Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the online equivalent of the gold rush. Either you are working hard at SEO or your looking for a solid SEO company that can help you achieve and sustain top rankings. The problem is, there are too many SEO companies out there and it’s hard to know which ones are the best or at a minimum can provide solid results without harming your current website rankings (if it ranks at all).
Before you can even determine which SEO company is the best or at least one of the best, you need to understand SEO basics and some important factors to consider when choosing an SEO company. There are numerous articles and entire blogs dedicated to SEO so we won’t go into great detail here.
SEO basics (for newbies; for others, skip this section):
- The first question you need to ask yourself before jumping in and spending money on SEO is:
Are people searching for your products or services?
- If there isn’t a sufficient number of searches for your products or services, then SEO is really moot. Climbing to the number one spot in Google means nothing if only 20 people a year are searching online.
- How do you find out if people are searching for your products and service? The easiest way is to use Google’s keyword tool. Unfortunately this tool will be gone soon, but you can always use Wordtracker as well.
- What search term or terms do you want to rank for?
- Example: Tom’s Fishing Supply
- i. It’s fairly obvious that we want to rank for fishing supplies, however there are many other related terms that may be important or even more important than general fishing supplies. Also, fishing supplies is so general that there are bound to be lots of competing websites in this category. So what can you do? Look at specific types of fishing supplies. Are there any specific fishing supplies that make a higher margin? Maybe custom fishing lures.
- ii. Make a list of words and phrases that one might search for in the search engines
- iii. Determine which key areas (specific types of fishing supplies) of your business you want to build. Unless you have an infinite SEO budget you won’t be able to optimize your website for all products related to fishing supplies.
- Example: Tom’s Fishing Supply
- Onpage SEO
- Onpage SEO is ALWAYS the first step in enticing the search engines to rank your website above others.
- Once you’ve determined which keywords & phrases you’d like your website to rank for, you’ll need to create content rich and useful information on the those keywords & phrases
- Onpage SEO should include:
i. Descriptive Title (specific to keyword or phrase)
ii. 600 + words of content (stick to the topic)
iii. Meta Tags (description, keywords)
iv. URL should also include the page title
- Authoritative Links
- First of all what is a link? A link (hyperlink) is a clickable text, picture, or object on a website that leads to another website. When search engines crawl a website (programmatically review your website’s content), links are seen as a vote of confidence that the website has valuable and worthwhile information. It’s kind of like a popularity contest. The more links to a website the more popular it is and the more likely that there is information of value.
- While links are important, what’s more important than the link itself is the website providing the link. For example The NY Times, Fox News, and any university website are considered authoritative websites because many other authoritative websites link to their websites and a number of other factors we won’t get into here (this doesn’t mean the search engines care about the point of view or perspective of the content, but just that the search engines believe these websites are seen as authorities). Get links from these websites and your website will get a boost in the rankings. The more authoritative the website, the greater the boost in your rankings.
- How do you get links from authoritative websites? This is the million dollar question that everyone wants to know. If you were to ask Google, they will tell you to write quality content that others will want to link to. In the real world you have to do more (actually a lot more) to get authoritative links. Right now, the trend for getting links revolves around guest posts published on these websites with a link back to your website. This isn’t the only way to build links and doesn’t cover all of the details, but it gives a general idea on how it works.
- !!CAUTION!!: Since link building is so vital in ranking websites, it’s become a hot commodity. In fact it’s a huge business that has made millions for many SEO companies. Unfortunately all links do not have the same value. Many SEO/link building companies sell links that have little value, poor content, and were simply created to trick the search engines in order to ‘game the system’. If these ‘gamers’ as I’ll call them didn’t exist, the abundance of low value websites with thousands of links wouldn’t exist. Another way that ‘gamers’ try to trick search engines is by spamming blogs with comments. The lesson to be learned here is that you should be very leery of companies that offer cheap links. Basically you get what you pay for.
While these are the basics, in no way does this even begin to cover the ~200 factors that influence search engine ranking and how to get on top of the rankings. This is just a way of giving you a little insight when looking for an SEO company.
The Best SEO Companies
The companies below are not listed in any specific rank order. This list is not at all totally inclusive either. If you know of or have an SEO company and would like to be listed here, please contact us at admin(at)launchproduction.com. We will definitely check out the SEO company and if we feel the company meets our criteria then we will add the company to our list.
- SeerInteractive.com – I found this company while looking for a local SEO company in the Philadelphia region. Ironically after finding the company, the owner of the company was interviewed on a popular podcast called Mixergy. I am completely sold on this company. Not because the owner was selling the companies services on the podcast, but because the owner, Wil Reynolds, has a great story. The owner’s motto is, Provide Great Services and The Services Market Themselves. According to Wil, the company has never advertised and their growth has been completely word of mouth.
- SEO1.com – Focused on quality and on long term results SEO1.com stays clear of the potential pitfalls inherent in questionable SEO practices. Since some SEO naturally falls in the grey area, this is a huge plus. SEO1 is a small company in Bucks County right outside of Philadelphia.
- EyeFlow.com – Eyeflow Internet Marketing has been around since the old days of internet marketing (2001). They are located in Pittsburgh, Pa.
- Rankpay.com – This company has a very cool concept. You only pay for SEO after your website is ranked for selected keywords.
- Webimax.com – Webimax.com has an A rating from the Better Business Bureau.
- Distilled.net – Distilled is a full service SEO that goes beyond the basics and goes to the core of why a business wants SEO in the first place; to improve and increase your companies business
- SEOInc.com – One of the early SEO companies online (1997). SEO Inc has an A+ rating.
- Peakpositions.com – Has provided SEO work for Sony and Dell and claims to be one of the top 20 SEO companies in the world (not sure who or how they received that accolade)
- VerticalMeasures.com – Specialize in link building and offer outsource link building services to other SEO and web development companies.
- HigherVisibility.com – Rated as the 2nd top SEO companies by topseos.com in 2012
- Icrossing.com – Very large digital marketing company with over 900 employees. Has worked with Lego, Coca Cola, and Toyota
- ROI4My – ROI4My is a small SEO company that is willing to work with smaller budgets and caters to professionals and small businesses that would also like to do some of the work. ROI4My as the name implies is focused on providing a SEO solution with a solid ROI