These days, putting the word out about your small business comes down to search engine optimization (SEO). The average person spends nearly 7 hours a day online, scrolling through social media, looking for products and services they want. Across the globe, Google tackles about 3.8 million searches per minute. Unless your business truly stands out to the search engine’s algorithm, it’s likely to be buried under pages and pages of search results that do. And if people can’t find your business on Google, most of the time that means they won’t find your business.
Search engine algorithms are complicated machines. It can be tricky to find the right combination of strategies and optimizations. And most small business owners simply don’t have the time to become experts in SEO. Fortunately, you can hire an SEO services company to boost the online visibility of your business while you focus on what you do best — running your business.
Types of SEO Services
When you’re looking for an SEO agency, it’s a good idea to first know about the types of SEO services available. Find the right fit for your business, and then discover how to choose the best company to do it for you. Here are some SEO services you might need:
SEO Audit Services
An SEO audit involves SEO professionals coming in and taking a look at your website’s current SEO. They’ll reveal how you currently rank in relevant Google searches, and they’ll pinpoint your strengths and weaknesses. Maybe you have great written content, but not enough eye-catching infographics. Maybe you need to use stronger keywords or boost your local SEO. An SEO audit will help you narrow down which optimizations and updates to focus on, instead of wasting your time with things you don’t need.
Local SEO Service
If your business has a physical location, local SEO may be the most important element of your search engine optimization efforts. Local SEO is all about driving local customers to your business through Google searches. You can create a Google My Business listing tied to your location and use keywords that boost your local SEO ranking. This is just the beginning of the strategies an SEO services company can use to boost your local SEO.
Google Analytics is a popular tool used by SEO experts. Analytics tracks and reports your website traffic, showing you the days you had the most activity and the least activity. You can see the pages that are most visited, the popular keywords relevant to your business, and more. Any SEO expert worth their salt knows how to use Google Analytics, and they can use this to better your business.
On-Page and Off-Page SEO
You’ll probably find mentions of on-page and off-page SEO. On-page SEO means what it says: it’s all about boosting your SEO based on what’s on the page. Exciting content, relevant keywords, the internal links you plug into your content, and images you use to make your page pop all play into on-page SEO.
Off-page SEO is all about boosting your brand recognition outside of your website. For instance, do other well-established websites link back to your website or mention your brand? This can help make you more credible — to customers and to algorithms.
Technical SEO plays into the user experience of your website. How easy is it for customers to explore your website? Is it fast, simply structured, and pleasing to the eye? Or is it clunky and slow, difficult to load on mobile? Technical SEO is all about your website speed, the structure of your site, and whether or not it’s easy to use on both desktop and mobile. A technical SEO expert will work to make your site smoother and cleaner, which could help bring in more customers.
One common phrase in the SEO world is, “Content is king.” Engaging, informative content looks good to search engine algorithms, and it also looks good to human customers who visit your website. One way to use content marketing to boost SEO is with a regular blog or with landing pages that give clear, attention-grabbing information.
This content can infuse keywords naturally (avoiding keyword stuffing) so that algorithms take notice and rank them higher on relevant searches. The more people view your content, and the longer they stay on the page, the higher your page will rank. This is often a part of on-page SEO, but some SEO companies will specialize in content marketing.
10 Tips To Choose the Right SEO Services Company
Once you know the SEO services you need, you have to choose the right SEO company to help you improve your marketing. But where do you start, and what do you look for? Don’t stress. We have you covered with these 10 tips for choosing the right SEO services company.
#1: Set Specific Goals
Figure out exactly what you want from an SEO service company. Do you want a clean, sleek website that best represents your business? Do you want your business to be the first search result that comes up? Do you need to drive more customers in so you can grow your business? You’re already a visionary: write down what you hope to achieve by boosting your SEO.
Next, hold that goal up against the companies you find. Maybe some of their past customers have had similar experiences. Maybe your goal is to improve your reputation, and you find an SEO company that specializes in exactly that. Whatever the case, make sure you find a company that understands your goals and is equipped to meet them.
#2: Think About More Than Price
It can be tempting to go with the cheapest SEO services company you can find. After all, you have a tight budget when you’re starting out or trying to bring in new customers. But you’re also a business person, so you know that cheap isn’t always best; in fact, cheap is almost never the best.
Instead of simply looking for the cheapest option, search for the SEO services company that can do the most for you. That doesn’t mean you can’t find affordable SEO services that fit within your budget, but you want to look closely at what those affordable services actually offer.
Think of it as an investment. You’re paying to get help with your SEO, which means you don’t have to worry about it. But as your SEO improves, more and more customers will find your business. With more money flowing into your business, you can afford to grow: maybe you can open a second location or hire more people to help. The earnings and the potential that come from gaining more customers make SEO services well worth the cost.
#3: Look for Clear, Specific Communication
Have you ever taken your car into a repair shop only to be met with a lot of jargon that only a mechanic could understand? And somehow, when you leave, your bill for a simple oil change is long and costs five times more than you expected. This is actually a sales tactic, intended to confuse you so you’ll agree with “the expert” — and unfortunately, it’s not just mechanics who pull this trick. SEO companies can do it, too.
If you ask an SEO professional about their services and they meet you with confusing business jargon, run as fast as you can. A good SEO expert will simplify and explain the process so that it makes sense in layman’s terms. They’ll also be specific about what they can do. Companies that lean too abstract and vague generally do so because they don’t have the experience to help you.
#4: Don’t Trust Promises of Instant Results
Everyone loves the idea of instant results. You want to be able to instantly double your customer base or instantly become a household name. SEO companies like the idea of instant results, too. If things go well for your business, after all, things go well for them.
The problem is instant results don’t usually happen when it comes to SEO marketing. You won’t instantly be on the first page of the search engine. Your store won’t instantly be flooded with new customers. It takes time for those practices to pay off — time and consistency. The more blogs you post or the more local SEO you build, those results will gradually happen.
If an SEO company promises that you’ll be on the first page of a Google search by the end of the week and that sounds too good to be true, it is. That company is likely telling you what you want to hear instead of being honest and transparent with you. And they’ll continue to do so for as long as you work with them.
#5: Ask for Examples
SEO service companies excel at marketing. They can make themselves sound good in the initial pitch — but how do you know you can trust that? The trick is not just to take their word for it. Remember you’re hiring them, not the other way around. Ask for examples of their past work: websites that they improved or references from past clients. Most SEO companies will be happy to provide successful examples of their work. If they don’t have anything to share, that’s a red flag. If they do, you can go through those examples to decide if their work is what you want for your website.
#6: Search for Reviews
One more way to get a sense of the company’s past experience is to look up reviews. They may have glowing testimonials on their website, but what do their reviews say on Google? On Facebook? On The Better Business Bureau? Customers are likely to be honest about their experiences, whether it was positive or negative.
When you’re looking at reviews, make sure you look at more than one or two. One bad review may be a one-off, but if you notice a pattern of poor SEO service, that’s something you’ll want to keep in mind. Likewise, just because one or two reviews are positive does not make a pattern of good service. Skim through at least the first page of reviews in order to get a thorough picture.
#7: Avoid “Black Hat SEO” Like Keyword Stuffing
“Black hat” SEO refers to companies that cut corners with SEO, and often break search engine rules to do so. One main type of black hat SEO is keyword stuffing, a practice that involves using many keywords as many times as possible, regardless of whether they fit naturally into the content. Content that is stuffed with keywords won’t make sense to a human reader (like your customers), but the intention is to make the website more attractive to a search engine looking for a relevant page.
Most search engines are now on the lookout for keyword stuffers. Google’s algorithm will actually punish keyword stuffing; if there are too many keywords found in a piece of content, it serves as a “ negative ranking factor.” So not only do black hat SEO companies provide lazy service, but it will actually cause more harm than good to your website.
#8: Get To Know the Company
When you work with an SEO agency, ideally they’re going to become a long-term business partner. Take some time to get to know them! Schedule a call where you can meet their team and they can meet you. If they have an office that you can access, go visit their office. Take time to understand their values and how they’ll approach your small business SEO. Ultimately, you want to know that the SEO service company you choose cares about your business and you want to be able to get along with them. That’s why it’s important to make much of your interview process getting to know them.
#9: Get an SEO Proposal
When you feel like you have a good sense of the company, ask for a proposal. In an SEO proposal, the SEO company will get into the specifics. They will research your brand, go through your website, and put together a detailed pitch of what they intend to do to help you. This may include things like weekly blogs, revamping your website, boosting your social media, or focusing on bringing in local customers. Your SEO proposal will be specific to your business.
A good SEO proposal will take your goals and then lay out how to meet those goals. You’ll get a proposal for free before you ever sign a contract with an SEO company. This way, you can take a look at exactly what you’re getting into and decide if that’s what you want.
#10: Don’t Limit Yourself To Local SEO Companies
Here we don’t mean “local SEO companies” as in “companies that specialize in local SEO.” This means SEO companies in your local area. Sure, your sister-in-law might have started a digital marketing firm or you may have seen an ad in a local newspaper for an SEO company. And if they’re local — especially if you know them, why look anywhere else?
But only looking for local SEO companies severely limits your options. With the internet at your fingertips, you can find SEO companies from all over the world, with all kinds of experience and services available. Just because an SEO company is based in your area doesn’t mean it’s the best choice for your business. That doesn’t mean you can’t consider companies within 20 miles of your business, but make sure you search wide, as well.
Scorpion is an SEO marketing and technology company that is built to serve small business owners who aren’t SEO experts. Rather than weighing you down with technical jargon, we explain what all of that means for you and help you understand what draws people to your website and turns traffic into customers. Then we use AI technology and high-quality off-page and on-page SEO content to raise your search engine ranking.
Unless you’re actively trying to boost your search engine ranking, you are probably getting lost in millions or billions of Google search results. But without being an SEO expert, how can you actively work to boost your ranking? That’s where Scorpion steps in and does the work of digital marketing for you. Our goal is to get your business on the front page of search engine results.
Scorpion provides all kinds of SEO solutions and digital marketing options, including:
Local marketing platforms
Website management and design
Advertising and market research
Search engine ranking
And so much more!
Our customers work in a variety of industries, from plumbing to law, from dentistry to home services. We help small businesses grow their business and we help franchises maintain their brand awareness. The one thing our customers have in common is that they don’t have time to become experts in marketing, so they turn to us instead — and we help them get where they need to be.
The question is, what can Scorpion do for you? And we’re happy to answer that question for you. Contact us today for more information or to get started.