One of the biggest mistakes business owners make after they have their website built is believing that the "heavy lifting" is over.
In reality, managing your website is a never ending marathon – and getting it designed, developed, and put online is just the very first piece of the puzzle.
You see, building a successful website (and tapping into the power and leverage the internet has when it comes to business, including for local businesses) doesn't work the way that the "Field of Dreams".
If you build it, they might not come.
Instead you need to focus on getting as much targeted traffic to your website as possible, as effectively, efficiently, and as inexpensively as possible.
And that's where search engine optimization comes into play.
A cornerstone of modern digital marketing, search engine optimization (SEO) helps you get human eyeballs to your website in hopes of being able to turn those total strangers into paying customers (ideally repeat customers, too).
The trouble with search engine optimization, though, is that the rules and strategies for ranking highly on Google and all the other major search engines change and shift on what feels like a minute by minute basis.
As a small business owner or a digital marketing expert you just don't have enough time in the day to focus exclusively on search engine optimization. Not if you are going to handle any of the other high leverage responsibilities you have in your business.
Finding the right SEO agencies to lighten your load and knock out this kind of work for you – not just once, but on a continuous basis – becomes mission-critical pretty quickly.
That's why we put together this detailed guide.
Quick SEO 101
To boil it down to its most basic essence, search engine optimization is nothing more than finding ways (on your website and out and about the internet at large) to increase your visibility in the major search engines so that you show up at or near the top of the results for specific keywords.
In the early days of the internet it wasn't necessary to do a whole lot of search engine optimization.
For one thing, there weren't that many websites out there. For another, Google had things nailed down pretty well to make sure that relevant results showed up at the top of each search page – and there wasn't a whole lot you could do about it.
Today, though, nothing is more important than maximizing your search engine optimization efforts. Especially if you want to make money from your website.
Without those high rankings you just aren't going to be able to drive enough organic traffic to your website, will have to rely almost exclusively on paid marketing agency work or "pay per click" advertising to generate traffic, and will likely spend a fortune on traffic – cutting deeply into your profits.
With the help of the right SEO services (implementing smart SEO strategies) for you, though, you generate a lot better organic search engine results without a lot of effort – and that can change your financial future in a hurry.
There's a whole bunch of reasons that so many successful business owners across every niche imaginable lean on a digital marketing agency to tackle search engine optimization for them.
We dig into those below!
Do I Really Need an SEO Company?
A lot of small businesses try and tackle SEO projects all on their own.
They do a little reading and a little research. They get a feel for what search engine optimization is all about (at a high level, anyway), and then they jump right in.
They might get a little bit of traction straight out of the gate – it's hard not to when you haven't implemented any search engine optimization services, yet – but it doesn't take long for these small business owners to learn just how time-consuming (and mind-numbing) this kind of work can be.
In fact, some of them get so burnt out trying to be their own dedicated SEO services or in-house digital marketing firm that they give up entirely on organic traffic generation altogether.
That's the wrong approach.
Smart and strategic business owners pretty quickly hand the baton off to a marketing agency or local NJ SEO agency that will handle all of this for them.
Here are just a couple of the big benefits you'll enjoy choosing to move forward with digital marketing solutions from legitimate digital marketing services.
Deep Market and Keyword Research
A major piece of the success puzzle to ranking highly in search engines is first figuring out which keywords are worth targeting with digital marketing campaigns and which ones should be ignored almost altogether.
At first blush, you might think that uncovering the right keywords to target and the right ones to ignore would be pretty simple and straightforward.
Shoot for the keywords with the least amount of competition and the best chance of hitting top results on the search engines, right?
Or should you shoot for keywords that have the most competition – and the most searches – since you know that's where the traffic is going to go?
Or maybe you should take a completely different approach altogether, finding "backdoor" keywords that could be incredibly valuable to you but not so valuable to your competitors – the kinds of keywords that often go overlooked and have extreme leverage.
These are the kinds of things that New Jersey SEO companies can help you figure out.
New Jersey SEO companies (top operations, anyway) understand keyword research front and back.
They know how to find the most valuable keywords for you specifically, the kinds of keywords that stand the best chance of converting for you and the kinds of keywords you won't have to fight with major corporations with bottomless digital marketing budgets over.
On top of that, though, a legitimate New Jersey SEO company is also going to be able to help you with market research in general.
Top-tier New Jersey SEO company operations, after all, are often a full-blown digital marketing company. They understand the value of online traffic generation, but they also understand how SEO fits into the bigger marketing puzzle for your business.
The marketing agency insights they provide you with can help to inform your print campaigns, direct mail campaigns, the kind of content you produce, the copywriting you pump out, your social media and email marketing outreach.
And that's just the tip of the iceberg!
Truth be told, the deep market and keyword research that the best SEO company has to offer is reason enough to spend the money to hire them in the first place.
X-Ray Vision of the Competition
Digital marketing professionals that offer SEO services aren't just going to be able to give you insights about your marketplace and keywords, though.
They can also provide you with a digital marketing "x-ray" of your competitors.
This is game changing stuff we are talking about here.
Imagine, for just a moment, if after hiring a new SEO company you were able to have them figure out exactly what kind of traffic your competitors were generating from their online campaigns, what those campaigns looked like to generate that traffic, and where their "blind spots" were.
Don't you think that would tilt the odds of success at least a little bit in your favor?
Of course it would!
This is something that every single one of the excellent digital marketing agency operations throughout New Jersey (and around the country) can help you with.
This goes way beyond regular organic SEO, blows the doors off of social media marketing, and is where a lot of digital marketing experts make their bread and butter.
When you know what the competition is doing to build their business you can do more of the same to grow yours and can find ways to sort of "leapfrog" past them with SEO techniques and SEO process approaches they aren't – and may not be willing – to utilize themselves.
You aren't going to be able to find this kind of inside information anywhere else but with the help of a legitimate digital agency and the best SEO company around.
Smart Content Edits
Content is king in today's incredibly competitive marketplace.
You need a plan not only to produce engaging and relevant content for your market (content created for real human beings), but you also need to find a way to leverage that content with effective SEO strategies.
But unless you have your eyes and ears in the broader search engine optimization world on a 24/7 basis you'll never know what kind of digital marketing strategies will help you, which ones will hurt you, and which ones that used to help you will now tank your results faster than you ever thought possible.
Think that's crazy?
Give the words "Google Panda" and "Google Penguin" a search for just a moment.
Read some of the horror stories about what happened to websites that didn't focus on continuous search engine optimization before those changes were implemented.
Spoiler alert – they got slapped to the back of the search results almost overnight, and many of them haven't been able to climb back to their previous rankings even with more streamlined, more effective, and more up-to-date search engine optimization approaches.
That's not a place you want to find yourself.
By hiring a digital marketing company that understands content creation and on page SEO you won't have to worry about that, though.
These experts will be able to recommend the right edits to keep the content fresh and engaging for humans while also sprinkling in organic SEO tactics that boost your results at the same time.
This is critically important.
Future Proof Traffic Generation
Organic SEO is about as "future proof" a traffic generation approach as you are going to find.
Having top rankings in the Google search console (and across other search engine algorithms) not only gives you a flood of targeted traffic for those keywords – which inevitably equals more customers – but it also gives you credibility and predictability for your business, too.
Websites that utilize smart SEO strategy approach is to get top results are inevitably seen as the most relevant, the most valuable, and the most credible by searchers.
Think back to the last time you searched for something on Google.
Did you click on links any deeper than the top five results on that first page?
When is the last time that you searched 5, 10, or 15 pages into Google results?
You're not alone.
By getting these top spots – and maintaining them with the help of professional SEO experience – you're able to future proof your traffic generation efforts.
Over enough time you'll also get a better feel for just how much traffic you're able to generate with these top results. You'll know how much that online visibility translates into customers from your target audience (within a certain range, anyway).
Those are hugely important for businesses competing online today.
They Handle All the Heavy Lifting for You
When you get right down to it, though, one of the biggest benefits of moving forward with the best SEO companies is that they take care of all your digital marketing needs for you – without you having to lift a finger on your own.
The chances are pretty good that as a business owner today you have more responsibilities than time in the day to take care of them.
The chances are even better that the last thing you want to do is spend hours each day researching SEO strategy, finding ways to deliver creative services and optimize for search engines, and then handle all the other things you have to take care of in your business on top of that.
As we mentioned earlier, the SEO world shifts and changes on an almost minute by minute basis.
SEO experts really do immerse themselves in this world. They know exactly what's going on, they know when new changes have been instituted by the major search engines, and they know how to come up with creative digital solutions to capitalize on the opportunities created by those changes.
You really want to lean on your SEO partner – and that's what they are, your partner – when you find the best SEO companies so that you can focus your attention elsewhere without skipping a beat.
Tips for Finding the Best SEO Company NJ Has to Offer
Finding the right search engine marketing company to help you climb the rankings is a bit of a puzzle all its own, though.
For one thing, there's no shortage of New Jersey SEO agency operations to pick and choose from.
In fact, you are going to be inundated with choices! So many that settling on just one can sometimes feel like a real uphill battle.
Secondly, a lot of digital marketing agency "experts" are going to tell you that they know the ins and outs of NJ SEO better than anybody else without a lot of experience (or real-world results) to back that up.
Use the tips and tricks we highlight below to help you find the right search engine optimization agency and you'll cut your research time down dramatically.
You'll deal with a lot less headache and hassle sifting through the different New Jersey SEO companies for sure!
Always Ask for Proof of Results
The absolute most important thing you should look for when comparing different New Jersey SEO companies are the results that they have produced in the past.
No, the SEO company you end up choosing doesn't have to have the absolute best portfolio of the bunch with absolutely stunning search engine marketing results – but they should have a body of work behind them that proves they are a legitimate SEO agency and can deliver what they promise.
The last thing you want to worry about is whether or not the digital marketing agency you are hiring is even capable of getting you halfway decent rankings in Google and the other search engines.
Lucky for you, though, all of these results are going to be 100% transparent and easy to find – all you have to do is punch in the keywords provided by these digital marketing experts, see what pages ranked highest, and confirm that they were clients of that digital marketing agency.
It doesn't get a whole lot easier than that!
If, when researching different digital marketing agency options, you come across SEO agencies that will provide you with any past results ignore them completely.
The odds are good that the reason they are showing you what they've done in the past as far as search engine optimization is concerned is because they don't have any real results under their belt to begin with.
You don't need to be a new agency's first guinea pig.
Work with established digital marketing pros you know have delivered real results in the past and you'll have a lot less to worry about.
Get Specific About Your Goals – And Their Strategies
Whenever you are looking for digital solutions and hiring a digital agency to help you it's important to be as concrete with your goals as possible.
You won't be able to track down the best marketing company (or web design company, for that matter) if you simply show up and tell them that you'd like more traffic and leave it at that.
That's not a concrete goal.
You can measure that. You can track that. You can't optimize for that.
Do you want one new visitor?
Would that be "more traffic"? Technically, right?
Get very clear about the kind of search engine results you're after.
Let them know that you want to generate a certain amount of visitors, that you're looking to capitalize on organic SEO efforts (or let them know that you're willing to go in for Google AdWords or other paid approaches as well), and then see if there marketing agency is a good fit for those goals.
You'll be a lot happier with the results.
Talk to Their Clients
Most of the better NJ digital marketing operations offering search engine optimization are going to have some sort of free consultation available for you to take advantage of.
This is when you're going to be able to outline your goals, ask any of the questions you might have about organic or paid search, ask for proof of successful digital presence work they've done in the past, and things like that.
This is also where you're going to want to ask if they have a list of past clients they could provide you as referrals – complete with contact information.
If they do (and not all legitimate SEO experts might be able to furnish you with this information), it's a good idea to contact those small businesses and see what their experience was like.
Employees of the digital marketing agency your thinking about doing business with are always going to be advocates for their operation and their services.
When you talk to their clients, though, you might be able to get inside information about working with this NJ SEO agency that you (literally) wouldn't have been able to get anywhere else.
They'll be able to let you know whether or not the marketing strategy recommended by these experts was effective. Whether or not they would recommend this advertising agency or someone else.
These past clients will also be able to let you know how the process went from start to finish, helping you have better lines of communication and more dialed in expectations as well.
Reach out and talk to them. Visit those clients websites and have a look at their search rankings.
Get a feel for whether the online reputation of this search engine optimization agency matches the real-world results they are capable of producing.
How Do They Track Progress?
One of the coolest things about search engine optimization is that it is so transparent.
The results of other digital marketing approaches can sort of be "hidden away", blamed on (or take credit from) other things, and are otherwise just sort of hard to put a real finger on whether or not they are working the way you'd like them to.
With search engine optimization, though, the proof is in the pudding.
Analytics tools (something that every NJ SEO company is going to connect you with) let you know where your traffic is coming from, how much traffic is coming through that specific keyword, and so much more.
You'll be able to see – in real time – how this digital marketing is impacting your traffic numbers and how it's impacting your bottom line.
Of course, it's important that you make sure the search engine optimization agency you are working with provides you with transparent access to these analytics and these metrics. Or that they allow you to run your own analytics (like Google Analytics, for example) parallel to their systems to confirm everything independently.
NJ search engine optimization companies worth doing business with are always going to be willing and eager to have this kind of transparency with you. Any company that is hesitant should probably be avoided.
Think of This as a Partnership
When you get right down to it, it's really important to think of the search engine optimization company you do business with as a partner and not as a SEO service provider.
Take the partnership view with your SEO experts and you'll start to think of them as a key part of your marketing strategy, experts that can help you push a flood of targeted traffic to your site without having to spend a small fortune in paid advertisements or Google AdWords.
This kind of viewpoint will also inform how you communicate with New Jersey search engine optimization experts.
When you think of them as a partner you take their advice more seriously but you're also not afraid to let them know when something isn't working and that something needs to be changed or adjusted.
Too many people think of their search engine optimization providers as nothing more than an extra cost (sometimes as a headache or frustration to deal with).
Move them into that partnership kind of mindset, though, and you'll find that working with these SEO experts becomes a whole lot easier!
Common Missteps and Mistakes to Avoid
Okay, okay – we've gone through some of the most important things you need to be thinking about when hiring SEO experts.
Now it's time to focus on some of the more important mistakes and missteps you want to avoid when you sent out to higher and work with an NJ SEO company
Winging It with Just Anyone
The biggest mistake you could make is just jumping on Google, searching "search engine optimization in NJ" or "NJ SEO Company", picking a top results at random and then just moving forward with them simply because they were at or near the top of the Google results.
On the one hand, it's probably good news that these SEO experts were able to get at or near the top of the Google results for competitive keywords. And you shouldn't discount that!
On the other hand, though, without fully vetting these search engine advertising agency operations (using the tips and tricks we highlighted above) you'll never know if you are really working with the right professionals for your needs.
Take a couple of days and really do your research.
Deciding on the right NJ SEO company isn't something you should "wing".
Don’t Chase Fads
Because the world of search engine optimization changes and shifts so rapidly there's always a "tactic of the day" guaranteed to help you shoot up the search rankings faster than anything else out there right now.
A while ago keyword stuffing, link wheels, and some other real black hat approaches could help you get top spots in Google.
Almost overnight, though, those things that were seen as the "next big thing" in search engine optimization with the exact same things that would banished you to the back of the Google result ranks.
Instead of chasing fads, instead stick with search engine optimization that is proven, tried and true, and going to continue to produce real and measurable ranking results for you today, tomorrow, and well into the future.
Find NJ SEO services that take the same approach and you'll be good to go.
No Start and Stop Campaigns
Secondly, it's important that you really embrace the idea of search engine optimization being a long haul and continuous journey instead of a start to finish drag race.
Getting top results in Google is always a bit of a challenge – especially if you are shooting for competitive keywords that can help flood your site with targeted traffic (and paying customers).
But getting those top results is just the beginning!
Once you get that top spot you need to lean on NJ SEO services that will help you keep that top spot, continuously building upon your search engine optimization efforts to prevent competitors from knocking you off that position and stealing all that traffic – and all those customers!
Abandon the idea of start and stop campaigns permanently.
Embrace search engine optimization as a long-haul approach and you'll do much better.
So there you have it – just about everything you need to know about finding the right experts to help you with your search engine optimization these days.
Remember, though, the importance of this kind of decision.
Because this is such a long haul kind of project, and because a long-term relationship is going to inevitably bubble up with the NJ SEO company you choose to work with, you want to make sure that you're happy with your decision from the jump.
Take your time.
Run relevant keywords to find an exceptional local SEO shop you feel good about.
Take them up on a free consultation and check into any of the clients or references that they provide.
See what kinds of results they've produced for others and decide if those are the kinds of results you would be happy with, too.
After that you are off to the races!
Up Digital is an established NJ SEO company. We rank first for many competitive New Jersey keywords and crush local SEO! We also offer NJ Web Design. Please get in touch with us if you'd like more information regarding your New Jersey SEO needs and how we can help.
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The battle to conquer search engine algorithms and keep your content and website visible and easy to find is one that never seems to end. SEO rankings and how to boost them change regularly, but one thing remains an all-important factor: keyword optimization.