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Brian Carter, MS, LAc, Acupuncturist, herbalist, and author

Brian B. Carter, MS

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Expert
Brian Carter, M.S.

Brian Carter has designed nearly a dozen websites for himself and others, but more importantly, has brought more than half a million visitors to these sites since 1999- more than 20,000 per month in 2005, and, in some months, turned this traffic into more than $20,000. Recently, more and more people have turned to him for search engine optimization (SEO) advice, so he has devoted a limited number of hours per week to consulting.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Frequently Asked Questions

Why would anyone hire a SEO expert? I realize your site "may" appear in the top 10 on a search engine, but you can do that faster and easier with "pay as you go" services such as Adwords?

The ROI for natural listings is much much better than for PPC advertising. Cost per Acquisition for a PPC conversion costs us about 100 times more than a conversion from natural listings. This takes into account all SEO costs and website costs, hosting, several peoples salaries salary, and other fees. SEO is much cheaper in the long run.

SEO is also a long term solution whereas PPC is an instant return investment. For people not looking for a get rich quick practice, SEO is the best way to go.

I don't really support hiring SEO's unless you know that they are worth the money, but I do support SEO itself. Too many people have gotten scammed by so called SEO Experts, and unfortunately the bad ones are ruining the reputation for all SEO's.

If you think that adwords will in any way help you get better SE rankings then you are on the wrong side of the moon and should hire an SEO. If you ever want to achieve real SE rankings and not have to depend on the corrupt adwords programs which have an ever increasing fraud rate with fake click throughs... then website optimization is imperative and backlinks are mandatory. If you think wasting $100+ with google every month is a real future then you are likely throwing money in a hole.

A Good SEO will give you better ROI than PPC. A seo'er will target the core keyphrases while allowing the surfer to add combinations on their own and still having you ranking well.

I think the question should have been why would a SEO work for other people? When you have skills, there are many ways to make money without having any clients.

So why do you do SEO work for others?

I've been running my own websites and creating content for them, organizing others to create content for them for 6 years now- I've gone about 10 miles down a fascinating road that most of the world has never heard of. But the further you get down there, the harder it is to get to that next level of achievement, and the less reward there is for it. On the other hand, helping others get started down the first few miles is easy, fun, and I like working with people and the challenge of using my skills and experience to think through their business's particular problems.

Sure everyone should make sure you have meta tags that describe their content but do you really need a SEO expert to do this?

Web site optimization is more than sprinkling around a few meta tags and waving a magic wand - a good optimizer is worth their weight in gold. They match your business pla,n understand your products & services, effectively communicate to your target markets, analyze the competition, etc.

How do the costs of SEO compare to the costs of PPC?

Using search engine optimization is much cheaper than ppc or other forms of advertising IF it is done correctly... SEO done correctly will bring in more revenue since there isn't an ongoing budget like there is with PPC.

Some PPC campaigns can easily cost $100 a day. If you spent $3,000 on a strong SEO campaign, in as little as three months time it is extreamly possible that you would save $6,000.

SEO - $3,000
PPC - $100 Day X 90 Days = 9,000

Even if the PPC cost was $50 day....

You would still save $1,500

SEO - $3,000
PPC - $50 Day X 90 Days = 4,500

Given that search engines change their criteria, is PPC better?

If you invest in your website properly it creates a revenue stream that is ongoing with little maintenance or re-investment required. Sure, there may be ebbs and flows over the years and that is when you may consider stepping up a PPC campaign or supplementing the work. But over-time most good search engines get over their glitches and reward good solid content rich websites that don't try to game them.

Isn't SEO a theoretical gamble with no way to prove that it worked? The lag time between the "SEO" and the supposed result from it is too lengthy.

This isn't true. It is true that the changes you make to optimize a website can take weeks or months to show- it takes the search engines time to update, then time until people find you and link to you, then more time til your ranking increases again... but if you look at a several month period of traffic before SEO, and after, you should see a more or less flat line becoming a steady slope upwards. Also, you'll see more traffic from your new targeted keyphrases, and this traffic is usually much bigger than the traffic you got from your old 'accidental' keyphrases.

Don't you have more control with PPC because it's "pay as you go"?

You could also call it "pay forever".

This is the same reason landlords hope nobody ever buys a house.

Would you rather rent or own?

And would the engines rather you "rent or own"?

Is it one or the other? Can't I do both PPC and SEO?

I would much rather have the top natural (SEO) listing plus the top Adwords listing. Combining PPC with SEO can be an extremely powerful force. The problem is you can't always rely on staying at the top of the natural listings. You can however stay at the top of your PPC campaigns - providing you're am willing to pay for it.

This is another entity, and you should learn more about PPC... obviously, if you don't keep track of your conversion rate compared to clicks and cost per click, you'll spend more than you make on a sale. That's branding, not making a profit on every click.

SEO clicks, on the other hand, cost only the original SEO investment... so your cost per click for them decreases over time, whereas ppc costs will probably continue to climb.

How many visitors do you get for PPC and SEO?

A well positioned and written ppc such as adwords will return some 2% - 3% of users who access the page that it appears on.

A site that is SEO listed No1 with a decent title and displayed description will capture over 25% of searchers, pages that are listed 2nd and lower will get 10% or thereabouts.

Therefore, a good SEO keyphrase will gain 10 times more visitors / customers than a good ppc.

What about bogus SEO- are there shysters in the biz?

There are so many bogus SEO's that do nothing more than edit meta-tags and do submissions services to 1000's of search engines.

Meta tags are perhaps only 20% of the solution (though worth doing because they make you focus your pages). Submission is important for newer sites, or sites that never were submitted to the main engines in the first place, or have few links in to them... but submission is not the key it was even a year ago because SE's now spider websites independently.

If those are the only two things your contractor does, that's not really SEO, and it will only get you 25% of the way to true SEO.

What kind of profits can you see from SEO?

One real estate professional uses SEO and PPC both. He spends $2000 a year and averages $5000 from each sale. He makes three times what he did when, like most real estate people, he was spending about $2000 a month to generate his leads.

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All information herein provided is for educational use only and not meant to substitute for the advice of appropriate local experts and authorities.

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