Should My Small Business Hire an SEO Firm? If you want to be seen for all the keyword searches your business gets, it's a resounding yes that pays off.
But...be careful. Not all firms use Google Best Practices...
Should My Small Business Hire an SEO Firm?
If you’re the owner of a small business, you’ve got dozens of tasks on your mind: generating leads and sales, employee payroll… the list goes on and on and on.
How much thought and effort have you put into search engine optimization (SEO), or even marketing your business online?
This is the process of attracting the organic (free) traffic from the search results in search engines for queries pertaining to your line of business. You need your business to appear high-up in the organic results or potential clients won’t even know you exist.
But first. Be very wary of ANY firm that makes false promises of "Be #1 on Google!" because no one can promise that. Google changes their algorithm every few days. Ask yourself how company A can guarantee what an unrelated Company B will do?
Worse, if you hire the wrong company, it’s not just about poor results. Many of these companies employ what’s known as black hat SEO techniques. These are shady practices that Google will punish you for, perhaps even by removing you from search results entirely (ask JCPenny).
A reputable SEO/Marketing firm is on top of the ever-changing rules and trends and will play by Google’s Best Practices. They will evaluate your competition and help you create and implement a strategy that will get you results.
But more importantly, an SEO firm can utilize data such as;
- Number of unique visitors (first time visitors)
- The keywords people are using to find your site
- Bounce rate (how many people are landing on a page, and nearly immediately leaving)
- What content your visitors are interacting with
- How much traffic you’re getting from social media sites
- Implement Schema Coding if needed
- and more
By opting for a paid marketing firm, they can adjust and focus on how best to promote your business.
Should My Small Business Hire an SEO Firm?
Questions to ask any digital marketing firm.
How do you plan on improving our search engine rankings?
If your consultant or firm is good, they’ll have a tried-and-true search engine optimization strategy they’ll happily share with you. Watch for vague answers around link building or keyword research—there’s much more to it than that.
And speaking of links, as them about how they plan on building links. One good backlink is worth more than thousands of low-quality backlinks from shady link farms, and some consultants will try to wow you with the number rather than the quality. A link from Facebook or LinkedIn is much more valuable that a link from a site on a farm of servers with a couple lines of text and a useless link to your site.
If they start talking about Content Marketing, listen carefully because that is the height of Google Best Practices and is a proven way to be seen for many different keyword, long tail and local searches that pertain to your products and/or services.
Content Marketing is more than a "Buzzword".
It is the Hottest Trend in Marketing for a reason.
Content Marketing sits directly in that big gap between what active buyers want and what companies produce.
Can you guarantee that our site will rank #1 for a search term?
This is one of the first questions you should ask, because if the answer is “Yes,” they’re not a reputable company. Worse, if you read the fine print, they generally only "Guarantee" if the search term returns less than 100,000 returns. To understand how worthless this is, Google "Used Saturn 5 Rocket Parts".
Now that rocket is 50 years old. It took us to the moon in the late 60's. The only parts of that rocket are in a few museums or on the ocean floor, yet Google returns over 3.5 MILLION returns on that search.
Yep, finding ANY search term that generates anything less than a million search returns is a drinking game where nobody gets to drink - they won't even get a bit tipsy - heck, you won't need to get any liquor out at all.
In short, the guarantee is a scam, and worse, so is the company.
Do you optimize for voice search?
This is an important question because voice searches are rapidly approaching half of all searches across all devices. And people speak differently than they type.
If fact, if they keep talking about keywords and never talk about long-tail searches, you may want to ask about that as well and if they say What?? Look elsewhere.
Long-Tail keywords are queries that are typically spoken into a device.
Keyword - Puma Sneakers
Long Tail Query - Puma Blue Suede Clyde Sneakers Dallas
Can you provide referrals or testimonials from clients?
If someone doesn’t have any examples of past successes, they’re not going to be able to take your business to the next level.
Here’s a good trick - ask them which client has been with them the longest. If it’s under a year or even two - look elsewhere! That means that they probably employ short-term link building techniques that don’t work and don't last.
Where are you located?
This is important because many of the calls and emails you get about SEO and digital marketing are from offshore companies.
As an example, we recently signed on an account near Chicago Illinois who had previously signed on with a company and then saw they were being promoted by that company in INDIANA. He never got a dime back.
It's best to stay with a company in the US.
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