Your CEO asked you to hire an SEO firm. You began your search on Google, didn’t you? You surfed through dozens of SEO company websites, and probably saw very little difference in what they offer. As you narrowed down your choices, you felt good about the research you did, the testimonials you read, and the recommendations you received. With information in hand, you’re ready to make a decision. Aren’t you?
It’s very possible that you missed one important consideration; one that is rarely reflected in the SEO websites you visit. Because many SEO companies list all of the general services that visitors expect to see, you have no idea where their experiences really lie. Some may be very good at optimizing certain types of businesses, but have very little experience with other types. You may not be able to ascertain whether or not the SEO company is really right for your business unless you know what to look for – or which questions to ask.
There are many “shades” of SEO, but the five below encompass the large majority of business needs. Understanding the differences will help you find the SEO company that has the experience your business needs.
Optimizing a large enterprise site requires a significantly different strategy than a small mom-and-pop site requires. Notice the number of pages returned in the site: searches below. The first shows the number of pages from a small site that services a local area. The second shows the number of pages from a Fortune 100 company.
The massive difference in site size is the first obvious clue that an SEO campaign designed for the first site is likely to be vastly different from a campaign designed for the second. But sheer size of a site is not the only thing that determines strategy.
Technical challenges are probably much greater when dealing with large, enterprise sites that have been around for years. The site has likely been through numerous changes over the years, and the resulting code that runs a large site may have turned into a tangled mess that many programmers would call “spaghetti code”. Attempting to solve technical issues that may be hindering SEO efforts on such a site may require a team of crack tech geeks. Likewise, the structure of the site has probably degraded over time, with possibly hundreds or even thousands of pages having become old, obsolete, missing or orphaned. Restructuring the site and reclaiming lost assets can be a big job. Experience in dealing with such a project is essential.
Enterprise sites also come with enterprise management levels, with a chain of command that is long and tedious. An SEO company that doesn’t have the experience needed to communicate the project’s needs through each of these levels of red tape may mean that very little actually gets done.
If you need enterprise-level optimization for your site, make sure the SEO company you’re considering has enterprise experience.
Small local company websites, like that shown in the earlier screenshot, need an SEO company that has both organic SEO and Local SEO experience. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that a Local SEO company means that you need to hire an SEO from your local region. Instead, it means that you need an SEO company that understands the unique processes needed to help a website compete for local search terms.
The strategies required to rank well for locally-relevant phrases in Google Maps, for instance, is not only different than the strategies needed for non-local queries, but the processes and rules change frequently. Local SEO specialists keep abreast of these changes and understand the nuances needed to handle issues that may be preventing a website from showing up in local searches.
If your business serves a local, rather than global region, you need to find a search team that has Local SEO experience.
Although sites on the World Wide Web are global in nature, most only focus on their own region and language. Some businesses, however, are truly global. These sites may offer content in multiple languages within the same domain, while others have several multilingual websites spread across country-specific domains.
In either case, the SEO company needs to be able to optimize sites and campaigns in multiple languages. Many will “make do” with automated translation software, but that strategy almost always leads to poor quality content. SEO companies with real International experience will have team members who not only fluently speak the languages needed but who also understand the cultures and search nuances specific to each country.
If your business website needs multilingual, International SEO, don’t settle for a company that relies on automated translation tools. Choose one that has native speakers who are fluent in the languages you need.
An online store has its own set of common optimization challenges. Competing for rankings on the same products that are offered on many other websites is only one of the issues that crop up in eCommerce SEO.
One common issue involves duplicate content problems that arise when products are listed in multiple categories or in multiple sizes or colors.
Another is the fact that many product pages have very little actual text content on the page, which makes it difficult for search engines to understand what the page is about. If a search engine doesn’t understand what is on a page, it can’t do a good job of ranking it for any relevant phrases.
In addition, many shopping cart programs are notorious for their lack of flexibility, making the task of optimizing URLs and even page titles very difficult.
If your business revolves around an online store, you need an SEO team that is comfortable in the eCommerce space.
SEO for Information Sites and Blogs
Unlike the three types of sites already mentioned, blogs and information sites often depend upon social media for much of their traffic. This type of site still needs an SEO company that is well-versed in organic SEO, but it also needs a company that is very strong in Social Media Marketing. Of course, organic SEO and Social Media Marketing are both important for any type of site, but blogs and information sites are heavily reliant on these campaign strategies in particular.
If your website is a blog or is informational in nature, look for an SEO company that has deep experience in organic SEO and Social Media Marketing.
Now You May Be Ready To Make That Decision
No matter what type of site your business has, you’ll want to find an SEO company with experience in organic SEO, content marketing, and social media marketing. However, your particular site may need deep experience in Enterprise SEO, Local SEO, eCommerce SEO, International SEO, or Blog / Information SEO. Before you make your decision, determine if the SEO companies on your short list have the experience needed to manage your business’s search marketing campaign.