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SEO: Onward and Upward
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the process of designing a web site to be "search engine friendly." Optimization is necessary to get your website to appear near or at the top of search results "naturally" (free). The higher a site appears in the search results list, the more visitors you will receive from the search engines.

85% of qualified Internet traffic is generated through search engines. 75% of searchers never look further than page 1.
- Georgia Institute of Technology -
Optimization is accomplished through proper layout, page design, and programming code. Effective SEO must also include intelligent utilization of meta tags, keyword density, image tags, as well as overall content and structure of the website. Code & tags are "behind the scenes" and not visible to visitors viewing the site. Once again this is all done in an attempt to get your website to appear at the top of the major search engines "naturally" when search words and terms pertaining to your business are entered into a search.

SEM: Reserve Room at the Top
Another option to SEO (natural inclusion) is Search Engine Marketing (SEM) which is paid inclusion or "Pay Per Click."

SEM or Pay Per Click works much the same way SEO works in that "keywords" are utilized to determine how close to the top of the search engine results list your site appears. The difference is, programming code and tags within your pages are not important with Pay Per Click because you tell the search engine,

"whenever certain words or phrases are entered in a search, I want a link to my website to appear at the top of the list."

For that VIP placement you will pay $x.xx every time someone clicks on the link. How much you pay is based on a bid system. If someone else bids more for the same words and terms their link will appear ahead of yours in the search engine results list, as demonstrated in the graphic below.

The graphic above shows a search for "pig roasts albany ny", the first two results are Pay Per Click results. The first listing (On-Site Pig Roasts) bid more than the listing under it (Pig roast) to be number one. You can recognize a Pay Per Click ad by the shading around it. Low bid Pay Per Click ads do not appear at the top of the list like the high bidders but in the right margin of the results list page (not shown in this graphic).

The free (natural)results list in the graphic above shows our client, Top Shelf Catering, an Albany NY caterer well known for catering pig roasts in the area listed first. This result is an example of a website designed properly and diligently with SEO as a focus.

Design With a Focus
Because every website we build is constructed with an eye focused on SEO from the ground up, with minimal tweaking after launch, your site should show very well in search engine result lists.

Once a website is submitted to the search engines for spidering ( this is the equivalent of saying "hey come on over and see our place and remember us"), it usually takes 4 to 8 weeks for the site to begin to show up in the results list.

If a client is looking for instant search results we suggest short term SEM until the natural positioning for your site can be determined.

No One Can Guarantee a #1 Ranking
While no one can guarantee a prime location for natural listings on any of the search engines, proper, diligent and prudent web design can greatly improve the chances of acceptable list positioning. Beware of SEOs that claim to guarantee rankings, allege a "special relationship" with Google, or advertise a "priority submit" to Google. There is no priority submit for any of the major search engines.

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