According to recent poll results, there is a slight decline in 2015: 45% of small business owners understand the potential new revenue search engines can bring, down 5% from last year. Barry Sloane, CEO of the Small Business Authority stated that according to the poll results, “only 39% of business owners believe their website is optimized to meet its search engine traffic.” This is good news for businesses, as it indicates a non-saturated playing field: The time to get in is NOW.

Business Poll: Do Companies Know About SEO?

Sadly, many small businesses have been the victims of black hat SEO companies, who either don’t perform and deliver, or deliver spammy products that do more harm than good forcing small business owners to find another SEO company to clean the mess, or fix the problems themselves. While credit is due for those small business owners who take the initiative to learn about SEO and implement SEO campaigns themselves, unfortunately, due to a lack of expertise and familiarity with the technical aspects of SEO, their efforts yield nominal results.
At the same time, most small business owners are aware of the importance of establishing an online presence, creating and engaging an online community, and understand that website and keyword optimization are critical components to growing their businesses online and generating new revenue opportunities.

As SEO and web design professionals, we have the opportunity to improve our client’s websites and provide quality on and off page optimization. We can also deliver quality SEO services ensuring that our clients have the ranking results they expect and deserve. As professionals in the field, we also have an opportunity to educate and inform our clients on what we do and how we will drive traffic to their websites, increasing conversion.

If you’re a small business looking for SEO and web design services, it is important that you hire a consultant or agency that delivers results.

And, if you’re like many small businesses, and know you need to invest in online marketing but aren’t sure how to choose a reputable consultant or agency, we’ve generated a short checklist for you:

1. Do they have a modern, user-friendly, informative website?

It is important that you can increase your knowledge base with what services they provide and why those services are critical to your online business growth. Beware of small fonts, blurry,low quality images, unresponsive design, difficult to navigate and a lack of options for contacting them.

2. Do they provide thorough ranking reports?

SEO consultants and agencies should provide you with current ranking report so that you can see exactly what your online strengths and weaknesses are. This will help you get a better sense of what the action plan will be. At minimum, a thorough ranking report should provide your current status of on-page SEO, off-page SEO and social signals. You should also be provided with regular reports, demonstrating the progress and rankings of your site and relevant keywords.

3. Do they provide video proposals highlighting their process and action plans?

A reputable SEO consultant/agency should be able to provide a general demonstration for you on what they do, and how they do it. They should also be able to live demo your current ranking for keywords and inform you on your Domain Authority. The more you see, the more you know! This not only improves the trust between you and your SEO consultant, but it also helps you be involved and informed in the online marketing process. Bonus question: Don’t be afraid to ask them what tools they use. A professional SEO provider needs a serious toolbox!

4. Are they “in the know”?

SEO is fast-paced, evolving science. It requires ongoing education, training and a keen attention to detail. Therefore solid SEO agents should be staying ahead of the curve whether it is through professional networks, attending trainings, seminars and webinars, or exclusive membership-based affiliations. Make sure thy are as invested in their craft as they are in earning your business!

For both small business owners and expert SEO companies alike, patience is required, as it is with any growth process. But if you can keep the communication channels open, and make sharing progress part of the process, everyone wins. As tech literacy increases, small businesses will be joining the ranks of their competitors, searching for optimal digital real estate. And, as digital real estate agents, it is up to us to uphold reputable and professional SEO practices yielding optimal results for our clients.

You can learn more about Zero Limit Web’s adaptive SEO services by filling out our Discovery Form.