When today's consumers want to look for new products or services, they no longer ask friends and neighbors. Instead, they turn to Google and other search engines.
Unfortunately, getting ahead on Google isn't like building a word-of-mouth reputation. In the old days, business owners simply had to make sure that their companies provided the highest quality of products and excellent customer service. Now, that's not enough. It takes the help of an expert San Jose SEO agency to get ahead.
SEO, short for search engine optimization, is the process of making a site look as appealing as possible not just to end-users but also to the bots that crawl and index sites for search engines. Companies with effective SEO strategies in place are far more likely to wind up ranking high on the search engine results pages (SERPs) for relevant keywords than those who leave things up to chance, but most businesses don't have it in the budget to hire dedicated SEO experts. That's where an SEO agency comes in.
A good SEO agency will have an entire staff of experts on hand to deliver results. Instead of paying a yearly salary and benefits package regardless of how much work goes into SEO campaigns, companies can pay for only the services they need because effective SEO agencies offer fully scalable services.
The best part is that because of how SEO works, there's no need to worry about what will happen when the campaign ends. Once an SEO expert optimizes a site's on-page and technical content, it will continue to get a boost in the SERPs even after the campaign ends. The same goes for off-page SEO. Although the most effective SEO campaigns require some ongoing work, business owners won't have to continue paying for services they've already received.
Some business owners assume that it makes more sense to invest in paid ads, referred to as pay-per-click (PPC) ads on Google. After all, the ads come up at the top of the page, where more people will see them, right? The problem with this rationale is that over two-thirds of all clicks on Google go to the first five organic results, while PPC clicks account for less than one-tenth of them.
If a company invests its digital marketing budget exclusively into PPC ads, they'll be missing out on the majority of opportunities to get new leads. The consumers who click on PPC ads are also less likely to become loyal customers because most people believe that paid ads are less credible than organic results. When users choose sites out of the organic search results, on the other hand, they're already primed to see the brand in a positive light.
Companies with effective SEO strategies in place don't just see more traffic to their sites. They also have higher conversion rates than those that use only PPC ads. As any marketing-savvy business owner will already know, the way to get a high return on investment (ROI) from marketing efforts isn't to get attention from the broadest possible consumer base. It's to drive traffic from those groups that are most likely to be interested in the company's goods or services, which is just what SEO accomplishes.
At face value, the primary goal of SEO companies seems simple. As has already been noted, it's to make changes to a client's site that will improve its SERP rankings. Unfortunately, this seemingly simple goal requires an incredible amount of work, and Google doesn't make any of it easy. This behemoth of the search engine industry uses over 200 different ranking factors when considering which sites to prioritize, and it doesn't release the vast majority of them.
To complicate matters even further, the AI-driven algorithms used to analyze sites for authority and relevance to users' queries are constantly changing and adapting. SEO experts make it their job to stay abreast of changing industry trends and craft effective strategies for companies operating in competitive industries.
Any effective SEO strategy will focus on three primary categories of ranking factors:
The exact strategies put into place to improve a page's ranking factors across these three categories will vary by industry. However, every website will need at least some help in all three of them. Here's what to expect:
Technical SEO strategies focus on making sure that all of the different elements of a page can be scanned and indexed effectively by Google's web crawlers. Technical SEO occurs behind the scenes and is generally performed by industry experts with coding experience. During the initial phases of implementing a new SEO strategy, technical SEO experts usually focus on:
Most of the technical SEO work occurs early in the optimization process. However, some aspects of this process are ongoing, such as checking for and fixing dead links, ensuring fast page loading speeds, and creating new meta titles, tags, and descriptions for new pages as they are added.
There is a strong connection between the quality of a site's content and its SERP rankings, which makes sense upon some reflection. Google's algorithms are designed to seek out the pages that are most valuable to users. While other factors such as authority and user-friendliness also come into play, the quality and relevance of a page's content play outsized roles in determining whether users will find it valuable.
As with technical SEO, content optimization requires both an initial site audit and some ongoing work. In some cases, the bulk of a company's content optimization strategy will focus on keyword research and use. In others, factors such as internal and external links, content length, and multimedia inclusion will be more important.
In the context of SEO, authority refers primarily to a page's relationship with other off-site content. When a greater number of other high-ranking and relevant sites link to a page, those backlinks show Google's search algorithms that the page is more authoritative than those that contain only internal links or few, low-quality external ones.
It's important to note here that not all link-building practices are effective. Google's algorithms aren't just designed to prioritize pages that have plenty of authoritative and relevant backlinks. They can also identify black hat link-building practices that involve suspicious initiating sites. Pages that are linked to by a lot of low-quality, suspicious, or irrelevant sites will be penalized.
Even with the help of San Jose SEO experts, smaller companies and start-ups will have a hard time competing with well-established corporations and franchises in the same niche. There are several ways of getting around this problem. The first is to optimize content for less competitive keywords, but that only gets companies so far. Small businesses that want to get ahead of the competition will need to employ local SEO strategies.
These days, Google makes it relatively easy for local businesses to target users in specific geographical areas. While some local SEO strategies still require optimizing content to include long-tail keywords that reference specific locations or address "near me" queries, most focus on what's known as the local pack.
Google's local pack is a different form of organic search result. Instead of linking to specific pages or content, it includes basic information about local businesses derived from their Google My Business (GMB) accounts. The process of optimizing GMB accounts and sending positive signals to search bots in the form of reviews and citations is slightly different from that of general search engine optimization. As a result, it's very important for business owners to find a San Jose SEO agency that can both provide general SEO services and handle local search engine optimization.
Business owners who have experience in retail wouldn't necessarily make the best restaurant owners because there are practices that are specific to each industry. The same can be said for search engine optimization. An agency that has experience working with construction industry clients wouldn't necessarily know how to perform SEO for dental clinics, for example. However, this isn't a problem when business owners find the right SEO companies.
The key, here, is to seek out companies that have experience working with similar clients but aren't so specialized they won't have the staff required to scale up with businesses as SEO strategies begin to pay off. Business owners can ensure that an agency will be a good fit by reading through case studies and reviews. If it's not clear whether the company has worked with similar clients in the past, just reach out and ask.
Ready to see how SEO experts take all of this theoretical knowledge and put it to use in the real world? The best way to get started is by scheduling a free consultation online. PosiRank has helped an incredibly diverse array of clients improve their online presence and increase both traffic and conversion rates, and we can do the same for you.