1. Do you use black hat or white hat seo strategies?

There is much talk on the Internet where SEO experts or consultants declare that their SEO strategies are pure “white hat”. In reality, what they are saying is that their SEO strategies do not flout the search engines’ present guidelines. In contrast, “black hat” SEO techniques are unethical methods when employed, violate existing guidelines and can potentially result in a website being delisted from the search engines’ index.  Truth is, most SEO strategies fall within the area of what is commonly known as “grey hat” SEO. While “grey hat” strategies do not explicitly flout Google’s guidelines, they nonetheless enlist methods that over time might be classified as “black hat” methods when Google changes its algorithms and guidelines.

A case in point is directory submission. We need to understand that Google count backlinks as one of the most important parameters in determining a website’s reputation. So, the more backlinks a website has, especially when they come from reputable sources, supposedly the better the reputation a website has. So, for a time, the more links a website has from directories, the better a website ranks.  As things go, impatient, fly-by-night SEO marketers created lots of useless directories for the sole purpose of spamming their own index so as to create this huge phalanx of links back to their websites. It did work initially, but when Google changed its algorithm, these websites drop out of their favored positions and thus getting a massive number of backlinks from directories came to be known as a “black hat” SEO strategy.

Seocology’s approach to SEO is different. We do not define our strategies by the generics of “white hat”, “grey hat” or “black hat” strategies. Rather, we are only interested in promoting your website in an ethical and responsible manner so as to help search engines return the most relevant content for the keywords people search for. That way, you can be certain that your website will not only rank well for the keywords you are targeting, your website will also not be penalized by search engines for any violation of their guidelines on search engine optimization.

2. How long does it take to optimize a website?

Generally, it takes no more than 4 months to optimize your website to rank for keywords that you want to rank for. However, much depends on how popular that keyword is. Obviously, the more popular the keyword is, the more difficult it is to rank it for. When you first engage us to optimize your website, we will do an analysis of your website and the keywords. Based on the results of our research, we will notify you in advance if a particular keyword requires additional time to optimize.

3. Which search engines would you optimize my website for?

As Google is the dominant search engine in the world (presently an 80% market share), we will just focus on that. The other search engines will pick up on it eventually. Having said that, we will optimize your website for your country-specific Google search. For example, if your primary target audience is in Singapore, we will optimize your website for ranking in google.com.sg. Or, if you are based in New Zealand, and you want to focus on the NZ web users, then we will optimize your website accordingly for google.co.nz. The purpose of this is two-fold. Firstly, when you type google.com, in most instances, you will be redirected to your local Google search. And for generic search terms that you key in, whenever relevant, Google will return country-level results first. Secondly, targeting your local Google search results in improving your website’s ranking significantly.

4. Does it matter where I host my website?

Generally yes. Take for example, if you are a business based in Singapore and you are targeting Singapore web users, then hosting your website in Singapore will definitely be advantageous. As Google wants to return results that it deems most relevant to a search, where you host  your website matters. Additionally, having a country-level domain name will further help in propelling your website to better ranking.

For example, if you are a winery in New Zealand, it will be very helpful if you have a website with a domain ending in “.co.nz”  and that is hosted in New Zealand. That way, it is easier to rank for generic search terms in Google. Say if the search term you are targeting is “winery”, because you have a domain ending in “.co.nz” and your website is already hosted in New Zealand, there is no need to optimize your website for the search term, “New Zealand Winery”. However, if you are also targeting an international audience, then it will be good to add the words “New Zealand” to the search terms you are focusing on.

5. Some people say it is best to focus on long-tail keywords and not on generic keywords. Is that true?

The concept of focusing on long-tail keywords is that you want to focus on returning results for a niche market of buyers who are searching for something specific.  However, if you are targeting a web user who’s just shopping and not knowing exactly what he wants, then optimizing your website for generic search terms is important. Supposing you’re a florist and you want to target a person who’s just shopping around for any flowers, then the search term you would want to optimize for is perhaps “flowers online”. On the other hand, if you are focusing on a man who is specifically looking to buy flowers for his wife on their wedding anniversary, then the long-tail keywords you should optimize your website for is perhaps “flowers for wedding anniversary”.

All things considered, we feel it best to first focus on generic search terms especially if this is your first attempt at seo. The reason is simple: you would want to capture as much traffic as possible for generic (broad) search terms in the short-run. On the other hand, after you have successfully ranked well for generic search terms, you might like to work on optimizing your website to rank for long tail search terms for deep linking into the inner pages of your website.

6. What kind of results can I expect if I engage your seo services?

When we sign you up as our customer, we will ask you to submit a number of keywords, depending on the level of service you want from us. Or, if you like, we can suggest to you a number of keywords that we think is relevant to your business. When you have finalised your decision, we will begin work on your keywords. It will take up to 4 or 5 months to significantly improve the ranking of your website. We call this the “optimization period”. With our long term SEO strategies, you can expect a vast improvement in your website’s ranking in search engines.