5 Questions To Ask When Hiring SEO Services

SEO Agency Los Angeles

The SEO industry has evolved almost as much as the Google algorithm itself in recent years, but at times it can still appear shady and pay-to-play. This is unfortunate because there are so many good analysts that truly understand the complexity of SEO and offer valuable services.  These folks pale in comparison to the countless crooked agencies and unqualified consultants selling SEO services to honest business owners. If you’re thinking about working with an SEO Agency it’s important that you do some research to ensure you are working with good people. We really do exist!

Here are some common questions to ask an SEO Provider which should flush out the pretenders from the contenders.

The ABC's - ADDRESS, BIO & CLIENTS

Any reputable SEO, (Social Media or Web Development) company will have their address listed on their website.  If there is no address listed on the website, keep shopping for a new SEO Agency. That is the first sign something may not be on the up and up.   In addition they should have a photo and bio of themselves as well as some client testimonials. You don't want to be the guinea pig.  This is often the case when a programmer takes a one day SEO class at a community college then dons the title - SEO King.  Beware.

WHAT IS YOUR BACKGROUND/EXPERIENCE?

A trustworthy SEO provider will be open and straightforward about their experience and how long they have been studying the Google Algorithm and whether they were inhouse or worked with clients.  They should be able to provide multiple references. An experienced SEO provider doesn’t need to specialize in your industry. It's often better to get a fresh perspective.  Make sure the SEO provider doesn’t say anything about having a relationship with Google. Nobody has a relationship with Google.  Also, make sure they are not in India, the work done in India is shoddy at best.  You get what you pay for.

WHAT ARE SOME OF THE BIGGEST CHANGES IN SEO?

Effective SEO providers should be able to talk about this with some level of certainty.  There is no right answer but it should foster a conversation about their thoughts on how SEO has changed.  For instance if they mention Keyword Meta Tags, then move on to the next provider because Keyword Tags were written out of the Google algorithm about a decade ago.  

There have been many big changes with SEO in the last several years and they should be able to discuss some of their challenges and strategies to adapt.

WHAT IS YOUR APPROACH TO LINK BUILDING?

Inbound links are a ranking signal to the search engines. An inbound link is when another site has content with a link to your website. Inbound links are weighed heavily by Google when determining the order of search results.  While SEOs used to look for any link opportunity, today they should only build links on high quality sites that are related to the industry and top directory sites like CitySearch & YP.com. The SEO provider should mention that the best types of links are those that occur organically in articles on trusted websites like Huffington Post.

HOW DO YOU HANDLE CONTENT?

The industry saying is 'Content Is King', and its true.  Without content there is nothing to optimize.  The goal is to get people to share your content on social media with the idea that it drives traffic back to your site.  SEO providers should have a content strategy or ideas about their approach to generating content for your site.  Ask to see some samples or check out their own social media pages to get an idea.  We personally think its best to work with an SEO agency with a good sense of written humor. 

These are some simple questions to ask an SEO agency or consultant before you work with them. Keeping up to date with the daily Google algorithm changes requires complete attention and tenacity.  It's not something you can read in a book because by the time you are done with the book, the game has changed.  

Feel free to give us a call if you have any additional questions or are looking for SEO Services - we know a good team :)   

Thank You For Reading! 

The Bare Minimum SEO All Local Businesses Must Do

SEO For Local Business Manhattan Beach

Running your own local business is rewarding, exciting & motivating.  It can also be a huge time sucker in the sense that you often engage in too much DIY activity. One of those activities is marketing.  It either falls to the way side or like many local businesses, you delegate to your web programmer who is not interested or lacks the skills to be effective.

Whether you are managing a restaurant, medical practice, automotive shop or law firm, digital marketing for a local business is critical to its branding, revenue and ultimately success.  Well you are in luck because we are going to provide you with three digital marketing activities that every small business should do in 2016.

Go big, Go mobile or go bankrupt

Many local businesses websites were built 3-5 years ago.  They may have had a mobile "retrofit" recently but that may not be enough to be mobile device compatible.  In the last few years a technology called “responsive design" has emerged.  This is a programming technique that builds your website so that it checks the size of the device before it loads images and content.  This way you only build one website and its works for desktop, tablet & mobile. The antiquated strategy was to build two separate sites, one for desktop (abc-hotel.com) and one for mobile (m.abc-hotel.com).  This is no longer necessary or effective. 

In 2015 Google announced they altered their search ranking algorithm to give preference to all sites that were built with responsive design.   Go mobile or your site will slip in the rankings, it’s that simple.  In addition 30% of all Google searches come from mobile devices.

Claim your real estate

All local business owners should be checking to see how their business looks on the in search results, this includes Google (& Bing) map results.  If you have a brick and mortar business with a physical location then Google has already created a map listing.  The problem is that this map listing looks like this.

You need to create a login for Google My Business and claim and verify your listing.  Google will send a postcard with a PIN to verify that you have a physical address. Once verified you must update your listing with the correct contact information, location, description and photos.  This is no different than your Facebook business page in fact its Google's competitor to Facebook except this is what shows on Google Maps and mobile devices when people are searching for your services. If you take away nothing else, understand that if you want to rank higher in Google, then it makes sense to use their products.

Hit Me One Time SEO Master

The third SEO digital marketing task you should perform for your business is On-Page SEO.  Do this at least one time.  Contact a reputable digital marketing agency and have them modify your website to make it search engine friendly.  This should cost you about $800-1000 and will pay dividends in terms of organic visibility.  They will talk with you about your core services and make sure you can be found online when people search on Google.  SEO is a tireless beast and if you want to stay at the forefront of search results it should be done monthly. However, if you are not willing to pay for monthly services then at very least get some on-page SEO done once.

Thank You For Reading!