“The 7 Biggest Mistakes Most Small Business Owners Make When Choosing a Local SEO Company.”

If you are looking to increase your website traffic and avoid the pitfalls many small business owners experience by unscrupulous SEO scam artists, I have good news for you. I’m going to share with you solid SEO expert advice so you can protect yourself from becoming another victim to scammers posing as a legitimate local search marketing company.

  1. The first thing you have to watch out for is the unsolicited e-mails (spam) you get from so called search engine optimizers claiming they entered a certain keyword term related to your business in Google and your site showed up number 85 in the search results. It goes on to say, they don’t understand why you are ranking so low when you could be on the first page of Google for this term. What they do is choose a keyword you are not necessarily targeting and say your site cannot be found when searching this term. Duh! No kidding… You’re not trying to rank for that term in the first place.

    The typical business owner has no clue if this is a valid claim or not and can fall for this. A legitimate SEO company will never spam you. You can find a good SEO company the same way you found this website. Here’s the lesson: An unsolicited e-mail is the first sign of an SEO scam artist at work.
  2. Before choosing an SEO company, you’ll want to confirm that the websites they claim they optimize are really their actual client's websites. It’s easy for an SEO scam artist to pick a website that’s ranking on the first page of Google and say they optimized it. This is easy to verify. Just pick up the phone and call the webmaster or business owner and simply ask them if they know the SEO in question. While you’re at it, ask them if they are happy with the results. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Do your due diligence. It’s a small price to pay that can save you a lot of grief down the road.
  3. This is one of my favorites— after they take your money, a week later they call you and tell you you’re number 1 on the first page of Google. They tell you to enter your domain name in the search bar and bingo, you show up number one on the first page. This is worthless of course because people searching for the products or services you provide are not going to enter your domain or business name unless they’ve already done business with you and know you.

    Ranking for your domain name or business name is easy. It’s ranking for your targeted keywords that really counts. If you're familiar with SEO you might think this is obvious, but people are mislead like this everyday. It’s not their fault. SEO is not their business so they trust they are being well served. Just keep this in mind—You will automatically rank high for your business name and/or domain name. It’s the relevant keywords associated with your product or service that you need to rank high for.
  4. Another worthless service is offering to submit your website to a gazillion search engines for $29 per month or whatever the price is. This offer has been around for so long that people still believe you have to submit your website to the search engines. Save your money because this approach is old school. Just focus on getting good relevant inbound links.
  5. Be careful with the one time flat price for SEO services. Search engine promotion is an ongoing process in order to rank high and keep your position. Everybody wants to be number 1 in the SERP (search engine results page) and the battle is never ending. You have to be leery of the SEO consultant who wants to charge you a one time price for your websites' SEO. The only time you should consider a flat price for SEO services is if you are in a market or niche with just a handful of competitors. Some businesses serving a local area might qualify for this approach. But it depends on the industry and the level of competition in that market. For the most part you should look at SEO as a monthly business expense.
  6. If the SEO company you are evaluating offers you a guarantee for a top position on the first page of Google, run as fast as you can. Reputable search engine optimization companies will never guarantee a top position. Don’t get me wrong. As an SEO consultant I have a pretty good idea if I can get top rankings for my clients, but only after I’ve done the competitive analysis and market research. And even then when I’m pretty confident of the results I still don't guarantee a top ranking. Neither will any reputable SEO. The reason is simple. You cannot guarantee something you don’t control and there is no SEO entity that controls Google.

    Whenever you see an SEO optimization firm making this claim, scroll down and read the fine print. You will find that the top position they’re talking about is a Google Adwords ad. This is a joke because anybody can guarantee ranking on the first page of Google with a pay per click ad. Most business owners are too busy running their business to understand the difference between SEO and PPC and can easily fall for this trick.
  7. Traffic + Conversion – This is where the rubber meets the road and what separates effective search engine marketing from common SEO. Traffic alone without conversion is worthless. Believe it or not, driving traffic to a website is not the hard part. Converting visitors to customers once they land on your website is a whole different story. Make sure the SEO firm you choose understands SEO copywriting that incorporates direct marketing principles to improve your conversion ratio.

    The formula is simple: TRAFFIC + CONVERSION = PROFIT. Of all the SEO help you will encounter, you’ll find just a handful that are really qualified to deliver strategic marketing results. With the right strategic SEM services, you can expect to get a return on your advertising investment and take your business to the next level.

About Frank Prieto - Frank is an SEO expert and marketing strategist helping small business owners and entrepreneurs grow their business using search engine optimization and pay per click advertising.

You can get additional information straight from the horses mouth in Google's search engine optimization guidelines.

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