How to choose a reputable and experienced SEO provider for your business

Happy Wednesday, everyone!  I hope you find this Blog entry helpful...

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the process of optimizing your company’s website in order to improve the chances of it showing prominently in front of potential clients and customers.  SEO is a very important part of your overall online marketing strategy.  It is certainly not the sole factor in the overall success of your marketing program, however, it is a very important piece of the puzzle that helps potential clients who are seeking products or services like yours to connect with you on the Internet.


Don't "wing it".  A winning SEO program takes experience and a carefully thought out strategy for your specific goals

A winning SEO strategy is not easy to produce.  It takes online marketing experience, technical knowledge, and a strong commitment to following best practices set forth by the major search engines.  Stray from that, and risk getting penalized or even blacklisted--no longer showing for any searches.  Experience and integrity is critical to a long-lasting success with online marketing.  In addition, each industry (Medical, Dental, Legal, Architectural Services, Etc.) has its specific market challenges and tested methods to address those challenges--a "wing it" and hope it works approach, is not advised if your plan is to have a serious online marketing strategy that works to grow your business.

That’s where an experienced SEO consultant or provider can help.  An experienced provider, who knows your specific industry and marketplace, can help your website get the right type of visibility and traffic needed to build your business.  The wrong provider might use methods and techniques that will potentially get your website removed from the Internet, hurting the bottom line of your business and potentially damaging its reputation.

If you are considering working with an SEO provider to boost your visibility with potential clients or customers, consider and ask them the following questions:

Do you guarantee you can get my site to the top?

If the answer is “yes,” stop the conversation.  It's over.  They already lied to you.  There is not an SEO firm on the planet that can make that guarantee.  The Web is simply too fluid and dynamic, and a website’s PageRank can fluctuate based on everything from search engine algorithm changes to the freshness and age of its content (search engines like new, quality content), to website changes made by your competitors and more.  And to be narrowly focused on a certain keyword search, is potentially leaving a whole lot of opportunity on the table-- which I’ll save for a future blog entry (Vanity vs. Long Tail search).

Also be cautious of companies that guarantee fast results.  Proper SEO involves many factors, including content and keyword usage, linking strategies, quality of links, and site architecture, to name a few.  It takes time for results to show.  Looking beyond the empty promise of a short-term gain, make sure that for long-term growth you are adopting a strategy that is sound--it should be seen as a long-term strategy, not a short-term tactic.  

Can you help me understand your processes?

The answer should be YES!  But keep in mind that SEO is complex, but a competent consultant will be able to provide details on its techniques and the changes it plans to make to your website.  That is why on-going SEO relationship is a key factor in your online marketing strategy, and what sets comprehensive internet marketing agencies apart from "general website designers".  One has a big picture strategy, based on SEO best practices for your specific industry, and the other designs websites.  Choose a firm who can give you the best experience, and the best ROI possible.

Do you follow search engine guidelines?

The major search engines have well established guidelines for SEO best practices.  If the SEO agency follows best practices and guidelines, chances are better that it also follows other ethical SEO practices, i.e., no gaming the system to artificially improve PageRank.

Keep in mind that there is no magic SEO formula.  A trustworthy consultant will explain some variation on what Google (and the other major search engines) spells out in its Webmaster Guidelines which will be:  successful SEO is the result of high quality content, natural links from other sites that value your content and a well developed website structure.

To learn more about how Buchanan Web Marketing helps San Francisco bay area businesses create and manage an online marketing strategy for long-term success, and what we can do for your business, contact us today!