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SEO 101

SEO 101

SEO 101

August 24, 2010 by

We build a lot of websites and after we launch the website, typically the next questions are:

  • I couldn't find us in the search engines. Why?
  • I couldn't find our website searching our name. Why?
  • I couldn't find us searching "XYZ Keywords" or "XYZ Phrase". Why?
  • Why are we not on the first page for "XYZ Phrase"?
  • Can you get us on the first page in the search engines?

These are perfectly NORMAL questions and the answers are not simple. I wrote this article so our current customers and potential customers could understand why this happens and what you can do about it to make your website rank better and ultimately make more sales.

Rest assured, with 3plains you have found the right company to help you and your website. We are ethical, honest, professional and have been building and optimizing websites for years.


Search Engine Optimization or "SEO" as it's often called is a group of related tasks that are done to help your website become more relevant in the eyes of a search engine like Google or Yahoo.  It is an ongoing process that takes time and effort and it is one of the best investments you can make for your business with your marketing dollars.

The problem. SEO is a process that takes time. It can take 6-9 months for search engines to honor the optimizations being done to your site, and start showing results. SEO and Internet Marketing are just like building a brick and mortar business... they take time and the best results are never instantaneous. Building a great looking website is only the first step, and design alone, doesn’t often open the floodgates with sales.

SEO is often about making small modifications to parts of your website. When viewed individually, these changes might seem like incremental improvements, but when combined with other optimizations and of course time, they could have a very noticeable impact on your website's user experience and performance in organic search results.

Search engine optimization can be complicated and hard to understand, but don't worry if it doesn't make sense when you first get started. Working with a company you trust to help you with SEO, and helping them to understand your business can go a long way to making your website rank better.  If you don’t trust your SEO expert then take a step back and ask them questions.  Search enging optimization isn’t a secret, nor is it something that you can turn on or off like a switch.  Its the collection of small ongoing processes to modify and expand your website in ways that enhance your the site’s relevance.


Search engine optimization affects only organic search results, not paid or "sponsored" results, such as Google AdWords, PPC, or 'Pay Per Click'. Reference the image below...

Most of the world wide web’s users are used to overlooking sponsored paid links at the top and to the right of the organic search results.?The website pages ranking in the "organic" search results receive the lion's share of searcher eyeballs and clicks - between 60-70%, depending on factors such as the prominence of ads,  and the relevance of secondary content, etc.

Optimizing to have your website show up in the paid search results is called Search Engine Marketing (SEM) or Search Engine Placement, and while all of these practices are a valuable part of any online marketing campaign, they are beyond the scope of this article. Again our focus remains on the 60 - 70% view / click share of "organic" SEO results since these are more qualified buyers and are a far cheaper cost. Read on...


Online companies have been selling Google AdWords pretty hard over the phone and email lately and it made me want to add a bit about it so you can understand what you are getting for the price and the value of what you actually get.

The AdWords circled in red as noted in the graphic are Paid Google AdWords. This is what AdWord Professionals are selling to you the consumer. You pay them to run your AdWords campaign. It's that simple.

However, some of the "Google Adword professionals" or "Google Certified Adwriters" can make you think that you will be appearing #1 in the organic results. This may or may not be by design. I'm not beating up on the AdWord salesmen, but you as the consumer need to be aware of what you are getting and what it actually costs and what the value is.

Some quick terms and vocabulary before we dig into the value of paid Adwords.

PPC is often referred to as:

  • Pay Per Click
  • AdWords
  • Google AdWords
  • Google Advertising
  • Search Engine Positioning (SEP)
  • Search Engine Placement
  • Paid Search Engine Traffic
  • Paid Placement

SEO is often referred to as:

  • Organic Results
  • Organic SEO
  • Search Engine Optimization
  • Search Engine Marketing
  • Organic Search Engine Optimization
  • Natural Search Engine Traffic
  • Natural Results


I hear a lot of AdWord sales professionals touting how great their services are and how great AdWords/PPC is for your business and how being #1 is important. I will agree to a certain degree, but there are a SEVERAL key distinctions that need to be made between Search Engine Optmization and Pay Per Click advertising.

In the article below by SEOMoves.com, it breaks down how much you actually spend on each click with SEO vs. PPC. Please read this article as it's very important to your business and understanding revenue comparisons of each model/service. They do a good job breaking down each and the value.

Here are the key points in the article:

  • 80% of the traffic comes from the natural/organic search engine traffic
  • A PPC visitor costs .44 each
  • A SEO visitor costs .01 each

Conclusion: .44 vs .01? It's a no brainer.


If you are one of our valued customers, then more than likely you found us through one of the search engines. We were probably at or near the top of the organic search results for something you typed into a search engine. We are a professional Search Engine Optimization Company (or known as a SEO Company) utilizing the same processes for our own website as we would for yours.

Building a good looking and solid functioning website is only one piece of the puzzle. With literally tens of millions of websites out there on the world wide web, SEO is the single most useful way to put your website in front of people who are looking for just what you've got. Its what we've built our business on, and we are going to take the same model we use as a company and use it for your you:

1. Lead (Email/Phone) - Potential customer calls you on phone or fills out your contact form.
2. You talk to person, email or call them back.
3. Customer has information, decides on making purchase
4. Customer makes purchase

SEO will ultimately make more targeted sales than other marketing channels because you will rank higher, which puts your website in front of that many more people.


1. We wanted to rank well organically for the phrase "South Dakota pheasant hunting" for a customer. The challenge? There are thousands of pheasant hunting farms and guides in South Dakota and new ones popping up every day. Realistically, with the competition in South Dakota for pheasant hunting, customers should expect to pay more for this phrase since it's in exteremly high demand and it's extremely difficult to rank for that phrase because of the increased competition. We shot for getting into the top 5 for this client, because we have a high saturation of long-tail search phrases ranking as well (long tail SEO will be discussed later).  Hitting number 3 was a phenomenal result for this SEO campaign. Click on the photo for a live search:

2. A customer wanted to rank well organically for the phrase "Mexico duck hunting". The result? #1 ranking for Mexico duck hunting. Click on the photo for a live search:


What labor do SEO companies like 3plains perform for your money when they work on your website?

There are 2 major things to consider when SEO companies perform labor. They will be performing optimization for your website on the site itself (On-Page or On-Site) and through how it connects to the rest of the web. ("Off-Page" or "Off-Site").

You can only do so many SEO things "On-Site" before the return on investment dwindles. You should be aware that there is more to real SEO than changing content on your website, though its an important first step, and one that shouldn't be overlooked.

1. Examples of "On-Page" or "On-Site" Optimization would be:

  • code to text ratio
  • meta data optimization
  • title tag optimization
  • heading
  • content development
  • copywriting
  • website content segmentation
  • internal linking
  • site architecture optimization
  • Google sitemap creation
  • Google XML sitemap feed

2. Examples of "Off-Page" or "Off-Site" Optimization would be:

  • PR campaigns
  • link building
  • link baiting
  • article submission
  • link partnerships
  • advertising
  • directory submission
  • industry related directory submission
  • DMOZ submission
  • Local Business Optimization

Additional Optimization Areas:

  • Initial Keyword Ranking Analysis
  • Initial link Popularity Analysis
  • SEO Consultation
  • Keyword Research, Analysis and Selection
  • Website Competition Analysis
  • Google Analytics Follow Up
  • Social Media Account Creation on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn
  • Monthly Reporting of Keyword Ranking and Positioning
  • Monthly Reporting on Link Popularity

** If you would like to learn more about any of these services or have questions, please call or email us.


Click on the below graph for a detailed photo.


It should be! There are a variety of places you can spend your money on marketing and advertising these days. Please don't forget SEO and internet marketing.

  • Magazines
  • Newspapers
  • Trade publications
  • Radio
  • TV
  • Direct Mail
  • Point of sale
  • Internet Advertising
  • Lead Generation
  • Pay Per Click Advertising
  • Organic Search Engine Optimization

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) - Internet Marketing is becoming a more popular alternative to traditional advertising like newspapers, magazines, radio, and TV. I have spoke with people with several small business owners and a large percentage don't even know that SEO exists and that SEO can be a great investment!

Low Publication Expense - This is perhaps the biggest advantage of the Internet. There are no paper costs, no postage costs, no mailing lists to maintain or print. When you compare the annual cost of your web site to other advertising media, such as yellow pages or newspaper, the difference is staggering. Considering the millions of people worldwide who have access to the Internet, cost per exposure is extremely low.

Greater Exposure - Your company story will reach an audience of over 70 million plus, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.


A common measurement-tracking tool is the cost per marketing impression. A marketing impression is defined as the single instance of an advertisement being displayed. Therefore, the cost per impression is how much money a company spends to display an advertisement to each potential customer.

Starting with the cost per impression, businesses also track and calculate leads, sales and even conversion statistics. From here, successful marketers are able to form effective marketing strategies to allocate money towards the tactics that are producing the best results.

To develop an effective marketing strategy it is important to review all traditional and online marketing options and how they compare with cost per impression to ensure that the tactics selected will produce the highest return on investment (ROI).

Here is a breakdown of traditional marketing tactics of television, print and radio advertising, their benefits and shortfalls, as well as examples of costs per impression for each medium.

Print advertising includes both newspaper and magazine advertising and it is appealing to marketers because print ads are relatively inexpensive to produce and they can also be changed or replaced quickly, especially with newspaper advertising. However, with more and more people now accessing their reading material online, print advertising offers an increasingly limited audience. Also, it can sometimes be difficult to guarantee specific placement in a publication without paying a premium price. Despite these drawbacks, print advertising is still widely popular and an integral part of most business’ marketing. But how does it compare in cost to SEO or online marketing? Just to give an example, a 1/2-page ad in Pheasant Forever magazine (5 issues per year) costs $3,700.00 and reaches 253,000 people. This calculates to $0.015 per impression.

Compared to the examples print marketing tactics outlined above, online marketing with SEO can produce a lower cost per impression. More importantly, prospects that view SEO results are much more targeted than those of traditional marketing tactics. Based on our client's benchmark performance and average impressions of 100,000 per month (1,200,000 a year), a monthly investment of $350 ($4200 a year) for SEO calculates to only $0.0035 per impression. -- Source: Hubpages.com

On top of all of this compelling data, the #1 reason why SEO is better than other advertising is because SEO targets visitors to your website who are specifically searching for your product vs. passive lookers that see your ad in a traditional publication. Hands down you should be spending the bulk of your Advertising and Marketing dollars on SEO.


If you get promised the world from an SEO company, especially before they consult with you and learn about your business, they probably aren't very good. Some SEO companies are more technical in their approach than others, and some companies are more focused on SEM than organic results. At 3plains, we learn about you and your business and attempt to tailor each SEO campaign a bit differently based on what you're trying to achieve.

Again, 3plains is ethical, honest, professional and has been building and optimizing websites for years. As the web continues to grow you will no doubt be adding SEO to your advertising budget eventually. You might as well get it done right the first time by a company that knows what they're doing.  We would love to earn your trust, and show you just what a good targeted SEO campaign can do for your website rankings and your business as a whole.


Should you invest money in SEO? Yes, hands down. The only question is when and how much? Since each SEO package is customized and each campaign is a little different, it's hard to put an exact value on each campaign (Per article, per link, etc.).

3plains can work within any budget. SEO takes time, and man hours to achieve. We perform SEO campaigns and SEO consulting per hour, monthly, quarterly, as needed, or as a package. Our package prices are discounted 33% off of our hourly SEO rate.

Standard Packages Prices: 

Our SEO packages include a good mix of on-page and off-page SEO techniques (read above in What Do SEO Companies Do?). We will determine on a case by case basis what you need more of when we look at your website and how your website ranks in the search engines.

It's important to note that SEO is NOT web design. SEO is a completely different professional service and should be part of your Advertising and Marketing budget.


1. We will work to understand what is your ideal customer.
2. We will tailor your website keywords and phrases to draw that type of customer into your website through keyword research.
3. We will provide on and off page SEO hours based upon the SEO package you select

What we need from you is commitment to SEO, and the package you've selected based upon what you can afford to spend.


There is no magic to SEO. It's hard work, takes time and as a customer you need to be patient, but also informed. If you recognize this, trust us, listen and collaborate with us, you will ultimately win customers and sales through SEO. Plain and simple, it works.

Posted in: SEO / SEM

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