Basic SEO is inlcuded with all website development projects we undertake. If you’re in need of greater detail in your SEO efforts we have a list of companies that can help. The following article gives details of what to look for in an SEO consultant.

The Steps a Consultant Will Take to Promote Your Website

Keyword research

One of the first things most consultants will do for your SEO campaign is keyword research. There are several tools (one is the free Google Keyword tool) that allow them to find exactly which terms people in your industry are using when they do a search for your products and services.

These tools show them how many searches are done per month for various keywords in your target market. They often help uncover words you might not have considered, or will show you exactly what keyword phrases are used most often. Having this exact information is the starting point for your website search engine optimization strategy.

There’s also some “offline” strategies to uncover important keywords, and keyword phrases, and it works like this: When you look at the offline inquiries people make about your products and services, people rarely ask for things using keyword phrases.

They just don’t call your business and say “Green Widgets please.” They probably say something like: “Hello, I was wondering if you can help me solve my problem with ________. Uncovering what your clients ask for when they call your business is also a great tool to find niche search phrases people may use when looking for your products or services.

To find this fantastic source of keywords, you’ll want to teach your employees to look for the phrases that are used within the first three or four statements they make and questions they ask. Using this process your SEO consultant can help you find niche keywords and keyword phrases that other companies may be leaving on the table.

Web page code optimization

A good consultant will follow what’s known in the website coding circles as “web standards”. Web standards help assure that your website will work in all major browsers and that all people, including the visually disabled, will be able to view your content. Following web standards may also ensures a competitive advantage in search engine optimization.

They’ll make sure your website code validates with the W3C website validation tool because errors in your code may prevent a search engine from successfully moving through your site.

Content creation assistance

Since search engines can’t actually see a site, they can’t rate it based on how well it might be designed (or not). The only things that search engines look for on your site is the text content and a few important items like the page title tags, page description tags, alt tags for images, and other pages you might link to both on your site and off.

To rank well for your chosen keywords you must obviously use them in your website content, and perhaps even have individual pages dedicated to information that relates directly to the keyword phrase. Writing this content can be a challenge for any business person, as it requires time that you might find in short supply. Plus, unless you’re a professional writer for the web, you might not have the knowledge of the best way to create website content.

We can refer you to several content creation specialists who we work with to help you get professionally written content for your website. They’ll create content that will work well for both your customers and the search engines. Most SEO consulting firms have SEO copywriters available as well.

Link building (backlinks) assistance

The quality of the websites that link to yours, and their search engine ranking, are the most important parts of a link building campaign. Getting these links from high quality websites is no easy process, but with a good strategy, and a bit of work, it can be done.

The first place to start is a check of the number of incoming links your site currently has. Your SEO consultant will conduct this research by going to Google and typing into the search entry. The results will show many (but not all) of the incoming links to your website.

They may also use the tool within Google Webmaster Tools to run a more thorough check. Google Webmaster Tools is free with a Google Account.

Once they’ve identified who currently links to your website, they’ll make a plan to acquire links form other important sources. Often these important sources are: The Better Business Bureau, business organizations, website directories like DMOZ, and perhaps even some of your clients and customers.

Getting links form these sources may still leave you lacking when compared to your competition. Other ways to generate incomming links to your site include:

  • Add your site’s url to your signature on forum posts on other sites. Note that leaving comments on blogs often will not help since all modern blogging tools use the “nofollow” link attribute.
  • Create and submit articles to online publishers like E-zine Articles and Article Base.
  • Write articles for your local newspaper which may include a link to your website (make sure you check their policy).
  • Create your own blog and add a steady stream of contenton a daily, weekly or monthly basis

Link building (backlinks) are a vital part of search engine optimization, and perhaps one of the hardest parts to do well. If you can excel at getting quality links to your website, chances are you can beat your online competitors and get to the top of the page on Google search results (SERPS) for your chosen keywords.