Looking to drive targeted traffic to your web site? An expert in search engine optimization (SEO) can help your business and meet your goals.
Jill Bach, founder and principal of MarketNet, offers seven tips when you're looking for a search engine optimization resource.
1. Pricing. You get exactly what you pay for, Ms. Bach said. "When you engage a SEO resource, you're paying for their time and expertise. Money does not buy you guaranteed high rankings." MarketNet, for example, has over 20 years of combined SEO experience on staff and has serviced industries such as retail, wholesale, pharmaceutical, travel, and government.
2. Custom Program Availability. No two clients are alike. You should expect to receive a proposal that is tailored to your objectives, your online conversion metrics, and your overall business. A SEO firm that asks very few questions before handing you a proposal is not for you. You want a resource that will spend time with you to clearly understand your online objectives, conversion metrics, and web site.
3. Deliverables. There are two main deliverables you should expect from a competent SEO firm:
· Baseline Report - A comprehensive analysis of your current positioning, a site overview, competitive landscape overview, and a strategic plan to move forward.
· · Monthly Reports -A detailed monthly should include: performance against baseline metrics; a "what's changed" (positive or negative) section to gauge program effectiveness; a list of activities completed in the prior month; and next steps with strategic and ongoing recommendations.
4. Understanding Your Business. All web sites have conversion metrics -- a visitor to your site, direct sales from SEO efforts, content downloads, form submission, and email sign-ups. When interviewing SEO firms, be sure all parties agree on what conversions will be tracked. Without targeted goals, there's no accurate gauge of performance. Your SEO resource needs to know what promotions are scheduled online and offline, to note traffic spikes and look for targeted opportunities.
5. It Starts With Your Content. High ranking within a search engine is about being the subject matter expert in your field. Much web site positioning on search engines is derived from two factors - digestible content for the search engine spiders (and your audience, of course) and the number of inbound links. A strong SEO program will help with on-site issues, and targeted link-building opportunities (some paid, some free). But it all boils down to your content.
6. Realistic Expectations. Targeted link-building efforts can boost your site's rankings in search engines as you work on longer term strategies such as on-site issues and solid site content. Many search marketing efforts can take 60-90 days before the true value of the activities is realized. Don't start a program, kick off initial activities, and then return to status quo (with no SEO resources). SEO is an ongoing process.
7. What to Watch for. As you review SEO firms, be mindful of:
· Low price, "big talk"
· Promised rankings improvement (no reputable SEO will guarantee rankings - only best practices)
· Customer retention rates
· Additional services that can complement SEO work, for a comprehensive 360-degree online marketing program
For more information on search engine optimization and creating a social networking presence, contact MarketNet at 972-941-3200 or www.MarketNet.com.
Marketnet, Inc. is a full-service interactive design and development company. Based in Dallas, Marketnet provides marketing, strategy, creative services, web development, application development, search marketing and analytics and reporting to its broad client base. For more information, go to www.marketnet.com.
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