With millions of small businesses and a seemingly endless number of small business websites live on the Internet today, how can you gain a competitive advantage? SEO audits could be the first step toward finding out. If your site isn’t performing the way it should, or the way you might like it to, there is a decent chance that it has never been properly optimized to be search engine friendly. An SEO audit can help you develop an effective optimization strategy.
Whether you’ve already hired someone to optimize your small business website or you’re just entertaining the notion, SEO audits can help to ensure that your marketing dollars are being spent wisely. Every day it seems as though there are hundreds more companies looking to make a quick buck by charging you for search engine optimization whether they know anything about SEO or not. If they don’t, I’m sure you’d prefer to know now rather than later…right?
SEO Audits Equal Peace of Mind
An SEO audit is a sure-fire way to determine whether your site is following the search engines’ accepted best practices. Unfortunately what you don’t know can really hurt you. SEO audits help to identify the issues that may be causing your site to perform poorly, as well as helping to discover if you’ve been wasting precious marketing dollars on an SEO scam.
The unpleasant truth is that there are an inordinate number of companies out there that sell search engine optimization services with no real understanding of how to properly optimize a website for long term success in the search results. Contrary to the claims of many a search marketing charlatan, there is no “quick & easy” solution for optimizing a website. There is no way to guarantee a #1 ranking in Google. There is no method for achieving a page one ranking in 7 days and keeping that page one ranking for long. Optimizing a site takes time and real work. Simply implementing the on-page SEO basics can be a time consuming endeavor, depending on how well your site your was built initially.
Many companies will charge for SEO services with absolutely no understanding of how search marketing has changed over the past couple of years or the direction its continued evolution will likely take. Website designers and development firms are often the worst offenders. Keeping up to date with the search marketing industry requires dedication and ongoing training. In the last year alone search engine optimization strategies have begun to incorporate Social Media campaigns as an integral part of the process of driving traffic to a site. Why? Because that is the direction that search marketing is moving. If you’re working with a firm that isn’t aware of that, you’re at a huge disadvantage and probably wasting your marketing dollars. The fact of the matter is that SEO is incredibly involved. Actually understanding SEO is a full time job in and of itself.
Bad SEO Is Worse Than No SEO
Many small business website owners trust their optimization strategy to a company they know little or nothing about. Are you one of them? What does the company optimizing your site actually know about SEO? Do they even understand the importance of basics – like how title lengths and what should be included within them? What tactics are being used in the optimization of your site? Do you know? When the future of your small business is at stake, it is better to be safe than sorry.
Are You Already the Victim of an SEO Scam?
An SEO audit can help you learn more about how well your site has been optimized and whether or not your SEO firm even understands the basics of on-page SEO. There is a lot more to SEO than the on-page basics – but I can all but guarantee that if they don’t take the time to do the basics, they likely know little or nothing about any of the many other aspects of SEO either. There are no super secret, proprietary or magic tactics that any one company has exclusive access to that can guarantee top rankings in the search engines. There are, however, questionable tactics – such as participating in link farms and purchasing links – that can be used to manipulate the search engines’ algorithms. Those tactics will ultimately result in a domain being banned from the search engines altogether. Many a small business website has suffered that fate due to the negligence and malicious intent of SEO charlatans. Don’t let that happen to you.
If the success of your small business depends upon potential customers finding your site in the search results, nothing is more important than finding a reputable company or individual to optimize your site. The tactics and strategies employed by your SEO can do more harm than good if Google’s Webmaster Guidelines are being violated. And SEO audit can help you to identify these issues before your site is penalized. Even if there is no risk of a ban, simply understanding where your existing site falls short and incorporating SEO best practices can help your site perform better in the organic search results and bring a lot more visitors to your small business website – often resulting in higher sales and greater profits.
I'm Alysson (a.k.a. "SEOAly") and I've been an active part of the search marketing industry since 2006. I offer affordable small business website design and search engine optimization services. My primary area of expertise is on-site SEO, helping small business owners build more search engine friendly and usable websites. I'm also a contributing author at popular search marketing publications like Search Engine Journal, Search Engine People, Viral Conversations and Directory Journal. In my spare time (spare time... what is this "spare time" of which you speak?!?), I volunteer my geek skills to help charitable causes I support - like the Linda Blair WorldHeart Foundation and Donate Life Day.