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If you think you’re link building, you’re doing it wrong

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30-second summary:

  • Founder and CEO of Organic Growth, Kevin Carney interviewed 39 marketing professionals about their link building practices.
  • He has brilliantly condensed all these thoughts and highlighted a group of eight which is much more strategic about their link building.
  • More insights on what makes them unique and the most preferred link building platforms across the globe.

The hyperbolic title of this article is a conclusion I’ve come to after interviewing 39 people – with titles ranging from Marketing Specialist, Outreach Team Lead, Head of Content, to VP of SEO & Analytics, about their link building practices.

Of the 39 people, 23 work for agencies, 16 work for brands, and out of that group of 39, there are eight who do link building better, by approaching it differently.

So, what do they do that’s different?

First, lets please notice that this is an almost perfect 20/80 Pareto principle split, so kudos to Vilfredo Pareto, who first noticed how common this split is, way back in 1896.

The group of eight have the following in common:

1. It’s not about link building, it’s about something else

The best way I can think to describe this, is these people don’t do link building per se, they do some higher-level activity, which they take VERY seriously, and which includes the intention to attract high-quality links.

While their primary focus is on the higher-level activity, they are very aware of the importance of attracting links, and how their higher-level activity helps them do that.

2. It’s important in its own right

Did I mention they take this VERY seriously? The higher-level activity they do is not something they attend to when they can, it’s not something they “get to”. It is one of their highest marketing priorities. They devote resources to it, and in most cases wish they could devote more.

I think it’s also worth noting that of the group of eight, five are brands and three are agencies.

Examples of their higher-level activities

Below I identify the group of eight and provide a summary of what they do, and how they do it.

1. Matt Zajechowski of Digital Third Coast

Matt Zajechowski is an Outreach Team Lead and Content Marketing Promotions Specialist at Digital Third Coast, a Chicago based digital marketing agency. They work to position their clients as experts through digital public relations, and yes, I know everyone says that.

Early in the interview, Matt said,

“We do a lot of content-based linked building.”

But their idea of content is more involved than what others do.

They employ a primary tool of data-driven stories and articles, where the data comes from surveys involving 1,000 to 3,000 people. They don’t conduct the surveys themselves, but rather make use of online survey platforms such as SurveyMonkey and Amazon Mechanical Turk. These surveys run over the course of weeks and in some cases a few months.

The survey results provide patterns, trends, and stories with which to create highly unique content that provides insights not available elsewhere. The design of their surveys takes into account what articles are already published on the topic in question, as they work to avoid publishing something already covered by someone else.

As you can imagine, these articles make excellent link bait. Not because they are link bait per se, but because they’re good.

Their link building philosophy is that truly unique content, based on large sets of data that provide interesting insights, not only makes initial link building easier but soon attracts links without continued effort on their part.

2. Steve James, Freelance Marketing Consultant

Steve James is a freelance marketing consultant in Vancouver, British Columbia. Steve focuses on helping small, medium, and enterprise businesses.

What Steve does differently is to not focus on “what” to do, but rather to focus on “who” might be interested.

Steve said something I found to be a very interesting perspective:

“You need links to show you’re known by the right people.”

I can best illustrate his approach by sharing a story he told me to explain his approach.

Steve had a client who was a tailor who sold custom made suits. Rather than focus on building links to the tailor’s website per se, Steve thought about who cares about suits at all, let alone custom made suits.

Obviously, people who wear suits. So, who wears suits? Well, the mayor and the members of the City Council wear suits. The next question is, what can he do to get them to notice the tailor?

This resulted in content being published on the tailor’s website that was effectively written for the mayor and other city dignitaries and promoted to them.

This resulted in links from the city government website, and the mayor’s blogs. Being a local business, that was enough to lift the tailor’s website onto the first page of Google.

This led to a whole new market of online prospects, people who follow the Council members, and business professionals that wear suits.

Steve’s link building philosophy is not that he does a set of things related to building links, but he does whatever is appropriate to attract the attention of the right people.

3. Olga Mykhoparkina of Chanty

Olga Mykhoparkina former Chief Marketing Officer at Better Proposals Chanty, a software company that provides a team messaging tool similar to Slack and MS Team. They’re based in Zurich and Kharkiv, Ukraine. Their approach is public relations, where link building is a side effect of that.

Olga told me,

“We don’t really do anything to just get backlinks….. Links that we get are more of a side effect”.

Their larger effort is “to be known”, not to build links per se.

She then described how their main focus is on maintaining contact with journalists and answering questions of interest to these journalists.

They have people who monitor journalist requests on platforms such as HARO, SourceBottle, and JournoRequest, read every request and respond to every relevant inquiry. Any question they can answer, they do answer.

This is resulting in 20 to 50 quality backlinks per month, some from websites as authoritative as Forbes, American Express, and Business Insider.

This public relations work requires two full-time people.

Their link building philosophy is that by helping journalists, they greatly improve their exposure and their backlink profile.

4. Jamie Kehoe of Venturi

Jamie Kehoe, Former Content Manager at Venturi, an IT recruitment agency located in Manchester, England mentioned that their approach is community management, which helps them greatly with link building.

What encapsulates that idea is Jamie’s statement of,

“We’ve been nurturing this community…..”

A Slack channel is the hub of their community discussions, and their community management also includes content on their blog and a weekly podcast, Venturi’s Voice.

The discussions within their community are focused on teams; recruiting, building, nurturing, managing, and so on.

The podcast gives them unique content not available elsewhere, and each episode is an interview with someone solving problems in interesting ways.

The community management activities, including producing the podcast, are done by multiple people and works out to about two full-time equivalents.

Their link building philosophy involves generating unique interesting content to answer questions their community is asking.

5. Cécilien Dambon of Venngage

Cécilien Dambon is International Growth Manager at Venngage provides a software tool for making infographics and is based in Toronto, Ontario.

An interesting comment Cécilien said is,

“You send the same email to 100 people and you get a 3% conversion rate, and you send that same email super customized to ten people and you get the same result.”

So they focus on relationship building, and yes, I know everyone says that.

At Venngage this shows up as ten people in Venngage marketing maintaining a close relationship with people outside of Venngage with whom they do co-marketing. Co-marketing being a corporate buzzword for helping people who are also helping you.

They are proactive about doing favors for their friends without an expectation of payback for each and every favor.

Of course, there are limits. If someone they co-market with accepts favors and never returns them, that relationship is allowed to wither and is replaced with one that is more mutually beneficial.

This is not a dedicated function with Venngage marketing per se but by virtue of ten people maintaining co-marketing relationships with (give or take) 10 people each, their co-marketing network is strong.

Then when they need favors, they have a network of friends to ask for help.

Their link building philosophy can be summed up in that Beatles lyric: “With a little help from my friends”.

6. Miles Smith of Imaginasium

Miles Smith is Director of Digital & Inbound/Content Marketing at Imaginasium, an agency located in Green Bay, Wisconsin, specializing in helping manufacturing businesses.

Their focus is best summed up in the word “alignment”.

Miles said two things to me that I found to be of great interest:

Marketing is not simply creating demand for what is. It involves changing the business to best meet what demand exists.

Everything is link building, and links indicate the right people know about you.

Item two above is similar to the focus Steve James has on “who” rather than “what” and drives what content they publish, to whom they promote it, and how they promote it to them.

Their focus on “everything is link building” is the principle around which they organize their work.

While from this point on, things do look tactical for a while email outreach jumpstarts their link building, the alignment they worked on earlier helps their link building occur on its own faster, as they have less “content promotion inertia” to overcome.

As they’re an agency, the level of staffing required to make this happens depends upon what their client is paying for, but generally, for a client who takes this seriously, one to two full-time equivalents, consisting of bits and pieces of various team members (in-house and outsourced), are involved in this work.

Their link building philosophy is it’s important to be known by the right people.

7. Chris Eckstrum of Housecall Pro

Chris Eckstrum, former Manager of SEO at Housecall Pro, a company that provides software to tradespeople to help them run more efficient businesses. They’re located in San Diego, California.

They also focus on community management.

The hub of their community is two Facebook groups they own and manage. One is for home service professionals, the other is for women service professionals.

The groups are closed, in the sense that people need to ask to join and Housecall Pro vets them to make sure they are tradespeople, but the group is not limited to Housecall Pro customers. Any tradesperson can join.

Chris told me the discussions within the group provide them with content ideas as well as content amplification and links, as much of their content comes from discussions and interviews with group members, and all content is then shared with the group.

Their management of the groups is very active. They engage frequently with members.

Link building occurs primarily by members of their community directly linking to their content, as well as members of their community promoting the content with others.

Managing those two Facebook groups is a full-time job for two people.

Their link building philosophy is; links come fairly naturally from managing and nurturing their online communities.

8. Araks Nalbandyan of 10Web Inc

Araks Nalbandyan is the Director of Digital Marketing at 10Web an agency that builds, manages, and hosts WordPress websites. They’re based in Newark, Delaware.

They are the exception within this group of eight, as they do what the rest of us do, but more so, and better, which primarily means with a high degree of personalization.

Their primary link building strategy is content promotion via email.

By “more so”, I mean they have two people doing it full time, and by “better” I mean that every pitch is highly personalized. They do not send mass emails.

The degree to which this is true is illustrated by how Araks described the training of the people who do link building. The very first pitch they compose can take four hours to draft. Over time, they get better at it, and four months later they’re able to craft a highly customized pitch in 20 minutes.

What they’re doing is highly customized email pitches at volume, which I am differentiating from the sending of mass email, which is generally very slightly customized by the use of templates.

The other thing they do differently from the bulk of us is they actually and rigorously track their outreach attempts and results, and adjust based on that feedback. They do this in part with the reporting capability of the email product they use (Lemlist), and in part by dumping data from various sources into Google Data Studio and generating information from the data.

She said one that really caught my attention,

“The main reason I separate the Content Promotion (from other link building tactics) is because of the open rate, the click-through rate, and the answer rate of those kinds of emails are super high. One of our campaigns reached an open rate of about 78%, which was huge, and we got a lot of responses and a lot of links from that.”

Their link building philosophy has two prongs:

  1. Highly personalized email pitches are worth the effort.
  2. You can’t manage what you don’t measure.

The rest of us are focused on the tactical aspects of link building

Which it appears, is not an effective way to build links at scale. The other 31 people I interviewed aren’t doing link building wrong per se, they’re just being less effective. Their efforts build links, but not on the same scale.

From talking with this group of people, the “issue” if that’s the right word, is their link building approach is much more tactical, and not as strategic as the group of eight listed above.

The group of eight is much more strategic about their link building (by considering it to be part of a higher-level activity) and much more tactical about their higher-level activity, which is what they attend to in their daily to-do lists.

And I appreciate their contribution to this article

For the record, the group of people I interviewed above and beyond the group of eight is:

Agencies

  • Olivier Mamet of Sandbox, located in Mauritius
  • Nick Bennett of Growmeo Marketing, in Phoenix, Arizona
  • Brooks Manley of Egenius, in Greenville, South Carolina
  • Sam White of New Dimension Marketing & Research, in Encinitas, California
  • Greg Heilers of Jolly Content, in Walnut Creek, California
  • Djordje Milicevic of StableWP, in Toronto, Ontario
  • Syed Irfan Ajmal of SyedIrfanAjmal.com, in Peshawar, Pakistan
  • Kyle Douglass of Revium, in Melbourne, Australia
  • Andy Nathan of Smart at the Start, in Chicago, Illinois
  • Jonathan Aufrey of Growth Hackers, in Taipei, Taiwan
  • Amine Rahal of IronMonk Solutions, in Toronto, Ontario
  • Markelle Harden of Knowmad Digital Marketing, in Fort Mill, South Carolina
  • David Kranker of David Kranker Creative, in Grand Rapids, Michigan
  • Kyle Kasharian of 9Saill, in Fairfield, New Jersey
  • Dean Cacippo of One Click SEO, in New Orleans, Louisiana
  • Cory Hedgepeth of Direct Online Marketing, in Wexford, Pennsylvania
  • Jonathan Gorham of Engine Scout, in South Yarra, Australia
  • Irena Zobniów of Insightland.org, in Wroclaw, Poland
  • Celest Huffman of Rocket Web, in Nashville, Tennessee

Brands

  • Shejraj Singh of YoStarter, in Punjab, India
  • Michael Anderson of Geolango Maps, in Pleasanton, California
  • Slisha Kankariya of With Clarity, in New York City
  • Christina Sanders of Lucidpress, in Salt Lake City, Utah
  • Erin Osterhaus of CORT, in Austin, Texas
  • Patrick Whatman of Spendesk, in Paris, France
  • Matt Bassos of Vuly Play, in Brisbane, Australia
  • Dana Roth of FortVision, in Tel Aviv, Israel
  • Quincy Smith of Ampjar, in Shanghai, China
  • Taavi Rebane of Messente Communications, in Tartu, Estonia
  • Praveen Malik of PMbyPM, in Delhi, India
  • Jakub Kliszczk of CrazyCall, of Wroclaw, Poland

The software tools used

I thought it would be interesting to know what software tools are used for their link building activities, so I asked and compiled this list.

In the spirit of full disclosure, these are the tools people thought to mention to me when I asked, and I tried not to ask leading questions. As such, it’s possible some people simply didn’t feel that a tool such as Google Sheets was worthy of mention, whereas others did.

What surprised me is that neither Majestic SEO nor Google Custom Search Queries get much respect.

Below is a list of each software tool, and the number of people who said they use it.

  • Ahrefs: 27
  • SEMRush: 21
  • Google Sheets: 15
  • BuzzStream: 8
  • io: 8
  • MozPro: 6
  • Screaming Frog: 5
  • Mailshake: 4
  • VoilaNorbert: 4
  • Google Custom Search Queries: 3
  • MajesticSEO: 3
  • HubSpot: 2
  • MozBar: 2
  • SimilarWeb: 2
  • Trello: 2
  • Answer the Public: 1
  • Asana: 1
  • Boomerang: 1
  • Cision: 1
  • Cora: 1
  • Google Calendar: 1
  • io: 1
  • LemList: 1
  • Link Prospector: 1
  • com: 1
  • PitchBox: 1
  • io: 1
  • Scrapebox: 1
  • SEO Power Suite: 1
  • SEOquake: 1
  • org: 1
  • Spyfu: 1
  • Ubersuggest: 1

The tactics employed

I also asked people about their link building tactics, but since seeing that the difference that makes the difference is not one’s tactical approach to link building, but rather one’s tactical approach to their higher-level activity, I fear I would be leading you astray by publishing this list.

In spite of the fact that I met everyone but one person through HARO, I was surprised to discover how many people consider HARO to be a valuable link building tactic. It was the third most popular tactic, by a long shot.

Below are the top three, and the number of people who stated they use it.

  • Content promotion via email: 24
  • Guest blogging: 23
  • HARO: 18

The fourth most popular tactic was used by only 8 people.

In closing

Link building at scale requires resources. Some companies, even some larger companies, do not devote the one or two full-time equivalents required to do it effectively.

If, due to resource constraints, you can’t be one of the top tier link building players, the way you emulate them is:

Devote bits of pieces of lots of people to make up as many full-time equivalents as you can. Since your more successful competitors are devoting appropriate resources, you’ve got to compensate or be left behind.

Prioritize that work as important enough to get to, even if that requires something else to be less important, and yes, I know that is easier said than done.

While each email might start with a template, make each email highly personalized to the person you’re sending it to. Based on the people I spoke to for this article, fewer highly personalized emails have greater success than mass emails where the personalization is just what’s done in the template.

Kevin Carney is the Founder and CEO of the boutique link building agency Organic Growth.



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Top 10 Best Los Angeles SEO Companies: Gotch SEO Catch 2020

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Free SEO Training – 2x your organic traffic in the next 90 days.

Looking for the best Los Angeles SEO company for 2020? Keep reading because we’ve compiled a list based on real data.

SEO is an essential marketing tool in 2020, so it makes sense that you would want the best possible company behind your campaign.

The trouble is that with so many emerging SEO companies on the scene, it can feel impossible to find ‘the one’. There are just too many fish in that search engine sea!

FREE Download: Only work with the best SEO companies on the planet when you download our free SEO company vetting checklist.

But, all hope is not lost, and we’ve taken the time to delve into those Los Angeles waters to find the best ten catches so that you don’t have to.

Simply keep reading to find out what each contender has to offer.

Top 10 SEO Companies in Los Angeles

  1. Coalition Technologies (32 points)
  2. Wpromote (29 points)
  3. Thrive Internet Marketing Agency (29 points)
  4. SEO Noble Agency (27 points)
  5. Spinx Digital (27 points)
  6. Over the Top SEO (26 points)
  7. On the Map, Inc. (25 points)
  8. True North Social (24 points)
  9. Los Angeles SEO Inc. (24 points)
  10. Social SEO (23 points)

1. Coalition Technologies: SEO Agency Based in Los Angeles

Coalition Technologies is a #1 ranking Google search optimization company that seems to impress consumers across the review site board, and it isn’t too difficult to see why.

These world-renowned SEO professionals hold the impressive accolade of being a certified Google Ads Premier Partner and have developed a custom software in-house that, according to all evidence, truly does bring results.

This is a fact that they primarily achieve with a scientific-based SEO approach that uses data to get right to the heart of any business. In fact, they’re so confident in their practices that they claim they’ll be able to increase your sales by an impressive 436% in the first two years. And, you know what? We believe them.

You should too, considering that their advanced agency software alone allows them to hire only the top 1% of applicants, as well as offering 130+ university-level training courses to take those skills even further. Then, they’ll put you in touch with those tailor-made experts who genuinely stand to take your search engine marketing to the next level.

2. Wpromote – Silver Winner of the Top SEO Companies in Los Angeles

Coming in at a pretty close second we have Wpromote, founded by Michael Mothner back in 2001. Again a Google Premier Partner and part of Bing Elite Agency, these guys pride themselves on ever-evolving tactics and certainly seem to know what it takes to boost organic rankings.

Their integrated teams of well-versed SEO managers promise impactful results whether you’re a small business or an established industry giant. And, if past clients like Mariott and Zenni are anything to go by, it’s a goal they achieve with gusto.

Wpromote’s unique selling point on the SEO market is their focus on building sustainable traffic that also leads to conversions using in-depth audits, competitor research, on-page focuses, and even mobile optimization.

Their team is made up of an impressive 425+ employees across eight offices, each of whom has an impressive and varied SEO background, including Mothner himself, who is a previous recipient of the PricewaterhouseCoopers Entrepreneurial Spirit Award, as well as a columnist for Inc. Magazine, and a regular speaking at leading industry events.

3. Thrive Internet Marketing Agency – Full Service Digital Marketing

Thrive Internet Marketing Agency have some pretty impressive accolades, including being listed as SEOblog’s top LA agency of 2020 and winning UpCity’s local excellence award last year. As of this year, they’re also an official member of Forbes Agency Council. In other words, this agency comes well recommended, a fact that seems deserved when you consider they offer +664% increases in organic traffic, +155% organic leads, and a whole lot besides.

Founded as a one-man division by president Matt Bowman back in 2005, this full-service digital marketing agency now offers solutions to businesses in 25 cities, including Atlanta and Miami. They’ve even gone cross-continental with B2B solutions in everything from plumbing to finance as far as Germany and Hong Kong.

Of course, never do Thrive thrive more than within LA, where they’re consistently named as front-runners, and offer custom SEO solutions to LA’s best which include keyword research, content writing, and technical SEO.

4. SEO Noble Agency

Read2Learn company SEO Noble offers professional B2B SEO services that focus on strategies across the search engine landscape. Established in 2008 by Kent Mauresmo, the company began life developing reading materials to help businesses perfect marketing strategies before realizing that they, themselves, had some SEO prowess to offer.

Now, as well as providing quality reading materials, the Beverly Hills-based team of 12 varied professionals offer a range of fantastic SEO services, including everything from Google submission to press releases.

Overall, their marketing services are priced depending on location and competition. For instance –

$1,000 – $1,500/month: Local area
$2,500 – $6000/month: Big city or county
$10,000 + per month: All 50 states

This makes for a tailor-made package that works for big and small businesses alike, a fact that, alongside comprehensive SEO services, is quickly securing SEO Noble their place in top spots like these.

5. Spinx Digital – Full-Service Digital Marketing

Out of their cutting-edge LA offices, Spinx Digital interactive B2B and B2C web design agency aim to help companies find engaging and exciting ways to engage with audiences. And, it’s a goal that previous client portfolios including Quinn Emanuel, Amazon, and many more show that they’re managing to achieve.

Founder and president Sukesh Jakharia has used his vision and innovative strategies to project the company into an impressively high growth-trajectory. And, that’s a trajectory that doesn’t look set to slow anytime soon, with Spinx Digital’s big ideas and innovative approaches adding new and impressive clients to their portfolio every single day.

Perhaps the most notable benefit of Spinx Digital from an SEO point of view is that of their technological know-how, with Jakharia himself holding a computer science degree, and various other members of the team able to provide innovative processes such as mobile applications, digital experiences, and more. In other words, Spinx Digital have gone above and beyond to deliver everything a modern company could wish for from an SEO company, all from their modern and inviting LA offices.

6. Over the Top SEO – Data-Driven Approach

With a 96% client retention rate and an incredible 73 SEO awards to their name, we couldn’t not include Over the Top SEO and their leader, Guy Sheetrit. With a solid track record, targeted resources, and unique ranking abilities, OTT has generated $970,802,171 in SEO revenue alone since their beginnings. For this reason and more, Sheetrit is becoming a staple face in the world of SEO and has already earned himself a place on Inc.’s Top SEO Experts list, as well as boasting one of the fastest-growing agencies in the world right now.

The most notable benefit of OTT SEO is the fact that they don’t work with businesses as such. Instead, they form long-term partnerships based on respect, trust, and the faith that those partners will follow their lead. So far, it’s worked well, with existing partners that include Fortune 500 companies, best-selling authors, and various world-famous names.

With this partnership focus in mind, OTT screens every business that comes their way and invests only in the best, or those who have hit a plateau that they can’t overcome themselves. They then apply a few basic success principles and develop working relationships that allow them to truly understand the best SEO approaches moving forward.

7. On the Map Inc. Your Search Optimization Premier Partner

Brain-child of founder Rick Hoskins, Premier Google Partner. On the Map Inc, aims to ‘positively impact the world, one person, one business, one dollar at a time.’

This is a goal they work towards with SEO services that are, for all purposes, largely dominating the LA market right now. Already, they’ve seen countless companies to top ranking search positions, and that momentum doesn’t look set to slow anytime soon.

With over ten years of experience in the industry and a team of diverse digital marketing specialists, the dynamic solutions on offer from this standout company are well worth attention. In fact, the businesses that On The Map Inc. already have on their books provide a pretty broad scope of experience and expertise in everything from dentistry and photography, right through to night clubs and attorneys. This Los Angeles digital marketing agency offers SEO, PPC, social media, web design, email marketing, and more to improve your overall ranking factors.

While their main offices are in Miami, where a team of 50 trustworthy SEO veterans works on perfecting campaigns, these guys can also be found within offices across LA, Raleigh, Tempa, and other such key city locations to serve businesses across the US and beyond.

8. True North Social: Results-Driven Search Engine Optimization

Boutique digital marketing agency True North Social takes the saying ‘quality, not quantity’ to the next level with a small client base that enjoys significant SEO results indeed. Unlike other companies mentioned who work with various businesses big and small, True North Social, therefore, ensures that they can offer quality results and focused SEO campaigns to every company that comes through their doors.

This fit for your business approach was the brain-child of founders Kellis Landrum and Kenny Bost, both of whom have previously enjoyed successful creative careers with technology-led focuses. This is the experience that they now put to good use creating SEO stories surrounding a quality client list that includes NBC and Hard Rock Hotel, among others.

Despite an incredibly tailored approach, True North Social can offer competitive rates on their various SEO services, which include keyword research, blog posts outreach, result-driven SEO strategies,  web development, social media marketing, PPC, and many, many more. This marketing services company can help grow your business and take it to the next level.

Companies do, of course, need to bear in mind that a boutique service means that True North Social won’t take any old company onto their books. But, if your vision captures their creative style, then you could soon start enjoying SEO makeovers more suited to your company’s needs than you would likely find elsewhere.

9. Los Angeles SEO, Inc. Search Engine Optimization & Web Design

The aptly named Los Angeles SEO Inc also had to appear on this list. Founded by president Sasan Raeisi back in 2011, the professional team behind this enterprise prides themselves in treating every client website as if it were their own. This has led to full-service internet solutions, including specialist SEO, PPC, social media marketing, web design, e-commerce, and conversion optimization solutions.

Whether companies are looking for social media packages, SEO audits, or other such services, they needn’t look any further than the extensively experienced Los Angeles SEO Inc. team. Even better, all marketing services are available alongside a free site analysis tool to help you and the experts on hand understand precisely where your current SEO approaches need attention.

As if their digital marketing efforts alone weren’t enough to put Los Angeles SEO Inc. out on top, this is a digital marketing agency that doesn’t shy away from proving themselves with a wide range of accreditations that include being Google Partners, Bing Ads accredited professionals, Microsoft Partners, and more.

10. SocialSEO: Digital Marketing Agency in Los Angeles

Last but definitely not least, we have SocialSEO, a Dave Ramsey-endorsed business that is proud Google Partners and Forbes Agency Council members, as well as being BBB accredited and one of Inc. 5000’s fastest-growing private companies.

Those are impressive claims, but they aren’t altogether surprising given the fact that founder Greg Walthour has an impressive 20 years of digital marketing experience behind him. Experience which he’s now putting towards hiring ‘only good folks’ that share his passion.

Driven by a leading initiative to take care of their customers and deliver results, the SocialSEO team has worked with some of the best-known companies of our times, including Jaguar, too, in their own words ‘crush the competition.’ Aside from search engine optimization, keyword research, and link building, this digital marketing agency offers social media marketing, web design, pay per click, and conversion rate optimization.

From local to national SEO and beyond, small and large businesses alike are sure to benefit from letting SocialSEO take care of their LA SEO needs for them.

Conclusion

Our ranking system when considering LA’s best took into account things like SSL certificates, rankings, loading speed, and mobile responsiveness. And, as we’re sure you’ll agree, it’s led us to a pretty good crop of SEO services for you to choose from.

While this list is written in ranked order, there’s very little separating each of these companies, but they do all offer something different. So, now that you’ve seen the contenders, it’s time to consider your unique SEO preferences and pair them with the one company that can make all your dreams come true at last. Here are other amazing SEO companies if you want to continue your research.

Latest posts by Gotch SEO Team (see all)
Free SEO Training – Get more first page rankings and more traffic by following a simple step-by-step SEO process.



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Q&A with Moz’s Sarah Bird

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30-second summary:

  • Hyperlocal SEO will help struggling communities salvage their local businesses.
  • Moz surveyed over 1,400 local business marketers and more than half said they plan to implement Google’s new features to support COVID-19 affected businesses.
  • Five under-rated yet crucial parameters marketers need to stay on top of.
  • Sarah Bird’s special tips to optimize audience engagement at various marketing touchpoints.
  • The best things you can do for landing pages is….?
  • Dive in for these golden nuggets and a lot more.

2020 has hit the reset button for the world in many ways adding more wheels to digital marketers’ and brands’ “car of struggles” for success. SEO is somewhat looked at as a game of Russian roulette where you win some and you lose some, and COVID-19 hasn’t made this any easier. To help you hit bull’s eye and add an extra push to your digital strategies, we caught up with Moz’s CEO, Sarah Bird to uncover emerging trends in the search scape, SEO, audience behaviors, and more!

Sarah Bird Q&A on emerging SEO and industry trends 2020
Sarah Bird, CEO of Moz

Q. What technologies, tools, and audience behaviors do you see shape up as 2020 progresses. If you were to draw a line between the temporary and ones that are here to stay, what would it be? 

Sarah Bird: Hyperlocal search has been important for years. 2020 has only increased its merit.

COVID-19 has made active local business listings management more vital than ever before. Communities struggling to keep themselves supplied and cared for in changed conditions must depend on the internet as a crucial resource, and when business listings can quickly communicate to them what’s available, where, when, and how, that’s truly important.

With Google rolling out new features that allow business owners to share updates about curbside pickup, home delivery, or special hours for vulnerable populations directly on their listings, customers can access convenient information with a simple search. We surveyed over 1,400 local business marketers and more than half said they plan to implement such services permanently. Aside from being absolutely necessary this year, businesses recognize that the investment in ecommerce should not simply be for the short-term, but should be able to accommodate their business and customers in the long-term.

Q. If you were to pick the hero of Moz’s local and international SEO strategy for the rest of 2020, what would it be? 

Sarah Bird: Reputation management will be crucial for local SEO strategy during 2020. We offer reputation management features through Moz Local that we urge users to leverage. 

Some of the most valuable features of Moz Local at this time are review alerts that allow you to quickly facilitate complaint resolution and response rating for quality control. During hectic times, customers are more emotional — this can either work for or against you. Should you receive a poor review during this time, it’s imperative that you respond quickly and empathetically.

Moz Local also offers a sentiment analysis feature that shows the most commonly used words for each of your star ratings. This can be useful in deciphering exactly what customers are finding important during this time.

Q. What five under-rated yet crucial parameters do marketers need to stay on top of to ensure that their brand has positively influenced their customers/target audiences?

  1. Keywords: Understanding your own keywords and those of your competitors ensures marketers have a plan in place to secure visibility on a brand’s offerings or content. 
  2. External links: These are an important source of ranking power in a SERP.
  3. Differentiation: Framing content correctly is key to reaching target audiences. Sometimes that means presenting contrarian ideas, as described by Caroline Forsey of HubSpot. 
  4. Omnichannel communication: Not all of your readers are going to read and engage via laptop or mobile, but be sure to consider how SEO is involved in your social media strategy.
  5. Outcome alignment: SEO goals don’t always have to focus on clicks. Ensure your marketing team is aligned on how content or a topic should be engaged, as it could mean that your ideal outcome is answering your customer’s question directly within the SERP. 

Q. What are the best ways to use entities that can leverage BERT, add more dimensions to keyword strategy, content, and the overall digital presence? 

Sarah Bird: I don’t encourage SEOs or marketers to optimize for BERT. There are too many variables to develop an effective strategy toward this model.

Instead, marketers should continue the focus on the overarching goal of creating excellent content that holistically understands and meets the intent of users. This is no small feat and requires an intense understanding of your business, your audience, and how the two intertwine. Creating world-class content that’s data-driven, timely, and empathetic to the audience will prove to be far more effective than focusing on this specific component of an algorithmic change from Google.

Q. Tips to optimize audience engagement at marketing touchpoints like emails, landing pages, and social media?

Sarah Bird: Each of these touchpoints are important for a business’s SEO strategy. These aren’t tactics that can be tacked on — they all have a powerful impact. 

Email marketing delivers some of the highest ROI, generating $38 for every $1 spent. When it comes to emails, call-to-actions must be clear. Consider which landing pages you’re sending people to and whether they’re appropriate to improve bounce rates.

Social shares of a brand’s content have a high correlation to ranking (as described by our own Cyrus Shepard.) As with everything in SEO, a focus should be put on the keywords used as well as the medium of the content being put out and whether or not it’s optimized.

High-converting landing pages may lead to high bounce rates, which could negatively impact SEO. Rand Fishkin actually addressed this exact issue in a Whiteboard Friday. The best things you can do for landing pages is – focus on high-conversion long-tail keywords and to provide keyword-based content.

Feel free to share your thoughts on our interview and the emerging trends, drop a comment!



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Top 10 Best Austin SEO Companies: Gotch SEO Choice 2020

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Free SEO Training – 2x your organic traffic in the next 90 days.

If you’re looking for an unbiased data-driven list of the best SEO companies in Austin for 2020, you’re in the right place.

In this post, we rank local outfits in the famous Texas town according to objective criteria that strip out personal prejudice. The companies in this list got there because of merit, not because their executives enjoy a cushy relationship with us.

What’s more, we base all our rankings on public-available information about each agency, so you can easily cross-check our scores. So, without further ado, let’s get into the rankings.

FREE Download: Only work with the best SEO companies on the planet when you download our free SEO company vetting checklist.

Top 10 SEO Companies in Austin, Texas

  1. Thrive Internet Marketing Agency (32 points)
  2. Complete SEO (31 points)
  3. TastyPlacement SEO (30 points)
  4. OgreLogic Solutions LLC (26 points)
  5. Digitech Web Design Austin (25 points)
  6. WEBii.net (23 points)
  7. MARION Integrated Marketing (23 points)
  8. Regex SEO (22 points)
  9. Big Gorilla Design (22 points)
  10. Geek Powered Studios (21 points)

1. Thrive: Top Austin SEO Company

Thrive comes in first place in our list of the top SEO agencies in Austin, Texas. Established in 2005 in Arlington, this company has stood the test of time, and it now employs over a hundred people, working with clients all over the world.

Thrive excelled across all our test criteria and performed admirably on the website performance front. It earned the maximum score owing to its rapid loading speed and mobile-friendliness. It was also the top dog for website traffic, gaining more visits than the other nine agencies in this list combined.

At root, the firm is a full-service digital marketing agency. They offer search engine optimization, link building, web design, social media marketing. This marketing agency adopts what it calls a “big-picture” approach to its thinking, helping its clients with both the nitty-gritty technical side of gaining online visibility, as well as high-level strategy. It currently boasts customers in places as far-flung as Hong Kong and Germany.

2. Complete SEO: Award-Winning Marketing Experts 

Complete SEO is a locally-owned agency in Austin that provides enormous value for its clients. The firm takes a fundamentally different approach from other agencies in the industry. Instead of using outdated templates, it takes into consideration its clients’ budgets, goals, competition, and values, and then uses this information to construct a unique plan of action. On these criteria, this agency in Austine builds high-quality SEO campaigns.

In today’s market, that approach is most welcome. It may explain why the firm managed to achieve a 5 out of 5 review score across 25 Google Reviews.

Right now, Complete SEO offers free consultations, so clients can find out whether the service is a match for their needs or goals without having to hand over any money. It is particularly popular among outlets that have tried other digital marketing companies in the past but were disappointed. And it publicly posts its case studies to back up its performance claims.

3. Tasty Placements: Google Partner for Your Marketing Services. 

TastyPlacement SEO is now more than ten years old, making it one of the more experienced agencies on this list. Founded during the financial crisis of 2008, the company has a list of impressive accolades, including unrivaled Google certifications, regular speaking engagements, and even books on the latest SEO practices.

The agency earned the maximum points on our SEO best-practices score and, like Complete SEO, received a perfect 5 out of 5 on for its average Google Review score too. To grow your business this SEO agency offers a variety of internet marketing: social media, SEO, PPC, content marketing and so on.

The firm likes to brand itself as a “thought leader,” owing to its academic achievements in the search engine arena. Its ebook WordPress Search Engine Optimization is a full-length treatise on everything you need to know on how to get your site to rank higher. The agency first published it in 2012, and it has seen multiple editions since.

4. OgreLogic: Full-Service Web Development

OgreLogic comes in a solid fourth place based on our objective points system. The company is famous in the Austin area for defining itself not as a digital marketing agency, but as a “global software development partner.”

This terminology is deliberate. OgreLogic sees its work as more encompassing than mere digital marketing. It creates software from the ground up designed to help firms realize their visions and attract more clients. Both SEO consultants and web design developers at the outfit work together to solve the real problems that their clients face.

There are no templates here – just a passionate focus on maximizing the usefulness of digital technology to maximize your return on investments.

OgreLogic believes that it offers a competitive advantage across a range of domains. For instance, it never shies away from sharing the results of its work. Instead, it proves its transparency by offering clients data on service performance at regular intervals. This SEO company in Austine, TX provides email marketing, link building, on-page search engine optimization, local SEO to help big and small businesses grow.

It does well on the promptness front too, delivering SEO campaigns that respect its clients’ timetables and immediate business needs. There’s a lot to like here.

5. Digitech: Search Engine Optimization in Austine, TX

Digitech came in fifth overall, owing to its excellent website experience and positive, third-party client feedback. The company is the brainchild of Darryl Stevens, a naturally creative visionary. Like so many great SEOs, he is entirely self-taught. He mastered web design and search engine optimization by serving clients in the online marketplace back in the heyday of digital marketing. This marketing company in Austin, TX offers PPC, SEO, graphic design, social media marketing to make sure their marketing strategy helps with your business growth.

Now, he is a contributor to top online publications, such as Entrepreneur and Forbes magazine, thanks to his deep expertise.

Digitech takes a philosophical view of its work, believing that “inside every impossible is a possible just trying to get out.” Darryl and the team are a group of creative thinkers who want to help brands solve their most intractable online outreach problems. Services include design, development, marketing, fractional CMO, and exclusive SEO.

Notable clients include Universal Music Group, Election Science, and the American Heart Association.

6. WEBii: Web Development with Search Engines on Mind

WEBii was one of the most impressive agencies on our Austin SEO shortlist but fell out of the top five because of the relative obscurity of its website.

The company is an old hand in the Austin area. The founders set up the firm in 1996 with a mission to bring better customer service to the web hosting industry. Since then, it has evolved, expanding its operations into custom web development, domain name registration service, and search engine optimization.

The long experience of the company makes it something of a jack-of-all-trades. Its team offers WordPress web development, server administration, graphic design, project management, and custom web design. All the people who work for the firm pride themselves on their communication skills and prioritize staying in regular contact with customers, keeping them apprised of developments.

Companies requiring a full-stack solution should consider this agency.

7. Marion: Graphic Design & Full Service SEO

Marion did well under our scoring system, primarily due to the positive user experience. The driving force behind this is the company’s unique mix of creative, technical, and strategic assistance. It doesn’t just adopt a cookie-cutter approach but instead learns all of its clients inside out before beginning work.

Each customer gets a virtual CMO – somebody who works with them to understand their business goals turn them into an SEO roadmap. They then get access to a host of services, including logo design, assistance with catalogs, and illustrations. Each account holder receives expert account management, assisted by professional digital marketing specialists, content creators, and web designers.

Over the years, the firm has won several awards, including Gold Winner at the 2020 AVA Digital Awards, 2019 MarCom Gold Winner, and 2017 Silver Awards Winner at the Davey Awards. Carey Balzer, Jon Anger, and Robert Dihu – the three founding partners – offer either full-service digital marketing services or supplement in-house marketing teams.

8. Regex SEO: Digital Marketing in Austine, TX

Regex SEO is another small-time Austin SEO company with massive marketing agency potential and interesting history.

The founders of the company were sick of standard SEO industry marketing approaches. For years, the digital marketing industry over-promised and under-delivered. It hyped pre-packaged plans but failed to generate results for clients. The team behind Regex SEO decided to do something about it. They rejected the subterfuge and shoddy work provided by many agencies and set up their own agency instead. This Austin SEO services company helps you grow your business with pay per click, content marketing, social media marketing, graphic design, and email marketing campaigns.

Regex SEO has won a host of awards and earned widespread online marketing industry recognition. In 2017, it was a Marketer of the Year finalist and later won numerous UpCity, MarCom, and AVA digital awards. The firm’s current clients include the likes of Service Corporation International, Dignity Memorial, and Maison Luisant.

Our scoring system ranked it eighth. Like many of the other boutique agencies on this list, it offers excellent service but fell down because of relatively lackluster website traffic performance. We expect this one to rise in the future.

9. Big Gorilla Design: Brand Awareness in Search Results 

Coming in at the ninth place of the top SEO companies is the somewhat hilariously named Big Gorilla Design. The outfit concentrates on legitimate SEO tactics – not just keyword stuffing. Their list of services covers just about everything you could imagine, including content marketing, email marketing, graphic design, eCommerce site development, and print design.

Big Gorilla Design marketing agency sees itself as an SEO services educator, rather like Tasty Placements, and works hard with clients to discover their actual needs before recommending services. It’s not just about rankings. It is also about building brands.

Big Gorilla Design did well on our test in most areas. But, as with so many other agencies, lack of traffic to its website and inbound links dragged its score down.

With that said, the agency offers clients a unique “out-of-the-box” approach to internet marketing and a lot of flexibility. They provide a vast range of options, including choice over the underlying platforms for the websites they create – such as WordPress or static HTML.

The company has a good sense of humor. The road to success is, according to their marketing, “paved with bananas (and other cool things).”

10. Geek Powered Studio: Search Engine Optimization & Content Marketing

Geek Powered Studios rounds out our list of the top SEO companies in Austin, TX in 2020. SEO specialist Guillermo Ortiz founded the digital marketing agency in 2009 during the depths of the financial slump, drawing on his experience of web design. What began as a small side project in San Antonio, flourished into a full-scale digital marketing agency, employing over a dozen people and serving an ever-growing list of clients. They offer the whole spectrum of online marketing: from social media marketing, pay per click advertising, email marketing to maximize your return on investments.

Geek Powered Studios has won several awards, including the 2014 BBB Torch Award and the 2016 US Search Awards. The company has also featured on Mashable, American Express Open, and Tech Cocktail.

Why did it come tenth in our objective test? The main culprit was the failure of the company’s website to respond rapidly to user input. If it hadn’t been for that, it would have received a much higher score. Also, the company’s website ranked well outside of the top ten, which seems to undermine its promise to deliver on its SEO promises.

How We Score

So there you have it: our top 10 best SEO companies in Austin. Remember, we don’t rank companies in our lists according to mere opinion or solely based on what Google says. Instead, we use an objective in-house scoring system that allows us to compare companies objectively, based on a wide range of parameters.

Our scoring system takes into consideration the following criteria:

  • Average user review scores
  • The total number of Google Reviews
  • Total website traffic
  • The number of linking domains
  • The domain ranking
  • If the agency ranks in the top ten
  • Website experience parameters, including loading speed, mobile-friendliness, and SSL certification

We then assign a score, up to a maximum value of 5 for each of the above criteria, depending on the relative performance of the agency. Companies with a lot of reviews, for instance, will score 5, while those with relatively few will earn 1. We then sum all of the individual components to arrive at a final score out of 35 for every firm.

The top-scoring SEO agency in this was Thrive Internet Marketing on 32, followed closely by Complete SEO on 31 and Tasty Placements SEO on 30. The rest clustered between 26 and 21, and a whole host of other Austin agencies never made it onto the list.

You can take a look at our raw scoring data here.

Enquire With Us Today

The purpose of this guide was to provide you with a comprehensive insight into the types of companies offering SEO services in Austin, Texas. While there are some technical differences between the firms, the above SEO agencies represent the cream of the crop. You should, therefore, choose the one from the list of top Austin SEO companies that offers the best services for your particular niche.

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