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We are less than one week into May and it is already proving to be a whirlwind month here at LoudLocal. Last week we handed out goodie bags...
Search engine optimisation (SEO) is the process of improving the visibility of your business on search engines such as Google to help drive organic traffic to your website. The aim of SEO is to provide your site users with relevant, high quality content to give them the best possible user experience using your website. SEO processes can be divided into both 'on page' and 'off page activities' but both are needed in order to boost your SEO.
Some tasks SEO usually involves are:
- A Site Audit
- Keyword Research
- Content Creation and Optimisation
- Link Building
Organic results are any results that aren't paid advertisements. For example, when somebody searches on Google, it will show the user results based on the relevance and authority of the web page content concerning the users' query. The listings at the top of the page under 'sponsored' and 'ad' would be due to paid advertising; the following unpaid results are organic. Organic results are generally based on SEO optimised content, so the better your SEO score the higher up the page your site will rank.
Paid results appear as ads in a search. Paid advertising is a great way to drive traffic towards your website, depending on your specific keywords, demographics and geographic location; however, it is important to factor in cost when considering this as part of your strategy.
An SEO agency is a team of SEO specialists that are usually given a monthly spend based on your requirements. They will work with you to develop strategies to improve the performance of your website and its ranking on search engines. There are generally multiple ways to improve your site's ranking; the route chosen by your SEO agency will depend on their skills, experience and what they think will work best for your company. It is important to consider that algorithms are constantly changing, which means your SEO plan might have to change as well to benefit your business continuously. SEO agencies normally support businesses on a monthly retaining, dedicating a certain amount of hours a month fixing issues with your site, or they can offer ad-hoc support to help improve your SEO.
There are lots of options when it comes to choosing a potential SEO agency so it's important to make sure you choose the one that suits you and you're business. When looking for an SEO agency it can be hard to distinguish the good from the bad before signing a contract, so we've put together a list of things to look out for so you can find your perfect agency.
1. Communication: Good communication is key when working with an agency, poor communication is huge red flag. If an agency takes too long to respond to your initial enquiry it's likely things won't improve when you become a client, meaning you are likely to miss out on vital information that will help your business moving forward. Communication is something we at LoudLocal pride ourselves on ensuring our clients are never left in the dark about their project and are able to have a full collaboration.
2. Information Provided: Find out what reports you can expect to receive, an agency could send you hundreds of reports but if they don't explain how each figure helps your business then its not particularly useful. Instead choose an agency who has a clear and simple reporting system that will help to give you an understanding of your performance and see how their work is impacting your business.
3. Cost: Rates charged by agencies vary hugely between agencies, so it's important to find one that fits within your budget and is value for money. The average day rate can range between £800-£1600. When it comes to SEO agencies, expensive doesn't always mean better, if an agency is trying to charge you an extremely high rate, they might not be as good as they seem. A good agency will always charge a reasonable price backed up with reviews, and a break down of what their service will include.
4. If Something Sounds Too Good To Be True... It Probably Is: Something to look out for when choosing an SEO agency is what they claim to be able to do within a given time frame. It might be tempting to go for the agency who claims they can get you page listing number 1 on Google within a week, sounds too good to be true right? That's because it is. To do SEO properly you've got to be patient, trying to rush the process can lead to all sorts of problems on your website and could even get you banned by Google. A good SEO agency will give you realistic timeframes of when you can expect to achieve your goals, this will usually take months rather than weeks.
5. See How Good Their SEO Is: When searching for an agency it can be a good opportunity to see if they practice what they preach. Chances are if you found them on page 10 of a Google search with all the relevant terms they might not be as good as SEO as they might claim, you want an agency where you can see the benefits of their work on their own website as this will be a good reflection of what they can do for you.
6. Check Out Their Site: When researching agency be sure to check out their entire site... or at least most of it. This will give you a good idea as to if they're following SEO guidelines, look out for things like keyword stuffing, hidden text, or confusing redirects, these are all big red flags and things you don't want them to do to your site. Looking at their own content such as blogs and case studies can also be insightful into their knowledge and experience of working on SEO which can help you distinguish the good agencies from the bad.
7. Find Out Who You'll Be Working With: Many marketing agencies outsource their SEO work to external companies to complete the tasks, whilst this isn't always necessarily a bad thing it's important to find out who exactly will be dealing with your accounts. This will give you the chance to discuss any questions you may have and get an understanding of if the partnership would work well.
8. Check Out Client Reviews: Look at the agency's reviews on websites such as Trustpilot, make sure you take some time to read these reviews instead of just looking at their rating. Are the reviews detailed and personal, or short and generic? This will give you an idea of if the reviews are legitimate and from real clients.
1. Keyword Strategy: This step involves using tools such as SEMrush to identify keywords that your business could target. Once target keywords have been chosen the content on your site can then start to be optimised specifically for these keywords. This put simply means creating relevant content that focuses on areas you know people are searching for, leading to your site appearing for more search terms online.
2. Technical SEO: Technical SEO is the process of identifying and fixing any issues on your site which will help improve your overall site health. It can be helpful to run a site audit using specialist tools such as SEMrush, as this will make it easier to identify all the problems that need to be sorted. Technical SEO is important for both site crawling and indexing, this is how search engines like google list web pages, bots crawl websites for information so they can understand what information the site contains and if it is both original and relevant.
3. Return on investment (ROI) forecasting: ROI is a performance measure; agencies will use this to evaluate the efficiency of your investment to ensure you are making the most out of using them.
4. Content optimisation: Optimising content for search engines to improve your rankings, this includes focusing on keywords as well as using the correct formatting such as header structure (H1, H2, H3 etc.), adding alt text to image to allow search engines to 'read' the image, and ensure content focuses on brand key words while keeping your content highly relevant for your audience.
5. Content creation & marketing: SEO agencies can create SEO optimised content for your website, this can include both the copy across the site or regular content such as blogs. They will ensure all content produced is original and relevant to your users to help improve your rankings. At LoudLocal we create high quality content for our client that is highly optimised so you can spend more time doing what you do best... running your business.
6. Link building: Link building involves acquiring links from other websites to your website. Link building is important because it can lead to more traffic and potential customers due to increased visibility in search engine results pages. The more high-quality backlinks a website has, the more likely it is to rank higher on a search engine results page. As well as link building removing any toxic backlinks (included under technical SEO), is as equally important as this disassociates your site from any irrelevant or dodgy sites that could harm you search ranking.
7. Local SEO: Making your business easier to find online in your local area, this can include various tasks. Many agencies will offer services such as directory listings to get your business listed across multiple directories to ensure you maximise your business's online visibility. An agency is also able to perform a local SEO audit, to understand what areas of your site need work to get your business seen in your local area.
8. Website migration: This involves redirecting all your old web pages to your new pages meaning there is no negative impact on your ranking from updating your website.
1. Initially, an agency will take time to help you establish goals and understand your company, allowing them to make informed decisions about how best to support your business.
2. You can expect a good agency to be transparent with you and realistic about how your goals will be met.
3. Your SEO agency needs to be able to work with you together to maximise your benefits from SEO work. That's why at LoudLocal we were in collaboration with our clients to ensure we get the best results possible, working as part of their team allows everyone to work together to see what truly matters to their business and what steps can be made to keep it moving forward.
4. Ensure you communicate with your agency; otherwise, some of their time can be taken up chasing you for access or information they may need; if you have any questions, ask them!
5. By using an SEO agency, you can expect results... but not immediately; SEO takes time; if you don't see results immediately, don't panic! It doesn't mean what they're doing isn't working; you must be patient.
The time it takes to see results from SEO depends on various factors, such as the overall authority of your website, your target keywords, the current state of your website, and your content and backlinks. Seeing the desired results can range anywhere from a few weeks to several years. It's important to remember that SEO doesn't grant success straight away; it's a long-term strategy and is crucial to build a strong online presence and achieve sustainable growth in search engine rankings.
At LoudLocal we provide a high quality SEO service to help you elevate your online presence, our tailored strategies will help you website attract more organic traffic as well as converting visitors into loyal customers. We hope this has helped you understand what to expect when working with an SEO agency for the first time; if you'd like any help with SEO work or anything else related to digital marketing, get in touch!
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