You may be able to do the basics of SEO, but if you can’t do all the tactics, your efforts may not move your results to the top and your time will end up being wasted.
For any small or local business looking to stay afloat, search engine visibility is very important. Paid ad campaigns are a great way to get immediate visibility and highly targeted traffic, but it’s crucial that you’re working on your organic presence for the long term as well. The problem is that website optimization (SEO) is a complex digital marketing strategy that requires consistent effort over time.
And this is the riddle. Local businesses are not making use of one of the most powerful digital marketing strategies due to the fact that they are a local business. Now, you don’t have time to do SEO, but you also don’t have time to learn enough about it to be able to hire small business SEO services correctly.
And that’s why we wrote this post. We’d like to change that for you, so here’s what we’re going to cover:
The basics of what SEO is and why it matters for local businesses.
Search engines are where your customers are looking for information about your products and services, and that’s where you need to stand out to them and stand out from your competitors. So let’s equip you to do that.
What is SEO for small businesses?
Before we get into the types of services an SEO agency provides, let’s first make sure you have a correct understanding of what SEO is. Many business owners see website optimization (SEO) as a mystery that only those with the inside knowledge can solve. Yes, an SEO company will have in-house knowledge that you don’t, but knowing the basics is really important, and it can be broken down into simple concepts:
Even if you are optimizing your site, search engines build their ranking algorithms around user behavior as they aim to be the most trusted source of information out there. What that means is, at the end of the day, you’re just optimizing for search engine users — aka people like you.
SEO is not just a tactic, but a combination of efforts that work together to help search engines like Google find your website, identify it as trustworthy, organize the information you are publishing about it, and present it to you. to users looking for it.
Let’s look at each component more closely.
One of the most common ways consumers find products, services, and businesses closest to them is through a search engine (hence the term “local search”). They will enter a search term or question (aka keyword). They will then return what they identified as the most appropriate and useful results, showing local results whenever possible due to their proximity and relevance.
In fact, in many cases, local results take up the entire homepage. This is what we get when we type “lawyer”, “dentistry”, and other services for example into Google, without even including our location in the query.
Search engines use complex algorithms (or formulas) that help identify, evaluate, and prioritize pages. Engine “spiders” constantly scour the web, filtering every page they find using this formula and storing the pages in a database (called an index). That way, when a person does a search, Google is actually returning results from its index rather than the live internet.
The important thing to remember is that SEO is about conveying the quality of your website pages and their relevance to certain locations and terms in a language a computer can understand, such as through meta tags and other tagged HTML elements.
In order for your potential customers to find you through a Google search, you need to rank at the top of Google; particularly, on the first page; ideally, in the first results. That’s why you need to optimize your content. Hence the term “search engine optimization”.
And the optimization part is where a small business SEO service comes into play. SEO produces strong, sustained results, but only if it’s done right. It can be difficult for a small business to get all the optimizations right, let alone figure out what those tactics are to begin with. So let’s talk about SEO services.
Why Hire an SEO Agency?
So we’ve just established that search is very much localized information, which is why it’s a worthwhile small business digital marketing strategy. But why hire an SEO agency?
SEO is complex
While we’ve only simplified the main components above, that doesn’t make SEO any less complex. And small business SEO doesn’t make it any less than big business SEO. As mentioned above, SEO is a set of practices that work synergistically to gain exposure on local search engine results pages. You may be able to do the basics of SEO, but if you can’t do all the tactics, your efforts may not move your results to the top and your time will end up being wasted.
SEO requires ongoing work
SEO is not a one-size-fits-all strategy. There are some unique optimizations you can perform that require little to no maintenance, but real SEO is a constant work in progress. It involves:
Publishing fresh, high-quality content regularly;
Updating existing pages constantly for accuracy;
Going back to old pages and adding links to new pages;
Promoting content through other channels such as social media and email.
Many small business owners have enough on their plate with running their daily activities. With the help of an SEO agency , your website can be generating massive traffic and takes it to the background while you are able to stay focused on your customers.
SEO is a moving target
As we covered in the “engine” section of our SEO introduction above, Google uses a complex algorithm that takes into account multiple ranking factors to determine a page’s quality, relevance, and accuracy. We know most of these ranking factors, but not all of them. Also, Google is always evolving its algorithm. A small business SEO service can stay on top of these algorithm updates and adjust their strategy accordingly.
Knowledge and tools
Free SEO tools are great to use when creating content and doing work that you can master. SEO tools and service subscriptions are also useful, but you have to learn how to get the most out of each platform. A professional SEO services agency is equipped with the best tools and knowledge that, when combined, can give you an edge over your competitors.
Benefits of using an SEO service
So we can see how much work an SEO partner can remove from their marketing action list, but let’s talk about what you get in return.
Stay focused on growth
As mentioned above, SEO takes a lot of time — not just each individual tactic, but it also performs ongoing maintenance and keeps on top of Google updates. When you hire an SEO agency for your website, you no longer need to specialize in using meta tags, rich snippets, other technical information, SEO audits (unless you want to) and Google updates. That means you have more time to focus on other aspects of your business, like growing your offers or leads and sales.
See the quick success
SEO efforts can take weeks and even months to show in terms of traffic and more customers. So while we think learning the hard way is often the best way, SEO’s long turnaround time makes it a more fun place for trial and error. A small business SEO service has the combined years of experience among its experts to be able to quickly identify wins and mistakes that could take years (and precious brain cells) to achieve on their own. Plus, there are many other aspects of your business that I’m sure you’re already learning the hard way.
Understand your data
The faster you can increase your website traffic, the better, because you will get more meaningful data to work with. But what data is significant? How can all this make sense? This is another benefit of using a small business SEO service. They can take a look at your website traffic and gain important insights to inform your goals. They can help you see:
Which pages receive the most visits;
Which calls to action are most effective;
Which landing pages (coming from search engines) convert the most;
The demographic profile of your target audience.
These insights will inform your content strategy moving forward and help your SEO agency refine their efforts to just the places that are worth their money.
Activate your marketing wheel
Getting started with SEO can be slow, but good SEO tactics employed by a solid SEO company eventually create a cycle that reinforces itself. When your site’s ranking improves, more visitors will find your pages in search results. With more visitors coming and staying on your pages, you will get higher. With higher standing and wider exposure to your high-value content, more sites will link to your pages. This increases your domain authority and credibility, which further improves your site’s ranking. And so on. And the higher you rank on Google, the more effectively you will reach your audience.
generate more sales
When SEO is done right, you not only see more visitors to your site, but more qualified visitors. Since search engines return results for users who are actively searching for a certain term or phrase, getting to the top of that pile means you’re providing information to the people who want it most, when they want it. This means that people who come to your site through search are interested in buying and more likely to convert.
What will an SEO services company do?
If at this point, you know the basics of SEO, but if you are considering hiring an SEO services company for your business, you may be wondering exactly what they are going to do. In this section, we’re going to take a little deeper dive into their tactics so you can form a more accurate picture in your head and be aware of terms that might come up in your conversation with an SEO agency.
In-page efforts, called On-Page SEO , are focused on the “crawlability” and usability of the pages on your site. They will optimize for the parts of your site that are seen by the public and read by search engines. That includes:
Content: They will ensure that the content on your pages is relevant to the keywords you are trying to rank for and that the content is useful and of high quality.
Experience: They will use site analytics to identify how engaging a page is and provide fresh starts for improvement from a user experience point of view.
Structure: They will ensure that your site’s linking hierarchy is organized and easy for search engines to crawl.
Meta data: They will ensure that each page is complete with title tags, headers, image tags, rich cards, and more that contain keywords being targeted.
Website performance: This involves page load speed, responsiveness (renders and functions correctly on any device or screen size), and image size, etc.
A good SEO services company will also employ various off-page SEO practices that involve the backend elements of your website. They will help you with:
Backlinks: They will help you to build links to your site from other trusted sites.
Domain Authority: They will ensure that you are consistently building trust with Google.
Tips for Choosing a Small Business SEO Agency
When starting your search for the perfect SEO agency, it can be overwhelming. To help you navigate the hundreds of companies that all claim to be the “best”, we’ve compiled a short list of important considerations.
Look beyond the top ranked agency
Sure, you could argue that they should really know what they’ve been doing since they got to the top spot, but in doing so, you also risk running over other top agencies that might be smaller and nicer to look at. work, and even closer to you geographically. There are many agencies that are genuinely amazing at what they do, and instead of spending their time ranking for highly competitive keywords, most of their business comes from referrals.
See if they specialize in anything
As attractive as it may seem to go with the company that does all this, you may find that your money is better spent at an agency that specializes in a certain industry or service. Trying to be the best in everything related to SEO is a high order that very few can fulfill. Really investigate the service providers you consider and see if they have the expertise that directly applies to your niche, industry or problem areas.
Look for an agency with educational content
While a good SEO service will do the fieldwork for you, a great SEO service will keep you informed and educate you along the way. Not only will this give you peace of mind that your money is being well spent, but you will also gain knowledge and perhaps even gain tools to carry out SEO practices on your own and make informed decisions in the future.
Know your budget
Knowing your SEO budget will largely determine which companies get cut and which deserve a closer look. Not only will this make you more comfortable once the ball starts rolling, but you also won’t have to worry about any extraneous cash flow issues halfway through your service plan. Don’t be afraid to openly explore all the payment options your SEO company has to offer.
Build a relationship with your SEO agency
Nothing can give you a better insight into an SEO agency than having a close relationship with them. This gives you a chance to get a real feel for the way they handle business and determine whether or not there is any chemistry. Which leads to our next section.
Questions to Ask an SEO Agency
Many small business owners are wary of SEO services due to past experience. They hired so-called SEO experts who were only temporarily effective, completely ineffective, or maybe even hurt their website traffic. When reviewing SEO service options, be sure to avoid companies that mention guaranteed rankings and automatic link exchanges. Also, ask the questions below:
How will we communicate and how often?
What kind of contracts, quotes and service options do you have?
What is your action plan to improve our rankings?
Have you worked with a company similar to ours in the past?
What do you know about our industry?
What kind of results should we expect to see?
What does contract cancellation consist of?
What kind of tools do you use?
Do you want a small business SEO agency?
As the world of online marketing continues to grow, the competitive landscape will also continue to be competitive, making SEO more important than ever. At the end of the day, aside from the costs of a website, SEO is free BUT there are no shortcuts. It is a set of efforts that collectively and over time will improve your ranking and visibility. If you’re not confident in your abilities to consistently produce relevant, quality content, correctly place keywords in metadata for your web pages, or make other technical tweaks to your site, an SEO professional may be right for you.
Contact us to talk about how we can help your business .