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How-To Hire an SEO Agency

How-To Hire an SEO Agency 79-daily-golden-nugget-777Eventually the day will come when a jewelry store owner realizes that they've spent a lot of money on development but the website isn't bringing in the customers they expect it to. What happens next is a story I've heard several times: They complain to someone and that someone asks them if their website is optimized for search engines. Then reality sets in as they realize that they spent all that money on building a website only to find out that now they need to spend money monthly on some type of online advertising.

Online advertising can either be Paid or Organic. If you have the larger monthly budget you can always attract more visitors faster using paid advertising. One of the problems I see with paid advertising is that jewelers are jumping into it without first tuning their website to convert visitors into paying customers. For this reason I suggest skipping the paid process until you've refined your website for organic traffic and customer conversion.

So what does it take to refine your website for organic traffic and customer conversion? Well, get yourself ready for a long process because there's no way to accomplish this overnight. Here's an overview list of the long term process:

1. Analyze who you want your target market to be.
2. Analyze if your website is attracting that target market.
3. Review the customer usability of your website.
4. Discover problems with the site that prevent people from converting from simple visitors into customers.
5. Establish a long term plan with stages to correct the problems you discover.
6. Review items 2 through 4 again after each stage to determine is you should continue with the previous plan or improve it.

If those 6 steps sound complicated it's because they actually are and you should hire an SEO agency to do this for you. You could attempt this on your own, but let's face it, can you run your jewelry business while you are also becoming a website marketing expert? Although the two are not mutually exclusive the time it takes you to accomplish this process will overwhelm you.

You might also feel overwhelmed as you try to find the right SEO agency to hire. If you Google "seo for jewelry websites" or "jewelry website seo" you will see many potential agencies. (Thankfully the website with all these Daily Golden Nuggets appears in the list!) How do you pick the right agency from so many that say they are the best? Here's how you can approach it.

First, don't bother hiring anyone if they are not listed organically. You should never hire an SEO firm based on paid advertising because if they can't get their own website listed organically then how can you expect that they will succeed with yours?

Next, review all the organic listings pages 1 and 2 of the search results. The first page of results is probably going to have image and video links as well. Don't skip them because you will also need help getting your own images and videos ranked. So watch the videos and look at the images. Pay particular attention to any images that are from the same websites that appear in the organic ranking.

As you review all the organic listings you want to look for agencies that explain their process, which should mimic the steps I outlined above. The more experienced SEO firms should refer to their process as steps of analysis or discovery, research or planning, execution or implementation, reporting, and then they repeat the process.

Please don't hire an SEO agency that proposes any type of grid or menu of services for you to choose from. These types of companies have monthly strategies that are only designed to continually bring in revenue for them, not you. They could regale you with details of how good their SEO is month in and month out and those menus of line items services look impressive. In reality you need to understand in simple terms what their process is and how it will be implemented. You also need to know how it will be modified over time.

Honestly, once upon a time the entire SEO industry used to use those menus of services with fancy lists of technical sounding services. In today's internet age you will find that the better SEO agencies have married marketing with the technical side of search engine optimization and discovered that every marriage only works when there is a happy middle ground.

The initial stages of planning SEO improvements take a lot of time and technical analysis. Some SEO firms will begin the implementation process with an aggressive approach then taper off over several months, and some will provide a balanced approach over a longer time. The approach you decide on depends on how quickly you want to see results. The more aggressive approach should be more expensive initially whereas the balanced approach usually comes with a set monthly service fee and a long term contract.

You might be wondering which one of these is a better approach:
* Balanced SEO approach over the long term
* Initial Aggressive SEO that tapers off after goals are met

The answer is not a simple one or the other. It depends on your financial resources and your own long term business goals. The balanced approach might take 6 to 12 months to really see amazing results that will have a longer positive impact on your business. The aggressive approach should allow you to find and fix your website problems so you can then correctly implement paid advertising. Even after you complete your aggressive approach you should continue to pay for monthly maintenance.

Even though I've explained the SEO process in this Nugget I also want you to consider what would change inside your business with the long term approach vs. the fast aggressive approach. Do you have the ability to manage the extra sales or put a plan in place on how you would do it if all this SEO work is successful? Successful marketing could turn into a disaster if you can't manage the extra business.

AT: 07/16/2013 09:27:43 PM   LINK TO THIS GOLD NUGGET
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