A website is an integral component of an organization's marketing strategy. In a difficult economy, making sure your website gets noticed by potential customers is more important than ever. One way to increase traffic to your website is with search engine optimization (SEO).
Every company wants to see their website at the top of a search results page, or at least on the first page of results. Each page after the first page is a step closer to oblivion in the world of online search. This desire, and need, to be at the top of search results has created an entire industry of "SEO Specialists." Some of these specialists are professionals and use proven methods to improve an organization's rankings over time. Others are downright fraudulent in their claims, produce temporary-if any-results and offer guarantees that cant possibly be backed up. Here are some guidelines to choosing a reputable SEO partner and avoiding a scam artist:
GuaranteesThere are so many variables and unknowns at the outset of an SEO project that no one can legitimately guarantee a first position ranking. In fact, no one can back up any guarantee in SEO except to guarantee their best efforts. Don't trust anyone who tells you otherwise.
Fast Acting SEOQuick results are for stain removers and headache medicines. SEO takes time. It may take up to a month after the project is finsihed before improvements can be seen. Avoid companies who claim quick results.
Keeping SecretsThere is no reason for a service provider to keep you in the dark about what they are doing to optimize your website. If you are ever told the methods being used are proprietary or secret, keep walking. This is not a reputable partner.
Jargon and Geek SpeakIf every conversation with your SEO provider requires a technical dictionary, it's likely you are dealing with someone who learned a lot of buzz words to cover up their inexperience. As with all service providers, a good SEO partner will use common, non technical terms and easily explain the SEO process in everyday language. If you don't know what an SEO specialist is talking about, don't trust them to do the work.
Just remember, search engine optimization is a process that requires a lot of research and an ongoing series of content adjustments. Results take time and there are no guarantees. However, a reputable SEO partner will be able to demonstrate improvements over time by working with you to develop a solid plan to optimize your website in a targeted, methodical fashion.
Summary: Your website is a critical part of an effective marketing strategy, regardless of the economy. Making sure it gets noticed with proven SEO is an investment that will net significant returns if you choose a reputable provider who produces results and not just promises.
Kent Callison specializes in strategic online marketing, social media and SEO. You can reach Kent via email or at 423-485-4709.