The delivery of small business website services seems to attract those who claim to expert when in reality they have very little first hand knowledge of the discipline. This post attempts to deliver some pointers on how to identify the real specialists.
There are those who sell a website on the premise it will generate sufficient sales leads to pay for itself many times over without describing how producing a website will miraculously deliver those leads. They neglect to mention that a small business website is of little use unless it can be found when a prospect types in a relevant search term. This leads to the second problem which is the best way to ensure a website is found is to use Search Engine Marketing and that discipline attracts all sorts of odd balls.
The problem with search engine marketing is it is not an exact science. There are many ways to achieve the same result and the goal posts are moved on a regular basis. What worked in search just 18 months ago will not work today and actually may be counterproductive. Trying to learn from books and other resources is a waste of time as many are out of date by the time they are published.
The only real way to learn the discipline is to be active and to learn by trial and error. Unfortunately many who claim to be experts simply claim to be so to sell something else. As in the above example website providers sometimes also claim to be SEO experts (when they are not) simply because the disciplines are closely interlinked.
A small business website that cannot be found by prospects searching for products or services is a complete waste of money. Similarly, paying for anything other than best practice search engine marketing will not deliver the required results. There is however some simple tests to apply to evaluate suppliers
- Look the business up online – type in the business name into Google and see where the site ranks. If it is not on page1 it should set alarm bells ringing.
- To be fair, often a business will try hardest to be found for a particular search term rather than their company name. Right click on white space on the first page of their website and scroll down and click on view source. Look for ‘Meta title’ record the text following these words and type the key phrases into Google. If the supplier website does not show up on page 1 – avoid.
- Some SEO companies sell a package of services. Sometimes they list things like Meta tag updates, directory listings, article submissions etc or sometimes they sell vague packages like Gold, Silver Bronze. SEO may have worked that way once but no more. Best practice SEO involves getting to know your business and what will work specifically for you.
- The days when it was possible to hire a SEO agency and leave them to it are gone. Now good SEO is content based and the only way to produce that content is with the businesses input. A level of partnership between the business and the SEO agency is now required.
There are many good suppliers of small business website and SEO services but it is important to have sufficient knowledge to be able to cut through the hype and identify which can actually deliver.