Creating a website for your business is only the first step in making an online presence. To be successful, you need to make sure that people can find your website easily. Search engine optimization (SEO) is the science of raising your website's profile so that search engines display it prominently in the search results. Unless you are educated and skilled in SEO, it is wise to hire a reputable consultant to help your website get the success it deserves.
- Learn basic SEO techniques and lingo. It is impossible to properly vet prospective consultants if you do not understand the services you expect them to provide and the answers that they give you. SEO strategist and Search Engine Land columnist Jessica Bowman cautions that some SEO consultants engage in risky online tactics, sometimes called black-hat techniques, to get results for their clients. These techniques usually backfire, and engaging in them could wind up with your website not showing up in any search engine results. You should be in the position to recognize the difference between good and bad SEO practices, and avoid hiring those who recommend potentially risky tactics.
- Determine exactly what you need from an SEO consultant, which could be higher rankings in the search engines, more targeted website traffic or better sales conversion rates. Each one of these goals requires a very different skill from an SEO specialist. Search engine optimization is multifaceted, including tasks such as pay-per-click campaigns, proper utilization of keywords and strategic backlinking campaigns. The SEO consultant that you ultimately hire should have a broad range of skills, but be particularly adept in the bits and pieces that are most important to your organization.