5 Questions to Ask Your SEO Agency
For small businesses, search engine optimization (SEO) of websites is a vital part of a digital marketing program and key to its success. Unfortunately, all too often on-page SEO is the most neglected element of a small business website. You know your site should be optimized, but how do you find someone who can deliver what your site needs? Below are 5 key questions to ask your search marketing company and the answers you should hope to hear from them.
1.) Why do I need on-page strategic SEO?
Search engines like Google and Bing strive to provide the best possible experience for their users by serving up the most relevant and useful pages for the terms searched. The search engines make a determination of the best pages for the searcher by using a complex algorithm. They consider a wide variety of factors, including on-page SEO, traffic volume, social media signals, and internal and external links.
Simply put, on-page SEO is the process of putting the information you want the search engines to have about your site in the places they are looking for it. If you don't provide this info properly, search engines will choose whatever content they do find and their algorithms determine is relevant. Do you really want to leave it up to an algorithm to determine what your website, and therefore your business, is really about?
2.) What is the process of on-page SEO?
Proper search engine optimization requires:
- Audit of the site
- Look closely at the site to see what elements of a properly optimized site are missing or incorrect
- Keyword research
- Dive deep to see what your customers are searching for and the level of competition you can expect for those terms
- Incorporate keyword information into the parts of the website where search engines will be looking for it
3.) How long will it take?
Depending on the size of your site, optimization could take a few weeks or longer for all elements to be completed. But don't expect to see results right away. It takes time for search engines to see the data you've added, and you will be competing against other websites using the same keywords. A recent analysis by Ahrefs showed that of pages that were able to rank for a keyword within the first year (and not all of them do) most took 2 to 6 months to hit the top 10. Without the resources that larger competing business may have at their disposal, a small business site might take longer.
4.) Can you just put in a bunch of keywords and be done with it?
Seems like that would be the logical solution, and years ago that technique did work, but search engines are savvy and take measures to stymie anyone who attempts to game the system. The algorithms they use are updated frequently, often in response to websites attempting to gain ranking with a “magic bullet” strategy. These might work in the short term, but once the algorithm is changed rankings will plummet. And often websites that haven't employed a broad SEO strategy are penalized as well.
A broad SEO strategy includes all of the on-site elements as well as a strong backlink profile, fresh content, social presence and other elements that search engines look to in determining your site's rank.
5.) How will optimization affect the user's experience of my site?
It will improve the experience for your user. If done properly, the content of your pages will be clearer and the site navigation easier to use. The search result will clearly state the information your page contains so the user knows what they will find when they reach the page.
Search engines look for optimized sites and reward them because they provide a better experience for the user. Ultimately, the point of optimization is to please the search engines by pleasing their users.
The five questions above will give you a sense of a digital marketing company's small business SEO savvy. As you well know, SEO is a complex business and we've barely scratched the surface of what can and should be done. If you are considering beefing up your SEO strategy, we'd love to help. Get in touch and see what we can do.