Search engine optimization has the potential to be a powerful tool as part of any business’ marketing budget. Most importantly, it drives targeted traffic to your website through the use of carefully selected keywords. In turn, professional SEO services can help build your brand through an increased web presence.
Boosting your site in the organic search rankings can deliver dramatic results as 90 percent of clicks go to the page one organic results with the coveted number one spot taking about 32 percent of these clicks. While the second and third spot account for about 18 and 11 percent of clicks respectively. After the top three spots, the click through rate drops dramatically.
Perhaps more importantly than the targeted traffic and sales conversions it brings, business owners care about the return on their investment more than anything else. Professional SEO services, if executed correctly, provide the highest ROI of any form of marketing.
While the process to carry out an effective SEO campaign has changed drastically in the past few years, marketing with SEO, for the reasons above, isn’t going anywhere. Business owners shouldn’t be asking themselves, “should I invest in professional SEO services,” rather they should be asking, “how much should I spend on professional SEO services.”
A quality SEO firm should offer a variety of services to fit every business owner’s needs, whether it be a local campaign or a global effort. While shopping around, the following services are the bare minimum that any good SEO company should offer and be able to execute well.
- Keyword Research
- Every SEO campaign begins with keyword research. Many business owners will supply their marketing company with desired keywords to attack based simply on what they believe their customers are searching rather than researched data.
- Choosing the right keywords for your business’ SEO campaign is paramount because the keywords provide you with targeted leads, which is why research is a necessity. The best keywords are not necessarily the ones with the most traffic, as these will be extremely competitive and difficult to rank for.
- For example, if you run a house cleaning business, attacking the keyword “housecleaning” will probably yield extreme competition and less targeted traffic. It may include house cleaning products as well as other people offering the same service. Attacking the keywords, “housecleaning services” or “professional/affordable housecleaning,” would be a better strategy as they will likely be less competitive (meaning less expensive) as well as more targeted.
- A firm that offers professional SEO services will find this balance between high traffic keywords that are less competitive (and in turn less expensive). Quality keyword research helps provide this balance and builds the foundation for any SEO campaign.
- Competitive Analysis
- Offering professional SEO services and getting results used to be much easier because there were simply less sites vying for that number one spot on Google or other major search engines. Today, nearly every company has a website, and it has become much more competitive.
- Without a doubt, there are other companies out there targeting the same keywords as you. The key to offering competitive analysis as a professional SEO service is to identify the strengths and weaknesses of your competition. Do they lack content? Is their site properly optimized from a technical standpoint? What other sites are they gaining backlinks from?
- All of these are questions that an SEO firm must answer to help give your business the upper hand when attempting to more effectively target keywords, rise in the rankings, and gain conversions that this new traffic will bring.
- Performing a Site Audit
- Many SEO firms will offer free site audits to see where your website stands from an SEO perspective. There are a multitude of software tools to understand how your site is optimized, but one tool in particular will specifically audit your site and give you insight into how it can be improved.
- This tool, called seoptimer, offers a wealth of information, such as headings, inbound and outbound links, text to HTML ratio, and even social media signals. While you, as a business owner, may not have the expertise to actually improve on the information this audit gives you, it can arm you with the knowledge to go into a meeting with an SEO meeting to know exactly which professional SEO services your business needs.
- Link Building
- Every company offering professional SEO services understands the importance of link building to an SEO campaign. Essentially, other websites and articles linking to your site act as recommendations and build domain trust in the eyes of the almighty search engines. Building quality links is an intricate, time consuming process.
- Not all links are created equal. Google’s Penguin update in 2012 changed the way SEO companies could build links for clients. Spamming links into comments and discussion boards became a black hat practice that not only stopped helping with domain authority, it actually began getting websites penalized in the search engine results. Quality, relevant links come from sites that are authorities in your industry, especially prominent .gov and .edu sites as well as prominent .com sites.
- Content Development/On-Site Optimization
- Things like an organized site structure and the inclusion of a sitemap make it easier for search engines to crawl and index all of the important pages on your website. Professional SEO services should provide these aspects of on page optimization, but what about the holy grail of SEO that is content creation?
- Google’s Panda update changed the way content affected SEO. Before the update, content was stuffed with keywords as keyword density was the most important metric when judging writing from an SEO perspective. The goal behind this kind of writing was to trick search engines into ranking sites highly simply because a keyword showed up multiple times in an article, but as a reader much of the content was barely legible.
- After Penguin, however, Google began preaching the importance of writing content geared towards readers rather than search engines. The inclusion of things like short, readable paragraphs, plenty of subheadings, and bullet lists became more important because these tactics are more geared towards internet readers who skim through most articles rather than reading them from beginning to end.
- Google also introduced bounce rate as a ranking factor, which means that if site visitors spend more time on your page Google records this and considers it as a positive ranking factor for your site. The best way to keep visitors on your page is to provide relevant, engaging content. On the other hand, it’s considered a negative ranking factor if site visitors spend only seconds on your page because this tells Google you’re not offering readers anything of value.
- It’s been established that the higher your site ranks, the more traffic it will receive, but the other advantage of good copy is that whether online or in print, it’s no secret that quality writing converts customers.
- Local SEO:
- Can the company you’re looking into offer the same professional SEO services for local SEO as well as traditional SEO? While the two are very similar, there are some fundamental differences between offering local and traditional professional SEO services, especially when it comes to link building.
- Optimizing your business listings in all of the online directories (Yelp, Google+ Local, Yellowpages, etc.) and making sure that your name, address, and phone number is consistent across all of these directories is of paramount importance when dealing with local SEO.
- The more information provided about your local business, the better. This means including reviews, approximate distance to the searcher, transportation directions, etc. all serve as positive ranking factors for local SEO.
- Social Media
- Anyone offering professional SEO services, local or otherwise also understands that social media has become increasingly important. Social signals like Facebook or Instagram Likes don’t contribute directly to ranking, but they serve as another avenue to draw traffic to your site, and in some cases will be the only site a potential customer goes to before being converted (especially for local businesses.)
- Social media also serves as a great way to reach out to leads and customers, Twitter has been being used for this exact purpose by multiple huge companies and is easier and more efficient than reaching out through an email or phone call. Finally, after establishing the importance of good content in this article, social media is the perfect platform to promote website content and gain backlinks.
- Professional SEO services should include a comprehensive analysis of the campaign, not only providing data, but also insight into how to utilize this data in order to improve the campaign. Answering questions like: Which keywords are driving the most traffic? What is the bounce rate for different pages of my site? And, what percent of customers are visiting my site on a mobile platform versus on the computer? To name a few.
- Google Analytics provides a great deal of data, but a good firm offering professional SEO services should have their own proprietary tools for tracking and providing clients with monthly, or preferably, bi-monthly reports. SEO takes time, but as a business owner, you should be aware of the process each and every step of the way.
In an article centered around professional SEO services the topic of price will invariably arise. It isn’t about finding the lowest price when shopping for SEO because more times than not, you get what you pay for. If something is priced so low that it appears to good to be true, it probably is.
On the other hand, extremely expensive SEO services may not be necessary either. A company advertising ridiculously high prices may be using more of that money for things like overhead costs rather than quality, professional SEO services for their clients.
While various payment methods exist, such as contracts or hourly plans, the best method is to be on a monthly retainer. According to a recent Moz survey, the average cost per month is anywhere between $750-$5000 depending on the services needed and the scope of the project. Included in this price should be a certain amount of education, so you can eventually maintain your business’ SEO after the campaign is complete.
SEO isn’t a quick process, but if six months into a campaign no progress has been made your business can always cut ties with an SEO company as opposed to being trapped in a yearly contract.
While it’s very possible to learn and execute an SEO campaign, the vast majority of business owners simply don’t have the time to plan, execute and track an SEO campaign. With the right expertise, SEO can provide targeted traffic and sales for years after the strategy has been implemented. Because of this potential, it’s wise to leave professional SEO services for your business to a professional.
If you’re interested in employing the experience and knowledge we provide at bidpin to jumpstart your business’ SEO campaign reach out to us for a free consultation.