When a business finally launches its website it may be startling to discover how little traffic it actually experiences. Many people believe that traditional methods of media advertising, building a beautiful site and having an amazing product or service is enough to get customers. Unfortunately, these steps are no longer enough. When people arrive on the Internet they have to remember they are competing with billions of other websites and standing out from the crowd takes a carefully directed effort. This is why one of the first steps to modern marketing is hiring an SEO expert to help increase traffic and attention to the website.
Companies that provide SEO services are no longer the mystery they once were. Most people understand the concept of what SEO means and why it is important. After all, anyone that uses the Internet will use a search engine eventually. What confuses them is how to use it effectively. There are legitimate reasons for people to feel confused. There are a lot of guidelines and details involved with designing websites to appeal to search engine crawlers. And what the most commonly used search engines seek and what they ignore changes frequently.
- Keywords are no longer the main determining factor for what pages are listed in the returns. It is often user habits and how the search engine decodes the semantic meaning of the search that determines the pages they return.
- Quality is important and lengthier articles now perform better than shorter content that is keyword-stuffed.
- Using unique images is beneficial and often draws more attention from search engines.
- Optimizing a website for mobile users can help to gain the site more attention from search engines and it opens up a larger potential audience for the website.
The frequent changes and the extensive guidelines are why nearly all savvy business owners hire a search engine optimization consultant for their company. Outsourcing this service saves them countless hours of their own time and promises them a better result for the effort. There are many consultant services available, but this does not always make hiring one easier. People need to make certain they are not just hiring someone that calls themselves an SEO consultant, but that they choose a company or individual with the experience and skills to provide results. This is why every entrepreneur should prepare before they make any calls or contact anyone and have a complete list of questions for them to answer.
- Who are your current and previous clients? It is important to know that the SEO company that is chosen is experienced and has already proven their talents. Viewing other websites they work on and talking with other clients about their experience makes it easier to know what to expect.
- Are you aware of search engine guidelines and do you follow them exactly? They must follow search engine guidelines rather than attempt to outsmart them. A ban from Google will not benefit any business. Since these guidelines are consistently changing the consultant must be someone that is careful about remaining current.
- Does your company improve local search results? Most businesses rely on local clients for at least some of their sales and reputation. SEO tactics do not automatically return results locally. The website must be optimized specifically for these searches. Brick and mortar companies can suffer tremendously if local residents cannot find their websites at least as easily as they find the pages belonging to the competition.
- Is the client kept informed of all changes and how often will communication take place? Every business owner should know everything happening with their business website and be able to reach their consultant whenever a question or concern arises.
Never hire a search engine optimization expert that guarantees a top ranking in a search engine return. This is a claim that is impossible to promise and to produce. Too many factors are involved in how the search engines rank websites and some of those factors include how reliable the business is and the reputation they earn. A consultant should promise to improve the chances of being found and getting a higher ranking in search engine results.
Contracts are a necessity for this type of service. Any written contracts should detail all of the fees and charges associated with the service and how these are assessed. Some companies bill per hour and some charge per project. The contract should specifically state which method is used as well as how long the client will be under contract with the consultant. If there is an additional fee for early termination of the services the contract should state the amount clearly. At the end of the contracted period the client should have ownership of all website content that was created during this period of time even if it was provided by the consultant. Part of the fees charged by these types of services includes creating or providing content. It is very inconvenient if the articles or other content is lost and replacing it all could negatively affect search engine rankings.