illustration of one dog sniffing another dog's butt, showing engagement

We've just completed this infographic outlining why your website might not be ranking as high as you'd like on Google or other search engines.

It covers the highlights of search engine optimization, which is what happens on your website (opposed to search engine marketing, which is what happens off your website, in an effort to get people to find your site). If that's a bit confusing, check out this infographic showing the difference between the two.

The better and more educational your website, the longer your audience will stay on it, and the more pages they'll check out. And you might suspect, this is something companies would have a harder time cheating with.(Google's always trying to slap down those who try and cheat their algorithms.)

However, we're guessing there are already companies in third world countries offering services that have their employees visit your website, to hang out on it for 10 minutes, trying to trick Google into thinking lots of people like your website.

We're also guessing Google's algorithms will deal with that, pinpointing WHERE visitors to your site are coming from. They'll be able to tell if lots of visitors are from foreign countries, and if your market is in the U.S., it will be a red flag.

Now let's talk about what happens OFF your website

It's fact: more people don't know you (or us) than do. Unless, of course, you're Pepsi, Apple or Abercrombie.

So how do you get on your customer's radar if they don't have your name on the tip of their tongue, but need what you do?

The two main ways are social media and internet marketing.

Internet Marketing is what's more generally known as "Google AdWords."

However, did you know there are more search engines than Google? (The more you know...) There are hundreds of other websites that function as search engines like MSNBC, and hundreds of other news websites.

Should you want your ads to appear on, lets say dozens, of search engines, having an internet marketing service would be critical to organize and monitor what is a surprisingly in-depth process.

Without an internet marketing service, the time you would need to research the literally hundreds of keywords that would work for your business, pinpoint the right search engines, the right pay-per-click price, and monitor how they're performing, would prevent you from doing your real job.

How to determine if a web design firm is good for you

First, check out the web designer's website: does it talk about how awesome they are, instead of how they make your marketing better? If they do, they're not marketing-focused, and you shouldn't count on them to make your website customer-focused.

Second, does their site look like it was built with a template? If it is, that's what you'll be getting for your website, too. A custom design makes your company look unique, instead of a cookie-cutter template makes your company look like, well, not as unique, and like many other companies.

Third, does the web design firm show up well on Google? If they can't do that for themselves (or prove they've done it for their clients), there's a good chance they can't do it for your website.

Click here to download an interactive infographic of 7 questions to ask any web design firm. It should help you know some of the right things to ask when interviewing designers.

Good luck in your search for Columbus web design firms that can help you show up well in a Google search!