How SEO Can Transform Your Business

The good folks at FindTheBest.com wrote us a new guest post on search engine optimization (read their previous post on venture capital here). FindTheBest is  unbiased, data-driven search engine that helps people make quick and informed decisions. Below, they offer an introduction to SEO, and how to find potential firms to help your business using their proprietary tools. Let us know your feedback and questions in the comments:

Many small businesses today are focusing on social media to drive their online presence. Facebook and Twitter are two very popular forms of digital marketing that allow a company to advertise to a mass public audience. Although these two forms of digital marketing have the potential to be key drivers of internet traffic and company branding, it is important to not forget about SEO (search engine optimization). SEO is one of the most popular buzz words in digital marketing today, but many companies simply do not know enough about SEO to make this strategy work for them.

What is SEO?
SEO is the process of acquiring traffic from “organic” listings on search engines. The major search engines such as Google, Yahoo, and Bing use SEO to rank their web pages and other content such as videos or local listings according to what they consider as the most relevant to users. SEO does not cost a dime, as all traffic is natural.

Is SEO Easy to Create?
No, especially if you are a small to mid-size business. Smaller companies tend to lack the time and resources needed to become experts at SEO. I am not discounting the small companies that are great at SEO, however I am generalizing the mass amount of small companies that struggle to create an SEO strategy because they simply do not understand how it works. My big question is, “Why waste your time focusing on SEO when someone else could do it more efficiently and effectively?” A business must always consider outsourcing its SEO strategy to firms that specialize in it or consider purchasing an SEO software that can lead to growth. If you want to stand out on the internet, I would highly suggest investing in an SEO consultant if you do not already have an existing SEO strategy.

What to consider when selecting an SEO firm:
There are two main factors that all companies should consider when selecting an SEO firm to run your SEO strategy. I will discuss them both individually and will provide a tool that I believe can help anyone interested in SEO find the right firm to work with.

1. The Tool
A new tool has recently been developed by FindTheBest, a Santa Barbara based startup. FindTheBest is an unbiased, data-driven search engine that helps people make quick and informed decisions. They have released a tool that helps people find, compare, and select an SEO firm that is the right fit for them. What makes this resource even better is that it is free! I will walk you through the steps you must take to use this tool and I will show you what the tool is capable of.

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2. The Layout
When using this comparison tool, it is important to first identify the different options that you have. As you can see on the left-side bar, you can filter your search based on Client Business Size, Additional Services, Industry Expertise, On and Off Page Optimization Features, Marketing Certificates and Memberships, and finally Popular Searches.

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After selecting a filter, the Search Results Page (SRP) will update according to your selecting a filter on the left side. To begin let’s assume I own a small business and want a firm that has either worked with or specialized in small business strategies.

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3. Client Business Size
All businesses must primarily assess what size companies an SEO firm focuses on. For all those ‘ma and pa’ shops who are looking to get your name out there, it is important to understand that working with an SEO firm that works with ABC and ESPN may not be the best fit. Small businesses must make sure that they select a firm that has worked with similar size companies in the past.

Although we have narrowed our search down to firms that work with small businesses, it is suggested that the search is filtered further. We will now assume that we are a) a small business and b) a small business in the Food, Beverage & Tobacco Industry. By selected both boxes, in addition to the steps above, you will be able to work towards finding a firm that is right for you

4. Industry Expertise
Client business size is a very important factor when deciding what SEO firm to work with, but it is essential that you evaluate what industry an SEO firm is an expert in. If you are a food and beverage company, it would not be logical to hire a firm that specialized in electronics. All businesses must make sure that the SEO firm that they pick has an aligned interest with that of their business. Selecting an SEO firm that has worked with other companies within your field can only stand to benefit you in the long-run.

5. Compare and Assess
Once you have selected the criteria that best fits your company, comparing each firm side-by-side will help narrow down the matches. To compare the firms, makes sure to click the compare box below the ratings visual and once all desired comparisons are selected, click compare selected items at the bottom of your screen.
a. Step 1

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b. Step Two

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6. The Result

After filtering for your needs, selecting individual firms, and selecting to compare, you will be brought to the side-by-side comparison. In this section you will be able to further evaluate and decide which SEO firm is best for your company. You will have a detailed description of each firm including, specializations, statistics, features, contact information, and more. Here is an example of your final side-by-side analysis.

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The Importance of SEO:
An SEO strategy is an essential aspect to any business, small or large. If you can successfully strategize to optimize the organic traffic on your website, you will have more opportunities for monetization. Facebook and Twitter are two strong alternatives, but they will more than likely not get you to the top of the big search engines. SEO firms can be a huge asset to any business who is looking to gain more traffic. I will pose the big question to all readers who own or are thinking about starting a business, “Why waste your time focusing on SEO when someone else could do it more efficiently and effectively?” I strongly advise the use of an SEO strategy, whether you actively attack this on your own or through the use of an outside SEO firm.

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