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As Google continues to unhinge marketing models everywhere, companies are increasing spending on digital marketing services. If you are considering investing in search engine optimization (SEO), it may be hard to decide where to spend money, especially when marketing budgets are always tight. Still, SEO firms can potentially bring a lot of value to your business, and many marketers are taking the plunge. According to media analysts at Borrell, SEO spending will reach $80 billion annually by 2020.
If you are considering hiring an SEO agency for your company, it’s important to understand what you’re buying. In general, SEO work falls into three main buckets:
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This is what most people think of when they think of SEO. “Keyword research and optimization is about defining the audiences you want to reach online, then communicating to Google where you want to meet those people,” explains Andy Kerns, Content Strategist with Digital Third Coast, a Chicago-based digital marketing agency. Kerns continues, “The where in this equation is represented by specific keyword phrases, like “’running shoes’ or ‘payroll software. People search a specific term, and your company shows up in the search results. Then the searchers click on your link — and you meet a new prospect!”
This is work you might not associate with SEO, but it is often essential. “The algorithm Google uses to assess and rate all websites is very sophisticated and very picky,” Kerns says. “It has to work extremely fast, in nanoseconds. If you want to meet folks searching for keywords relevant to your offerings, your website needs to be a well-oiled machine that communicates quickly and clearly with Google, at all times. This is not as simple as it sounds. There are literally hundreds of technical considerations when optimizing a website for SEO purposes.”
This is an aspect of SEO that might surprise you if you are new to the game — and it’s a game changer. “Consider the hundreds of technical tweaks that need to be made when optimizing a website.There’s a single consideration for Google’s algorithm that rises above all others — we call it links.” Kerns says. “Links from other websites to your website, are what Google counts, and cares about more than anything else. If your website is associated with other important and popular websites, Google will automatically like you more — and display your company much higher (closer to the top of Page 1) in search results.”
The hard part is getting those links in a legitimate way using keywords you care about – and that is where an SEO firm can be invaluable. “If you develop first-class content that is educational, entertaining, or both, and you make a concerted effort to share that content with the world, the world will link back to you. We promise. We do this every single day for our clients.,” Kerns notes.
While often at least some of the work can be done yourself or with in-house staff, the truth is that letting experts do it for you more than pays for itself, and here are several reasons why:
So, if you have a product or service that’s ready to go to the next level – especially one that has national appeal – strongly consider hiring an SEO firm as part of your growth plan. It’s a smart move for those who are ready for the big leap!
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