Wednesday, April 24, 2013

What's All Hype About Search Engine Optimization "SEO"?

Search engine optimization (or "SEO") is exploding with hype as the new, cutting-edge marketing manuever for businesses.

The truth is, SEO has been around since the late 90's when Overture, Yahoo, and other blooming search engines were viewed as quality sources to get information.

Only in the last 5 years or so has SEO become a popular facet to a company's marketing plan. This grow has been fertilized by the ever-powerful Google (which accounts for over 70% of activity on the Internet.)

If you're interested in knowing more about the history and basics of the SEO, this Wiki page is a pretty good resources.

The focus of this post is to enlighten you, the Epic Entreprenuer, on how to leverage SEO for your business's marketing plan.

The Purpose of SEO

The purpose of SEO is to get your website as high in the search rankings as possible for keyword phrases that reflect what you have to offer. Individuals are actively searching these terms, so the website traffic is typically good. As a result, businesses can capture pre-qualified leads from web traffic via search.

Understanding Your Business's Unique SEO Strategy

Just like a marketing plan, the SEO strategy for your business will be unique. Certain keyword phrases trigger special search results that demand a unique approach.

For instance, if your business model is a(n):
  • local business - you'll want to be aware of Google's localized search results (accompanied by the Google map with little pins.) These results are influenced by Google+ local pages (also formerly known as Google Places pages,) so you'll want to ensure you create one of these. Additionally, you'll want to modify your keywords to be geo-specific (e.g. "wine shops in Traverse City" or "computer repair shops in Peoria IL")
  • online store or ecommerce website - you'll want to consider implementing the products of your ecommerce store on Google Shopping. These product listings are a huge sources of search traffic and can help be the ideal supplement to any ecommerce SEO strategy.
  • advertiser, blogger, or publisher - if your business model centers on regular online publishing (or time sensitive information) see if you website or blog qualifies for Google News results. This is popular platform for search that can provide a wealth of traffic.

Get a Free SEO Audit

There are tons of SEO companies that offer free SEO/website audits. It's important to note that the best practices of SEO have drastically changed over the last year. Some SEO techniques are obsolete; however some providers still claim they're effective (loser denial, maybe.)

Unfortunately, this sketchy behavior has given the SEO profession a bad name over the years. Just be sure to do your homework and inquire to multiple SEO providers when scouting for services or consulting programs. Getting the opinion of multiple "SEO specialists" is key to weeding-out the amatuers and theives.

About the Author:
This article was contributed by Tyler Tafelsky, an Internet marketing manager at the Web Presence Group, a Yogi, a triathlete and an overall righteous dude. To learn more about Tyler, connect with him on Twitter or Google+.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Key Questions to Ask When Interviewing Prospective Business IT Consultants

When seeking help on how to utilize information technology (IT) for your business, there are thousands of IT consultants who can offer their wisdom and insights.
it consultant interview

However like most consulting professionals, each IT consultant has a unique style and approach as to how they operate.

Below we have compiled a list of questions to ask when interviewing your prospective business IT consultants.

What types and brands of computer and IT systems do you specialize in? Understanding the technology that your prospective IT consultant uses is imperative in knowing how their "go-to solutions" match up with the goals of you business.

What was your professional experience before you became an IT consultant? Getting an idea of the individual's professional experience can help you gauge how extensive of an industry track record they have to offer.

Do have experience working on similar projects or providing consulting services with other groups encountering challenges similar to ours? This question can put a lot out on the table in terms of how proficient the consultant will be in addressing the specific problems your company is faced with.

What prior experience do you have with clients related to that of our business's size? Similar to the last question, this allows you to grasp the IT consultant background experience. Additionally, inquiring about the types of issues the consultant has handled can uncover his or her degree of business domain knowledge. This can help minimize the expense of billable hours spent on getting up to speed.

Are there additional members of your IT consulting team who work with? Some IT consultants work individually and others work as a team. This will help you understand the expectations regarding the timeliness of support request, for team-based providers are sometimes more efficient.

Have you written any publications or documents that underscore issues that our company is facing? Professional IT consultants will often times document or write about issues that they troubleshoot and solve. In short, this separates the quality IT consultants from the mediocre.

What companies or professionals have you personally worked with before? If the prospect is able to release this information to you, then ask the follow-up question: Can we call them to ask about your services? Getting feedback from a source other than the IT consultant is a great supplement to your prospecting efforts and selecting the right individual.

This article was written by the advocates of Facet Technologies, a professional team of IT consultants in Peoria, IL. Facet Tech can help advise your business on ways to leverage IT for more efficient operations and productivity.