SEO services are typically offered by an SEO agency that helps your company succeed in search engine optimization. With SEO, your business wants to increase its visibility in search results on search engines like Google and Bing. You specifically focus on search results related to your company, products, services, or industry.
Conducting an SEO audit and coming up with a plan to optimize your site could result in a list of thousands of potential SEO tasks. Some will be worth the time and effort of implementation, and some won’t. Mistakes in prioritization can be costly. Focusing on the wrong tasks can require tremendous efforts. And ineffective, expensive results aren’t even the worst possibility.
Good SEO requires time, effort, and expertise. Exceptional SEOs are experienced and learned. They’ve spent years implementing SEO strategies, have gained valuable insights from their successes and failures, and have taken the time to review studies and gain insights from other industry experts.
Analysis of the website’s technical factors that impact its rankings.
An important factor for website optimization is the efficiency of the code with which the website is developed. Inefficient code that is bloated, excessive use of plugins, inefficient algorithms and slow loading assets can slow down a website’s load time and dilutes the code-to-text (on-page-content). When we optimize on-page content, the optimization is better received by Google when the website code is minimized. Google more readily understands the semantic meaning of a page when there is less code. This helps to improve rankings.
Google’s ranking algorithm is continually updated to improve the experience of its users. In addition to delivering accurate results that address a query, Google also factors into its rankings the speed of a website. A faster website provides a superior user experience to a website visitor. All other things being equal, Google will deliver a faster website before a slower site because a visitor will most likely have a better experience with the faster website. Page load times should be below 2.5 seconds.
Another important ranking factor is whether a website is responsive, which means that the layout of the website adapts to the type of device being used to view the website. When a website is responsive, it delivers a better user experience. Websites that are not responsive attempt to deliver the entire width of a web page meant for a desktop onto a smartphone or tablet. To make the page fit, the on-page content must be reduced in size, which typically makes the page unviewable. All other things being equal, Google will deliver a mobile responsive website before a non-responsive site.
Google, like its users, prefers websites that are secure. A website with malware is an extreme example of a poor, unsecure website. Of course, no one wants to infect their computer by visiting a website that is not secure. Google has been steadily increasing the importance of having a secure website by increasing the importance of HTTPS websites over HTTP sites.
HTTPS simply means the website is protected with an SSL certificate. SSL stands for Secured Socket Layer. It is a communications protocol that creates a secure connection between a visitor and a website. Protecting the information entered by a visitor and received by the website is important to Google, therefore, they will rank a website that is SSL protected (https) over a website that is not (http).
If you want to learn more about Technical SEO, we have written an in-depth guide to help you with the technical stuff of your website here; Need help with your website’s Technical SEO? Contact us and let us handle it for you!
The optimization of visible page elements that affect rankings.
Title & Meta Description
A web page’s title tag and meta description are critical to SEO rankings for two reasons. First, both should contain your primary keyword(s) to help Google understand the semantic meaning of your page. Rather than keyword stuffing (old school SEO), use a variation of your keywords. It is best practice to use synonyms, word variations and change the order of words within a keyword phrase. A professional SEO services company will know how to best optimize title tags and meta descriptions to help Google search queries ranking and improve organic traffic.
The second reason page titles and meta descriptions are important is because they present an opportunity to differentiate your web page result from your competitors. Current SEO best practices consider more recent optimization factors used by Google, which include user engagement metrics like time on site, bounce rate and click-through rate. When Google identifies that one web page is being viewed for a longer period of time and there is more visitor engagement with the website, the likelihood is that page will out-rank pages with lower user metrics. Accurate and intriguing page titles and descriptions help increase click-through rate and reduce bounce rate.
Google appreciates (and rewards) web pages that are structured intuitively. The use of headings helps to organize the content on a page. Much like a term paper outline, major topics use more prominent headers. In terms of SEO, these would include H1 and H2 heading tags and would identify more macro ideas. When greater detail is discussed within each overarching topic, these content areas use less prominent headers such as H3 and H4. The proper use of header tags is very important to rankings. Simply changing the H1 on the home page can provide a huge improvement to rankings. SEO service providers know how to optimize and utilize headings to help improve Google rankings.
The content (text) of a web page is critical to the potential ranking for that page. As mentioned above, Google is tracking visitor usage metrics like time on page and bounce rate. If your professional SEO services company is simply optimizing titles, meta descriptions and headings to improve rankings, these ranking improvements may be short-lived.
Ultimately, the on-page content must provide value to the visitor. Simply listing services, for example, is boring. When one also includes the benefits or value of those services to the potential customer, the page becomes more relevant to the visitor. When the page is concise, has an appealing layout and uses rich-media (videos, graphics, etc.) that improve visitor engagement, then the rankings improvement has greater staying-power.
If you want to learn more about On-Page SEO, we have written a beginner’s checklist you may refer to when optimizing your website here; Need help with your website’s On-Page SEO? Contact us and let us handle it for you!
Implementation of optimization elements not related to the page itself.
Off-page SEO techniques help increase a website’s domain authority, which is a measure of a website’s credibility and “ability” to rank well. While on-page SEO positions a website to rank for search terms well by helping search engines understand the semantic meaning of a website and its web pages, off-page SEO helps increase the authority of a website and Google’s interpretation of what websites should rank ahead of others.
The use of social media helps to create brand awareness and the potential for website visitors. The more a website participates in social media, the greater the likelihood of social media users visiting the website. As it relates to off-page SEO, Google’s priority is to deliver quality content to its users. Among the best indicators of quality content, is the frequency with which content is shared online. Social media marketing is an excellent way to encourage the sharing of a website’s content.
At the heart of Google’s ranking algorithm are backlinks. To Google, backlinks from one website to another are similar to word-of-mouth referrals. The more referrals (backlinks) a website receives, the more Google deems the website as relevant and, subsequently, the greater a website’s rankings. Because backlinks are critical to domain authority and ranking well, it tends to also be the area with the greatest abuse in terms of spam.
If an SEO agency is not using SEO best practices for link building, they may be focusing simply on the number of backlinks. More important to improving rankings, is the quality of backlinks. One good-quality backlink from a trusted, authoritative website is better than 10 and, perhaps, even 100 poor quality links. The key to acquiring good-quality backlinks is to provide valuable content on your website that others may reference and wish to share with their website visitors.
If you want to learn more about Off-Page SEO, we have written an article with different techniques you may try to get backlinks here; Undecided which technique to follow? Contact us and let us handle it for you!
Content Marketing typically goes hand-in-hand with keyword research. The agency recommends or creates blog posts, landing pages, and other content types that are designed to drive quality organic traffic to a site.
If you want to learn more about Content Marketing, we have written an article to help you choose the strategy that fits your business to roll-out your keyword research; “Types of Content Marketing: How to Target Your Customers Effectively”. Need help choosing and managing your Content Strategy? Contact us and let us handle it for you!
Every SEO company’s services should feature an SEO audit. With an SEO audit, your SEO provider takes an in-depth look at your current strategy. Even if you don’t have an SEO strategy in place, your agency will evaluate your website from an SEO perspective, looking at where it excels and where it could use improvements.
While you can take advantage of free SEO audit tools, they don’t provide your business with the same insight as a team of SEO specialists. That’s why SEO services should include an audit. If they don’t, it indicates a lack of preparation and investment by your SEO company. An absent SEO audit can also suggest that your agency doesn’t plan to create a custom strategy for your business. Instead, they use a template, which is why they don’t want to invest the time auditing your site.
The best strategies come tailored to your business, your brand, and your audiences.
Feel free to download our template if you wish to do the audit yourself. Otherwise, contact us if you would like us to do an SEO audit of your website.
No matter how niche your industry is, you want a competitor analysis with your SEO services. With a competitor analysis, your SEO company can discover online and offline competitors. This discovery can inform your strategy, helping you take advantage of and benefit from competitor weaknesses.
While many SEO agencies include an initial competitor analysis with their services, you want to partner with companies that make competitor analyses a regular part of your strategy. They assess your competitors continually, always looking and spotting opportunities.
Learn how to do a Competitor Analysis here; Otherwise, contact us if you want our experts at Avamia to handle analyzing all of your competitors for you.
Transparency is essential when it comes to SEO services. You want an agency that your team can trust and rely on, which is why partnering with an SEO company that includes regular monthly reports is critical.
With a performance report, your business can receive immediate insight into the results of your SEO strategy. As an example, your report may cover your website’s organic traffic, conversion rate, and rankings in search results.
With Avamia, you will automatically receive SEO reports. You may choose to receive them weekly, monthly, or quarterly.
What Are Your Options?
Do It Yourself (DIY)
Doing SEO yourself may work. Especially if you’re just getting started online or if you manage a small website. It’s certainly possible to learn the basics of SEO and use what you learn to optimize your content for keywords or build backlinks. It’s also the most affordable option.
However, the low cost of DIY SEO is a trade-off. You’ll avoid the costs of hiring a professional. But you’ll also forego a lot of expertise. And that could potentially result in lost revenue. Professional SEOs can optimize your site in a way that guides true business growth.
Additionally, effective optimization is time-consuming. If you divide your time between running your business and optimizing your site, you’ll inevitably end up neglecting important tasks in one of the two areas.
SEO Specialist (In-House)
Another option is to hire a full-time, in-house SEO specialist. The advantage of this option is, if you’ve hired the right person, your specialist will have the expertise required to identify and prioritize tasks appropriately. They’ll also be able to dedicate 40 hours a week to optimize your site.
Having a dedicated SEO specialist certainly has advantages over doing the work yourself. But it can also be costly. By hiring in-house, you’ll take on the expense of a full-time salary and benefits. And you’ll incur those expenses whether there’s valuable optimization work to do or not. You will also need to provide a certain level of management or have your CMO create an overall marketing strategy and provide oversight for the employee.
Like in-house specialists, SEO companies and agencies bring the advantage of experience. In fact, SEO agencies likely bring more experience than specialists.
Agencies that neglect new optimization tactics and trends rarely stay in business for long. SEO agencies operate on successes and referrals, so they have a vested interest in knowing their trade inside and out.
The other major advantage of hiring an agency is that you only pay for work completed. Reputable SEO companies will conduct an audit of your site and provide a proposal for recommended tasks, reasons for their recommendations, and the cost of completing those tasks. You pay for the work you want to have completed, which can be less expensive than keeping someone on staff.
The cost of working with an agency can be daunting. However, make sure to consider the potential revenue growth that effective optimization will drive over time, and compare the cost of hiring an agency short-term to the ongoing costs of hiring in-house. Comparing the long-term costs of the three different options will help you make the best decision.
Finding the right SEO provider takes time and effort, but due diligence upfront pays off in the end with increased rankings and revenue.
No matter how advanced or successful your SEO strategy becomes, your company and SEO agency can make it one percent better. That’s why it’s critical for your business to partner with an agency that recognizes that and sees the potential in your site.