Wyoming Business Tips for Aug. 25

August 19, 2013

A weekly look at Wyoming business questions from the Wyoming Small Business Development Center (WSBDC), part of WyomingEntrepreneur.Biz, a collection of business assistance programs at the University of Wyoming.

By John Privette, WSBDC regional director

“I don’t have the knowledge to optimize my business website for search engines. What do I look for when selecting a SEO service provider?” Bob, Cheyenne

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) techniques for your business website requires a team of people who are experts in SEO best practices.

These techniques may include on-the-page and off-the-page SEO methods. The team may include a specialist to submit your website to different directories and search engines (Google, Bing and Yahoo); a specialist to create and submit articles to online article marketing sites; a specialist to create and manage your social media channels; a specialist to design and implement SEO elements on your website; and a specialist to code the website to make the navigation attractive to search engines.

 Two things to consider when evaluating an SEO service provider:

-- Effective SEO is an ongoing, iterative process over many months. As a rule of thumb, the first 12 months are important in establishing your brand identity using SEO methods. Inquire as to how the company works with an SEO customer and what services are offered. Ask for references from customers with a business website. Check a customer’s website to determine how it ranks on a search engine for the respective keywords.

-- Be suspicious if an SEO service provider promotes a “guarantee” that your website will rank in the first page of search results every time. Algorithms (complex mathematical formulas) used by search engines are guarded trade secrets and website ranking criteria change frequently. SEO service providers will utilize SEO best practices, and know how to recognize search engine algorithm changes and adjust tactics accordingly.

In summary, when searching for an SEO service provider, it’s important to ask questions about their areas of SEO expertise and how they manage an SEO project. Also, check customer websites and ask for customer references. Working with a SEO service provider is an interactive process that requires the service provider to be available for advice, input and feedback as needed.

A blog version of this article and an opportunity to post comments is available at http://www.wyomingentrepreneur.typepad.com/blog/.

The WSBDC is a partnership of the U.S. Small Business Administration, the Wyoming Business Council and the University of Wyoming. To ask a question, call 1-800-348-5194, email wsbdc@uwyo.edu or write 1000 E. University Ave., Dept. 3922, Laramie, WY, 82071-3922.

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