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Small Business SEO Company: 10 Things To Look For

Most small, local companies need to focus on search engine visibility to compete with their competition. This is done in numerous ways, including with paid ads. And, hiring a small business SEO company is a critical step. Organic SEO is one of the most important tools for building a digital presence, and it is one that continues to pay off year after year. Before hiring a company offering small business SEO services, look for these 10 things.
customers waiting in line outside of a restaurant

1) Do I Need an SEO Company Near Me?

local search result for the keyword "seo company near me"One of the steps many small businesses take is to look for a local company. For example, when it comes to the term "SEO Minneapolis", numerous companies pop up that can probably help you in one way or another. Do you need someone that’s local to you, though? In some situations, the answer is yes. You want to meet with them in person, talk to them, and really get to know the services they offer. Also, if they know the area, they’re going to personalize your content to fit within common local SEO strategies, creating more of a personable feel for your website visitors.

On the other hand, it’s not a make or break situation. That’s because most companies can provide the same services to you whether they are local or across the country. It’s all done online and with video conferencing and phone calls, it can all be really straightforward.

2) Ask About Their SEO Specialties

Components of SEO: hub and spoke diagramIf you've just started a business or are already established, you likely understand the importance of finding a company with experience working with similar types of industries. What that may mean to you is that they have more targeted experience and success within your sector. They know who your target audience is, what your products and service terminology stands for, and what type of niche features about your industry exist. That is quite important.

Seek out a partner that can define specific services and how they'll support your overall business goals. Some different types tactics that go into a comprehensive SEO strategy, include:

  • Keyword research
  • Content Strategy
  • SEO Copywriting
  • Linkbuilding
  • Technical Optimization
  • On-Page & Off-Page Optimization

If you’re new to SEO, then, you may want to look for a company that knows your business model, has helped companies in your industry, and offers SEO services that do what you want them to do – push your site to the top positions. Look a little deeper into the “why” behind these things, too. Why do they recommend what they do to your business specifically?

3) It’s Not Always About the Top-Ranked Company

The best SEO company for small business may not be the one that ranks the highest on the search engine results page (yes, that may seem a bit strange). Many of the best companies grow through word of mouth advertising, which isn’t accounted for in those rankings. For that reason, don’t assume the best partner to serve your needs is the first result.

google search engine results pages example

Take a look at several of the companies ranking on the first page (and maybe explore the second page). These companies may offer better services for your business (more on that in a moment) but also provide you with better pricing and more customer-focused service. It’s about the big picture, not just the top spot, in other words.

4) Reviews Matter

chart of the average google star rating for all local businessesWhen hiring a company to handle SEO services, you assume that they're experts at what they do. You want that pro that knows it all and is on top of the latest algorithm change from Google. At the same time, you need a company that puts customer service first. This may not be what your business specializes in and you need a company that can provide you with exceptional information and guidance to know what you should invest in.  One of the best ways to know this is to read the reviews of the company you are considering.

Top-performing companies have solid reviews and testimonials because their work – works. The data speaks for itself. A recent BrightLocal study found that local businesses who rank in the top 3 positions in Google Local have an average of 47 Google Reviews. As such, you want a company that is proven to be experienced enough to do well with the work at hand. SEO companies know the value of reviews and typically seek them out from their customers.

5) Find Out What’s Included in the Packages

SEO packages for small business are a good way to get the services you need from a provider. Before you dive in and buy any package, compare what is offered and featured. For example, look at what type of on-page SEO the company does. Some examples include:

  • An easy-to-navigate site that your customers and clients benefit from every time they visit. Also, one that moves people through it from landing page to contact page, ensuring you’re making the most out of every lead.
  • Creating a positive website experience with UX and SEO, with a site that’s well structured and optimized as best as possible. 
  • Content that’s on-point, delivers a message that’s clear and concise but includes targeted keywords that fit your business’s target audience.
  • Meta data that’s complete with full descriptions including title tags, meta descriptions, image tags, and headers.

Example of 4 SEO packages and different strategies

Also, you will likely need off-page SEO, which means strategies that don’t necessarily relate directly to what’s on the website. This may include backlinks that get customers to your site and boost the authority of the page. It may also include guest posting, press releases, social media buzz, influencer marketing and other similar tactics.

6) Affordability. It’s important to most companies.

graphic of coins going into piggy bankAffordable SEO doesn’t take away from the quality of it. While good quality SEO requires an investment into your website, and one that is going to pay off for years to come, it should not be so high that it’s unreachable.

SEO affordability will vary from provider to provider. You just need to be able to work closely with the company to understand what they are offering and how that relates to your business’s needs. Before signing on the dotted line, make sure to ask about how much SEO should cost for your business.

7) Check Out the Case Studies

Case studies are one of the best ways to understand not just what the company can do, but how it works. They provide a breakdown of what the company did for other businesses like your own. A big part of this is helping you to see where the company started and what steps it took to see improvements. It should break down what all of those improvements are, too, including visitors to the site, navigation through the site, and the resulting leads. What did the company do? How did that help the business to achieve success?

bar graph of the most important characteristics of a B2B company website

Many companies provide case studies on their website. And, in a recent study by Clutch, it showed that the display of case studies or testimonials were the second most important characteristic of a B2B website. If the SEO company does not show a form of customer feedback, be sure to ask about it. Some companies choose to keep that information out of the public eye, but may be happy to privately share examples of their work with you.

8) Choose a Provider Who Can Educate You, Too

Some of this comes in the form of providing you with good customer service. However, other providers go a step further. They tell you what they believe you need. Then, they tell you why. That is an excellent asset to you as the business owner. It can educate you on how a small business can best utilize an attractive website and exact steps and strategies to take. Over time, you’ll know how to interact fully with your SEO team to ensure you’re getting the type of results you need. Being able to ask about various services or learning more about what’s working for your company and what isn’t is always a valuable tool.

woman giving a presentation to a group of professionals

Often, using a provider who educates you also gives you some peace of mind. You know where your money is going and how it can work for you. At the same time, you may also learn a few steps and strategies that you can use on your own to track your success or understanding changing strategies.

9) Ask Them to Be Open and Honest With You

Transparency isn’t something to overlook when choosing a company to provide services to you. You also want to ensure the company is able (and willing) to be open with you about your needs, expectations, and long-term projections. For example, SEO isn’t magic. It takes time to build up

bar graph of the average age of pages in google search results vs. position rank

According to data from Ahrefs, the average number-one page position is nearly 950-days old.  With this, ask when you'll realistically see differences in the number of people visiting your site? What is it going to take to rank on the front page of the search engine results page? You want to know about the time investment as well as the monetary investment here.

(This goes back to budgeting for your SEO investment, but it can also help you to see when a company is proving their worth to you.)

10) Get the Consultation and Have a Talk

A free consultation is one of the most important ways to gauge how well a company can work with you to develop a small business marketing plan and achieve your goals. Be sure to ask them questions, get insight, and dive deep into what you want for your website. Come into that meeting with a budget. Have a few examples of competitor websites that you really like. The more insight you give them, the better this meeting can go.

woman looking at a computer while man talks on a phone

Use this as a way to determine their knowledge and expertise. Get insight into the work they’ve done – ask for examples. Then, ask them their best suggestions for your site. If they can’t tell you the “why” then they may not be the right fit.

Searching for the best Minneapolis SEO Company?

The team at Frahm Digital develops results-driven SEO marketing strategies that increase your reach online. Whether you need to target new audiences with keyword implementation, build local citations or develop a comprehensive content plan, or something else altogether, we'll help you succeed.

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