While Google continues to change their search engine algorithm to incorporate machine learning and related features to improve their search results, businesses also find themselves continuing to spend more on digital marketing services. It can be hard to decide exactly where to best spend that money, especially if you have a limited marketing budget.
One highly recommended area to consider investing in is Search Engine Optimization services for your business, A well-run search engine optimization (SEO) campaign can bring a lot of value, and many marketing studies show that SEO provides good ROI with the lowest customer acquisition costs. This is especially true for B2B businesses, because the primary mechanism these businesses use when searching for products and services nowadays is online research. During times when travel is restricted and in-person trade shows are not available, online visibility has become even more important.
Before you hire an SEO agency for your company, it’s important to know what you are buying. The scope of work associated with SEO work falls under three main categories:
- Keyword Research and Optimization
Keyword research and optimization is about defining which search terms to use to reach your target audience and then organizing your site and optimizing your site pages so Google will display them where you want people to find you. The “where” part of this equation is represented by specific search terms like “managed IT services”, “payment services”, and “data security”. When people search for a specific term associated with the product or service you provide, you want your company site to show up on the first page of the search results. This is where searchers are most likely to see the reference to your site page, click on your link, and potentially become a lead for your business. An additional thing to consider, especially for local service businesses, is making sure you have site content that other online properties that reference your location and service area. This makes is easier for potential customers in your area to find you. For example, when people look for a local business, they may enter a geo-specific search terms such as “IT managed services San Jose” or “IT services in San Jose”.
- Technical Work on Website
While you might not associate this with SEO, a well-organized site that is set up properly is essential. Google’s search engine algorithm uses over 200 different factors to determine how a site will rank and the process is very complex. It needs to display the best results based on what it determines is the searcher’s intent, and do so at very high speed. There are many aspects to the SEO-related work that needs to be done on a site to facilitate this.
These include the numerous technical considerations that need to be considered when optimizing site pages for SEO, ones which need to be implemented in a very precise manner. This aspect of SEO is usually referred to as “on-page optimization”. It requires a good understanding of SEO strategies and tactics, along with following best practices in website design. These include some considerations you may find surprising, such as time required to load a page, how long visitors stay on your page and website. These factors are important is because Google tracks the quality of the user experience on the site. How you organize your website matters too. Structuring your site so that it is logically organized enables users to easily understand where to find what they are looking for. Google expects to see an organized website that it can quickly “crawl”, and this also helps to promote your site ranking in search results.
- Link Building Campaigns
One of the most important aspects of SEO is link building. Having another website link to your site is like getting an endorsement from that website that the information on your site is relevant and useful to visitors.. Links from other websites to your site is what Google counts and cares about more than anything else. However, these need to be “quality links” from sites that are in some way associated with, or relevant to, the content on your site. When your website is associated with other important and popular websites, Google will “like” your site more and display your company website much higher in the search results page.
It can be difficult to get quality links in a legitimate manner, using the keywords you want. This is where help from an SEO agency can be invaluable. If you develop high quality content that is informative, entertaining, or both, and you make a concerted effort to freely share that content online, many websites will link back to you. We have helped many of our clients do this and found it to be very effective at increasing their online credibility and visibility.
Can I Do It Myself?
While some link building work can be done by yourself or by working with an internal staff, letting experts do it for you will more than pay for itself. Below are several reasons why this is the case:
Good SEO Work is Systematic: If you don’t systematically follow a comprehensive process that addresses all the aspects of SEO, it’s unlikely you will achieve the results you want. Such a process needs to include keyword optimization, technical work on your site, and link building. The work required is very detailed, must be done on a regular basis, and requires a broad range of skills and experience that would be challenging and costly to add to your existing team. Hiring an expert or a team of experts, who also understands your industry and market ensures that SEO work is done properly and regularly using the latest tools and methods. It also offloads your staff so that they can focus on using the increase in sales leads from SEO to drive your company’s core mission and growth.
Access to the Latest Tools: Think about what it would be like to try to build a house yourself using a basic toolbox, vs. hiring a professional contractor who would use professional grade tools. The equivalent of that would be trying to do the SEO work yourself instead of hiring a team of experts. A team of SEO experts brings with them an array of the latest software tools and experience in using them. These software tools are the essential tools of the trade for SEO and require a significant investment of time and money to learn.
Writing Good Content that Attracts Your Audience: When working with clients we often see that they need help with their keyword and content strategy. They often also need help with defining their targeted audience clearly and understanding how to reach them online. Clarifying what kinds of content to use for link building to attract attention from publishers, relevant industry sites and their targeted audience, and how to do this without looking promotional, is not easy. All these challenges illustrate why implementing an effective, ongoing content marketing process typically goes beyond a business’s main focus and expertise.
SEO is a Moving Target with No Guarantees: You could spend a lot of time learning about SEO and try to do it yourself, or work with in-house resources. However, SEO is a relatively new specialty that is a combination of art and science. Also, the things that need to be done to ensure success continue to evolve as changes are continuously made by Google to their search engine algorithms in an attempt to improve search result quality. Finding a dedicated team of experts with a proven track record is usually the wisest choice.
If you would like to take your online business visibility to the next level, you should work with a digital marketing agency that is well-versed in effective SEO services. It’s a smart business choice that can help you expand your reach to more potential clients than ever.
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