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    SEO (search engine optimization) is just as important as website design and development in building a highly functional website. Web design and SEO are not necessarily interchangeable. A top-notch designer who builds killer webpages aesthetically doesn’t necessarily understand SEO. Are the meta tags optimized on every page of your site? Do your images contain alt tags with keywords and phrases? Do you have professionally written, keyword-optimized content that captivates your audience and compels them to action? These are just a couple of examples that fall under SEO and can be a detriment to your website’s performance and search engine rankings if ignored.

    SEO contains numerous components that must be researched, created, and managed. It’s not about just adding special codes to a website and calling it a day. Researching competition, link building, keywords and keyphrases, and crafting compelling content are just a few of the processes an SEO specialist will deploy to enhance search engine rankings. In fact, approximately 80% of the websites we audit are not properly optimized for search engines. Many designers view SEO as an additional revenue stream and sell the service without a fundamental understanding of how it should work, and the unsuspecting client doesn’t know the difference.

    SEO is constantly changing, and learning best practices is not easy because it is a moving target. Search engine algorithms for ranking frequently update and change. Your SEO expert has to be current on these updates to make sure your SEO strategy remains compatible. If your web designer proclaims expertise in SEO, it’s worth the money to have a third party audit your website for SEO best practices.  If your website architecture, content, keyword density, and overall backlinks are not up to Google’s algorithm standards, your site could be penalized.

    An SEO specialist is responsible for maintaining, changing, and updating your site for consistently better performance. Building top-performing SEO is a long-term process.

    The ideal solution is to hire an inbound marketing firm that has both website developers and SEO specialists on staff. X-Factor Web Marketing can affordably review and audit your website for SEO best practices. Since 2008, we have been bringing our clients’ messages, missions, and value propositions online and helping them achieve trackable and measurable sales growth. Wouldn’t you like to know if you are leaving dollars on the table because of a poorly optimized, low-ranking website?

    Let’s be honest. You don’t exist if you don’t show up on Google. It’s just a fact these days. Sure, there are plenty of other ways to market your business, and many of them can be very effective. But at some point, prospects are going to Google you, and what they find can make or break your chances of doing business. Why is this?


    The website is often your company’s first impression. If it is outdated, clunky, slow, or ugly, you already look unprofessional to your prospects. Some folks will forgive that and give you the benefit of the doubt, but most won’t.

    What if your website doesn’t even show up when they search for you? The automatic assumption is that you’ve gone out of business, or that you’re some guy’s basement hobby, not a real professional company worth hiring.

    The best first impression you can give them is a well-designed, functional website that shows up high in the search engine results for terms they’re going to use to find out about you and what you offer. (And don’t forget, there’s a good chance they’re searching for you on a mobile device, so your site had better look good there, too.)

    Customer Service

    Your prospects and customers don’t want to call you anymore. They certainly don’t want to invest half an hour or more in an on-site meeting just to see if you’re someone they want to hire.

    They want to be able to Google the products and services they need, and find websites that answer their questions ahead of time, at their convenience.

    They want to be fully informed and completely comfortable before they talk to you. Then – and only then – will they initiate contact or respond to an ad you’ve put out there.

    The best thing you can do is fill your website with helpful content that naturally and effectively answers all your prospects’ questions while building trust and a desire to do business. And this content has to be search-optimized to show up high in the search results so that your prospects find you before they find one of your competitors.

    Brand Reputation

    In some cases, search results can do more harm than good.

    If an unhappy customer has lambasted you on local review sites such as Yelp or Foursquare, or if someone has posted negative comments on Facebook or Twitter, there’s a good chance your prospects are going to read those remarks when they’re researching your company.

    Specialized SEO tactics and reputation- or brand-management techniques combined can make sure that what appears first and foremost in search results helps instead of hurts you. There’s no way to completely avoid negative information about your company online, but it’s definitely possible to be aware of it and control its impact.

     The Bottom Line:

    If you don’t appear on the first page of Google, or if what appears doesn’t put your business in the best possible light, your business is being hurt. For more traffic and better conversions, apply the right inbound tactics to your website.

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