If you are a small business owner, it can be difficult to learn everything there is to know about SEO, and to actually find the time to apply it to your website and online presence. There are a lot of options out there when it comes to paid SEO services, and making the right choice depends heavily on your needs and your goals.
Today we’re going to walk through some of the most common choices out there for SEO services, and help you make a decision that makes sense for your business.
Traditional Agency SEO Services
There are a ton of marketing agencies out there that offer SEO in some form to small businesses. A typical agency format for this service would include a few stages of work including:
- Initial setup and auditing: This process varies dramatically between different providers, but you can expect some type of evaluation of your current SEO state, typically both on and off your website. This often comes with some kind of report of their findings, or a plan for the work needed moving forward.
- Keyword research: This may be completed during the setup portion of your campaign, but you’ll likely see some form of keyword research or keyword mapping happen for your website. This process will help to determine what types of content efforts should be dedicated to your site moving forward.
- Expectations of work: SEO agencies usually offer some kind of expected amount of work in a time frame. For example, you might be promised a certain number of working hours on your account in a month, or a certain number of completely projects in a month.
- Reporting: Expect regular reports of some kind on the progress of your campaign, as well as contact with someone at the agency to discuss these reports with you. This will help you monitor the success points, and evaluate if you’re getting a reasonable ROI on your SEO service.
Short-term, Project Based SEO Services
In some cases, it doesn’t make sense for a small business to invest in an ongoing campaign with a traditional agency method. Instead, it can be worthwhile to have a baseline of work completed to meet your initial needs, and build from there as needed.
This could include working with a team to simply provide bits and pieces of what you might receive in a long-term campaign, including:
- Keyword research: This can help you slowly work on content on your own with the help of initial keyword research guiding your focus for your content strategy.
- On-site revamp: You might consider working with a team to provide some baseline on-site SEO for your website. This could include writing meta titles and descriptions for the pages on your website, writing and installing image alt tags, or optimizing existing content for a keyword focus.
- Content creation: Since content is such a huge part of search engine ranking factors, many businesses invest in having SEO-tailored content written for their website.
- Citation building: Especially for local businesses, it can make a huge difference to make sure that your business is not only present on online directories and citations, but that your information is correct and consistent.
- Review management: Reviews for your business, particularly on the Google My Business listing, can have an effect on your rankings. There are a lot of options available to help garner more reviews, and when done properly, they can be very effective!
It’s very common today to see marketing agencies that specialize in a specific area of business. For example, you might find agencies that focus on working with law firms, private practice dentists, or chiropractors.
The service offering is typically very similar to a traditional agency here. However, since the entire company focuses on the best ways to market businesses in your specific line of work, you may notice different processes. When an agency is hyper-focused, you’ll be working with a team that is extremely knowledgeable in your line of work, and in how to market in your industry!
How to Avoid Bad SEO Services
As search engines continue to evolve, it’s vital for companies or individuals who provide SEO services to really maintain authoritative practices that won’t hurt their customers. You have probably heard horror stories of bad SEO work and the havoc it can wreak over a business. Tactics that have worked in the past are often now considered harmful, so you want to ensure that you don’t end up with bad SEO provider. Here’s how to protect your website and business when searching for services:
- Reviews: Reviews for small businesses are available all over the web today, and you’ll find that a lot of consumers use review platforms honestly. Look for reviews that offer specifics about the experience working with the company you are considering. To take it one more step, take the time to look at multiple sources for reviews online to get a full concept of what you can expect.
- Transparency: SEO practices shouldn’t be a secret. After all, your website belongs to your business, and it represents your business, so you should know what’s happening on it. If you come across a company that doesn’t want to divulge tactics or strategy to you, you might want to steer clear.
- Learn the basics: Of course, many business owners look for SEO services because they don’t have the time to do it on their own, but consider some light research to help you along the way. For example, knowing that duplicate content and mass-scale link building is harmful can help you spot the problematic strategies.
Regardless of whether you choose to hire an SEO expert, or if you choose to do the work yourself, SEO is vital when it comes to your website and online presence.