SEO how much should I expect to pay?

  peedees 23:04 20 Apr 2006

I have a relatively new site
(click here)and would love to get it working for me with regard to the search engines. I've had a little look into the world of SEO and basically have come out with more questions than answers.
First of all - some of my techie friends have tried to convince me that I can do it all myself and that there is no real mystery. I think it might be very difficult and time consuming though. So I've approached a couple of companies: the first put me off with some very serious hard selling. Basically ringing me every day claiming that they'd been done all this work examining the site for the last few days bla bla (It's a small simple site!)and assuring me that my site would be on the first page of Google because they "only deal with page one" . The second company seemed far more reputable but quoted me prices from £5,500!!

Can anyone tell me what would be a sensible way to approach this? I'm not very technical - and as my very small business is now starting to get off the ground, I need to get off the computer a bit too!


  splatter 23:42 20 Apr 2006

Actually get pages listed on the net has never been my strong point, but you could try manually adding it to google: click here

Do, however, note the first paragraph:

"We add and update new sites to our index each time we crawl the web, and we invite you to submit your URL here. We do not add all submitted URLs to our index, and we cannot make any predictions or guarantees about when or if they will appear."

But hey, its a start and it's free.

  Forum Editor 23:49 20 Apr 2006

Pay no money to anyone who tells you (or infers) that they can get your site listed on page one of the Google search returns.........because they can do nothing that you can't do yourself, for free.

The whole business of search engine 'optimisation' is alive with crooks and charlatans, and it's useful to be able to explode a few myths and understand a few facts.

1. You can submit your site to Google, but it's unlikely to make the slightest bit of difference - the vast majority of Google-listed sites have never been submitted.

2. Google listing does not involve a single human being at the Google end - it's all done by software 'robots'.

3. You cannot pay Google to improve your site's listing profile - they don't work that way.

4. Adding metatags to your site will have no beneficial effect on your Google listing, no matter what anyone tells you to the contrary.

5. There's no special secret, mumbo-jumbo code or trick to ensure a high Google listing, and anyone who tells you otherwise is deluding themselves, and you.

6. The one sure way to improve your chances of a high listing - and I've said it many times before here - is to get other sites to link to yours.

Google uses very sophisticated software 'spiders' to crawl the web and look for new sites. The spiders will find your site in their own time, and you'll be listed eventually, but you can load the dice slightly. One of the ways Google's spiders work is by hyperlink-jumping, that is, they jump from site to site using links - and the more links your site has, the better the chances of a spider landing there soon. One will land there eventually anyway, but you'll be visited sooner if you can persuade other sites - preferably ones with a complementary theme or content style - to swap links with you.

The Google page ranking technology is incredibly complex, and doesn't rely simply on counting the links to your site's pages, it ranks them by using a sophisticated voting system which works out how many 'votes' a specific page receives from other pages elsewhere on the internet. It's far too involved to cover in any great detail here, and in any case it isn't necessary for you to understand it in its entirety. Just make sure that your site's navigation works perfectly, and that there are regular updates - even if this just involves changing a few text paragraphs and images every couple of months.

Work really hard to get other webmasters to swap links with you, and make sure that any sites you link to are well-maintained. Do this and you'll see your traffic figures rise, and your Google listing improve.........but don't expect an overnight miracle.

There you are, £5500 saved.

  harristweed 09:24 21 Apr 2006

I have a client who wanted to be number one everywhere. Of course, we all do! Without asking my advise he paid 750 pounds, upfront to an 'Optisation Company'. With a further 750 to pay on results. When he told me what he had done, I told him he was silly and had wasted his money. Six months later he was Number One Everywhere! (and still is), So they are not all crooks. (But they did not do anything I could not have done, if I'd have known all of their techniques).

  peedees 13:47 21 Apr 2006

Thanks for the advice

I think I'll try the DIY route - especially focussing on links - and give it a few months. If it doesn't work I'll look around for someone to help me.

  steve263000 14:15 21 Apr 2006

So far no-one has commented on the actual site itself. I have just had a look at it, and it is nice and clean and easy to navigate. Congratulations. I would say however that the photos could be a bit larger when clicked on, but perhaps that is just me.

Good luck for the future.

  ade.h 14:54 21 Apr 2006

Actually, we did the critique in an earlier thread. click here

I see you've lost the border; shame really, though I can appreciate your reasoning. I still quite like it, but it doesn't have quite enough presence if you see what I mean.

  peedees 16:00 21 Apr 2006

Ade.h I agree with you totally about the not quite enough presence bit. I really liked the border but it just looked too similar to another site :(
I'm still thinking of another way to make it stand out without looking sickly. I'll leave it a while and come back to it.

Steve - thanks for the comments, I wanted to strike a balance between photos being large enough and getting quite a few in a smallish space so people could spot something they like as they quickly browse through. (eg a rose design if they're having a rose theme). If they click on the photo they have thumbnails to larger photos and details so they can see it up close.

  PurplePenny 20:47 21 Apr 2006

I'm with ade.h. It looked better with the border. Without it the content somehow looks adrift because there is so much white. Have you tried using CSS to style the border differently (grooved or inset for instance)?

You really can do the SEO stuff yourself. Take a look at Google's own help files on the subject.

  Forum Editor 22:58 21 Apr 2006

what a difference a small thing like the absence of that border can make.

My advice is to put the border back immediately - the site looked better for it. Penny's suggestion of a grooved or or inset border is right on the money.

  peedees 06:31 22 Apr 2006

Thanks so much for your suggestions. Yes I totally agree that it looked better with the border. I don't have CSS facilities on my WYSIWYG program - at least I don't think so.

I'll see if I can make sure other elements are different and then put the border back. One thing that would make my site diferent would be to have a slightly bigger picture that softly changed showing different card collections on the first page - is the only way to do this by using a flash movie? I have the facility within the program to add a flash movie or java scripts. Or would this just look silly?

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