging out on this forum is one of the most recommended one.
5. Know that the SEO landscape is an ever-changing one. What was good advice a year ago could be bad today, or just a waste of time.
6. You might also want to have a fast loading website.

I look at SEO more like a game. Sometimes you don't get the expected result, sometime you do. With enough experience and exercises you'll get to know the system better. You have to be observant. From what I heard, Google uses more than 200 signals for SERP, which makes the probability of scoring on a 'SEO-bug' high. You never know when you might discover that one trick that'll give you magical SEO powers, if you play around with the system good enough. I am sure a lot of SEO experts know some of these tricks but keep it to themselves :) They have to keep themselves ahead of the rest, right?

I am really really new to SEO but I am very optimistic I can score good as a SEO because Google's algo is a system which can be 'hacked'. A complex algo only increases the 'hackability'. Having an old domain name, consistent and well formatted content, links from other related websites would only make the 'hacking' easier.

Google's recent algo update shook my traffic quite a bit. But it's a part of the SEO game, you gotta dance with Google else you'll be out of the game. I will be dancing with Google.

Note: by hacking, I mean old-school hacking, not blackhat tricks and stuff.
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