Very difficult if you don’t know what you’re doing, is the answer. Because of the high amount of competition online, many websites don’t manage to get very high up the search engine rankings pages. For this reason, most websites employ varying search engine optimisation (SEO) techniques, which are designed to increase their exposure to search engine spiders. This might include writing content for the website, which includes certain keywords and phrases designed for search engine spiders to read and match to words typed in by searching users. This also includes link building and sharing links between other websites in an effort to direct traffic towards the website. While these techniques can be employed and put into practise by people within the company, many choose to employ a specialist SEO company to handle an SEO campaign – the people that work in these companies are fully trained and highly knowledgeable, probably more so than anyone who claims to understand and be able to implement SEO at your own company.
However, because SEO has become widely known as a way of increasing traffic and, subsequently, sales, many companies have taken advantage of it and there is a current over-saturation of SEO on the internet. Some companies litter their content with keywords so, while their traffic will be high, their website will actually be of poor quality, as opposed to a company that hasn’t spent much on SEO but does have a very good site in terms of image and content. For this reason, search engine giant Google (as well as a couple of others) is starting to introduce over-optimisation penalties (as confirmed by the company’s Head of Webspam, Matt Cutts, in a panel at the SXSW festival in Texas recently) which aim to level the playing field. This will not affect those that use SEO correctly, only those that are unfairly abusing the technique and taking traffic away from those that aren’t.
Therefore, if you’re intending to employ an SEO company to implement and manage an SEO campaign on your behalf, make sure that they use “white hat” as opposed to “black hat” techniques to get your company up search engine rankings. Otherwise, Google’s new penalties may see your company’s website plummet in the opposite direction to the land of Results Page 21, where nobody ever goes.