How do you know if the web developer you're about to hire knows anything about SEO?
Find out what keywords they're using to be found on Google, then Google that phrase, and see if they come up on page 1 or 2.
Above, in the red box, is the "Page Title" for a website's home page. These are the most important search terms the web designer (or any company) wants to be found for in a Google search.
Quick 2-step test to see if a web designer knows SEO.
There's a few ways you can tell if the web design firm you're about to hire knows how to get you to show up on page one or two of a Google search.
Be sure to find this out before they build your new website, because if they can't get themselves, or their clients, to show up high in a Google search, they certainly won't be able to get your company's website to show up high in Google either.
Go to the web designer's site and see the keyword phrases they use in their Page Title. These are the phrases they want to be found for in a search for their services. In our case, we use "Columbus web design," etc.
Google the phrase(s) they're using in their Page Titles.
If they aren't on page 1 or 2 of that search they're not very good SEO folks.
Don't guess at what keywords to Google
Whether you're Googl'ing yourself, or checking on the SEO skills of a web design firm, never Google keyword phrases you THINK people use, because there's a good chance you'd be wrong.
And if you're Googl'ing the wrong keywords, you can't blame the web design firm for not showing up for those. For example, one might think the phrase "Columbus Ohio web design companies" is a good phrase, but one would be wrong, as shown in the results below from Google.
Whereas the phrase "website design Columbus Ohio" is a good phrase, because a recent Google Keyword Tool search showed it had 260 searches over the past 30 days:
Two examples of using the wrong keywords
First, a plastic surgeon hired a social media firm who convinced him to use multiple keyword phrases that allowed him to quickly showed up for on page one of a Google search. However, the reason they were able to get him on page one of a Google search for those terms so quickly, is that no other plastic surgeon ever used those search terms in their websites.
Why wouldn't any other plastic surgeon use these specific search terms?
Simple: because every other plastic surgeon's SEO folks knew no one ever searched on those terms.
So showing up on page one of a Google search for "Plastic surgeons in Yorba Linda, Fullerton, CA" isn't so incredible when there's no audience Googl'ing that search term.
In addition, separating keyword phrases with commas (like the example above), is a bad SEO practice, because search engines separate phrases by commas are seen as distinctly separate search phrases. So instead of reading "Plastic surgeons in Yorba Linda, Fullerton, CA" as one phrase, Google reads it as three unique phrases: "Plastic surgeons in Yorba Linda," "Fullerton," and "CA." And we're willing to bet that anyone Googl'ing the phrases "Fullerton," or "CA," probably aren't looking for a plastic surgeon. And, of course, a little Google research shows us no one is searching for the phrase "Plastic surgeons in Yorba Linda."
In our second example, lets say you're a home builder in Columbus, Ohio.
To see how you rank (or how well the web design firm who built you site did with your SEO), you might Google the phrase "homebuilder Columbus Ohio."
And whatever results you'd see on page 1 of Google, you'd think those home builders (or the web designer who built that site) know what they're doing.
But you'd be wrong.
Why is that?
Because Googl'ing "homebuilder Columbus Ohio" (homebuilder as one word) is a phrase that Google tells us no one searches for.
However, what Google's Keyword Tool WOULD show, is that there have been hundreds of searches over the past month for the term "home builder Columbus Ohio" ("home builder" as two words).
That is one very minor variation that makes a huge difference!
So our lesson here is, if that home builder was using the wrong keyword phrase ("homebuilders Columbus Ohio" with homebuilder as one word) on their website, and they built their SEO around it, they would've wasted a lot of time not ranking while their competitors left them in the dust.
The next time you wonder "What is SEO? And how can I make sure a Columbus web design firm knows what they're talking about?" talk with us.