What to look for when choosing a SEO company in Pittsburgh

By Partner, Matthew James Creative

Many companies have realized to stay competitive in today's marketplace, no matter what the industry, one must establish an internet marketing budget that includes organic Search Engine Optimization. No longer are websites solely used as informational portals to gather knowledge on specific topics and subjects. Today, companies are jockeying for a higher ranking position for each of their strategically selected short- and long-tailed keywords. They do this to increase their visibility with their target audience for increased global sales opportunities. Searching for "Solar Panels in Pittsburgh"? Type it in your Google, Yahoo, Bing or other search field, hit enter and wallah! Companies listed in hopes you click on their site description specifically written with you in mind. If your not doing it, climb aboard, because your competitors are building their rank.

But what is SEO? Can you see it? How do you know you're getting? How much should you pay? What do you look for when choosing an SEO company? This article will provide a better understanding about SEO and what to look for when searching for services from a SEO company in Pittsburgh.

Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, is a strategy affecting the visibility of a company's web pages in various search engines' natural/organic/unpaid keyword search results. The higher the rank for the specific short- or long-tailed key word, the more visibility and opportunity for qualified visitors to click on and enter your website. The goal is to organically position your company higher than your competitors so you have the advantage to gain the sale. To do this takes strategy, knowledge, time and the right Pittsburgh SEO company.

Choosing the right SEO company in Pittsburgh

Choosing a Pittsburgh SEO Company is a long-term commitment. Real SEO programs take time to implement, most having a minimum of a 1-year campaign. The good news is, if you see a return on investment, you know you're with the right SEO company. You can then continue with the program and your organic growth. This is why it is important to find a company that has a track record of proven client success and follows many of the practices below.

We'll get into the things you need, but first a brief expectation of your SEO campaign. A well designed, strategic SEO Growth Program is implemented over a period of time. Many companies require a minimum of a 1-year contract, allowing for implementation of the on- and off-page strategies. Search engines place a higher value on websites that are positioned as resources- websites that are rich in profound and valuable content and chock full of industry information. Copy, pictures, charts, graphs, pdf's, it's all good. This "resource" takes time to build and should not be implemented all at once in a short period of time. In a well orchestrated SEO campaign, you should start to see results within the first 30-60 days. This time frame allows for the consistent integration of the on- and off-page SEO and content marketing. We'll get to these in a moment.

When you meet with a prospective SEO consultant in Pittsburgh here is a list of topics that should be discussed.

Website Assessment
Experienced SEO companies in Pittsburgh will provide an initial website assessment for you. The company should look for areas on your site where your on-page SEO can be improved and provide other recommendations on where the design, programming and navigation can also be enhanced. If your website is outdated and poorly constructed, your SEO company might recommend a complete site rebuild. If this happens, it is always beneficial to speak with a company that also specializes in designing and programming websites under the same roof.

Keyword Analysis
The foundation to building an SEO Growth Campaign lies within your company's short- and long-tailed keywords. These are the words and phrases prospective customers are most likely to type into their search field and surf the internet looking for your products and services. An example of a short-tailed keyword is "Compression Tooling". Whereas a long-tailed keyword is "Multi Tip Pharmaceutical Compression Tooling". This list begins with your direction and the Pittsburgh SEO company will rely on you to provide your top keywords to them. These 30-100 keywords should be implemented throughout your site in various ways.

Competitive Analysis
A competitive analysis is an important baseline to make sure your keywords are in align with what your competitors are using for keywords to generate new business on the internet. These researched keywords should be cross referenced and a thorough SEO campaign should encompass select competitor and other validated industry keywords and phrases.

Content Marketing
A good Pittsburgh SEO company will have experienced SEO copywriters on staff. These writers implement your keywords into the page copy and other areas where search engines look and identify what content is on your site. This content rich site is what creates a resourceful status with search engines. SEO copywriters will work along side the SEO programers to implement their strategies positioning your site above the competition. If the company does not have an SEO copywriter on staff, look elsewhere.

On-Page Optimization
There are two halves to SEO. On-page SEO and Off-page SEO. On-page SEO is a formula of keywords, programming and other content that exists on your website domain. How the keywords are positioned in individual pages, titles, tags header tags and body copy all plays an exact role in the formula. If implemented incorrectly, you can actually hurt your rank more than help it. Adding to existing content and expanding your content will help reinforce your status and help boost your rank. As search engines develop different ways of ranking your site, having industry and product rich content will always help in positioning your domain.

Off-Page Optimization - Qualified Back-Links
The second-half to a well rounded SEO program is off-page SEO. These are the back links that you always hear about. Having qualified back links to highly ranked, resourceful sites help increase your traffic, rank and visibility. Back links should be a consistent part of any SEO program and as helpful good back links are to your positioning the bad or poorly rated back links will hurt your rank as well.

Video SEO
Many companies have started producing product, training, manufacturing and corporate videos and posting them on YouTube. Not only do these videos help increase your visibility, but they will also help increase your rank if implemented correctly.

Case Studies/Results
Legitimate SEO companies in Pittsburgh should be able to provide their SEO program results through various individual case studies. Ask them for a few of their SEO client's along with some of their most important keywords and search for them yourself. If they have several clients that consistently rank high with their keywords, this might validate their capabilities.

You'll know you're with a good Pittsburgh SEO company when you see a consistent increase in rank of your web pages and an increase in qualified website traffic over the course of the year. You'll be able to verify this by asking new sales leads how they found you and in the end if you see a great return on investment, keep it going. Don't stop because your competition is still building their back links, adding content to their site and building their rank.

Jim Balog is a marketing executive and Partner & Co-owner of Matthew James Creative, a Pittsburgh based, full-service advertising agency that specializes in website design and programming and SEO growth programs. A graduate of Duquesne University, Jim has more than 26 years marketing and advertising experience with B to B and industrial manufacturing brands.

Jim can be reached at jim@matthewjamescreative.com or
by calling 412-508-8085

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"MJC designed and engineered a dynamic and interactive website for us and packaged in an SEO Growth Strategy that is positioning our company ahead of the competition on the internet. We consistently rank in the top two positions for our targeted keywords."
Joe Morinville
Energy Independent Solutions
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