Sifting through the sands of mediocracy to find innovative SEO agencies capable of growing your business is no easy task. In part, it’s because ALL digital marketing agencies claim to be “trusted”, “award-winning”, and they use a number of other terms that sound great, but at the end of the day, it’s just fluff.
Savvy businesses in San Diego aren’t really looking for an SEO agency. Rather, they are looking for growth marketing agencies that use custom SEO strategies designed to convert organic traffic into leads and paying customers. After all, simply ranking content for keywords won’t grow a business; you need to rank web pages with targeted messaging that converts readers into buyers, and this is a complex strategy in of itself that must align with SEO.
When you start vetting SEO San Diego agencies, look at the scope. Is the agency proposing a strategy that resembles all the other SEO agencies in San Diego, or are they going above the traditional service offering by incorporating growth marketing tactics into the organic search philosophy? If the strategy relies on obtaining your sales data and growth goals, you are already off to a good start in working with the best San Diego SEO company that doesn’t just rank content, but uses data-driven insights to generate a higher quality of traffic with buyer-focused content that not only makes you highly visible, but that converts to sales.
San Diego has as many SEO agencies and marketing firms as it does taco stands. From last year’s startups in Kearny Mesa and Miramar, to the hipster agencies of Pacific Beach and Downtown, San Diego is a leading city for the most advertising and marketing outlets per capita. This means competition is fierce, services become saturated into a rinse and repeat model, and brands searching for organic search strategies blindly vet a handful of agencies hoping they settle on a winner. Rather than comb through multiple North County San Diego SEO agencies in Carlsbad or Vista in search for the one with the most polished website, ask how the approach, the tactics, and the team are working to generate revenue from the SEO strategy.
When creating your shortlist of the best San Diego SEO agencies, be sure their approach plays into your ultimate decision-making process. Unfortunately, most SEO agencies are cookie-cutter in that they offer the same onboarding process, tools, keyword selection process, and content marketing strategy for every single client. But no two business has the same brand or customers. So why use the same strategy hundreds of other businesses are using?
This is why a one-size-fits all SEO solution rarely generates revenue. In order to attract organic traffic that converts into paying customers, a custom SEO approach is needed that’s based on an intimate understanding of the organization’s customers, and how they engage information when making purchasing decisions.
As mentioned, there are numerous San Diego SEO agencies to choose from. Make sure you ask these agencies about their approach to SEO, and ensure they truly customize tools and strategies so they work together in perfect synchronization to achieve the same goals.
When it comes to attracting organic visitors, converting them to leads, and nurturing them through the buyer’s journey, blogs play a huge role in any top-of-funnel strategy used by a San Diego SEO expert company.
Remember, today’s buyers no longer convert from landing pages that ask for information with a follow-up from a sales team. Today’s customers are savvy and they indulge in research. They read review sites, blogs, white papers, engage with specific groups in social media, and they compare and contrast products from multiple sellers. The best SEO companies in San Diego know this and therefore set out to gain a deep understanding of the brand’s ideal customers. Once they have created comprehensive buyer personas, they can build strategies for blog content designed to reach the right buyers with strategic content that will generate sales.
Let’s address the blog. More than 70 percent of a website’s ability to rank falls on content, and the blog is the main support. Blogs are fed new, fresh content through an agile process, which sends signals to Google that lend to improving domain authority and SEO efforts.
The best approach taken by San Diego SEO agencies is the cluster model. This is when you have a defined number of blogs that have their target keywords, but each has a unique topic and a precise context. Each blog will speak to a pain point or common need based on buyer persona data, and internally link to one another. Google loves this because it creates structured content that’s easy to crawl, and readers love this because it helps them find related information.
The final step is that each blog additionally links to a common pillar page–usually the homepage or a primary product / service page. This internal linking strategy allows “SEO juice” to circulate through the blogs and to the strongest web pages to increase ranking and domain authority. The process is time-consuming and requires SEO experts with strong backgrounds in writing to pull this off. When vetting San Diego SEO agencies, make sure their team is capable and has evidence of advanced blogging in their portfolio or case studies.
Any reputable San Diego SEO agency will avoid the vanilla approach of identifying the most frequently searched keywords so they can create content around them to rank in the SERPs. At a surface glance, this strategy seems practical because the logic behind it says “more search volume means more web visitors”. But is your goal to attract thousands of people every month who give you a quick look, or who make a purchase?
Ranking for broad range keywords with high search volume will bring in large, broad groups that wind up leaving unfulfilled. This audience has a low conversion rate because there is no direct targeting. In other words, their unique pain points aren’t being addressed because the SEO strategy calls for broad keywords that have high search volume, but lack zero intimate connections with customers in their semantic fibers.
However, when clever SEO experts take these keywords and give them context by focusing on needs and pain points reflected in search queries, smaller groups will filter in, but the conversion rate will likely be more than 80 percent higher than taking a broad approach. This is how business growth through SEO works.
The best SEO agencies in San Diego continue this strategy not just at the page level, but they go deeper. In addition to on-site content, page titles, H tags and descriptions, structured data on the backend will accommodate the same strategy. Schema (or rich snippets) is code existing on the back end of web pages that helps Google understand what the content is all about. When the right keywords are used in Schema markup through a strategic approach that accommodates onsite and off-site SEO tactics, ranking will improve and generate revenue by reaching the right buyers.
The best SEO agencies in San Diego have access to advanced tools with plugins that allow Schema markup to be customized to garner better results and improve audience targeting. For example, customer reviews, intended audience descriptions and product descriptions can be added in addition to NAP (name, address, phone). Any SEO approach should amalgamate keywords with schema markup, and ensure content from web pages, blogs, titles and tags are all working holistically.
Once you have determined which agencies are truly growth focused on running an SEO strategy that fosters sales enablement, you will want to know who sits in what chairs. From the C-suite to the copywriters, get a “who’s who” overview, and have an open conversation with the person who would be managing your project, as well as the strategist. In many cases this is the same person, and that’s okay. You will want to make sure that you can communicate well with them, determine how they work in a collaborative process if in fact your brand has strict content guidelines, and simply determine if the person and the team are people you see yourself comfortable working with.
Working with a San Diego SEO agency that has a meaningful approach that makes sense for your business, growth goals and clients is clearly a priority. But what else matters? Here are some important questions and considerations to keep top of mind when shopping for San Deog SEO agencies:
How Long Have You Been Providing SEO Services to San Diego Business?
Clearly, experience matters in any service, but with SEO this is especially crucial due to the nature of Google. The search engine has gone through a number of massive changes through algorithm updates that make SEO harder and harder to successfully run. True SEO experts have been working in the industry since day one when keyword stuffing and circus-stunt tactics resulted in high organic ranking. They also went through the agile changes in which they were forced to act fast and reinvent their strategy to accommodate best practices. SEO agencies with more than a decade of experience know where Google has been, and where it’s headed. They also know how to act fast and recreate organic strategies without a drop in rankings or audience engagement when Google updates demand a swift change.
How do You Rank Content with Keywords?
If the agency says they rank their clients for the most coveted keywords in the industry, walk away. What this means is they use a keyword tool to produce all the relevant keywords with the highest search volume, then they pull these and try ranking for them through a standard approach. This is terrible because there is zero audience targeting through the keyword harvesting process. Instead, look for SEO agencies in San Diego THAT FIRST learn about your brand, growth goals, the customers, and their needs, identify a custom strategy, then build keywords that reflect the audiences you are trying to attract and not a common non-targeted audience.
What do You Guarantee?
Google warns businesses against trusting SEO agencies that guarantee to get you ranking high up in the SERPs. Google launches between 500-600 changes to its algorithm every year, so rankings commonly fluctuate and therefore promising to rank a client’s main keywords is an empty promise. This promise also reveals that the agency is rather shallow because they don’t focus on their client’s bottom line and what it truly takes to help them grow their business. What the San Diego SEO agency SHOULD PROMISE is growth. If they are willing to take you on as a client, then they should guarantee the relationship will produce business growth while showing you the inner workings of a custom approach designed to generate revenue from organic traffic.
What is Your Core SEO Strategy?
If a San Diego SEO company tells you that their strategy is classified, walk away. There is no “secret sauce” or “magic switch” to SEO. Then there are people who say they follow Google Best Practices and stay fluent with their SEO guides, and while this certainly matters, it still doesn’t answer the question. While Google says a solid SEO strategy involves websites that offer amazing user experiences, compelling content, great inbound link quality and a number of other vital factors, yet again singing this song doesn’t answer that question. The SEO strategy should be designed to enable all of these factors, but its core resides in understanding how buyers engage content used to make purchasing decisions. That said, the SEO strategy should be deeply buyer focused and the anchor to the approach.
How Much do Your SEO Services Cost?
There are a number of San Diego SEO agencies that offer packages reminiscent of your cable company. Avoid working with these SEO companies, as there is no such thing as a “one size fits all solution”. The cost of performing SEO ultimately comes down to the client’s needs based on their goals, sales cycle, competitor analysis, and a number of other factors that signify what working pieces are required to customize their ideal organic strategy. From the agency side, manpower, tools, estimated hours, and resources determine the cost, and since no two businesses require identical strategies, the cost can vary.