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Businesses hoping to succeed in the modern world must pour their energies into the Internet. With passing trade moving off the high street and heading online, companies need to have a good online marketing plan. And while business owners may be experts in their own fields, drawing in online business is a complex art involving a range of factors; one of the most important is search engine optimization (SEO).

What is SEO?

SEO is the art of improving your company’s website ranking with large search engines such as Google and Yahoo. Anyone can create a website, but it takes a skilled SEO expert to create a website that ranks highly in organic Internet searches and therefore draws in new customers. For this reason, business owners may wish to look into employing the services of one of many specialist SEO companies.

When Do Businesses Need SEO Help?

Companies specializing in SEO can work with businesses at any stage of their website development. It's advisable to have an advisor on board from the website creation stage as this makes the process smoother, allowing for elements of SEO to be incorporated into all aspects of the site, from the site structure to content and links.

What Do SEO Consultants Do?

SEO companies will identify target market that a business is hoping to connect with. They'll look at the products or services that a company offers and research the way in which Internet users currently access similar stock and services. This research will usually lead to a number of “keywords” – words that internet users type into search engines when seeking the products or services offered. The keywords are vital to the quest for a higher organic search engine ranking and provide the starting-point for all subsequent services offered.

How SEO Companies Use Keywords for Link Building

A big determining factor in most search engine rankings is the number of relevant inbound links existing elsewhere on the Internet. Using the keywords that were thrown up in the research stage of their work, SEO businesses put together a link-building plan to increase the number of relevant inbound links to a site.

SEO professionals do this in a number of ways. One is to use a range of their own or third-party-owned blogs to increase relevant inbound links. As blogs are often in niche fields, good consultants will put together a link-building campaign using blogs in relevant fields to post articles created by skilled writers using the necessary keyword as anchor text. This will be picked up by trawling search engine bots as a relevant inbound link. This approach is a popular one, as using niche blogs for link building not only offers an increase in inbound links, but can also help to drive organic traffic to the site itself, thus increasing traffic, which in turn will have a positive effect on search engine rankings.

While it’s possible for companies to attempt to optimize their own websites, it’s usually helpful to bring in an outside expert in order to attain the best results. To choose an SEO company, request quotes from a number of providers. It’s a good idea to opt for a company that appears high in search engine results – a sure sign that they’re able to deliver what they’re promising. Using a page rank checker can help ascertain the performance of their own site.