The phrase, “If they build it, they will come” is definitely not true when it comes to websites. Gone are the days (if they ever truly existed) where you could simply build your website and expect your visitors to come rolling in.
Once you have your website built, there’s a lot more work to be put in to gain significant and valuable traffic. This is where SEO strategies and an SEO company comes into play to help people find your website.
SEO companies have a deep understanding of how search algorithms work and what strategies will help businesses reach the top of search results. In short, they can help you increase your website traffic significantly.
You might still be on the fence on whether or not your business really needs an SEO agency or not. While organic marketing efforts are sometimes left as an afterthought, there’s an argument to be made that SEO can help grow your business more sustainably and affordably than paid search options like Google Ads.
So while we might be a little biased in writing this article, we think most businesses can greatly benefit from the expertise of an SEO company for a number of reasons.
What does SEO mean?
In its most basic explanation, SEO stands for search engine optimization. This is a digital marketing discipline that encompasses a number of strategies and techniques with the shared objective of ranking a website (or specifically, a web page) more competitively on search engine result pages (SERPs), most notably those of Google Search.
While there are a lot of activities that fall under SEO, some of the most significant are below:
- Responsive website design
- Link building
- Optimization of article titles and subheadings
- Keyword analysis to find relevant keywords with good traffic potential
- Page load speed optimization
By creating a website that’s full of SEO-rich content, search engines will see your website as a trusted source of relevant information, and will rank you higher on their results page. Ranking higher will give your company increased visibility in search engines, which will directly increase the number of visitors you receive. And more visitors to your website means more sales…
As you can probably see, SEO is an important piece of a robust digital marketing strategy.
Types of SEO
There are two main types of SEO: on-page and off-page. When done well, both work together to help your website rank high on search engines.
This type of SEO is focused on the content you create, and since it’s something your company creates, it’s easier to control and affect. Good on-page SEO can positively impact your off-page SEO. A few items that fall under on-page are listed below:
- Headings, subheadings, and meta descriptions
- Title tags
- Images and alt text
- Page load speeds
Off-page SEO is about how the content you create is received. These are factors that are more out of the control of the company, and depend on whoever is viewing your content. The most common elements of off-page are below:
- Social sharing
- Guest blog posts
How does SEO work?
Search engines like Google use complex algorithms to show you results after searching for a topic. Although search engines are free, they make their money off of advertising, so it’s crucial to them that they receive as many eyes on their advertiser’s ads to keep their money flowing in. In order to do that, they want to provide you with the best results so you keep coming back to them for your future queries.
To give the searcher the best experience via relevant and high-quality results, search engines utilize crawlers that analyze websites and record information about them. These are also sometimes called spiders or robots. The job of crawlers is to find new webpages and periodically check up on their indexed pages to keep their database up to date.
If a website is crawled and determined to be useful, it is then indexed. This page or piece of content is stored in a database where it can be later retrieved. The data that is typically stored are things like page speed, title tags, backlinks, and so on.
A page might not be indexed for a few reasons:
- The content is deemed duplicate content
- The content is low-value or spammy
- Inbound links were lacking (not high credibility)
- It couldn’t be crawled
The next step is the ranking of all the indexed pages. This is where an SEO company can come in and help optimize your website to make it more valuable to search engines to rank them higher. This can be done by:
- Ensuring there are relevant keywords on on the page
- Making sure your page load speed times are quick
- Developing your backlink profile
- Optimizing your website and content to reduce bounce rates
All of these improvements will not only help your pages rank higher, but it should also help increase the value of your website to visitors, making them want to stay longer and use your site in the future.
What is an SEO company?
We’ve been talking a lot about SEO, but what, exactly, is an SEO company? An SEO company handles all aspects of improving your rankings and visibility on search engines. As mentioned above, they help with SEO strategies like optimizing your page load speeds, developing your backlink profile, and keyword research and analysis.
With any SEO company, it’s important to remember that results won’t happen overnight. It takes some time for your new SEO-rich content to be indexed by search engines. But once it is, businesses who have an SEO company partnership experience higher website traffic and more qualified leads by investing in their SEO development.
What does an SEO company do?
We’ve touched on some of these topics above, but now we’ll really dive into the top SEO services that agencies typically offer and why they matter to your search engine ranking. SEO companies also provide a combination of on-page and off-page services to ensure your overall SEO profile is robust and healthy in both areas.
There are sophisticated tools online that help SEO companies determine what keywords are worth going after. Some of the most common ones are SEMrush, MOZ, and Ahrefs. At Jack & Bean, we primarily use Ahrefs and their Keyword Explorer.
This tool takes into consideration a number of different data points, like search volume and competition for a keyword as well as relevant articles on that topic already written. The latter most point can help you determine where there’s a gap of knowledge and how your company’s blog post can help fill it.
This benefits your company by investing your blogging resources into keywords and topics that you can actually get results from. No more investing hours into writing a blog post for it to only receive 10 views a month.
Backlinks are links on other websites that link to yours. A large backlink profile shows search engines that your website and content is trusted enough that other people are willing to link to you and deem you as a credible source of information.
An SEO company provides services to help increase your backlink profile, typically through guest blogging or finding forums where your company can share its expertise.
SEO companies can also perform link-building outreach. Outreach in the SEO industry is when an agency reaches out to a related company and positions one of your articles as a relevant source of information on one of their products or services. The hope is they will agree your content is valuable and link to your website from theirs.
Content strategy isn’t just keyword analysis for future blog topics – although that’s a big portion of it. Content strategy also entails going through your existing content to ensure it’s up-to-date and still relevant. A website with a lot of old, outdated content decreases your credibility in Google’s eyes.
Content strategy analysis can also reveal opportunities to consolidate or even eliminate content, depending on its relevance, in addition to updating.
Working with an SEO company to develop your content strategy will encompass when,where and how to update old content, and also plan what to write about for future blog posts and pages.
Website optimization is continuously improving your website to make it easier for potential customers to use. Depending on the current state of your website, it might not be optimized for mobile users, as an example. This is bad for two reasons:
- Mobile users will likely abandon your site if it’s difficult to navigate on their phone, increasing your bounce rates
- Because people aren’t staying on your website, search engines will interpret that as a negative user experience, and lower your web page in search engines because of it.
This is just one aspect of website optimization that experienced SEO companies can help with. They’ll make sure your website is on the cutting-edge of design and usability to ensure it’s not being dinged by search engines for the lack of easy user experience.
Benefits of partnering with an SEO agency
While it might be tempting to learn the ins and outs of SEO online to have this skill set in-house, there are many benefits of partnering with an SEO agency. For starters, they know SEO best practices and keep up-to-date with latest techniques and strategies. As a company solely focused on SEO, they will have the time and resources to ensure your website is following the latest practices to rank as high as possible. Typically, in-house marketing teams are spread thin and don’t have enough time to stay on the cutting edge.
Keep in mind that it’s one thing to know what SEO strategies will help your website rank high, but it’s another thing to actually implement these across your website. SEO companies handle the continuous updating and optimization of your website. Agencies are also more affordable and scalable than hiring or building a fully in-house SEO strategy team.
SEO agencies can also help you develop achievable content strategies and Key Performance Indicators, or KPIs. Not only will they be realistic with expectations (SEO is a marathon, not a sprint), they will also be able to help you develop achievable KPIs. This will keep your marketing department on track with sustainable growth and measurable success.
As we’ve mentioned before, SEO should be at the core of your digital marketing strategy. When you’re ranking high on search engines, everything else can fall into place a little easier.
If you’d like to explore how an SEO company can help grow your business, contact Jack & Bean for an SEO strategy call.