In our immensely connected digital online world, when you set up a company doing any sort of business, you need to reach out to your target audience and that means you need a good online presence. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) for your website is critical, and you want to rank well for selected keywords. Today, an important element of driving traffic to your website includes the social media like Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Google+, LinkedIn etc. Rising importance and a very powerful tool is video marketing through YouTube.
The key topic of this article is whether you should engage a SEO company or consultant as they are commonly referred to since SEO is so important.
Should You Engage a SEO Consultant?
SEO companies charge an arm and a leg. And if they truly add value by ranking your website well, on page 1 or 2 of Google or other search engines for your list of keywords which you want to target, I think it is good ROI. However, you need to ensure the company that you are engaging knows their stuff.
You can read my articles on keyword research and google ranking as I believe they provide good understanding of SEO. If you are thinking of engaging a SEO company however, let’s discuss what you should look out.
I am based in Singapore and a random search for “SEO for website” on Google points me to an Adword PPC ad by SEO Agency.
I do not know about this company and I am using it purely for illustration and case study purpose. When you visit the website, it seems professionally developed, and it lists the services provided and even some good customer references. It also provides educational information on SEO, search engine results page (SERP) etc, so this definitely seems like a company which knows their SEO stuff.
But wait, I get to know them through Adword and the keyword SEO for website. And if I try other keywords like SEO for my company, SEO for company, SEO they appear tops in paid Ads. It means they are spending heavily on PPC (Pay per click). Nothing wrong with this, as PPC can be an effective tool for affiliate marketing as well.
A SEO company must first be able to rank its own website well. The keyword “SEO” has a QSR of 363 (read keyword research) which is alright for a professional to try to compete in ranking. When I search for this keyword, SEO Agency actually appears on page 2 of Google search, not bad. However, if I use SERP to do global search, they are still not ranked well. I guess this is alright as their primary target customers will be based in Singapore.
If I am still really keen to work with them, I guess I will ask for a reference check from one of their key customers.
You can use similar steps to check out a SEO company. If they can’t rank for themselves well, it means they can’t help you, period.
Your Contents Team is Your SEO Team
A good SEO company should be able to get the basic infrastructure of your website right, by that I mean they should be able to advise you all the necessary steps to set up your Google Webmaster account, submit your sitemap etc. Even that, if you are tight on budget, you can DIY (refer to this resource if you are more technically inclined).
With the basics done, frankly your contents team is actually your best SEO team. If your website has rich and unique contents which people are searching for, your website is going to naturally rank well.
This website of mine is still WIP and it is starting to rank well (page 2, page 3) for targeted keywords. However, for a very unique keyword “my name is Liong Hai” which is on my about page, I will rank on page 1 without even consciously writing the page to rank effectively!
Therefore, make sure your contents team has a basic training on SEO with regards to contents creation check-list and search engine ranking and really the rest is just ensuring good contents flow at timed regular frequencies with objective of providing useful information tied to specific keywords which will be of interest to your audience, providing solutions to problems.
A Brief Discussion of Social Media
Using social media to drive traffic to your website is going to take an entire article. What I want to share here is that even if a website has little of the above mentioned SEO elements, a well executed social media drive is going to give tremendous SEO boost.
Captain K Seafood Tower is a restaurant which I happened to assist with on their PR campaign, focusing on social media PR. Their website www.captainksg.com is a typical restaurant website and I won’t say it is rich in contents. However, the PR campaign was quite successful with lots of discussion on social media like Instagram and Facebook, together with multiple blog posts by food bloggers on their unique 9-tier seafood tower offer. Because of all the tremendous referral traffic and backlinks from reputable sites, the restaurant website now ranks naturally on page 1 for keywords like seafood tower etc.
Social media is just going to occupy a larger space in SEO strategy, together with YouTube videos. Clever use of images will also play a key role.
I hope you benefit from this article and as usual, please leave me comments so I can incorporate additional ideas to improve and enhance on this article.