What Are SEO Services and Why Your Small Business Needs Them
So, you read somewhere that SEO is the next best thing after Yellow Pages… but, you have no idea what it means. All you know is that it has something to do with Google and helping you get more clients for your business.
So far, so good.
SEO has grown from something very few people do to a necessity for all businesses. If you want customers to find you online, you need to have an SEO strategy in place. Don’t worry, we’ll explain all about SEO, SEO services, and service providers below.
But first, let’s start with the numbers. In an increasingly crowded digital world, finding a spot at the top of search results is crucial.
of online experiences begin with a search engine (like Google, Bing, Yahoo, etc.)
of users click on one of the first three listings that appear in local search results
of online experiences begin with a search engine (like Google, Bing, Yahoo, etc.)
In other words, optimizing your website can directly lead to more calls, more conversions, and more business for you. So, what are SEO services, what do they cover, and what type of agencies offer them? Let’s dive in!
Increase Your Leads?
What SEO success looks like
More organic traffic
Increased Organic Traffic
More calls / web forms
Increased Calls / Web Forms
When it comes to “SEO services,” it can be quite confusing and even mysterious to understand what they are and who needs them most. In simple terms, the goal of SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is to maximize the number of quality visitors to your website by ensuring that it appears as high in search engine results as possible for a particular set of search phrases (a.k.a. keywords) relevant to your industry.
For example, a cleaning company can use SEO to rank for searches like:
So, how do search engines like Google “decide” which website to rank higher and which lower? There are more than 200 factors that help Google determine the position of each web page in search results. Since SEO is a dynamic and highly specialized area of digital marketing, many businesses decide to partner with an SEO service provider.
Do Small Businesses Need SEO Services?
By now, you’re probably thinking: “This SEO thing sounds great, but is it going to help my small business, and is it worth the money?” That’s a very valid question.
Instead of throwing random numbers your way, we’d like to offer a simpler answer.
You need to hire an SEO company if any of the following statements is true for you:
❏ I want to get more leads and sales
❏ I want to grow my business
❏ I want to get more calls from clients than my competitors
❏ I don’t know if my website is currently contributing to my bottom line
❏ I want to be found by locals in my service area
❏ I want to stand out from the competition
❏ I want to outrank my competitors in search results
Do you want some or all of these things? Then SEO is the way to make it happen. You have two choices ahead of you: 1) you can either hire an SEO expert to work for you full time or 2) you can turn to an agency. The first option is costlier, so if you prefer to have someone on your payroll, you need to have the budget for it.
What Types of SEO Services Are There?
There are several main types of SEO services that depend on the type of business that will be using them and their company goals. Some of the main options include:
perfect for small, location-based businesses
perfect for online stores and businesses
perfect for virtually all website owners
The type of SEO service you need will therefore depend on what you do and your long-term business goals.
What Can an SEO Company Do for You
With an SEO audit, your SEO service provider performs an in-depth analysis of your current website and SEO strategy. If you don’t have a strategy in place, the SEO company will evaluate your website performance from an SEO perspective. This will show areas that need improvement and ones that are already performing well.
There are free SEO audit tools available online that you can use to check how your website is doing, but they can’t offer the same insight that a team of SEO professionals can. That’s why it’s important for your SEO service to include an audit. If you don’t have a website already, this step will focus on assessing your SEO strategy going forward.
Even if your business is in a very tight niche, you still need to know who and where your competitors are. What are their services, and what keywords do they rank for? Your SEO service provider will ideally know the answer to these questions and will tailor your strategy accordingly. Knowing who your competitors are is a smart way to identify their weaknesses and use that to your advantage.
It’s important to track your competitors regularly. Some might go out of business while newcomers can enter the market, and you need to be aware of these changes. Your agency will likely keep tabs on your competition and adjust your strategy as time passes. However, you also need to keep an eye on your rivals, including those without an online presence, as they may be using other offline tactics to attract customers that your agency won’t be able to discover.
A Localized Strategy
As a small business, everything you do needs to have a local context. This means that your website should have localized content, your keywords should target your geographic area, and your overall strategy should serve your local community. That way, you can maximize your ROI from SEO. Your SEO service provider will analyze your service area and create a strategy that will ideally get you up at the top of the local pack. If you’re not on the first page of local Google search results, you are losing the majority of traffic and potential leads. Only 25% of people go past the first page of results, and fewer than that make it to the third, fourth, etc.
In SEO, on-page optimization refers to your efforts to optimize the features of your website for Google and other search engines. This includes both content and design and the technical, “behind the scenes” aspect of building and managing your website.
Improving your website’s information architecture, internal linking structure, and redirects
Creating a sitemap
Updating the meta descriptions, title tags, and H? tags
Optimizing the images on your website following the best industry practices
Researching beneficial and relevant keywords and creating quality content to optimize for local search
Working on the usability, design, and speed of your website
Fixing crawl errors and broken links
Focusing on page speed and mobile-friendliness
When you invest in small business SEO services, your package should include off-page optimization as well. This includes optimizing other aspects of your online presence that are outside your website and can influence your ranking in search results. For example, the number of your online reviews on platforms like Google My Business and Yelp can influence your rankings. Another factor is the number of sources that link to your website.
Off-Page SEO often includes:
- Optimizing and regularly updating your Google My Business profile
- Listing your company details in relevant business directories
- Promoting your content to relevant websites/blogs and on social media
- Tracking who, when, and where mentions your company (a.k.a. tracking citations)
When researching SEO providers, be sure to ask each agency what type of SEO service they offer and whether that covers both on and off-page optimization. You should ideally look for a company that does both.
GROW YOUR BUSINESS
When working with an SEO agency, transparency is essential. You want to find a company that offers regular reports and updates on your campaign. Typically, they should cover your keywords placement, the rankings in search results, the organic traffic to your website, the number of calls you have received throughout the month, and other key metrics.
You need to discuss these details with the company before you hire them to ensure they have a reporting system in place that caters to the needs of your business. In most cases, agencies will assign a dedicated account manager to your company that will handle the reporting, and you can get in touch with them whenever you want to discuss your progress and changes you want to make.
SEO is an ongoing process that requires consistent effort to keep your business where you want it to be. The algorithms that search engines like Google use to rank websites change often, and that means you have to constantly adapt to these changes. A proper SEO service will include further keyword research, additional blogging, updating your business info as it changes, and other on-page and off-page tactics.
It should also include reliable website support. What does this mean? If you are running seasonal specials that you want to add to your website, for example, your agency should be able to design and upload them for you. Website support also covers edits to existing content, adding more features, and fixing issues as they come.
In the world of digital marketing, there is a saying as old as time: content is king. Simply choosing your keywords and plastering them all over your website won’t get your rankings up. It can, in fact, earn you a penalty from Google for not following proper SEO practices (a.k.a. white hat SEO). Your SEO service provider should create original, plagiarism-free, quality content for all pages of your website. They will target specific keywords with each page and will track its performance in the long run. So, when choosing an agency to take care of your SEO strategy for you, be sure to check their previous work and the content they have created for other businesses.
SEO isn’t a one-time fix for struggling businesses. Search engines like Google constantly change the way they rank websites which means your SEO strategy needs to evolve in time. Optimization is a long process that works like any living organism. It needs constant care and attention. Good agencies will offer ongoing SEO services that will typically include:
- further keyword research
- link-building campaigns
- blogging services
- other on-page optimization tactics
- managing online reviews
If you’re not sure these are included in your SEO package, be sure to check with your agency before you hire them.
Choose Our SEO Company to Grow Your Business
Finding an SEO agency for your small business can seem like a daunting experience, especially if you’ve never worked with an SEO service provider before. You may not know what to expect and how to communicate your needs.
The good news is that now you have a better understanding of what SEO services are and what potential agencies can do for your small business to boost its online presence and, therefore, your profits.
At 411 Locals, we have a long history of delivering measurable results to small and medium-sized companies across the U.S. We use proven SEO tactics and processes that allow us to offer effective solutions regardless of your industry or location. If you decide that you need professional help with your SEO strategy, we would love to help.