What Is Search Engine Optimization?

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the art and science of convincing the search engines like Google and Bing to show your website to their users as the top solution to their problem.

The way you “convince” search engines’ algorithms to show your website as the best solution for their users is by:

  1. Ensuring search engines understand what your website is about and what it offers.
  2. Convincing search engines like Google to see your website as one of the most credible options for their users.

Broken down further, SEO is a set of best practices for websites at a macro-level (sitewide) and a micro-level (individual pages). In either case, processes such as technical improvements, on-page optimization, strategic internal linking, and link building campaigns increase websites’ ranking and visibility.

Who Can Use SEO Services?

seo services

Just about any website can use SEO services to improve its search engine rankings and overall online presence. Without an SEO campaign, a business website is only a lovely online business card.

As an SEO and digital marketing agency, we recommend search engine optimization campaigns to our clients as one of their many lead-generating options.

SEO is a great lead-generation traffic source because its foundation is keywords. Every keyword is different in its competitiveness to rank and monthly search volume.

Take a painting company, for example. Would a painting company want to show up for the top positions for the following keywords?

  • Painters near me
  • Painters in Sacramento
  • Painting company service

You bet! Every business industry has its own “buyer-intent keywords” that get hundreds of searches per month for their geographical location.

To conclude this section, every business can benefit from SEO services, including law firms, medical professional practices, and home service professionals, just to name a few.

Local SEO vs. National SEO: What’s the Difference?

Local SEO campaigns are primarily utilized by small to medium-sized businesses to get in front of their target customers in their geo-specific service locations. 

When people type in “service + city location” into Google, local business websites aim to show up at the top of the search results.

search results
Sacramento SEO Search Results

A good local SEO campaign will enable business websites to show up on the search results page in two ways:

  1. The local map pack.
  2. The traditional organic results.

Local SEO is a brilliant marketing channel for small businesses. It is a proven lead-generating machine once you’re in one of the map pack positions (there are only three positions) and at the top of the organic results.

As you can see from the image above, search engine optimized websites show up below paid Google text ads (aka. Pay-per-click advertising), but that’s okay because only a certain percentage of people ever click on ads!

National SEO is a different beast than local SEO. National SEO campaigns are done on enterprise websites, large-scale e-commerce sites, affiliate websites, and sometimes businesses that started with local SEO.

Everything is amplified with national SEO as you’re no longer competing with local businesses but national competitors aiming to rank for the same keywords you’re on. The search engine optimization fundamentals remain the same, but the intensity and complexities increase.

What Makes Our SEO Approach Different?

Compared to other SEO agencies, we cover all our SEO bases by leaving no stone left unturned. With every SEO campaign comes core processes that move the needle and gets your website to your desired ranking result. These processes are done weekly, monthly, and quarterly by our Search Engine Optimization team.

Below are the core principle processes we cover for each SEO campaign we launch. 

Technical SEO

Search engine optimization can be a “game of inches” where even the small things can mean the difference between you or your competition ranking on the first page. Enter the technical SEO audit.

Every time we onboard a new client, we perform a technical audit on the client’s website. A technical audit analyzes the website to detect common issues that could hold it back from ranking success. If a client has a new website with no optimization done yet, we save tech audits for a future date.

A few on-site technical issues include 301 redirect chains, site speed, site structure, duplicate content, site security, 404 error pages, and more. Once the site has an excellent technical foundation, we re-run a tech audit every quarter to ensure our SEO “t’s” are crossed, and our “i’s” are dotted.

Content Media Assets

Recall that one of the strategies to get search engines to favor and rank your website higher in the results is to convince them that your website is one of the most credible options for their users.

We achieve this by publishing one or multiple optimized articles (aka. Content media assets) on your site’s blog every month.

Our monthly content development strategy is 100% evergreen, long-term, based on keyword search volume, brand awareness, aims to get natural backlinks, and is safe from Google updates.

On-Page SEO

Every keyword our agency aims to rank gets put through rigorous page optimization. We ensure every service page, and blog post that we publish gets optimized for your keyword targets using the best SEO and advanced on-page practices.

On-Page optimization includes page elements such as your title, metadata, URL structure, schema data, headers, content, and more. The goal here is to make sure Google’s algorithm understands that you’re the #1 resource for your geolocation and industry. This is a monthly service that’s included in all our SEO packages.

Backlink Acquisition

One of the essential ranking factors to ranking a business website is having more domain authority than your competitors. The articles and pages we build are great but won’t rank higher in Google’s index if the algorithm doesn’t recognize your site as an authority.

We build that authority over time by building links (aka. backlinks) to your website from other websites through our backlink outreach, guest posts, and business listings. 

Our link acquisition campaigns are done monthly, and the link velocity depends on the clients’ industry and geo-target competition. 

Mobile SEO

An important ranking factor that will affect the SEO industry in May 2021 is the mobile end-user experience. Mobile SEO was always important, but now that Google announced Core Web Vitals (their way of measuring mobile website experience) would be a ranking signal, it’s of utmost importance.

As a digital marketing agency that offers multiple traffic channels, we can tell you that most online traffic comes from mobile devices! And most new websites that come across are desks have horrible mobile search engine optimization scores in the eyes of Google.

mobile seo

We investigate and improve your mobile SEO by looking for opportunities to increase UX by primarily making page load as fast or faster than your competitors. This is a technical process that can involve:

  • Serving images in next-gen formats.
  • Removing unused Javascript.
  • Eliminating render-blocking resources.
  • Properly sizing images.
  • Removing unused CSS.

Just to name a few mobile optimization tasks.

The above SEO tasks are the fundamentals of our campaigns. As you can see, we focus on these fundamentals and always see great success for our clients. For local businesses, we add on Google Maps SEO (aka. Local SEO).

In some instances, before we start a new client’s campaign, we ask if they’ve worked with an SEO agency before. When they’ve had a poor experience in the past and dig further, we typically find out that the previous agency was neglecting the fundamentals or was poor at implementing the fundamentals we just covered.

How to Hire A Professional SEO Agency

In this video, Maile Ohye, a Google Search employee for over a decade, said:

“In most cases, SEOs need four months to a year to help your business first implement improvements and then see potential benefits.”

That statement is absolutely correct in our experience. As stated earlier, a website is just an online business card with no website visitors unless you search engine optimize it on an ongoing basis. 

If you’re still new to the world of SEO and are thinking about hiring an agency, make sure you watch the video above to get a true understanding of why SEO is worth the investment for your business.

SEO Services Pricing

Local SEO is a long-term investment for any business. Our local SEO services are reasonably priced, and our average starter plan starts at $999 per month but can go up from there depending on the stage of your current website and the competitive landscape of your target keywords. To get a quote for your website, get in touch here.

Note: if you’re being quoted at or below the $500 mark, chances are the agency you’re talking to is only doing technical and on-page SEO. At this price point, your business website will have a hard time ranking. Get in touch with us, and we’ll be happy to help you understand your SEO options.

We pride ourselves in being SEO fiduciaries and transparent about all our digital marketing services, whether you’re our client or not.

A Sacramento SEO & Digital Marketing Company You Can Trust

Although we offer our digital marketing and SEO services nationwide, our Instinct Marketing headquarters is located in Sacramento, California. 

Like any professional service industry in a big city, the competition is fierce, and we have our digital marketing and Sacramento SEO challenges to overcome. Luckily we love digital marketing and challenges!

We provide other popular digital marketing services that complement SEO amazingly: web design and Google Ads pay-per-click! Make sure to check them out and contact us today if you have questions about growing your business! 

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