You’ve probably heard a lot about SEO these days and why it’s essential for your business. We won’t bore you with more reasons you should update your website’s search ranking but if you’re still unconvinced, check out our blog post about what it is and why you need it.
So now you’re fired up and ready to go when it comes to SEO. But where do you start? You could Google “small business SEO” and plenty of options will spring to the top of the list. But how do you know which is the best option for your business? Choosing the wrong partner could result in weeks or months of wasted time and money, and could lead to little or no increase in your web traffic.
Here are some helpful pointers about what to look for when setting up an SEO partnership for your small business.
How can you tell if an SEO partner is reputable? You can do a basic Google search for SEO businesses in your area. A company who ranks in the top search results obviously has a good sense of how to get noticed by search engines, which can be a huge help for your company. However, ranking high in search engine results says nothing about their ethics, pricing, speed or professionalism.
Instead, consider word-of-mouth recommendations. Begin by calling all of your professional contacts that also have small business websites and ask if their SEO consultant has provided results. If they have no SEO partner or aren’t sure, ask them to connect you to their webmaster or web design company, as many professionals who work in the web industry have proven contacts that they would be happy to pass along to you.
Choose a partner who wants to know what SEO efforts you already have underway.
Reputable SEO consultants look carefully at the efforts you’ve already implemented and evaluate whether those efforts are helping your web traffic or if they’re leading you astray. A quality SEO partner will do a complete evaluation of your website’s current SEO and will provide recommendations for improvements.
Look for an SEO consultant who explains things to you.
SEO is not difficult to understand, but it does involve lots of little pieces. A quality consultant will have no problem answering your questions, no matter how basic or simple they might be. Avoid anyone who seems unconcerned (or worse yet—frustrated) by your questions.
Choose an SEO consultant who communicates clearly and in a reasonable time frame.
Much of the back-and-forth between your SEO partner and your business can be done through the web or with phone calls. As with any vendor for your business, customer service is key. Businesses who respond to your questions quickly and clearly are better choices than those who are difficult to get a hold of or seem disorganized. Begin evaluating their response time from the moment you seek an initial quote.
Look for a consultant who asks a lot of questions.
A quality SEO partner will want to know your business objectives so they can ensure that their SEO efforts are pointing your business in the right direction. Things they should ask you are:
- Who are your primary and secondary client bases?
- What is the primary objective of your website? Information? Sales conversions? New leads?
- Who are your biggest competitors?
- Do you operate in a specific area or are your clients national or international?
- What differentiates your business from your competitors?
Avoid a consultant who wants to jump in without getting to know your business or industry.
Choose an SEO consultant who gives you options.
Look for an SEO service that is willing to work with you and your budget. Stay away from partners who offer an “all-or-nothing” solution. If the cost is outside of your budget, work with a company that can craft a solution that works for your budget and your quarterly cash flow.
Making the right choice when picking an SEO consultant can jumpstart spikes to your web traffic. This is why it’s imperative that you work with someone who takes the time and care to support your business. Great SEO consultants take professional satisfaction in seeing your web traffic rise. Nothing is a guarantee, though, and SEO is a long-term strategy. Don’t jump ship after the first quarter and look for reputable, helpful partners who aren’t going to do the same.