Updated on June 27, 2021·
Finding the best SEO company for your business!
Looking for an SEO company to boost your business? What’s the point of a fancy website, when no one can find it? Writing 10 blog posts a week and no one who reads them is no fun. You want your company’s website to end up as high as possible in the Google search results. Whether you like it to not, here do people start their search.
This article explains how you can best make a choice between all the different SEO companies. What to look for, what questions to ask and how can you be sure that you have made the right choice. If you are more interested in our own SEO services instead of reading how to search yourself, you can view our SEO services on our SEO service page.
Table of contents
- What is Search Engine Optimization? (SEO)
- How can an SEO company help you?
- 1. How can SEO help your company?
- 2. Do you need a professional website?
- 3. SEO for a local business
- 4. Enterprise SEO
- 5. Multilingual SEO
- 6. Google My Business
- 7. Choosing the best SEO company for you
- 8. Boost your SEO with SEA (optional)
What is Search Engine Optimization? (SEO)
An important thing to know in your search for a good SEO company is actually knowing what SEO is. SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization and self-explanatory: It optimizes your website for search engines.
When you Google something, how often do you reach the bottom of the page? And will you really click on page 2 or just try a different search instead? The first 3 results in Google catch 90% of all search traffic. Websites ranking out of the top 10 (page 2 or further down) are losing huge amounts of traffic. Those search result pages are often referred to as SERPs. (Search Engine Result Pages). An important term you can remember when diving deeper into SEO optimization.
This is where SEO comes in. It optimizes your website for those search engines, pushing your website up in those rankings. The most classic version is your website title and a short introduction that will show up. But in the modern days we live in, there are a lot of new tools to make your website rank between the top results. Ever heard of position zero in Google?
Position Zero makes your website rank above the first search results, without advertising!! There are different types of layouts for those things, but the most popular ones are cards (see image below) or question-lists. (see also at the bottom of the next image). Those are eye-catchers for visitors and will give your website a higher chance of receiving organic traffic.
Now that you know the basics of SEO and what it can do for your business, you’re ready to start your search for the best SEO company out there. Let’s dive in!
How can an SEO company help you?
As a business, you are almost never the only provider of a particular service or product. Even if you have the best product on the market. If you’re not on Google, you don’t exist. SEO companies can help you with this!
We are a Brussels & New York-based SEO agency that provides more than simple SEO strategies or content updates. But that’s not what this post is about, you can find more info about that on our SEO Service Page.
This post will give you more background information about how you can find the best SEO company that fits your needs. It can be us, but most important is that this article will give you more insights on how SEO actually works and which are critical points on your website.
Deciding to invest in SEO Marketing is a big decision that will potentially improve your website and save time, but it can also damage your site and reputation. Make sure to research the potential advantages as well as the damage that an irresponsible SEO can do to your site.
Copywriting and keyword research are the loudest players for an SEO company. But a great SEO company will provide much more than that! We can offer useful services like:
- Review your overall site content and structure
- Technical advice on website development (we’re also a web development company)
- like hosting, security, performance, page speed, redirects, error pages, hreflangs, …
- Content creation, translations and revisions
- Managing online business development campaigns
- Keyword research (obviously)
- SEO training to make sure you understand the statistics
- Expertise in specific markets and geographies
The benefits of SEO marketing, compared to advertising (SEA), is that advertising won’t have any effect on your site’s presence in the search results. Google never accepts money to include or rank sites in their search results.
1. How can SEO help your company?
The main reason for a website is that it can help people. You’re either offering services that are interesting for your visitors or explaining something, teaching something, or just amuse them.
When you post something on social media or upload a video to youtube, chances are your main goal is to get as much interaction as possible. You created a funny video? Of course you want people to see it! The same goes for your website. When you offer the most comfy chairs in town, you need to make sure everyone knows that!
SEO is made to help people find what they need. When someone Googles for a comfy chair, they are probably looking for a comfy chair. If your chair is not popping up in the results, you’re missing out! (and your competitors are winning)
It’s important to know how people are looking/searching for the products or services that you offer. The power of SEO is offering the correct content for the users who are searching for it. Someone searching in French probably wants to see French results.
The other way around, popping up in the search results for services you do not offer will make visitors bounce from your website. This are bad SEO points!
2. Do you need a professional website?
Your business will be hard to find without a website. Does it need to be a professional one? Depends. A strong website has the potential of becoming the digital motor of your company and will be in many cases the first thing people see about your company.
Do you need a professional website for SEO? Not really, but having a slow website that’s not working fluently on mobile won’t give you good SEO rankings. If you would hire a professional SEO company, probably the first step they take is simply to improve your website. We offer SEO Kickstarters that will do just that. Bump your current website to the modern standards that SEO and search engines love.
You can do as many keyword research and competitor analyses as you want. I would say that for most things, you need a solid base to start from. SEO is a slow but steady process that is easy to track. But you simply can’t dive into it right away. Want to rank higher on Google? Take a deep breath and have a second look at your current website.
- Does it load fast?
- Is it responsive?
- Does your content match your preferred SEO keywords?
- Is it user friendly and well structured?
- Do you have referrals to and from other websites?
- Are you using title & meta tags?
- Are all images on the website optimized?
Search engines have a different approach to your website than actual visitors. They want to offer the best user experience to their users, so if you have a slow or heavy website, SEO will be harder.
You can spend double the amount on a marketing or SEO agency that is harder to maintain in the long run. Starting with a solid base will ease the whole process AND improve your overall website at the same time! Win-Win!!
3. SEO for a local business
People are lazy! Do you want to find ‘the best restaurant’ or ‘the best restaurant nearby’?? How often did you Google for something with those keywords in it? close by, nearby, in New York, in my area, … The result will be higher than you think. Another SEO trick you might not know, but search engines will automatically push items that are close to your location.
Googling “Best SEO agency” will give you different results in New York than when you Google the same thing in Brussels. Simply to the fact that Google knows you are not looking for a company in Brussels when you’re in New York. (But we are both in New York and Brussels though…)
Local SEO is a very important aspect of your SEO game-plan. People are doing nothing else than looking at their phones. With the rise of digital assistants like Siri, Alexa, Google Assistant, … They are all focused on location for people who search for things while they’re on the go.
Simple tricks for local SEO are using local landings-pages, where you can focus on your services for that particular area. Don’t just use location, but people in those areas might use other keywords or have different interests. Use a correct address, contact details like email and phone, opening hours, … Google Maps, and Google My Business are also great SEO tools for your company! But more on that later in this article.
Nonetheless… Please make sure you have a working mobile website when you’re going for local SEO!
4. Enterprise SEO
Enterprise SEO adds an entirely new level of complexity to SEO that can be overwhelming. The competition in those areas is mind-blowing. Does your company require SEO on those levels? Look for an SEO company that is passionate and lives for those challenges! (hint hint)
Most of the time enterprise SEO competes for the most expensive keywords there are. Those keywords are both high in search volume, as high in value. Examples are purchase-intent keywords and all internet giants are eager to get those. Think of Amazon, Bol.com, Wikipedia, … When you’re up against them you need a dedicated SEO team and strategy.
SEO companies will follow up on the status of your website and will change their strategy accordingly. They follow up on impact vs. effort and work fluently together with the marketing team.
It’s very important the SEO company you choose is a perfect match for your business. Being on the same page is very important, fast & clear communication, specific needs or goals, and a clear Request For Proposal (RFP) to make sure you’re 100% sure before you team up with an SEO Partner.
5. Multilingual SEO
A multilingual website… It sounds a normal thing to do, yet I keep seeing many many mistakes on multilingual websites. In New York, this is something rare. But here in Brussels, almost every website we make needs to be multilingual. Most companies think it’s simply translating the content from Dutch to French or English. But believe me, by doing that, you’ll do more harm than good (for SEO purposes).
As said in the beginning, a solid base will ease up the SEO adventure of your company significantly. Translations belong in this setting. it’s not just the content that needs to be translated.
Make sure to translate:
- The titles and content (obviously)
- The page URL and internal links on your website
- Categories and tags with their slug
- Meta titles and descriptions
- Images (the image name & alt-text)
- Forms, buttons, emails, thank-you pages, …
- Use correct canonical href-lang tags
- Publish a language only when it’s completely translated
- Use language directories and NOT subdomains (golden tip #2)
Re-reading this post, SEO looks like a checklist for a good website. Improving your SEO will improve your website and visa-versa. A decent SEO company will make sure the translations on your website are done the right way.
A golden tip: Don’t auto-redirect users to a translated version of your website based on their browser language! It looks tempting and a good service for your visitors, but this makes it harder for Google to index all different languages. (definitely when not all your content is available in all languages)
Search engines are smart. If you have a page in English and in Dutch, Google will present the correct language-version of your page it thinks is best for the user. Depending on keyword, location, and probably other parameters as well.
Another golden tip: Don’t use subdomains for your translations! You are hurting your SEO by redirecting users to another subdomain. It divides your visitors over multiple domains. Also, external backlinks to your website need to choose which domain they’re linking to. If 3 French sites are linking to your French page and 5 other sites link to your main domain, having the french site set up as a directory will boost the backlink-counter of your main website by 8! Another successful SEO tip.
6. Google My Business
Google my business is a great off-page SEO technique. It’s also a must-have! Even if you not even want to do SEO. If you don’t have it set-up yet for your business, make a Google My Business profile right now! You can continue this article later.
When people search for your company name directly in Google, they’ll see a business card of your business on the right-hand side of the search results. It provides essential business information on the spot. Name, address, contact details, opening hours, customer reviews, … I strongly encourage you to claim your Google business profile asap.
Claiming your company on Google My Business will automatically mark your business on Google Maps. Another great win and off-page SEO technique. When your business is on Google maps, your business gets recommended in the search when people close to your business location are looking for your services. You don’t even have to do anything for this.
Other important SEO tools are Apple maps and even Waze my Business. For the same reasons as Google maps. People use those apps a lot to search as well!
7. Choosing the best SEO company for you
We’re finally here. The most important question, and probably the reason why you are reading this post. How do you find the best SEO company for your business? Before you can decide if a company is good or bad in SEO, you first need a basic understanding of what SEO is and how it works. That’s why I provided basic SEO aspects in the 6 topics above.
Even if you don’t have the time yourself and just think of finding an SEO company to do it, please spend a little bit of time on SEO research. Otherwise the SEO company you partner with can easily quote expensive prices for what you’re getting in return. Now that you know the basics of SEO, you can start negotiating and comparing different SEO companies.
SEO is a long and slow but steady process. Besides the technical aspects, you need to make sure you see yourself working together with this company for the long run. You need to have a great match with your SEO company and need flawless communication and planning.
Before going into the meeting room, make sure you have a clear goal. This way the SEO company needs to come up with a draft SEO game-plan to see if it matches your needs and workflow.
Important questions here to ask are how the SEO campaign will be set up, how will they present the results to you, what SEO techniques will they use? (off-page, on-page, link building, …), how long will the campaign run, how intense will the follow-up be, and of course what will be the price tag?
Also important to know is what will happen if you decide on stopping the SEO partnership. Because unlike marketing campaigns, SEO campaigns take time to set up, but once they’re published they’re also slow to take down. Unless they literally undo everything they did…
8. Boost your SEO with SEA (optional)
A lot of people choose either SEO or SEA (Search Engine Advertising) or Social Media Advertising. SEA is the perfect choice if you’re launching short-term landings pages and what to reach as many people as possible, in a short period of time.
Going for the long run, I would think twice and give the benefit of the doubt to an SEO approach first. Ok with Google Ads you have instant results but once the campaign is over, your website loses all progress. It never ranked first in Google, you simply paid for the first spot. You can invest as many millions in SEO as you want, a Google ad will always be displayed above the organic search results.
However, both SEO and SEA require in-depth keyword research and competitor analysis. A lot of this research-phase can be used for both the SEA campaigns as well as the SEO game plan. This slightly bigger investment mostly returns the biggest ROI! (return on investment)
For short-term projects however, there is no point in doing SEO. Because by the time Google picked up your page, the event is probably long gone.
When you invest in SEO, you’re also investing in your website at the same time. Because SEO challenges the technical aspects of your website like loading time and image optimizations. Make sure the SEO company you choose is not only about marketing and content writing. (as much content as possible) but also has great in-house developers.
Be committed to implementing the recommended changes. SEO takes time and effort. If you’re not going to take the time to make these changes, it’s not worthwhile hiring an SEO professional.
Interview your potential SEO company. Can they share previous work or success stories with you? Do they follow the Google Webmaster Guidelines? How long are they in business, what are the most important SEO techniques, are they genuinely interested in your business? (Decent customer & competitor research)
Ask for a technical and search audit. Don’t start hiring right away. Ask for a decent strategy and website audit up-front. The SEO company needs to know what they are doing and what they can do best to help rank your website. Every agency has its own strategy. Hire someone whose strategy aligns the most with your business goals.
Decide if you want to hire.
Feel free to reach out to us in case you’re looking for a new SEO company. We’ll gladly go over your needs and we’ll find the best possible SEO approach for your company together!
Curious if your website is ready for SEO? Request your FREE SEO Audit today and we’ll be in touch to see what’s good and what’s bad on your website.