Search engine marketing has been Stanford’s primary professional focus for the last several years with an emphasis on search engine optimization. Fascinated by SEO since 1995, he achieved high search engine position for his own sites, those of his employers, and for for clients. He has had articles published, lectured at universities, and presented in seminars.

Stan can help you plan, architect, design, implement your search engine strategy and monitor and improve results. He is putting what he has learned on his new website, Search Engine Marketing Today which includes SEO articles and a forum on which you can ask questions.

1) Tell me about Straight-On Consulting. What is a typical client engagement for you?
A prospect calls Straight-On and tells us that he/she has been referred to us or found our site via search engines. They launched their new site but are not getting high placement of the organic search engines or much traffic. The want us to optimize it for high placement on the search engines.

In many cases their sites are woefully unprepared to succeed in the search engine wars. This includes on-site issues like inadequate content, poor choice of keywords, ineffective optimization, and off-site issues like few incoming links. We start by developing a mutual understanding of high-level issues like branding, positioning, messages, and goals. Then we structure the Website to support them. We develop a multi-page strategy for delivering important, keyword-laden messages in the concentrated form noticed by search engines and understood by people.

We build a good technical foundation for search engine optimization dealing with site maps, links, link names, image ALT tags, heads, and on-page visible text. Online keyword research is done to choose the phrases most likely to achieve high position, draw as many targeted visitors as possible, and compel them to act.

Then we use our experience to author visible and invisible content. We test pages with professional search engine optimization software to verify that it is likely to do well with search engines. We take before and after “pictures” of site traffic, and search engine results position.

We regularly achieve high position on search engines for the terms we use in optimization, increase traffic, and help our clients achieve business goals for their sites.

2) In a typical campaign, do you tend to focus more on on-page factors or off-page factors (e.g. linkbuilding).
Both on-page factors and off-page factors are very important in achieving high position and traffic, but we learn towards emphasizing on-page factors. We also stress the importance of including content or tools on the site which merit incoming links, and will draw them. While we don’t do many link-building campaigns, we advise our clients to seek links from high-quality sites which relate to their site, stressing the importance of blogs, forums, business partners, and directories. We are always open to working with other professionals who specialize in link building.

3) How can a small business compete online against bigger, better funded competitors?
A small company can be smart about using search engine optimization, good Web design, and other internet resources to their advantage. They can turn the simplicity of their business into an advantage by focusing on simple, clear, and strong messages that can win with search engines and with customers. They can get more bang for their marketing bucks by working with a company like Straight-On.

Straight-On competes by sticking to our core competency, which is search engine optimization for data-driven sites, content management systems, ecommerce systems and ordinary HTML information Websites. Even if a project is not huge, our clients know that their business means a lot to us and we will work hard for them. We don’t have to feed a full time staff, but through associates, we bring all of the talent necessary for success, at a reasonable price, and have stood behind our work for over a decade.

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