BHM SEO in Birmingham News

On Tuesday Birmingham SEO owner Chris Estes was quoted in the Birmingham News. In an article about area firms helping local Birmingham Business’s with Internet marketing. You can see the article at with title: “Area firms help sites on the Web get noticed Sites tweaked so search engines can find them”

Area firms help sites on the Web get noticed Sites tweaked so search engines can find them

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

News staff writer

Twelve years ago, Alli Denning was the marketing director for a Connecticut commercial real estate firm offering to lease apartments to college students.

“We had all these folks coming to Yale from all over the world, and we thought, wouldn’t it be cool to use our Web site,” she remembered.

A lot of companies had that idea then, but it was a different World Wide Web in those days. Google didn’t yet exist. Search engines such as Yahoo, AltaVista and Infoseek were where surfers went to find information.

“I started looking into it, got fascinated, took some courses, and I was off,” Denning said. “And still if you go online and put in New Haven apartments, that site comes up.”

Denning now lives in Mountain Brook and offers her service — search engine optimization — from her home, as well as web design. Many Birmingham-area firms also offer optimization as part of Internet marketing services, some of them one-person companies.

Having a Web site is now considered an essential marketing tool for virtually any business. But getting your site noticed is a challenge, with the Internet now used for everything from family picture sites to blogs to porn.

Search engines are the main way Internet users find sites without knowing specific addresses. The engines themselves run on algorithmic computer programs called spiders, or web crawlers. The programs plow through millions of pages on the Internet, pulling data, following links and gathering information that they then send back to the search engine.

“That information sits in a holding pen, until the search engine decides if it’s meaningful information or spam,” Denning said. Google, Denning said, dominates about 70 percent on the search market, largely because it prides itself on sifting through the spam.

The trick then is to convince a search engine — most of the time, Google — that a site has good data.

Chris Estes, a 26-year-old Pleasant Grove native, has run Birmingham SEO Service for the past year, working part-time with clients in the restaurant management and travel industries. Like Denning, he learned the process while working for another company in information technology development. When he moved back to Birmingham, he started his own company.

“So much of a company’s brand and awareness are paid advertising,” Estes said. “What people don’t realize is that search engine optimization is a way to cut your costs while at the same time promoting your brand.”

David Clark, the sales and marketing vice president for Birmingham-based Zeekee Interactive, said big brand names, like Nike, don’t have to worry about optimization. A consumer is going to know their name. The need is with small or medium-sized businesses trying to make a name for themselves.

“A lot of companies put a lot of time and money into their corporate Web site, and then they think that’s it,” Denning said “The really important part is whether or not people can find you online, and then whether or not you can convert them into being a customer.”

There are several ways to do this, through coding and Web site design. Clark said some company Web sites need streamlining in order to be more effective.

“But it’s a balance,” Clark said. “The most search engine friendly sites look the worst because it’s nothing but text. The more text you have on your site pertaining to a search term, the more it helps your search engine rankings.”

Making sure the site is spider friendly and using targeted keywords in the site’s content makes it easier for search engines to accurately index a site. If a site draws visitors or links from other sites, a search engine considers that site to have vital information.

“It’s about how the information is delivered to the eye, the content, the words,” Estes said.

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