I asked SEO guru, Matt Deloff-owner of FMS Online Marketing, to provide answers to common questions I receive regarding SEO. He provided invaluable information below explaining why SEO is so important for your website and why it should be a top priority in your marketing budget. Make sure and read his Blog posts for more SEO tips and information.

Effective Search Engine OptimizationYour website is your online business card. Is it important for people to find it?

Absolutely! It’s very important for people to find your website as this is your online business card. With all the people using search engines these days, if your website is not coming up for popular search terms related to the services you offer or products, you are missing out on a huge chunk of new opportunities.

Is it more important for people to find your business by name or by keywords that relate to your products and services?

By keywords. I say this because most of the people who are searching online are using search terms and keywords that relate to your products and services. Most people don’t even know you have a business. The only people who are aware of your business and it’s name are those that received a business card. There are hundreds or even thousands of other who don’t know you even exist. That’s why your website needs to rank for keyword phrases. Your website will eventually rank in the top spots for your business name and URL anyway. That should be automatic. Ranking for popular search terms, that’s the key.

Will having a website be enough or do we have to do anything else to get it ranked for our keywords or products and services?

Unfortunately, having a live website live is not enough these days. It may have been enough 10-12 years ago. But now with the over saturation of websites, millions of them online, you have to apply website optimization and off-page SEO to get your site and it’s keywords ranked.

Is social media worth it and should I pay somebody to run ours?

Yes, social media is a great way to brand your company for free. Unless you have a big company I would not suggest paying for social media, other than maybe doing some consulting if you need help and don’t know the basics. You may even want to implement images and pictures to make your Facebook page unique. In that sense you could pay an expert (graphic designer or social media guru). But other than that, I would not pay big money to use social media unless you are a corporation.

Is having a website really that important?

It’s almost 2014 and everybody is online these days. Without a website you are falling behind your competitors by the day. You are missing out on a lot of new business if you don’t have a website. People want to find your website to check out your products and services, prices, info about your company, etc. Days of advertising in the newspaper and yellow pages are dead and useless. A website should be one of your company’s strongest assets.

Is any web designer capable of creating our website goals or are there things we should look for when selecting one?

There are still a lot of old school web designers out there that you need to watch for. An old school designer will fail to create a back end for your site, which is called a content management system (CMS). The CMS allows the website owner to make changes on the fly to their site and take over total control of it. And old school designer won’t build this and every time you need something changed, they will nickel and dime you to death. Some designers still build websites in Flash. Stay away from that as this will crush your chances of achieving awesome search rankings. The search engines can’t read flash and all they see is blank screens. You want a good designer that uses content, images containing Alt text, builds you a CMS, and gives you total control and ownership when the site is complete. A good designer may charge a little more but when it comes to a website or your website marketing, you get what you pay for…..Quality.

Can our website be a creation of similar websites within our industry or is it important to be unique?

Never copy a similar website or it’s content and images. You want to be unique. Set yourself apart. You went into business because you have something unique to share. Your website should be a reflection of that. I always see doctors and dentists, even attorneys, using these web designer companies that specialize in their field. All of their sites end up being and looking the same. It’s very boring and dull.

How important is picking the right domain name?

Your domain name, if you want an additional rankings boost, should be some sort of combination of keywords that pertain to what you do. It’s even better if you can find search terms for your industry that produce a lot of traffic. From there check to see if that search phrase has been taken as a domain name CLICK HERE. If not snatch it up. You can also go with a company name if it symbolizes what your site is about. Some companies pick their names as their domains and they really don’t convey what the website is about. You should stay away from that.

Is it okay to duplicate content in your blog and social media?

Yes, as long as your only posting a link and a little content about the link on your social media platforms. You don’t want to post the whole blog on your Facebook page. Keep most of the content for your blog and maybe a couple sentences and a link to the blog for your Facebook and Twitter handles.

What’s more important pictures, or content explanations of a business?

Content is king. The more unique content you have the better. Images are good and they have to have Alt Text explaining to the search engines what the image is when they crawl your site. Videos are really awesome too. They need to be optimized for the search engines too. But content, unique content, still rules the land.