Once, when businesses wanted to reach new customers, they would purchase ad space in the local papers, on the radio or on television. But let’s be honest, traditional marketing like billboards or the Yellow Pages are dying and we all know that. Nowadays, marketing is all about the Internet and getting found online. A website is like a permanent advertisement with relatively low maintenance fees and a potential audience of millions. In fact, the Web is such a powerful tool that many businesses exist entirely online. If you have yet to expand into this domain, it’s time to begin. The process is simple, though success is not guaranteed. Anyone can start up a website, but getting it noticed is a more challenging proposition.
Most Web traffic comes from search engines such as Google. A person types in a string of keywords, and the search engine returns a list of websites that it believes match the query. Search engine optimization, or SEO, is the process of improving a website’s visibility and helping search engines determine where it should come up in the rankings, ideally as high as possible of course in order to get the most potential traffic available. This includes careful keyword placement within Web content, building strong back-links from other respected websites and adding appropriate HTML tags. Clumsy or unethical optimization, however, does far more harm than good.
SEO is a constantly changing field with a steep learning curve that most business owners don’t have time to study in-depth. Because of this, hiring an SEO consultant firm is a common and sensible practice. The trick is to wade through all of the pretenders and find a true professional. Besides wanting to spend your advertising budget as carefully as possible, SEO done poorly will leave you in a worse position than you started in and force you to waste more money digging yourself back out.
Look for someone with experience and the ability to work beyond shallow catch-phrases. He or she should have a comprehensive analytic system to measure performance and make changes as needed. Decide whether you want SEO help as a one-time, getting-started measure or routine small updates. Also watch for firms following old and outdated practices like article spinning software and keyword stuffing. Remember that anyone on the Internet can pretend to be an expert. The only truth lies in proven results.
The next major consideration is whether to hire a large or small firm. The big SEO businesses with multiple agents and high-profile clients typically have plenty of experience, more connections and may be able to offer discounts for larger jobs. On the other hand, your business may not be their first priority, and they are more likely to follow an SEO strategy that is not tailored to your specific needs. Smaller SEO firms, made up of one or more experts, provide a personalized experience and greater accessibility. SEO consultant Paul Teitelman follows this philosophy of customer service combined with extensive knowledge of the field.
Most importantly, remember that SEO is a game of patience. For faster results, turn to other marketing strategies like advertising and promotions in your community. In the long run, however, SEO is the most cost-effective way to bring your business to the waiting masses.
The key questions to think about when evaluating any SEO consultant or internet marketing firm include but are not limited too:
– How many years of experience do they have?
– Do they have agency experience in handling lots of top brands and hundreds of clients across different niches?
– Do they have in-house experience as well working solely and more thoroughly on one client?
– What is the most competitive keywords or clients they’ve handled?
– WHERE DOES THEIR SITE RANK for their major keywords?
– Do they send monthly keyword ranking reports and monthly link building reports?
– Do you get to talk to the person actually doing SEO and link building or are you talking to a pushy sales person or account manager whose never even done any link building at all?
– Can they provide client testimonials and contacts for referrals?
– Do they invest in quality content for your SEO campaign?
If you have any doubts about any of the questions above then you should definitely reach out and give me a call to discuss!