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SEO companies for small business growth – how to find the right agency

4-minute read

Catriona Smith

Catriona Smith

10 October 2023

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Working with a small business SEO company gives you the chance to get your business noticed online and grow your business. SEO agencies can be expensive though, so how do you make sure you’re choosing the right one for your business and your budget?

From cleaners and craft sellers to plumbers and photographers, search engine optimisation (SEO) forms an important part of any business’s digital marketing strategy. It’s what gets your business seen by people searching the internet and even browsing Google maps.

If you’re not sure what SEO is, then we’ve got a separate guide that goes into this topic. It outlines some of the best SEO tools out there – including some free ones. But if you’re now at a stage where you want to outsource some of your SEO efforts, you might be wondering what to look out for in an SEO company.

Here’s what to consider when choosing an SEO agency, the types of tasks you can outsource, and when you might be better off levelling up your own skills.

First, what is SEO for small businesses exactly?

SEO for small businesses can cover anything from improving your website and writing blogs to building links and optimising for local search. The ultimate aim is to improve your online presence so more people can find out about your business.

Bigger businesses with healthy budgets might stretch to full audits, strategy, and team training. But small businesses might choose just a few activities to focus on when getting SEO support from a specialist company.

Professional SEO services for small businesses

The type of SEO service you need depends on your overall goals and where you’re at with your business. For example, do you want to focus on driving more visits to your website or improving conversion of visits into sales?

SEO services for small businesses can include:

  • local SEO
  • building backlinks
  • blogging
  • website migrations
  • A/B testing

If you work with an SEO company then they’ll specialise in areas such as:

  • SEO audits
  • SEO strategy
  • on-page optimisation (improving your website’s user experience and technical performance)
  • off-page optimisation (such as building links to your pages or driving social media engagement)
  • link analysis
  • content marketing
  • copywriting

SEO is more than just keywords on your website – it’s about quality content.

Did you know that Google ranks websites highly if they demonstrate E.E.A.T (experience, expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness)? An SEO company can help you identify ways to show this trust and expertise – whether that’s through a long-term blog strategy or highlighting your professional accreditations and business insurance on your website.

How much does SEO cost for a small business?

The cost of outsourcing your SEO to an agency varies depending on what level of service you need and the expertise and brand reputation of the company.

Different SEO packages for small businesses might be based on a long-term contract or a monthly agreement. There’s usually a monthly retainer to keep the agency on too.

As a small business, you might want to cautiously test the approach (and agency) by committing to a month-to-month contract. But bear in mind that a longer term contract (six to 12 months) gives you time to implement plans and see results.

When getting quotes for SEO services, it’s important to be clear on your goals, overall marketing strategy, and budget.

Why local SEO is important for small businesses

Local SEO is one of the most important things to consider if you’re a brick and mortar business or if you offer services in a particular location.

For example, if you run a hair salon then you’ll want to attract new clients in your area. Local SEO can help your website show up in organic search results for people in the same area.

Activities to support local SEO include updating your Google Business Profile, engaging on social media, writing blogs about your location, and listing your business on local directories.

5 reasons to hire an SEO agency

Here’s just a few reasons why you might consider hiring an SEO agency to grow your small business:

Build a strategy – it can be hard to know where to start with SEO, so an agency can help you identify the best strategy for your business (and budget).

Boost your sales – improving the visibility of your website means more people are seeing your products or services, which can ultimately drive more sales.

Effective results, more quickly – SEO is something that needs regular attention, so handing over the reins to a professional agency means someone is focused on delivering a calendar of activities to make an impact.

Specialist knowledge – it’s the job of an agency to stay up to date on the latest trends and tools in the SEO industry. And looking for an agency that specialises in your niche (for example hospitality or ecommerce) can be an added bonus.

Saves you time – being a business owner often means you need to be an expert in everything from accounting to advertising. Hiring an SEO company can give you more time to focus on what you’re good at while they look after your website.

When hiring an SEO company, make sure you listen to pitches from a few different agencies before making a decision. And remember, building authority in search rankings is a slow process and it can be a few months before you can see if your SEO activity has worked.

How to find an affordable SEO services company

If you’re looking for an affordable SEO company then you’ll need to think about realistic goals and priorities. It’s no good diving straight into a blog strategy if you’re struggling with optimising your business website.

Affordable local SEO services could include a basic website optimisation strategy and link building recommendations. Sometimes you can pay for the strategy and implementation, but some activities you might be comfortable doing yourself.

Don’t just look for local SEO companies near where you live (although that can be a good start). And be wary of people offering services for the cheapest price. Instead look at reviews and ask other businesses if they can recommend any agencies to you.

Key questions to ask an SEO agency before hiring one

  1. What’s your approach to creating an SEO strategy?
  2. What tools do you use?
  3. What measures of success will you use?
  4. How will you report on progress?
  5. How do you stay up to date on trends?
  6. Have you got any case studies you can share from our industry?

Have you worked with any SEO companies for small business owners? Let us know your experience in the comments.

Marketing guides for small businesses

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Photograph: Thurstan Hinrichsen/
Catriona Smith

Written by

Catriona Smith

Catriona Smith is a content and marketing professional with 12 years’ experience across the financial services, higher education, and insurance sectors. She’s also a trained NCTJ Gold Standard journalist. As a Senior Copywriter at Simply Business, Catriona has in-depth knowledge of small business concerns and specialises in tax, marketing, and business operations. Catriona lives in the seaside city of Brighton where she’s also a freelance yoga teacher.

We create this content for general information purposes and it should not be taken as advice. Always take professional advice. Read our full disclaimer

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