Are they REALLY good or are they just talking??

We specialize in SEO – search engine optimisation. You hear that one a lot, right?!

I always joke and say if you ask 10 web guys if they know SEO – 9 will say welll yesss! One will be honest and admit he doesn’t.

And if you ask me if I know karate, I will also say welll yesss, and two other Japanese words! See the difference?

SEO is the way to go, and if you have a website designed without proper seo, or with no seo, then you can be 100% certain you have just wasted you money!

Good SEO can make the difference between merely having the bragging rights to say “Ooh, I have a website!” or “I have a proper marketing tool!”

Are you aware that more than 20 billion web pages are indexed daily by search engines to deliver results for searches done by potential clients? If the search engines cannot pick up your website – did you make a wise investment or did you waste money?

So, how to determine if the web guy, this “expert” you have received a quotation from, IS indeed he expert he claims to be?

1.  Can you find his website in Google?

Seeing is believing, and seeing as how SEO is all about getting your website to rank well in search engines, the obvious first choice should always be to determine where his website ranks in Google!

Why Google? Easy – Google handles almost 70% of ALL internet searches worldwide. If you cannot find him there you should start questioning his claim immediately.

2.  How do you search for his website?

Clearly this will differ from website to website, depending on which keywords were targeted in each case. A keyword is a search term that would typically be used by an internet user who is doing a search for the service or product they require. Also, this might well include an area.

Guideline – Typical searches would include keywords such as:

web design south africa

web designer south africa

website designer south africa

website design south africa

south african web design companies

web design companies south africa

(You can also just type in the service and select the “pages from south africa” button)

In our specific case, we service the whole of Souh Africa and beyond – and as such have no real interest in ranking for our hometown, Pretoria by itself. We want to rank for the whole country.

You do NOT count a search done for the name of the business as a good result! Almost 90% of internet users use a search engine to find what they require. This means they are not searching for the name of your business, but for the service you provide.

If you do not find his website under the top 10 for most of these typical searches, do you really think his SEO skills are as good as advertised?

If a so-called SEO expert cannot even manage to get his own website under the top 10 search results, will he really get YOUR website in there? Or is it just lip service?

3.  Ask them about what their services entail regarding SEO and what they plan to apply to your website?

  • Really proper SEO must include a continued link campaign strategy – and should ideally focus on very specifically one way links into the website, also called inbound links or backlinks.
  • This should preferably be an ongoing thing. Even if clients choose not to use it (at their own website’s risk) you should still be informed of the extreme importance of a proper link campaign, at the very least.
  • There are various ways of obtaining inbound links – submittals to online directories (paid or unpaid), article submissions being amongst the best here.
  • Of course, needless to say, proper SEO entails in-depth research of potential keywords to be used for your website. This is where it al begins! If you are close enough and can pop in at their offices – ask to see the keyword research tools they use!
  • After that, the established keywords should be checked with you to ensure that you are happy that they are as descriptive as possible of what you offer.
  • Then these keywords should form the basis for the writing of your website’s meta tags – the title and description tags on the coding page.
  • Don’t let anybody tell you this isn’t important anymore! It is. Let your website run for 3 months with a title tag that says “Home” or “welcome to my website” and see the results for yourself.
  • They should include a way for both themselves and you as the website owner to monitor visitors to te website. NOT just a counter. That means absolutely nothing by itself. So what if your website counter shows that your website has had 1987 visitors since February 2008? Only thing it tells ME straight off is that the site is definitely NOT ranking well.
  • You need to be able to see when your website starts being found in search engines, and where your site starts ranking for the searches that were conducted – for starters. This can get very in-depth and a couple of really good trackers and tools are available.
  • Note however that some of these tools can confuse you to the point of taking pills – simple is good here!
  • They should openly discuss the best design elements with you – certain design elements simply are not effective for neither website ranking, nor for attracting and keeping website visitors on your website. A really good seo designer will not hesitate to tell you if your idea will NOT be conducive to obtaining good rankings!

4.  Did you get good quality information from him, or just a quick one page quote?

Sure, lots of people hate reading but the reality is that you cannot necessarily expect to make a well informed decision on what can easily be your most valuable marketing tool if you do not have sufficient information to enable you to do so.

Even if you do not understand all of it – a really well drawn up quote and website proposal should explain things in detail, thus leaving you with a clear picture of what you will get and what will be expected of you. If you do not understand – ASK all the questions you need to! Ask hundreds of questions if you must – it is YOUR money that will be spent here. Make sure you spend it wisely.

Did they bother to answer your questions in detail and explain things to you in an easily understood fashion, or did they drown you in Nerd Speak?

As things stand, South Africa must one day very soon also comply with the international standards where it is expected of a service provider to supply sufficient detailed information about their services or products to allow the average client to make an informed buying decision. So this is becoming law very, very soon. In fact, it is said that this one has already been signed by the President.

Read more about choosing a web designer here

5.  Were you informed of ways to futher aid your website’s overall internet exposure by using social media platforms?

Blogging. Facebook. Twitter. To name but a few.

Social media is fast becoming extremely important, to such and extent that you really have no choice in the matter. Are you aware that Facebook now boasts a user base of over 300 million worldwide? This makes Facebook the world’s 4th most populated “country”! Are you active there yet?

Blogging – the CEO’s of giant global companies such as Google blog almost daily. Do you think they use the excuse of not having time, whilst managing global multinational corporations? Why would they bother if they didn’t see the advantages?

Read more about Social Media here

In the end, choosing the correct SEO web designer will make the difference between a long and happy relationship and a website that does what it is supposed to do, or lots of sweat, tears and grinding of teeth!

Article written by RIaan Coetzee

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