How To Choose A Marketing Agency For Your Business
You already know that SEO is crucial for every business. Not only does SEO offer consistent, long-term traffic and revenue, it also helps hedge you against changes in cookies that Google and Facebook rely on for paid media advertising.
Sure, it’s one thing to know the benefits of something, but it’s another thing entirely to know how to find what you need.
I’ll be the first one to tell you that you should not take an SEO agency at their word- not even myself or StrategyBeam.
The fact is that there are simply too many dishonest SEO companies out there looking to take your money and secure as much of your money as possible by pulling the wool over your eyes.
SEO is a complex marketing channel that is asymmetrical and difficult to understand for someone who has not been in the “SEO game” for several years. While you can understand how individual pieces of a car engine work and how each component impacts the entire machine, the same can’t be said for SEO marketing.
This is because Google stays tight-lipped about SEO ranking factors so most of SEO testing has to be done in a controlled environment to ensure results are accurate and relevant.
There are lots of shiny and fun parts to SEO, but if you want to get real results then you need to work with an SEO agency that has experience with a wide range of marketing strategies like:
- Technical SEO: Technical SEO is the process of using modern search engine requirements to improve a website’s ranking in organic searches. Important elements include crawling, indexing, rendering and architecture.
- On-Page SEO: The practice of optimizing individual web pages to rank higher and earn more relevant traffic in search engines is often called on-page SEO. On page refers not only to the content but also HTML source code that can be optimized, while off page refers primarily links which are external signals.
- Off-Page SEO: Off-page SEO refers to all of the activities you can do away from your website that will raise a page’s ranking with search engines. A lot of people associate off-page SEO with link building, but it goes beyond that and includes social media engagement as well.
With over 2,000 ranking factors included in Google’s algorithm, you can see how the three main buckets of SEO have to work together.
But let’s not get lost in the details- the fact of the matter is that if you choose an SEO company that cuts corners or doesn’t know how to get results then your business could be in a worse spot than if you just didn’t implement an SEO strategy.
Just like any other commodity sold on the market it’s important to remember that there are honest SEO services and bad SEO services out there.
Many small businesses cannot afford to choose wrong when it comes to search engine optimization. Employing an SEO team that uses cheap tricks to give short-lasting results can lead to long-term damage for your business.
Let’s take a look at the purpose of an SEO company, what benefit they offer, and what to expect from professional SEO services.
What Is the Purpose Of An SEO Company?
Many business owners are unsure about what exactly goes on behind the scenes at an SEO firm. May SEO companies don’t want you to know how little they actually do for you, nor do they want you to see how much they spend on different activities.
I think this is similar to a chef not letting you know the ingredients in a cake.
While this might not be a big deal in most cases, you could die if you have allergies to an ingredient that is not disclosed in the ingredient list before you order.
SEO includes many individual parts, but at it’s core SEO is the sum of many actions to improve a web page’s search engine ranking to increase visibility online.
When you hire a legit SEO agency, they will run a site audit to analyze your website. Here are some aspects they will consider:
- If your website is mobile-friendly.
- Whether your website is secure.
- How site speed affects user experience.
- The length & quality of your content.
- Presence of high-quality backlinks.
- If you have optimized images.
- Whether your site has correct schema markup.
A pro tip to determine if you’re dealing with a professional SEO company is if that company offers you an audit before work begins.
You should conduct an SEO audit at least once every five years to make sure your website is tight and tidy. A good SEO agency will offer you an SEO audit (typically around $2,400 depending on your site) and you should always invest in this deliverable.
An SEO audit will review all components that affect your website’s search ranking and highlight just what the SEO campaign should entail. If a site audit is not part of the SEO strategy, you will want to find a professional agency that does.
Let’s look at how partnering with a professional SEO agency can benefit your business, help your target audience and offer a return on investment.
Benefits Of Partnering With A Professional SEO Agency
As a business owner, you’ve heard that SEO will improve your website’s overall search engine ranking and visibility. But that isn’t where the real value ends.
Professional SEO is essential to the longevity and success of your website and business as a whole. Here are some benefits you can expect from quality SEO services.
|How SEO Services Benefit Your Website
||How SEO Services Benefit Your Business
- Target Quality, Organic Traffic
- Higher Search Engine Results Placement
- Improved Outreach & User Experience
- More Clicks Than PPC
- Outperform Competitor Sites
- Builds Credibility & Trust With Target Audience
- Increased Conversions
- Enhanced Visibility
- Positively Impacts Buying Cycle
- High ROI On SEO Services
- Impacts Bottom Line Long-Term
The beauty of partnering with a good SEO company is that the benefits are quantifiable. Because you can measure nearly anything with tracking and analytics, you can understand how specific actions impact performance and growth.
Good SEO aims to move your company closer to achieving your business goals. A professional company will use sound data to support the positive impacts of their actions on your website. And you know that data never lies.
What To Expect From SEO Services
Now that you know the importance of choosing quality SEO services, you may be wondering what to expect.
1. Content Analysis
It’s really difficult to keep a clean website. If you blog consistently then you will likely have lots of disconnected content that isn’t optimized to it’s full potential.
A content analysis is both a one-time deliverable similar to an SEO audit, but ongoing content analysis is a critical component for any ongoing monthly SEO service.
This organizational research is an essential part of SEO strategy. It allows researchers to examine nuances of behaviors, perfections, and trends. SEO professionals will check your existing content to diagnose several potential issues, such as:
- Poorly targeted keywords
- Content that ranks poorly
- Duplicated content
- Voice search functionality
- Inconsistencies with names, phone numbers, and addresses related to local SEO.
- Missing pages or broken internal links
The content analysis process will uncover content gaps, identify content that needs a facelift, and even technical issues with connections across your site. Content marketing does not stop with keyword research, and you need a holistic SEO strategy to ensure search engines rank your content above your competitors and speak to your audience to drive more conversions.
2. Website Structure Analysis
OK, this one is a bit more abstract than writing content and making sure your links are working. “Website structure analysis” is similar to something called “website architecture” which is pretty much how information on your site is aligned with keywords and other behind the scenes factors that Google considers when ranking a site.
A solid SEO agency will have experience building website and aligning keywords and content to specific user intent. This is where a website structure analysis comes into play, because your entire website needs to have specific sections for different content based on customer segments.
Google and Bing emphasize the importance of designing websites for users rather than search engines. This means that your SEO agency needs to build SEO campaigns around the goal of your business, preferences of search engines, and the needs of your customers.
A good SEO team will look for key features on your website, such as:
- Analytics Setup: Analyzes how analytics are currently tracked and puts it in place if it isn’t present for the most meaningful results.
- Site Errors: These signal search engines to indicate your website may not be trustworthy enough for a premium search listening spot. Errors like 4XX, duplicate page content, sitemap issues, and duplicate title tags are pretty standard.
- Conversion Rates: Experts keep an eye out for bottlenecks in the content and overall user experience that may negatively impact leads.
- Meta Elements: Meta descriptions, site content, and duplicated title tags will negatively impact your search engine rankings and CTR. Optimizing these elements will increase your chances of being discovered on the SERPs.
While this part of an SEO strategy may seem abstract, your SEO agency should be able to deliver a spreadsheet that outlines each keyword, intent, CTA, and other information for every page on your site. This is a basic deliverable for any SEO firm, and you will know if you are dealing with a quality SEO team if they provide this service.
3. Optimize On-Page Content
Your customers have questions and problems, and they are searching for solutions online. If you want your company to get found then you need to have the right types of content that are optimized for the user intent of your target audience.
There are different types of content that you will need to implement in your digital marketing strategy like blog posts, white papers, and case studies. Each content type is meant to help online prospects through the Customer Journey and will require a fair bit of content mapping to ensure the content hits the needs of your audience.
A high-quality SEO team will take these steps to optimize your on-page content.
- Edit or remove duplicate content
- Add keywords and well-written copy to your landing pages that aren’t performing well.
- Place keywords in page titles to help with Google rankings
- Add format text, images, and new colors to attract more conversions
- Engineer new landing pages with strategic page SEO to attract new visitors
On-page optimization is essential to good content marketing. It’s a fluid process that takes time, dedication, and an eye for detail! A great way to start optimizing your site’s on-page SEO is by making sure both the URL structure and page titles are optimized.
4. Off-Page Optimization
The third main bucket that I recommend you look at as you begin the research process for any SEO agency is the type of off-page SEO work included in monthly SEO packages.
Off-page SEO is difficult, requires a lot of manual labor, and you need technical (and expensive) tools to do off-page SEO right.
Your on-site presence may be essential, but so are off-site factors. An SEO agency will make moves to improve your off-page presence as well.
- Improve your position in search engine results using local SEO.
- Find valuable directories to add your site to.
- Submit and publish press releases about your company’s new products or services, as well as other interesting items.
- Identify noncompetitive social media pages and blogs in similar industries to commission guest posts in exchange for backlinks.
Even though these optimizations don’t directly affect your website’s appearance, they drive critical organic traffic that you may have missed. The Internet is a giant party, and off-page SEO is how you can get Google talking about you.
This is accomplished by creating connections between your site and other sites, similar to how a great conversation will include several people at the big Internet party.
5. Ongoing Consulting & SEO Campaign Reviews
SEO is an ever-changing channel. Not only does Google and other search engines update their algorithm, but your competition is also trying to outrank your site in SERPs. This means that you need an SEO agency that will provide ongoing guidance and oversight to ensure your online success.
Practical SEO work goes beyond making changes to your website. Systematic analysis of the KPIs should be used to monitor rankings, conversions, and traffic.
SEO teams use this data to determine what will offer the most benefits to your website. You can then use this information to support business decisions and content strategy as you move forward with your business.
How To Tell Which SEO Company Is Right For You
Once you’ve realized how much your company will benefit from the right SEO services, it’s time to start finding the best SEO agency for your needs.
Consider the hiring process for an SEO agency a lot like hiring an employee or buying a car. You need to take the emotion out of your decision and focus on the needs of your business.
SEO marketing is a proven way to deliver consistent results without the need for cookies or paid ads. Here are a few tips and questions to ask when you are in the market for an SEO company:
|What To Look For In The SEO Services Contract
||Questions To Ask Before Signing A Contract
|Off-Page Online Analysis
||Can you offer case studies or examples of your past client’s success?
|Onsite Content Optimization
||How will you improve our search engine rankings?
|Analysis Of Website Structure
||Do you follow Google’s best practices?
|Website Content Analysis
||What SEO tools do you use to collect data, and how will you improve SEO?
|Conversion Rate Analysis
||How often will you report on your work, and how can I expect that data to look?
Always make sure the SEO agency you choose practices white-hat SEO strategies. This means they gain search rankings using data-driven decisions and hard work.
On the other hand, black-hat SEO comes cheap initially but uses shady methods that will initially get you to the first page.
However, once Bing or Google analytics flags these backward tactics, your long-term presence online will be damaged, quite possibly for good.
Partner With A Professional SEO Agency To Grow Your Business
As you choose the best SEO services available, you need to consider how you want to appear on the internet. Bad SEO may cause your target audience to think your business is a scam.
Your website is a reflection of you, your business, and your professional brand. Partnering with a high-quality SEO team will help improve your website ranking, attract more users, and ultimately lead to conversions and ROI that will enhance your bottom line.