Understanding Search Engine Optimization
SEO, or search engine optimization, is another one of the many impactful tactics in the Business Growth flywheel that businesses can leverage for growth and expansion. That being said, it’s also a highly specialized field that requires skill, knowledge, and expertise. Because of that, many organizations look externally and hire a search engine optimization company to expand their SEO potential.
While there are plenty of great options out there, not every company, consultant, or agency can understand how SEO fits into your total customer acquisition strategy. That makes it challenging for third party companies to offer the same level of skill and guidance as a partner who is involved in all aspects of your customer acquisition. Understanding all the components of an SEO strategy and how it fits into the big picture is essential.
Let’s dive deeper into what search engine optimization marketing is and how a search engine optimization consultant should approach this tactic for holistic business growth.
Search Engine Marketing vs Optimization
When you start exploring advanced search engine optimization techniques, you’ll run into lots of lingo and plenty of acronyms. If you’re new to this area of marketing, it may be difficult to know one from the other.
The most common area of confusion involves search engine marketing (SEM) versus search engine optimization (SEO).
Search Engine Marketing
Search engine marketing, or SEM, can be a broad umbrella term. However, in today’s marketing world, it most often describes paid search tactics. This means that businesses can leverage SEM to increase website traffic by purchasing ads on different search engines.
Search Engine Optimization
Search engine optimization, or SEO, typically refers to search results that are free, organic, or natural. SEO includes many small elements and individual components. Search engines, like Google, survey and analyze all of these data points (such as meta data, on-page copy, page speed, and more) to rank your website organically as users are searching for key terms.
12 Essential Search Engine Optimization Services for Customer Acquisition
As you’ve probably learned by now, search engine optimization is hardly one-size-fits-all. Both SEO and SEM encompass many speciality techniques, skills, and areas of focus. When you hire an SEO company, there are a few important services you should look for to ensure that you’ll get the best results.
Local search engine optimization
If you own a small business, local SEO is one of the primary methods you can use to attract customers in your vicinity. When you engage in local SEO services, you’re actively ensuring that your products and services appear at the top of search results based on your address, phone number, or location data.
This service is so important, that up to 72% of customers who search for local businesses end up visiting the physical location at a later time. Not only can you increase foot traffic, but you can also make sure that your location is found by GPS navigation and other local services. Additionally, you can build brand reputation through increased organic traffic and customer reviews.
Google Analytics is one of the most widely used SEO tools for analysis and interpretation of SEO results. With Google Analytics, you can access important information about your website’s performance. This includes in-depth knowledge about organic search traffic, assisted conversions, acquisition costs, and more.
Sound confusing? To an inexperienced or brand new Google Analytics user, accessing and analyzing these metrics can feel overwhelming. An experienced SEO consultant or company can help you navigate the Google Analytics dashboard more effectively. They can also keep tabs on your performance to help you control spending, content creation, and other key performance indicators.
Believe it or not, social media plays a critical role in your overall SEO strategy. The good news is, many companies are actively using social media networks to communicate information about products and services. Now, it’s time to transition to making those profiles contribute to your SEO goals.
Even if social media isn’t a direct ranking factor on Google, it can provide you the opportunity to build links for your content. This opportunity is significant, and a good SEO company can help you gain traction with the right types of keywords, posts, and content.
Social media can also play a role in boosting your click-through rate, which does have an effect on your SEO game plan. Building brand awareness and recognition are indirect results of utilizing social media for SEO.
Content Marketing and SEO Copywriting
Search engines are more savvy than ever before, which means that your content marketing and copywriting strategies need to be focused and purposeful. Stuffing content with keywords and generating lots of random pieces is no longer effective in the long-run when it comes to SEO.
A good SEO company can assist your content marketing team in creating a consistent plan and direction for each new piece of content. Not only does this improve your website’s domain authority, but it also helps search engines know that the content you deliver is relevant.
Look for SEO companies and consultants that not only survey your current content, but that can also help you define how to create better SEO content in the future.
An SEO audit is a complex process that aims to identify major gaps, errors, or problems that could have a negative impact on organic search results. A thorough SEO audit will include a survey of the following areas:
- Website speed (often determined by web host)
- Website structure and page organization
- Content and keyword gaps
- Problems with user experience or navigation
- Technical issues and off-site problems
An expert-level SEO audit should be both comprehensive and actionable. You should be able to recognize exactly what is wrong and precisely what needs to change.
A strong SEO company will conduct regular audits of your website to look for any technical glitches. Additionally, the more auditing that takes place, the more competitive your business can be.
Much of your SEO strategy will involve optimizing your site to convert visitors into customers i.e. optimizing your “conversion rate”. Your conversion rate measures how many users take a desired action when they reach your site. Conversion includes everything from purchases, to content downloads, to email sign-ups, and more.
From an SEO standpoint, conversion is more about click-through rate. How many users actually click on paid ads or organic search results? Converting at a higher rate often implies that your business is creating more opportunities and offering a better experience. Both of these elements are crucial to SEO success.
User Experience (UX)
Hopefully, by now you’ve learned that SEO is more than simply keywords. In fact, specific actions also play a huge role in your SEO health. User experience is one of those elements that greatly matters when it comes to performance, ranking, and results.
A good SEO professional is one who recognizes the relationship between search engine algorithms and improved user experience. If your website or content meets the needs of curious consumers more accurately, search engine results will reflect that.
A search engine optimization consultant can help you improve user experience by starting with the building blocks of user intent and language. From there, you can move on to more specific items like meta descriptions, tags, page navigation, and calls to action.
When many people hear SEO, they often correlate it directly to keyword research. While SEO does involve a substantial knowledge of keywords, it obviously encompasses far more than just this one aspect.
According to Hubspot, keyword research is “the process of finding and analyzing actual search terms that people enter into search engines.” Not only does this research unveil important information about content creation, the results can help you build an entire marketing strategy.
In the world of SEO, there’s a multitude of free and paid search tools and software. A strong SEO company can provide access to the right tools and the best implementation. Since keyword research is constantly evolving, expert-level insight on new trends can make or break your success.
If you’re familiar with general marketing campaigns, it will be easy to understand the ins and outs of an SEO campaign. This is simply a targeted and focused effort to optimize a page or website by improving its search rankings.
There are many ways to conduct an SEO campaign, and your specific strategy might depend heavily on your industry, locality, and competition. In general, having good quality content and strong page elements (such as headings, title tags, and alternative text) can help you accomplish your SEO campaign goals.
An SEM campaign could be an offshoot of your SEO campaign strategy. This might involve testing several paid search ads at a time to measure performance and conversion. SEO campaigns are an essential service for any good SEO company.
Industry best practices for the world of SEO are numerous, detailed, and ever-changing. A quick search might reveal hundreds of different tips and strategies to follow to improve your website’s rankings. Attempting to accomplish all of these suggestions at one time can lead to confusion, frustration, and wasted time or resources.
While you can always target better keywords and work on improving your content, a strong SEO company can help your team prioritize. This might involve a systematic approach to revamp the most critical areas by following industry standards.
As you chip away at your website’s issues and shortcomings, you’ll soon fall into step with the best practices for SEO. However, an SEO consultant can help you avoid distractions and costly mistakes along the way. When you want fast results, invest in the experts.
Technical SEO is another subset to search engine optimization that goes deeper than your content strategy. On the technical side of optimization, you’ll focus more on your website structure and how the backend truly works.
Technical SEO involves information about your domain, web server and hosting service, and the precise code or programming language that your site is made of. Of course, not everyone on your team has experience handling these behind-the-scenes areas of your website. As a result, it’s important to enlist the skills of staff members like your web developer or designer.
When you work on your technical SEO, you improve how your website behaves when the average user accesses it. Search engines automatically prefer websites that they can read easily and that behave predictably. A technical SEO expert can help you finetune some of the backend details that are easy to miss on the surface.
As you browse the internet, chances are good that you’ll encounter hyperlinks to different pages on the current page that has your attention. This is the process of link building. To put it simply, link building is a way to hop between related pages of the internet.
Why is link building important to SEO strategy? When search engines crawl web pages, they look for related, relevant, and trustworthy content to display to users. If your website receives hundreds of hyperlinks, it means that other users find your content valuable and worthwhile.
Search engine algorithms are able to pick up on these efforts and rank websites accordingly. When it comes to link building, it’s important to know that there are many bad and even inappropriate efforts that can negatively impact your page rankings. Lean on your SEO team to discover which link building strategies are beneficial, and which ones could harm you down the line.
How to Choose the Best Search Engine Optimization Company
SEO is a highly competitive field that requires in-depth knowledge and expertise. If you choose not to bring this service or speciality in-house, hiring a great SEO company should be next on your list of priorities. But how can you know what sets an SEO company apart from the rest of the pack? And how can you ensure this tactic fits into your overall customer acquisition strategy?
Here are some things to consider in hiring an SEO company:
- Past performance points to success. While you might be excited at the prospect of working with a trendy company or agency, what do past metrics say about their performance? A strong SEO company can provide solid analytics, detailed case studies, and portfolios of previous work. Don’t overlook these resources when making your choice.
- Customer testimonials shed light on experience. References and reviews are important when you outsource any service, especially SEO. A great SEO company can back up their claims with social proof, and they’re transparent and open. If the company has had a difficult case or client, how have they overcome those problems?
- The company’s specialty lines up with your needs. There are plenty of SEO experts out there, but many focus on just that one speciality. A good SEO company should also understand how this specific tactic works with your total customer acquisition strategy. Lining up their strategy with your existing and future content marketing, content syndication, and social media tactics is essential for holistic business growth and a good ROI.
Why Hire a Search Engine Optimization Firm?
Even though it’s possible to learn the foundations of search engine optimization as you go along, you’ll certainly benefit from the knowledge and experience that an expert provides. SEO success is dependent on multiple factors, including frequently-changing search engine algorithms. If you’re unable to commit the time it takes to truly understand these technical aspects, choosing a good SEO company could be a beneficial option.
Here are a few reasons why you might consider hiring an SEO company
- They know the best tools and resources. SEO experts leverage many different tools, dashboards, and technical solutions. They’ve spent years vetting these solutions and choosing those that perform best. If you’re not sure what really works, it’s easy to get fooled by a convincing sales page or demo.
- They can help you save money. Many SEO companies already have tools and software at their disposal, which means you won’t have to invest in these separately. A specialist can spare you from overspending on paid search efforts that are misguided or overly expensive. This can help reduce your search engine optimization cost.
- They dedicate themselves to trends and best practices. The more the field has grown, the more that SEO has become a long-term process. You may want to hire a company because you’re not sure which practices are outdated, or worse, illegal. SEO experts can quickly help you optimize while following the rules.
How Often Should I Update My Website for SEO?
SEO requires ongoing optimization and website maintenance. While there is no hard rule for how often you should optimize your site, the general consensus is that you should update your SEO consistently.
Updating your SEO includes different elements, which may require time and dedication. In optimizing your site, be sure to explore these components:
- On-page SEO
- New, fresh content
- Off-page SEO
- Inbound links
- Social media SEO
The more you update these areas, the more advantageous you can be. Recurring updates can help you rise to the top ranks more quickly, with content that meets the needs of interested audience members.
Get Started with Your SEO Plan
Whether you’re completely new to SEO best practices or you’ve been searching for a solution for some time, there’s help available. At Striventa, we’re wholeheartedly focused on growing your business with our Customer Acquisition Program that has a big return on investment. SEO can be part of the plan that takes your business to the next level.
Learn more about the program and what you can expect when you work with our knowledgeable team. We’ll help you overcome confusion, find your ideal audience, and reach them with targeted keywords.
Ready to get started? Book a free Discovery Session now as the first step in your SEO journey!