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Small Business SEO: Get Local and Get Good

Google Maps, Local SEO, SEOHardly has there been a more tired and often less understood term than Search Engine Optimization, or SEO. Plenty (I am not kidding) of contractors are in front of their Computers across the planet with the shingle out that says “SEO Specialist”. And guess what? Some of them are legitimate. If you’re a business owner with a site on the Internet, unless this is your pursuit, SEO experts are likely better than you at enhancing your site. But how do you find a person who will matter for your business?

Why Optimize?

First, let’s define Search Engine Optimization as all the on site things you can do for your web page to increase its Page Rank (PR) on the principal search engines, Google being the biggest fish in the pond with upwards of 65 % of all global searches. Your energies should be designed at getting you to page 1, and preferably, in return results 1-5 which tend to show up above the fold, or before the user has to page down. It is conservatively estimated that less than 5 % of online viewers ever get beyond page 1 when finding a source. That means if you’re not coming up on page 1 for your keywords, you are a tree falling in the forest with no one around to hear it friend. If your business being “found” on the world wide web via search result is important to your lead development plan, you simply can not afford to ignore top tier SEO approaches.

3 Characteristics of the Best SEO Experts

Here is what the aces bring to the party for exceptional SEO:

  1. Good Posted Copy– Readable, enticing, conversion-producing, with just the right blend of keywords on the web page that gets strong rankings without getting the hated Google slap.
  2. Local Optimization– Make their web assets the biggest player in the local game, optimizing for regional SEO and knowing that even for intangibles like SEO services and infotech, people seek those closest to them. They take advantage of tools that supplement your site like the millions of not yet claimed local websites that already exist for companies from Google Places (see this Google Places video for more).
  3. Staying Current– Google comes up with new revisions that change the way the game is won seemingly every other day (Panda anyone?) Are you up to speed? If not, then your best SEO intentions may work against you and penalize your site PR.

If you have the talents to be labeled a professional, then you can comfortably optimize your own web pages provided you have the time. If not, it makes sense to source Search Engine Optimization companies to see who works for you.

4 Questions to Ask SEO Consultants

Charlatans reign supreme on the internet when it comes to buzzwords about marketing your services on the Internet. Any kid with a laptop and dorm room power supply can profess the handle SEO Expert, and some may be. The same goes for Search Engine Marketing (SEM) practitioner and the latest “anybody can be one”, Social Media Marketing (SMM) manager.

Here’s what to look for when seeking an SEO outfit:

  1. Visible Portfolio– Don’t be someone’s lab rat; make sure sources show you other internet sites they have worked on, AND tryout the sites against the phrases they were optimized on by searching on Google, Bing and Yahoo. Are the samples sites cropping up on page 1? If not, keep searching.
  2. Start Local– It’s much easier to validate if a firm is real or not by looking for expertise in your own town. If you live in San Diego, search San Diego SEO. You get the idea.
  3. Detailed Plan– Make sure the SEO firm provides a detailed plan of exactly what they will be doing to boost your website for local SEO or any SEM offline techniques they are using to drive traffic. The best SEO consultants will lay out the strategy in detail regarding keywords per page, methods, distributions, etc. without being asked, but ask anyway. Stay away from anyone who basically says, “Trust me.”
  4. Check Recommendations– Testimonials need to be from authentic people that you can call if you want to. If you see a quote from Rob R, San Francisco, RUN, don’t walk, to another choice.

So if you’re in business and you need an online presence, do it correctly. Don’t have one of the hundreds of thousands of websites online that get no traffic and wonder why the bottom line is down. Bone up on SEO tactics or contract a pro using the steps I outlined here, and become web relevant in your area and more.

video marketing, executive video interviews, web videoSometimes SEO is broken down into a series of individual steps.  Not all SEO is the same.  At Smart Company Growth, we help small businesses uses a variety of content strategies, among them Video Marketing.  Check out SmartVu Executive Video Interviewss to learn more.


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  1. Jason Monaghan January 6, 2012 at 1:27 pm #

    Great Post!

    I also feel another way of qualifying them is exactly what we are doing here. I believe to be good at SEO and remain so, you need to be actively participating in the community of SEO. What better way to qualify someone than in the eyes of their peers and among those who do know – like industry blogs and article submissions. Check for response and for quality of their contributions when you Google their name, and judge for yourself if you want that type of quality on your site.


  1. Commercial Diver Training - January 27, 2012


    Thanks a bunch, you have lifted my spirits immensely….

  2. online lms - February 10, 2012

    Time is not money…

    Not exactly worthy of a Darwin Award, but still a waste of time….

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