Your business site is the sole place on the internet where you own the content outright and can control your marketing to a T. Nowhere else do you have the content marketing power that you do there.
So what can you do to ensure your website works in your favor? Discover how search engine optimization will drive the right traffic to your site and why choosing a qualified SEO agency is often your best solution for getting your business in front of profitable target audiences in organic search.
A Few Words on Why Working With an SEO Specialist Matters
Today's search engine optimization involves more than simple keyword analysis. It takes in-depth analytics using big data along with content strategy and web marketing to properly satisfy complex algorithms like Google RankBrain and others. You also practically need a degree in anthropology, linguistics, psychology and sociology to be able to understand how user experience connects to SEO strategy. This is why the majority of companies hire a third-party SEO agency partner that will do the heavy lifting for them and manage those complexities through the optimization process. However, you want to make sure you select the right partner from Day One to get the most marketing gain out of your investment.
Questions to Ask a Potential SEO Agency Partner
As you search for the best SEO agency, here are some questions and tips for getting the most value for your investment. Your goal should be to find out which of the potential partners will provide you with the best marketing results and technical expertise. Here are some talking points that any solid SEO agency will bring up as they try to get to know your business and visualize how they will take it to the next level. You should be prepared for your preliminary meetings with a few ideas about the following points as they relate to your business:
- Your company's selling proposition to showcase your value to web visitors and potential customers
- User personas for your customer(s) or character outlines portraying your target consumer
- Marketing goals for your website
- Information about other online and offline marketing channels
- List of your competitors
If the company is not interested in any of this information, back away quickly. That's a sign they are not truly invested in your SEO strategy.
Just as you complete an interview, request a list of references by way of the clients and customers that the SEO experts have worked within the past few years. SEO is a fast-paced world so the most recent success stories offer the greatest potential for your company. Request a minimum of two client contacts. Follow up and vet each client by requesting additional information about the following:
- The rate of success for SEO before and after hiring the SEO agency partner
- Rate of delivery for work
- Quality of work upon delivery
- Customer service
In addition, see if the client has anything that stood out to them regarding the SEO agency —good or bad. Sometimes this information can be a more telling indicator of the company than what the basic work history provides.
Conduct Search and Technical Audits of Your Site
Now that you have performed a thorough investigation of the potential SEO agencies, you should have a good notion of which one you will select. However, there is another major consideration—your content. Your website will be under the inspection of the SEO professional.
Ask if potential partners perform these 5 types of strategic documents:
- Keyword and Topic Research
- Technical SEO Assessment
- UX Audit
- Online Mentions & Convertible Asset Research
- SEO guidelines development
SEO audits involves reviewing your site composition, link networks, current rankings and why you rank where you rank. An SEO agency will take this information and use it to identify any low-hanging fruit and long term solutions for improving ranking. A good SEO audit should also include:
- List of recommendations
- Technical issues
- Cost for implementing a plan
- Timeline for implementation
- Potential outcomes
- URL parameters
- Internal linking issues
- Server connectivity
- Mobile/desktop page speed issues
- Response codes
- Red Flags & Deficiencies
Last Thing Before You Go
When you are selecting an SEO agency partner, you want a team that offers SEO strategy and is a Google Premier Partner. This way you have access to the latest and greatest tools and updates straight from Google. Setting yourself up for success demands you also focus more on the user experience than you do on "your company attributes" on the website. Sure, your web visitors are coming around to see what you have to sell or offer them, but, you want to make sure they stick around and come back for more.
This is where creating SEO rich content and a website focused primarily on user experience will do far more for organic marketing than you can imagine. If you sell food, give away recipes. If you sell shoes, give away tips on running or hiking or whatever business you're in. Just as you focus your product on your customer, you should also focus your SEO strategy on the end user—your future customers.