When starting a business, getting online exposure is crucial for success. Since many people now search for products and services online rather than going directly to stores, having a strong web presence can make your company. However, choosing an SEO company can be a daunting task. You may be asking yourself: do I need to hire someone? What is the best type of agency for my business and what should I expect from them? While the world of Internet marketing is changing at a rapid pace, there are some tried and true rules that can help guide you as you choose an SEO company. This article outlines the most important things to consider before choosing an SEO company.
What is SEO?
When done correctly, SEO can make your website easily found by potential customers. Search Engine Optimization is the process of improving your website's search engine rankings to be higher on search engine results pages (SERPs). Improving your site for one or more keywords targeted at your business can result in more visitors and, ultimately, more business.
There are many different companies that offer SEO services. They can range in size from a one-man show to large corporations. Regardless of the size, they all essentially work in the same way:
How does it work?
A successful SEO company will have a thorough understanding of how search engines work and the best practices to follow when developing a website. At its core, a search engine is just a computer program that analyzes websites in much the same way human webmasters would. Your site isn't going to rank well in SERPs without good content, well-structured pages, and links from other relevant sites. The biggest advantage an SEO company has is its access to knowledge concerning what works best for different types of keywords.
A good SEO company will offer several services besides basic organic SEO. In addition to traditional methods such as content development and link building, many companies are now offering advanced techniques such as local search optimization, optimization, and social media strategies. These services can help your business rank for keywords you never even considered.
Although it varies depending on the search engine, keywords with high click-through rates tend to be popular and highly competed for. However, that does not guarantee that all of them are profitable for your business. For example, if you sell children's clothing, an SEO company may discover that a huge portion of searches do not convert well because they include a location name in them (i.e., Boston Children's Clothing.) As a result, there would be little ROI from investing time or money into improving rankings for these terms. A good SEO agency will take the time to research the best keywords targets based on their industry.
How can it benefit my business?
SEO helps you to increase your website's online visibility. This means more people will find and visit your website, bringing traffic and eventually sales.
When hiring an SEO company, you should consider if their services are right for your business. While choosing an SEO company may seem like a "no-brainer" decision, there are several factors that should influence your choice including budget, options available, performance history, and much more. You also need to consider your company's specific needs. For example, are you looking for a long-term relationship or do you want hourly work? Let's look at some important things to consider before choosing an SEO company.
Are they reliable?
Many SEO companies are startups that have little experience with getting businesses the results they desire. When choosing an SEO company, it is important to look for ones that work within your budget and can provide evidence of their previous successes. Look at their portfolio; it should contain examples of sites they've successfully improved search rankings for. There is no way you can tell whether or not they will be able to come up with a good strategy without seeing tangible proof first.
In addition to asking around to see whether or not an SEO company is reputable, it's also a good idea to check their Better Business Bureau (BBB) profile as well as other review sites like Yelp! and Glassdoor. Search for reviews of companies that provide the services you're interested in because these will give you an accurate picture of what you can expect if you choose them for your project. You should also consult your network; ask friends, family, and business associates for recommendations. Remember to keep in mind that results vary depending on the industry, so even if they were successful with one person doesn't mean they'll be effective with you too.
Do they specialize in my industry?
When hiring an SEO company, you need to find one that specializes in your particular industry. Having a good understanding of your industry is crucial. After all, how can you expect a company to improve your rankings if they have little knowledge of the market you serve? Those who have experience in your field will be able to determine which keywords are best for you and then take steps to implement an effective plan that works within the constraints of search engine algorithms.
They should be well-versed in your business model including products/services, market conditions, and so on. Having someone who knows nothing about the industry you're in can be a huge problem. For example, an SEO company that only specializes in eCommerce businesses will have no idea how to optimize your website for lead generation or B2B companies. That's why it is important to hire someone who understands the market you serve.
Are they affordable?
One of the biggest advantages of hiring an outside agency is that they should be able to provide services at a lower rate than doing it in-house. SEO needs to be an ongoing process, so the total fees for any given year could be quite high. Many agencies have monthly plans with discounted rates for longer contract terms. However, keep in mind that most reputable companies will require a minimum commitment from you as well as a cancellation clause. It's also important to know what the costs include and what parts of your business they are targeting before signing a contract.
Just as there are different types of agencies, there are also different pricing structures available. Some focus on providing only services such as content creation, link building, or web design. Some agencies charge an hourly rate while others price their services by project or per page.
You need to ask real questions about your finances and your limitations. What can you afford to spend on Internet marketing? Google AdWords, Facebook advertising, and other services can be paid in monthly fees that may limit what services are feasible for your budget. If allocating a large portion of the marketing budget toward PPC campaigns, then organic SEO and link-building efforts will likely need to be reduced or eliminated. While some companies offer contracts with set monthly rates based on the amount of business you do, others provide a pay-per-hour rate for ongoing work.
It is important to find a budget-minded and affordable SEO company because it can take months or even years to see the benefits of an online marketing campaign. One advantage is that you will have a strong long-term partner who has your website's best interests at heart via monthly management reports.
Do they suit my needs?
When hiring an SEO company, you should consider what your business needs are. For example, some businesses like e-commerce sites may need onsite search engine optimization and offsite SEO such as link building to improve their standing in the SERPs. Meanwhile, another type of site that is more customer-driven may require more social media marketing and engagement. Businesses often focus on getting new clients while overlooking existing ones, who can be more cost effective to target.
SEO is not a one-size-fits-all service. Different industries have different needs, so you should find an SEO company that can provide exactly what you are looking for. For example, if your business is B2B (Business to Business), you would need a very different type of SEO than if it were B2C (Business to Customer). Also, different geographic regions mean various customer tastes and behaviors, so your chosen agency should be familiar with the area in which it works.
Some companies also offer specific services such as website design or maintenance while others provide a variety of services for all types of businesses. Furthermore, some agencies specialize in certain industries such as finance or healthcare while others offer a range of services that they market towards different types of companies.
SEO agencies are professionals who understand what your website needs to achieve its goals. When choosing an SEO company, you should look for those that specialize in your industry and offer services that best suit your business model. It's also important to find a reputable agency with proven results. Don't be afraid to ask tough questions about the costs of working together as well as their methodology and desired outcomes before signing a contract.