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Without the proper optimization, your small business website is less likely to get a sufficient number of visitors to be profitable. Search engine optimization (SEO) is designed to improve your site ranking on the search engines and thus help drive organic traffic to your site. But what if you do not have the necessary skills to optimize your site? Fortunately, this is an aspect of your marketing that you can outsource. Here are five tips to help you choose the best company or freelancer for your needs.
Ask for an SEO Plan
The first thing that you will need to look for is an SEO plan or report. This report will give you an insight into the capabilities of the firm and how they plan to promote your website.
If there is any reference to shady tactics, find someone else to do the work. Google has long targeted “black hat” and “grey hat” tactics that attempt to game the system or abuse loopholes, so such activities do more harm than good in the long run.
Normally, an SEO plan is free since the company will want to impress you and earn your business. You might want to consult with other firms at the same time, so that you can compare the reports.
Make sure that you have proper communication with the firm that you choose. If you are looking to outsource your SEO to a company located on another continent, make sure there are reliable communication channels in place.
Whether you intend to use the phone, Skype or emails, make sure you are aware of any time difference and that there is no language barrier. These can both make things tough when there are urgent issues that need handling.
Check Their Website
Check the ranking on the search engines of the SEO firm that you are considering, for appropriate keyword phrases. They should have a good ranking if they are good at what they do!
Bear in mind that SEO work is an extremely competitive industry, so a good company may not be in the top spot, but it should be visible on the first page, especially for a local search. Checking the company’s rank will provide you with some insight into the skills they can bring to bear on your site, and whether or not they are good at what they do.
SEO is not a sure science and there is no firm that can guarantee you a top spot with Google if you pay a given sum of money. Despite adverts to the contrary, there are few guarantees in this industry.
You need to get a quote from the firm to work out whether their offering fits into your budget. Do not get involved in a long-term contract before you see how well their services help to improve your traffic and ranking — start with a short-term contract of a 2-3 months to see how your rankings improve. It is also worthwhile asking for a contract with clauses that reduce or eliminate payments if your rankings fall for an extended period of time, as an extra incentive for the company to work hard!
Keep learning about the latest trends in the SEO world. This can prevent you from being conned in such a highly competitive field. You can learn a lot by subscribing to forums and specialized blogs. It’s also very worthwhile to follow Google’s own search algorithm videos, in which Matt Cutts and other staff members explain the ins and outs of existing SEO practice, as well as future changes at Google that will affect your site.