If your business sector is even vaguely competitive then you’ve probably come to the conclusion that your website needs to rank highly in the search engines to grab your share of the market online.
The problem is that even in 2016, most business owners still have little idea of how SEO (search engine optimisation) works or how to choose the best company to help them secure those coveted top-5 positions – after all, the only place worth ranking is in the top-5 of the search results.
With our free SEO audit tool, you can get a comprehensive SEO report on your website in less than 6-seconds. To get your report, which will help you understand where your website can be improved from an SEO perspective, just click this link.
If you’ve found this article via a Google search, then hopefully we’ve already demonstrated that we know just a little about SEO and how to gain rank for website pages in even the most competitive of business sectors (and is doesn’t get any more competitive than the SEO industry).
So we’d ask you to invest just 5 minutes of your time to thoroughly read and digest the content of this article BEFORE you spend a single penny with any SEO company. There are too many rogue SEO companies out there who will happily take your money and deliver ineffective SEO – and we’ve seen too many businesses who’ve fallen-victim to such unscrupulous SEO providers. Don’t become one of them.
Understanding SEO – How To Choose The Best SEO Company in 2016
First and foremost, (and apologies for the crass analogy here) building an SEO campaign for a business targeting UK consumers is much like building a house; the most important element is the foundations. If you build your SEO campaign on unstable foundations, the result will be that at some point you will end up having to scrap the whole thing and start again.
Unfortunately we come across many business owners who’ve employed SEO companies who failed to build the campaign foundations properly and as a result, it simply doesn’t work for them. This has a really damaging effect on our industry as whole as Clients become disillusioned with SEO and revert back to less effective marketing methods for their business.
So to help business owners make a more informed decision about choosing the best UK-based SEO company, here are a few things to consider when setting those foundations:
Foundation 1 – Keyword Choice
Keywords are the terms that a potential customer might type into Google (or any other search engine) when looking for your products or services, for example, ‘Accountants in London’, or ‘Buy Blue Widgets’.
This is an area where many SEO companies go wrong as they allow the customer to choose the keyword. This is like taking your car into the garage and the Mechanic asking you which parts to fit. Keyword selection takes a lot of experience and research to ensure that the terms you want to rank for are both commercially worthwhile and have a reasonable level of competition.
To put this into context, if you want to start selling ‘Widgets’, you want to ensure that the keyword you choose is actually being searched for by people looking to buy ‘Widgets’ and secondly, that the market isn’t already dominated by other ‘Widget’ suppliers, meaning your SEO campaign will be long, expensive and potentially fruitless.
A good SEO company will be able to conduct keyword research for you to ensure you’re targeting the right keywords.
Foundation 2 – Website Content
This is one issue that many SEO companies fail to address. A website is not merely the home page; it’s a collection of individual pages that are all opportunities to harvest traffic in their own right. So often, SEO companies advise their Client that all their SEO efforts should be focused on the website home page, despite the fact that in many cases it’s not the best page to target.
We have worked on many websites that now secure over 90% of their visitors through pages other than the home page. The reason why this method is so important is that you can laser-target the content of your site’s inner-pages so they are highly optimised for a very specific keyword. Rather than chasing the most competitive keywords via your home page, you can focus your efforts on lower-competition keywords (known as ‘long-tails’) on your inner pages.
If you consider the example of Amazon and Wikipedia, how many times have you searched for something and inner pages from these sites have ranked highly? It’s not the home page of Amazon that appears at the top of the search results if you Google ‘Books on Birds’, it’s one of their highly-optimised product pages. This is because Google sees these inner pages as highly relevant.
And SEO company worth their salt should be helping you develop the inner pages of your website BEFORE any efforts are made to on the sites home page as this is typically the quickest and easiest method of gaining more visitors to a website.
Does Google Think Website Content is Important?
Just to emphasise how important good website content is, the following 7-minute video from Matt Cutts of Google covers what they see as good content, or otherwise. The first 90-seconds might seem a little technical but stick with it as the value comes later in the video…
Foundation 3 – Links to Your Website
You may already be aware that having links to your website from other websites is important to help define the relevance and importance of your website pages.
In February 2012, Google introduced arguably the most significant update to the way it ranks website pages. Known as Panda 3.3, this update was designed to stop certain website owners from manipulating the search results by adding loads of spammy links to a web page. At the last count, it was estimated that over 700,000 websites were penalized by Google in this update and their website effectively stripped of the free traffic they were receiving.
Unfortunately, many SEO companies are still using techniques that Google would consider “unnatural” and they put the website in grave danger of being penalized. When choosing which SEO company to help you improve your rank, you need to ensure that they are using safe linking techniques. Always keep in mind the following statement issued by Google’s own Head of Web Spam, Matt Cutts:
“Link building is not the problem, it’s the way some choose to build links that’s the problem”
So if the main man at Google says that you need to be careful about linking strategies, you need to take heed. And if you think you can get away with creating poor quality, spammy links and Google won’t do anything, the following company websites have all been penalised by Google for link-spam, meaning their sites were (temporarily) dropped from Google and only returned after lengthy and expensive link-cleaning strategies were applied to their websites:
- The Washington Post
So if Google is willing to penalise these major website, don’t think you’re business is not at risk if your SEO company uses link-building strategies that breach Google’s terms of service.
Important: SEO Alone Won’t Help Your Business
SEO is not an exact science that can be be applied to every website with a ‘one size fits all’ methodology. Any SEO company operating in 2016 and beyond will need to take a holistic approach to helping their Clients gain more visitors.
Investing your marketing budget to try and get a handful of your search terms on the first page of Google is a fundamentally flawed approach – don’t do it.
If you think about it logically, you wouldn’t run your business with just a small number of customers providing nearly all your income would you? It would put your business in an extremely vulnerable position if you lost even a single customers and it’s that same principle with trying to rank your website for just a handful of highly competitive keywords. If you lose rank (and therefore traffic) for those keywords, you lose nearly all your website visitors in one damning moment.
Here in the UK, the opportunities to transform your business into a market leader, whether that be locally or nationally, are still enormous if you get your SEO and online marketing right. Notice that we also include the term, ‘online marketing’; that’s because SEO on it’s own won’t transform your business.
For more information on how we can help your business online, give us a call on 01252 416 222 and we’d be delighted to have an initial chat about your business and what we can do for you and the best way forward.
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