SEO Buyers’ Guide
Close to 90 percent of consumers begin their buying journey on digital channels. People go online to research a product, brand or service before they even step out of their front door.
As consumers shifted en masse to online, the adoption of search engine optimization (SEO) and digital marketing by business leaders across industries also continues to accelerate in the post-pandemic era. The result: more competition.
If you want to outrank business competitors and stay relevant in this competitive digital marketplace, you need to zero in on your most important business marketing strategy – SEO.
“In a time of economic uncertainty, it’s important to focus on efficiently finding clients and generating sales,” said Tristan Harris, Thrive’s demand generation senior manager.
“SEO consistently provides the lowest cost-per-lead (CPL) of any channel, provided you have the ability to invest in growing your rankings.”
With rare exceptions, having an effective SEO and digital marketing strategy is the only way to stay in business. It’s either go digital or go dark.
We know that expanding your marketing efforts isn’t easy, and you might be a little lost if you’re just getting started in SEO and digital marketing. But that’s okay. In this guide, you’ll learn the basics of SEO, why SEO matters to your lead generation and how you can maximize SEO for your business.
Read on to find out how choosing the right SEO services can make or break your brand’s success.
What Is Search Engine Optimization?
Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of improving your website visibility on search engine results pages (SERPs) through organic or non-paid website optimization tactics. SEO aims to boost your search rankings, so when people search online for products or services related to your business, your brand stands above others as a trustworthy company that people want to buy from.
The better your website visibility in search results, the higher your chances of attracting traffic into your webpage and converting business leads into customers.
How Does SEO Work?
Search engines look at hundreds of ranking factors when determining the most relevant results for a search. To do that, they crawl (discover and rediscover new and existing pages) and index (store content from the web and deliver it via search results) thousands of pages on the web.
After crawling and indexing, search engines analyze pages against several ranking factors, including:
Your website visibility and search rankings depend on the search engine’s analysis. If a search engine finds your content relevant to the user’s query, your content will appear in organic search results, bringing free and relevant traffic to your website.
How Does SEO Help for Small Business Entities
and Large Enterprises Alike?
Considering that Google processes billions of search queries every day, SEO service aims to raise your organic rankings for a particular set of keywords and boost your website visibility.
Effective SEO involves two critical website optimization strategies geared towards making your site more user- and search engine-friendly: on-page SEO and off-page SEO.
On-page SEO is the process of optimizing different aspects of your website that are under your control to make it more search engine-friendly. This includes optimizing internal links, title tags, meta descriptions and header tags.
Remember that a good website optimization tactic isn’t about choosing between on-page and off-page SEO. You need both to establish your brand authority and rise above the business competition.
How Long Does It Take To See Results From SEO Services?
Unfortunately, there is no definite answer to that question. SEO services can generate results within a few weeks or months. However, for others, especially in competitive industries, results of SEO for your business can take several months, if not longer.
But one thing is certain: When done right, data-driven SEO for your business can help you passively earn business leads and revenue from your website 24/7.
From phone calls and online sales to in-store visits, a well-executed SEO service for business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-consumer (B2C) companies will generate results even while you’re sleeping.
Learn How SEO Works With Examples
Now that we’ve defined what is SEO, we look at it in action.
When searching for a service or product online, consumers are more likely to choose one of the top five suggestions that appear on the first page of search results. And there’s a massive difference in click-through rate (CTR) between the first 10 organic positions.
According to a Backlinko study, the first organic result in Google Search gets approximately 27.6 percent of all clicks. Unsurprisingly, the tenth position has an abysmal 2.4 percent average CTR, which is 10X lower than the first result. In fact, only a few users venture into the second page and beyond.
Establishing a strong SEO strategy helps you rank higher in relevant search results and garner more online visibility. This increases your chances of driving more website traffic and potential business leads to your website.
Let’s see how SEO for B2B and B2C has helped key market players realize their digital potential:
The Case of a Multi-Location Residential Foundation Repair Company
Organic search continues to be the major source of website traffic for a multi-location residential foundation repair company. However, being in an extremely competitive industry, the firm needed a more targeted SEO and digital marketing approach to establish its brand authority and drive a steady stream of website traffic, business leads and conversions.
By optimizing for highly relevant SEO keywords, implementing local business citation-building tactics and expanding its content marketing strategy, the company achieved unprecedented growth year-over-year (YoY).
New Website Users
Organic Website Traffic
Here’s another example showcasing SEO help for small business owners:
The Case of a Local Law Firm
Without a digital presence, it was difficult for a real estate and personal injury law firm in Arlington, Texas, to expand its market reach and establish brand authority.
The firm recognized the need for a professional web design and SEO service and hired Thrive Internet Marketing Agency. Thrive’s web design and SEO services helped establish the firm’s digital footprint and increase its online visibility and conversions.
Organic Search Traffic
Businesses that do not understand why SEO matters and how it works either completely ignore it or resort to marketing strategies that generate quick gains. Unfortunately, by disregarding the importance of SEO for business, you’re missing out on an opportunity to achieve long-term profitability.
“I’ve seen firsthand the issues clients have had ignoring SEO and focusing on other lead generation sources, such as paid channels,” Harris said.
“If you focus solely on paid channels, you risk increasing bids, [facing] business competitors with more capital outbidding you consistently and cutting your lead sources.”
Whether you’re a brick-and-mortar store or an online business, you need effective SEO and content marketing to drive business every day.
SEO and Digital Marketing:
What You Need To Know
Search engine optimization is a vital component of any business’s digital marketing arsenal. It involves using various methods to improve your website performance and help both search engines and online users better understand your business offering.
The illustration below shows where SEO fits in digital marketing:
SEO for B2B and B2C is focused on bringing organic website traffic. Meanwhile, digital marketing aims to improve your overall digital presence beyond SEO. It can be broadly broken into different categories, including SEO, PPC advertising, email marketing, reputation management and conversion rate optimization (CRO), among other services.
Let’s delve into some of these digital marketing components and how they relate to SEO.
SEO and SEM: How Do They Differ?
The main difference between SEO and SEM is that SEO focuses on generating website traffic from organic search results. Search engine marketing, on the other hand, focuses on driving traffic and visibility from both organic and paid searches.
SEM is a broad category that includes SEO and paid advertising. This means SEO falls under SEM.
Should you focus 100 percent of your digital marketing efforts on SEO? Or should you invest in SEO and SEM to drive more traffic to your site?
If you have a very limited budget, you should focus on SEO first to cement your name in the digital marketing realm. You may not see a return on investment (ROI) right away, but it still makes more sense than burning through your marketing budget on PPC ads that may only run for a week.
“Focus on ranking a few pages first that would be most impactful for the growth of your company,” Harris said.
“Are there a few products that drive your revenue and have the largest customer base? Are there a few locations where your services are available? Focus on ranking them first so you can get the most bang for your buck.”
If you have a regular monthly budget and the ability to launch and test advertising campaigns, tackling both SEO and SEM simultaneously is an excellent strategy to rank high in your target SEO keywords and maximize your search traffic.
Web Design and SEO:
Where Does SEO Belong in Your Web Design Process?
To keep your target audience’s attention, web designers create visually pleasing and interactive interfaces. Content specialists create website content that gets visitors to explore the page and take action, whether to sign up for your newsletter, download a free demo or add a product to their cart. It is then the responsibility of web developers to bring both design and content together with code.
But before the designers can begin the web development process, SEO takes center stage. SEO for B2B and B2C websites is a critical component that needs thoughtful consideration from the planning phase all the way to the launch date:
1. SEO During the Setup and Planning Phase
The initial phase of web design and SEO services involves identifying the purpose of the website and mapping out SEO keywords. Getting the right set of SEO keywords is crucial to implementing the best and most relevant search terms into your website content.
A good keyword strategy raises your position in Google and helps you rank highly for terms your target audience uses to find businesses like yours. SEO specialists collaborate with copywriters to create an effective SEO and content marketing strategy that naturally weaves target keywords into the copy.
2. SEO During Design and Development
During the design and development stage, SEO specialists work with web developers to ensure your website is easy to navigate and free of technical issues that prevent it from being crawled and ranked by search engines.
Technical SEO strategists deal with getting a unique domain name and proper certification for your site and ensuring maximum website uptime.
3. SEO After Website Launch
Once your website is launched, web design and SEO services don’t stop there. SEO strategists provide ongoing SEO support to ensure your site ranks well in major search engines. This includes page speed testing, security monitoring, keyword rank monitoring and broken link checking, among other things.
Keep in mind that SEO is not a one-time endeavor. It’s a long-term process that demands continuous attention to remain an effective tool for your business.
SEO and Social Media: How They Work Together
SEO and social media play a big role in getting your content in front of a larger audience. When done right, SEO and social media marketing improve your engagement signals and create a larger SERP real estate for branded queries.
So what is the relationship between SEO and social media?
Social media serves as an indirect tool to increase your search visibility and organic search ranking. While social media does not directly impact SEO, social signals (i.e., likes, shares, comments, etc.) generated from people sharing your content on different social media channels contribute to driving brand awareness, building brand following and boosting your website traffic.
Consider the case of this plasma donation center:
The center invested in SEO and social media marketing to build up its new brand image, spread awareness and grow its social media following across its service locations.
Landing Page Views
By combining SEO and social media marketing, the center achieved increased search visibility and sent relevant traffic to its newly launched website. Not only that – but it also successfully got more donors to sign up.
Is SEO Worth the Investment?
Yes, SEO is definitely well worth the investment. It is one of the most affordable and effective marketing strategies to gain better rankings and consistent, qualified website traffic that you don’t need to pay for.
To some, SEO service may seem like an unnecessary investment. Perhaps you’ve tried SEO before but didn’t get stellar results. Or maybe you find it hard to justify the SEO pricing, given your tight marketing budget.
We understand that you’re being cautious. But no matter where you stand, SEO works, and it’s one of the most cost-effective ways to drive business leads and conversions long-term.
Benefits of SEO for Businesses
Let’s start with the first thing everyone wants to know: Why is SEO important for small businesses and other market players? Will it provide me with a high ROI?
Many marketers agree that SEO provides one of the best ROIs in the marketing industry. In fact, a survey conducted by Search Engine Journal revealed that 49 percent of marketers generate the highest ROI from organic search among any marketing channel. This means with the right SEO strategy, significant results will happen over time.
If you’re still wondering why is SEO important for small businesses and multi-location companies alike, then these SEO benefits will answer your question:
Short-Term Benefits of SEO
- Increased brand awareness
- Improved website usability
- Increased brand discoverability on search engines
- More targeted traffic
- Improved web experience for customers
- High content quality
Long-Term Benefits of SEO
- Access to detailed data that helps with strategizing
- Established brand authority
- Improved keyword rankings and website traffic month-over-month
- Increased business leads and conversions
- Faster and more convenient website
- Larger customer base
- Long-term profitability
- A consistently impressive close rate
Real-Life Examples of SEO Benefits
In today’s digital world, SEO is a leading revenue driver. Take it from the following companies that leveraged SEO to rise above the business competition and achieve their goals:
Commercial Construction Company
A local construction company invested in SEO services to raise its brand awareness and drive more business leads. After one year of implementing a custom SEO strategy, the firm yielded an exponential increase in site visitors, website traffic and conversion rate.
Organic Search Traffic
SEO and SEM played a vital role in helping an eCommerce business that sells high-end juicers outrank its business competitors.
Thrive integrated cross-channel marketing using SEO and PPC advertising to utilize its marketing dollars better and decrease irrelevant website traffic. A few months into the SEO strategy, the brand saw great results, generating a 130 percent increase in organic revenue.
Multi-Location Restoration and Reconstruction Firm
A multi-location restoration and reconstruction firm with more than 22 locations needed help boosting its brand recognition and local rankings across all service locations.
To achieve these goals, a combination of CRO, PPC, SEO and web design strategies was implemented. Through strategic SEO and digital marketing campaigns, the company set a record-high: 60,183 total traffic in October 2020 and positioned 1,104 keywords in the top 5 rankings in December 2020.
Organic Search Traffic (YoY)
Top 5 Keyword Rankings
You might think SEO isn’t worth the investment unless you get quicker results, but that would be a strategic mistake.
“SEO is no longer an option,” said Ronnel Villoria, Thrive’s Demand Generation Senior Lead SEO Strategist.
“It is an essential and effective online marketing strategy. You cannot boost your sales and leads, brand awareness and credibility without it.”
Considering all the SEO benefits for small business outfits, large enterprises and multi-location businesses, there’s no reason you shouldn’t venture into SEO and digital marketing.
Benefits of Using an SEO Company
We’ve established that SEO benefits businesses in numerous ways. But should you pay for SEO services from a professional digital marketing company?
“SEO is not easy, and it requires the correct team to tackle it,” Harris said.
“It’s not easy to rank a website for relevant keywords, so finding a digital marketing company is crucial to achieving success in a very competitive industry.”
Unless you resort to paid advertising, making it to the top spot of SERPs does not happen overnight. To gain long-term SEO benefits for small business and large enterprises, you need to put the time in and really work at achieving steady progress. A professional SEO agency can help you expertly manage your SEO and digital marketing campaigns.
How Do You Know if an SEO Agency
Is the Right Fit for Your Business?
There are quite a few things to consider when hiring an SEO company. Still, the most important is choosing an SEO company that can explain its strategy, help educate you on SEO in general, has a track record of success both for clients and itself and provides reasonable SEO pricing.
“An agency that is the right fit acts like a partner,” said Hannah Garon, Thrive’s SEO Director.
“They understand you know your business better than anyone but will utilize your knowledge and their knowledge of digital marketing to propel you to success. They would tell you when something could impact you negatively, not just ‘yes you to death’ to keep your business.”
To help you out, here are 10 steps to take when choosing an SEO and digital marketing partner:
- Set clear goals as to why you need SEO services in the first place.
- Determine your marketing budget.
- Identify the SEO techniques they use and how they track and measure campaign results. A reputable SEO company implements proven, white-hat SEO strategies tailored to your needs and demands.
- Research and compare SEO pricing and packages. The right SEO agency should provide quality services at cost-effective SEO pricing.
- Check reviews and references.
- Watch out for SEO agencies that guarantee results within a specific timeframe. Some might implement black hat SEO techniques, which would be detrimental to your long-term SEO success.
- Demand full transparency of its processes and internal and client results. Look for a company that practices what it preaches and can prove it by ranking well itself.
- Review case studies, previous projects and client portfolio.
- Check the agency’s knowledge of the latest algorithm and industry updates.
- Understand reasonable timelines. SEO takes time. If you expect SEO services to pay off in just a few weeks or months, you will be disappointed.
“At the end of the day,” Garon said, “an SEO agency that owns their results and comes to the table with ongoing recommendations and doesn’t put your account on autopilot is always a good fit.”
Why Hire an SEO Company
What you should know about SEO is that it’s a complicated and ever-changing landscape. This means it should be left to the experts. By outsourcing your SEO and digital marketing campaign to a trustworthy SEO services provider, you:
- Save valuable time that could be spent on improving your brand offering and core operations.
- Gain a team of experts who can completely manage your SEO and SEM campaigns 24/7.
- Save money on hiring an in-house SEO team, financing their salaries and investing in tools needed to run a successful SEO campaign.
- Take advantage of digital marketing professionals’ industry expertise .
- Have resources at your disposal to implement seamless changes in your SEO strategy.
- Stay on top of trends and algorithm changes.
- Keep your website and rankings safe.
- Gain valuable data and analytics to stay ahead of the business competition.
SEO is too important to ignore. Entrust your SEO and digital marketing campaigns to a reliable SEO company and achieve the best results, no matter how long it takes.
Future-Proof Your Business With SEO
Investing in a solid SEO strategy today means investing in the future growth of your business. If you want to get started with SEO or need professional help to outrank your business competitors, Thrive Internet Marketing Agency is here to help.
At Thrive, we use the same SEO strategies for ourselves that we offer to clients and that we have used successfully to rank for some really high-difficulty keywords (probably some of the ones you searched for that led you to this page!). We are always testing, innovating and rolling out new processes to keep ahead of the business competition, and we roll those new tactics out to our clients.
Our robust SEO tactic enabled us to achieve an unprecedented growth rate year-over-year:
The same tactic has allowed us to generate the following results for our SEO clients from 2017 to 2021:
- +$1.6 billion in recurring monthly revenue
- +7,168,502 website traffic
- +1,281,500 sales leads
- +53,283 Top 5 keyword rankings
And in 2021 alone, we generated 2.4 million conversions and 31 million site visitors through our SEO service.
Thrive, as a large agency, has a wide range of strategists with different experiences, SEO expertise and business verticals. This allows us to match a strategist with your business that we believe is a good fit based on those factors and provide measurable results to help you achieve SEO success.
Schedule a meeting with one of our SEO experts today, and discover the SEO benefits that your business can take advantage of by working with an award-winning SEO agency.