Finding a good company to create an online presence that you are satisfied with can be an arduous task for many business owners. Most people know they want a professional looking site but don’t know what to look for in order to make sure that you are reaching your target audience.
Unfortunately with the popularity of the internet and potential to make money online came many web design companies who incorporated search engine optimization into their services without really knowing what they were doing. Search engine optimization (SEO) can be a complicated and lengthy process. It takes time to build your company’s trust and legitimacy online. However, in a society that demands quick results, all to often web companies have given into the temptation to promise more than they can deliver thus making it difficult to trust anybody when it comes to fair market value for your website needs.
Before I realized what was really going on, I had the misfortune of working for one of these companies, which led me to write this article and try to help other businesses and people in a similar situation.
The problem is most of these companies have read enough about search engine optimization so they can sound good, but they either don’t know enough about SEO to implement it correctly or they are not willing to do what it takes to get the results you are expecting. They will say anything to get your business and it will all sound good, if you don’t know what to look for.
You want somebody who will be reasonable and also realistic. So when these companies start to get overzealous and greedy, that’s usually a good sign they are just trying to get your money. Below is a list of inaccurate/misguided sayings web design companies posing as SEO experts will say while pitching their product:
- “If nobody can find your website it’s useless.”- First of all this statement is just not true. A website can be a great reference point for any existing customers and business contacts and as long as you let them know the name of your website, they will be able to find it. A website can also help you sell products, take payments, create an image, connect socially with your audience and much more that provides value to your company.
- “Your current website is like a billboard in the middle of forest.”- This is usually overcompensation to make you feel like you need to do something more. Every market is different but the more specific you can get the better. There are many ways to get visibility online, so make sure to shop around.
- “We don’t want to put too much information on your site because then it may be considered spam.”- There are free tools that you can use to look up what’s called your keyword density. The accepted standard is about 10-20% of your content be keyword rich. If it’s more than 20% than it may be considered spam but don’t let somebody con you into thinking more is less in terms of content. It is widely regarded that “content is king” nowadays and the only reason somebody would say otherwise is because they just don’t want to do the work. A good company will know the standards and stay on the slightly aggressive side of this ratio to help you rank better.
- “Nobody uses the phonebook anymore.”- This is another statement that should throw up a red flag. The phonebook comes into play more for companies focusing on a local market, but this just isn’t true either. Yes, more people are going online to get their information nowadays, but that doesn’t mean nobody uses the phonebook anymore.
- “I did a search for your company online and couldn’t find you.”- They didn’t do a search for you and even if they did there are many different search words and phrases that might be relevant to your business that they are not aware of.
- “Every day millions of people are doing searches online, can they find you.” This is true, however exaggerated, especially when it comes to small business. It gives the impression that millions of people are doing searches relevant to your business. In reality it’s more like hundreds and remember it’s more about the quality of the traffic you are getting as opposed to the quantity. If you only get two visits to your website, but both of them are legitimate buyers, that is much better than a hundred visitors who are not really interested in what you’re offering.
- “We do such a good job of getting you ranked that you don’t need to bother with PPC.”- Most likely they just don’t want to bother with having to manage your adwords account. You will almost always need a couple weeks and usually a couple months to get ranked for your keywords, so looking into PPC in the meantime is not a bad idea at all. It can help drive traffic in the early stages of your web launch and help get you ranked earlier.
- “We do link-building by placing links to other websites on yours”- Link building is a very important aspect of search engine optimization. When somebody says they will place links on your site to others that is called an outbound link because it goes from your website outward. Good link building consists of several high quality in-bound links from other websites to yours in order to drive traffic and build legitimacy.
Think of what big cities look like on a road map; the bigger cities have more roads leading to them and this is they same way search engines look at sites in your industry. Whoever has more relevant links usually has a better website. So don’t let them fool you, be sure to ask how many in-bound links you will be receiving from your web provider.
Here are couple things to look for after the launch of your website. If you’ve already made a decision and are skeptical that your current provider might be one of these companies, check to see if they say anything along these lines:
- “Oh, you probably didn’t tell enough people about your website.”- This is what they say when you ask them why you haven’t seen any more calls or business from the web. The classic “blame game”. If they really cared about your website’s success they would help you get links and drive traffic, not just design a nice looking site.
- “Social Media isn’t relevant for your business.”- I would highly recommend that you ask your web provider about social media like Twitter and Facebook and I would highly recommend reconsidering your SEO relationship if your company tells you that it’s not relevant for your business. Social media is the future of online marketing and will play a big role in search engine rankings in the future. If a web design company tells you this, in my opinion it is indicative of a company that would rather spend more time making excuses for why not to do more instead of taking the time to ensure that their clients are represented in all phases of creating a professional online presence.