Written By: Adam Dince
This past week, I had the pleasure of leading a Deluxe BizLaunch SEO 101 Webinar for small businesses. After the presentation, the host opened the floor for questions, and the first one was a question I often hear from small business owners.
“The guy who built my Website for me said he did SEO on my site. How do I know whether or not he did?”
Below, are five suggestions to help you, the small business owner, figure it out.
1. Check your contract: If you’ve enlisted the help of a consultant or small agency to help you build your Website, I do hope you’ve signed a contract or statement of work. Within that statement of work, make sure that the SEO project has been clearly outlined. Keep in mind, your consultant will most likely only do what they are contracted for.
2. Communication: SEO does not happen in a bubble. SEO requires a constant dialogue between the consultant and the business owner/marketing manager. If you, the small business owner, do not understand what’s being done on your site, then you’re already in the hole. You’ll know you’ve found a good SEO when they are proactive in communication and teach you (even if just at a high-level) as they progress through the project. If your project is already completed and you don’t know what was done to optimize your site, it’s well within your right to ask your consultant.
When speaking to your consultant, I highly recommend referring to Rae Hoffman’s small business SEO checklist to make sure you’re getting the right answers.
3. Hold them accountable: It’s highly unlikely that your small business site will see impressive results overnight. And if you’re in a highly competitive market, it may take even longer. However, it’s important that you’ve got reporting scoped as a line item in your contract. If an SEO consultant has included reporting in the contract, it’s a good sign that they will have SEO’d your site. No one wants to get an F on their report card. If you do not have reporting scoped, I highly recommend getting it included as an add-on.
4. Check references: I’d dare say that you’re not the first small business your Web company has done SEO for. It’s okay to reach out to a few of the brands listed in your consultant’s portfolio to learn about their experiences. Keep in mind, your Website is your business and it’s important that you do whatever necessary to make sure it’s buttoned up.
5. Judge your content: SEO is not just about strategic placement of keywords. It’s about writing helpful and useful content for people. If your content doesn’t read naturally and keywords seem to be placed over and over again in an unnatural way, then you may have been over optimized, which may lead to an over optimization penalty by search engines. If you enjoy reading your content and think that a Web visitor might be inclined to share it with their friends, you’re in a good spot.
The easiest way to ensure that SEO is being done on your site is by hiring an expert that has a proven track record.