Unlike when the internet first launched, there are about 1.7 billion websites today, and about 200 million of these websites are active. But these numbers are not absolute as websites are taken down and launched every day. There is a website for nearly everything you can think to search for. Go ahead and give it a try.
These numbers are expected to rise as companies are coming up faster than websites are being taken down. For consumers, this abundance of information cannot get any better. They have so many options to choose from when looking for products to buy or companies to hire for a service. Having the luxury of making a choice, they can compare prices until they find the one that fits their budget just right. Check this article to learn more about how consumers compare prices when making purchase decisions.
For businesses, these numbers may spell doom because, like them, other businesses are setting up websites. What this means is that regardless of how niche your business or target market is, there is a big chance that you can find competition online. Although the internet has exposed companies to customers from around the world, getting those customers can be quite challenging because the web is saturated.
So, how can your website standout from over 200 million websites? How can you position your site in such a way that potential customers can find it? There are a few ways to do this, but the least expensive and most sustainable way is through search engine optimization (SEO). The benefits of SEO in today’s digital reality cannot be over-emphasized.
What is SEO?
Search engine optimization is a continuous practice that involves improving a website to ensure it is visible and ranks for keywords related to it. With SEO, every aspect of a website is continuously being improved upon to bring in quality traffic and increase the size of this traffic.
Take note of the word “continuous” because SEO is never a one-time thing as many inexperienced site owners may think. Search engines run on algorithms that are constantly being changed. What this means is that SEO done in the past may no longer have any effect once the algorithm is changed. Therefore, to remain visible, site owners must be on their toes when it comes to search engine optimization. You can click here to learn more about algorithms.
A lot goes into making a website rank for the right keywords and getting quality traffic. Some aspects are easier to get done with just the basic understanding of the concept while some require the services of experts. These complicated aspects often require some coding, and most business owners know little or nothing about coding. Therefore, many companies hire experts to handle their site’s optimization.
Many companies claim to be search engine optimization experts. Because there are so many that exist today, hiring the right one can be a challenge. Let us quickly go over some steps you can take to ensure you hire the best company to handle your company’s website.
Stay Away from Agencies with Big Promises
SEO is complicated and even experts have a hard time with it. As a matter of fact, the genuine companies that know how to do SEO right will tell you that it takes time before results are seen. But fraudulent companies over-promise, telling you that they can make your site rank in a few weeks.
Normally,it isimpossible to achieve results like this in such a short time frame. The only way it is possible is through what is called “black-hat SEO”. This strategy employs actions that are against the industry, and they eventually get your site flagged and penalized by search engines. In worst cases, your site may be taken out of the index completely.
SEO requires expertise, nuanced strategies, and patience to reap its rewards. Many agenciesoffer this service around the world, but you may find it more beneficial to hire a local agency. If you are in Chicago for example, limit your search to the state because usually, these local agencies cost less than foreign ones.
Ask About Their Strategies
Although SEO can be quite complicated, there arereputable agencieshere in Chicago that, with a 5-step SEO process, can produce impressive results. While it is true that you may not understand their strategies, you can sometimes tell which ones are genuine based on how they explain them to you.
They should be confident as they explain their diagnosis of your site’s problem and how they intend to fix the issues. If you have a basic understanding of how the concept works, it may be easier to comprehend their strategies and tell whether they are genuine or not.
Abasic understanding of how it works maybe a necessity if you want to hire a reliable agency. As mentioned earlier, some companies make use of black-hat strategies that work for a while. Eventually, they get detected by search engines and your site gets penalized. But if you know these harmful strategies, you will be able to avoid companies that use them.
Reviews and References
When it comes to SEO, reviews and referrals are among the most powerful social proof that agencies can use to convince new clients. Regardless of how professional their website is, you should read reviews of past clients or better still ask around.
Frankly, you would want to know as much as you can about working with them. Do they meet the goals they set out to achieve for clients? Do they educate clients on best practices to set them up for success? These are questions you would want to get answers to before hiring any agency.
Look for reviews that are detailed and explain what exactly the agency helped the client to achieve. This is important because there is little you can get from reviews that say, “great company” or “worth my money”. Quite often, these short reviews are not genuine. To learn more about the benefits of reading reviews, check this site.
Solid search engine optimization strategies can produce remarkable results for your website. However, they often take longer than most clients expect. Therefore, when hiring an expert, you should be prepared to wait patiently to see the results. Now, some strategies can produce results quickly, between a month or two. But in general, be prepared to wait for at least 4 months; some strategies take up to 6 months to implement successfully.