Are you starting a business, and considering whether or not hiring an SEO company is a good idea? It may be tempting at first to try to develop and launch your SEO plan yourself. There are several guides that promise to help you develop an SEO plan yourself, and many will try to persuade you to not spend a dime on services before trying it yourself.
Or do you already have a company that you’re paying thousands of dollars to that has not met your expectations? If you’re not finding the return on investment that you were expecting when hiring an SEO company, then you might be wondering what it’s even worth.
The Value of SEO Marketing
SEO has been around since the early 1990s and became increasingly important as search engines began to gain popularity in 1997. Technology in schools was creating a new generation of users, who are now the designers behind a lot of websites that everyone visits. Rules were being taught, such as how to properly enter a keyword search, while new rules were also being discovered. But SEO has really taken off in the last 10 years, growing in importance now that there’s a mobile device in practically everyone’s hand. Even in the early 2000s, some small businesses were able to conduct business without building their own website, and unless it was started by college students sometime after 2004, there was no way to promote anything on social media, such as Facebook.
But now it’s ubiquitous and has become its own booming industry. Now the rules of the game have changed completely. This is an age where language is fuel and can be used as a way to make an idea become viral. Some of these methods include:
- Create hashtags
- Keyword research and analysis
- Writing quality content with appropriate keywords
SEO marketing is your tool to connect to others around you. It is the bridge that allows customers who are trying to find you actually land on your website. But that’s not all. When you hire a quality SEO marketing company, you’re also hiring a team of web designers, content writers, and other creatives and technicians who will develop an engaging, easy-to-use website that your clients return to often and share online.
The Cost of Affordable SEO Services For Small Business
Unfortunately, there is no standard price that can be said for all SEO packages and services. However, you can find SEO services for small businesses that fit practically any budget. In fact, customizing your SEO marketing package is one great way to save money by ensuring that you only pay for the services and features that you need. There is no one-size-fits-all digital campaign, so you should choose a company that gives you plenty of options.
You also want to choose a company that will allow your campaign and website to grow and expand as your company does.
Small Business SEO Services
Our packages include a variety of services. By understanding how each of these steps works, it’s easier to understand how a successful SEO campaign comes together.
Our SEO experts begin by conducting a competitive analysis of your current SEO strategies, including thorough keyword research. Google gives preference to websites with a user-friendly structure that is growth-oriented and designed to target and rank for multiple high traffic keywords. From everyday purchases to what kind of skincare to use, to decisions about which plumber to hire or dentist to trust with your toothache, people search online either to shop or to get information in order to make an important decision. In fact, as of March 2018, Google searches on mobile devices for “online shopping” grew by 180%. The way people find out about your company is through these keywords that they’re using to find what they want.
So you want to know what they’re searching for, which keywords are already popular among your competitors, and which long-chain and short-chain keywords you can incorporate into your campaign to bring your company to the top of Google search engine results pages. Short-chain keywords are only 1-3 words, whereas long-chain keywords are 4 or more—sometimes even a full sentence. While the latter tend to have lower volumes of results, the users who type in long-chain keywords are more likely to convert to becoming a customer because they are intentionally looking for something very specific. For example “slab leak detection boulder colorado” is a lot more specific than “plumber,” and if you are a plumber, then it’s likely that the customer is trying to find you immediately. Are your keywords bringing in business and the right audience?
Optimizing SEO On Your Existing Website
You might be making drastic changes to your website, or improving on what you already have. With either choice, you will want to maintain your website but make technical SEO improvements on your existing content and web pages.
Know The Competition
The popularity of a keyword can vary depending on markets, and have a strong effect on your company. When starting a new website it is important to do a search and analyze the results you see for:
- Web page publish dates
- How much traffic each site is generating
- Links to other similar sites, and backlinks
- The page rankings of the top sites listed in results
- The number of ads for any given search query
This gives you information on what is already going on in your industry when your audience searches for those keywords on a website Google, for example. Armed with that knowledge, an SEO company can build a strategy that begins to generate traffic to your website.
For existing websites, there are ways of varying your base keywords to related words in order to capture a wider audience. You also want to see if maybe those words, which are similar,
How to Pick The Right SEO Company
When choosing the right SEO company you want to think about not only the services they will provide but additionally the team that you will be hiring. You want to speak to them in order to understand the WAY that they will deliver the services that you need. Some SEO companies use questionable, immoral, or banned techniques in order to get quick results, but these results are unsustainable and may have an adverse impact on your long-term performance.
Some of the things to look for when choosing the right SEO company for your needs are as follows:
Work Done In-House
One of the ways that SEO companies save money is by outsourcing their work to other countries where labor is less expensive. While this may save you money, it may mean that you lose quality. When work is done in-house by experts who can speak face-to-face with each other about your campaign, or at least never be more than a phone call away, then you will have a better outcome. Companies that keep their work in-house tend to not miss deadlines, not suffer from communication breakdowns, and have an overall more cohesive feel.
While not everyone who works on your campaign has to be on-site, as many content writers and freelancers may work from other locations, they generally are close enough to the agency where they can keep open and effective communication even if they don’t see each other every day. But if you hire a company with employees on the other side of the world, then you will have to consider things such as time differences when it comes to making your final choice.
White Hat Practices
Using white hat practices is vital for your company. First of all, Google will automatically flag your website if they notice “black hat” SEO techniques, which will lead to lower rankings. So what exactly are white hat and black hat practices? They are the ways website owners use SEO to improve their chances of being seen, such as backlinking to high-authority websites, ensuring no links are broken, website loading speeds are great, and your title tags and meta descriptions have keywords. However, black hat practices take it too far, and sometimes will add lower-quality or even broken links to your site. And when you decide to change to another SEO agency, the black hat techniques used in designing your site will result in plummeting traffic numbers. That’s because their techniques do not allow for growth or change. White hat practices, on the other hand, can improve your chances of making it to one of the top spots on Google.
Your company is unique, and only you can provide your customers what you have. The SEO agency you choose should have a diverse portfolio showing their various creative and technical solutions to helping various niche businesses thrive online. You want a team that has proven that it can come up with fresh solutions to match any brand. Check out their testimonials from other customers.
41% of businesses believe that backlinking is one of the most difficult aspects of SEO. While it may be difficult, and even confusing at first, link-building, or backlinking, is one of the most effective off-site SEO tactics to help your users get to your website. There are a couple of different ways to build links.
Authoritative backlinks include:
- Blog posts that are written by authorities in your niche field
- White papers
- Informative videos
Building Backlinking Outreach
Do you want to reach more customers? Of course you do. And right now, many of them are online either using a desktop computer, laptop, or mobile device. YouTube boasts a user base over 1.9 billion members strong, and there are over 2 billion active users on Facebook.
The truth is, a lot of people are trying to interact with their favorite brand through social media. You want to create content that is fresh, original, matches with the established tone set by your brand, and generates not only trust but excitement to come back. The content you use to do this can come in any of these forms:
- Blog posts
- Videos, from how-to videos to interviews with key members of the niche market
This content gets shared on social media by your engaged and interested users, and it will entice their friends and family to click on those links to find out more about you. With regular posts, you can even build an online community. A strong example is Colombia Sportswear. They launched a video campaign where they demonstrated the use, and even abuse, of their products in some of the harshest conditions in the world just to prove how durable and rugged they are. This idea was conceived based on an analysis of how their users behaved online, and what they wanted. Now, users know to go back to the site to not only learn about new products, but will go anyway as soon as they’ve bought a product to learn how it is used. Online communities have sprung up where people exchange ideas, as well as links.
With the right idea and creative minds around you, you can turn SEO into a magical way of connecting people and continuing business. For Colombia Sportswear, that magic translated into an 147% increase in brand engagement after that campaign.
In order to have this kind of success, you want to think about the following when building an SEO campaign:
- How will you maintain a social presence on all of the major social media platforms?
- How often will you post content?
- Does your content lead users to click on your website to get more information, or does the ad tell everything?
- Adding social media buttons to each web page on your website to encourage users to repost your content on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc.
- Creating fresh content that is relevant and designed to engage your users
Manually Building Connections
One of the most effective ways to build backlinks is to build a partnership with another blogger or even a micro-influencer in your niche field. If they have a blog or are very active on social media, then it would be a good idea to reach out to them to build this partnership. Ideally, they will mention your brand or company in one of their posts as it relates to what your mutual audience wants. For example, a company selling exercise clothing can arrange with a micro-influencer to give them a sample of new and improved running compression pants, in exchange for a mention in their blog or on their social media page.
Inexpensive, But Not Cheap
When you hear “affordable SEO marketing company” you might be thinking to yourself that the rates will be worth what you’re paying. There are numerous short books and podcasts about doing SEO marketing yourself, and may be wondering what separates a good SEO agency from one that won’t improve your business.
There are some black hat techniques that some lower quality, and thus less expensive, SEO agencies will do in order to try to make their clients happy. They will pay for backlinks that are made for the sole purpose of backlinking, and if you decide to switch to another agency then those links will be shut down. Once they shut down, you will notice a significant drop in the amount of traffic to your website. Here are some other signs of bad SEO practices you want to look out for and avoid:
- Broken backlinks
- Backlinking only to other web pages on your own website
- A website structure that doesn’t encourage backlinking
- No clear editorial backlink strategy
- The links point to low-quality websites
Measure Outcomes Specific To Your Business
An SEO company for small businesses is a beneficial ally to have as you continue to grow your business. They will monitor your campaign and make updates as necessary to your website.
Some of the best SEO companies offer services that include customized reporting, which can be completed regularly, such as at the end of every month. No two companies are going to need to be measured along the same exact metrics, so it’s important that your reporting is customizable so that you only collect, analyze, and use the data that is relevant to your target goals.
These reports show SEO experts what the campaign is doing most efficiently, and areas within the website’s structure or content that need revisions or alterations. For example, a report can give you the following kind of information:
- How much traffic each web page on your website attracts
- What the performance metrics are for each source that sends traffic to your website
- What your website’s conversation rate is among those users who were directed to your website from each of those sources
It is highly recommended that all of this data be available to you each month so you can see the impact of your digital marketing efforts on your website’s performance and growth.
Call The Experts
Now that you understand more about how SEO works, can help you, and can be more affordable for your business, as well as how to find the right agency, it’s time to start making phone calls and setting up consultations with various agencies. Let them know what your current practices are, your goals for your business, and be sure to write down any questions you may have. When you find the right one, get ready to start seeing the impact of SEO on your business and on your brand.