Monday, October 16, 2006

Small businesses NEED affordable SEO too

I return to my desk this morning knackered after a weekend in West Ireland for a wedding (and great fun it was too).

As I suffer/sit here with the weekend just a hazy memory (thanks to Guiness!) I'm always aware that small businesses want a piece of the SEO action to get their websites ranked in search engines so they can generate more business for themselves.

However a large number of small business owners feel SEO is either:

  1. too expensive after paying out for the design of the site
  2. some wonder why their web designer did not do the SEO included in the price in the first place
  3. some have unrealistically low expectations of what should be paid
  4. some believe throwing £50 at the website marketing will get them number one on the search engines
  5. a con or rip off
Your small business can compete online against players with far deeper financial pockets but you're going to have to accept that any keywords you wish to target are likelyto be "long tail".

Using long tail keywords is likely not going to increase your website traffic by a huge margin but it is a given that the more words are used in a keyword phrase the more likely a searcher is intent on buying or enquiring.

Be careful that you avoid the type of SEO - which is generally of a cheaper nature- where they ask YOU what keywords you wish to target and promise your site will be listed in 30 search engines LIKE Google.

How do you know the keywords you are wanting to be found for are generating any traffic at all? What data will they provide to you to ensure you will not be barking up the wrong SEO Tree???

Below is a list of questions a small business should be asking when requiring affordable SEO:

How many years in experience does your SEO specialist have?
Testimonials from previous clients... current results from some samples of client?
What keywords does the SEO company come up for in Google? (I come up for web optimisation expert on the first page of Google to back up my skills and claims!)

What types of tools does the company use to get the job done? (Note not which ones exactly).

Basically what processes do they carry out to get results (you should be hearing keyword research, article writing, new content on existing pages, adjustment of page structure where necessary, adjustment of tags, link building, the list goes on and on). Again a basic outline here will do - if you wish a detailed proposal to be given then expect to be charged for that (the company is effectively giving you the plan to carry out the web optimisation task here).

If the SEO company you are talking to sound vague or say its all smoke and mirrors then forget them. You want a company or consultant in web marketing that says online marketing is based on careful research, testing and analysis and an understanding of what gives the best experience to a visitor AND search engines.

If I you feel I have missed anything here then let me know... with the amount of Guiness consumed at the wedding I can't promise I've got everything!