Do you need a Minneapolis SEO expert for your business?
In this post, we’ll explain why and how working with a Minneapolis digital marketing agency for SEO services can help you grow your business.
You’ll see how we help our clients get found online, share our exact tactics, and help you make an informed decision on whether or not you should work with an agency.
Search Optimization (SEO) Defined
We’re not going to start with the technical definition of SEO. Why? Because the most important definition of SEO is the benefit it provides for your business.
Above all else, SEO is a tool to grow your business.
When you put your business in front of people who are interested in your product or services, you’ll get more engagement, leads, and sales. It makes sense, right? Think of your behavior on Google. You use it constantly and it often leads to purchasing decisions.
You look something up, find the result that seems to match what you want (usually in the top three results), then you visit the page to see if the information is a right fit.
Sometimes it is. And sometimes it isn’t.
Maybe the site you visit loads too slowly and you don’t want to wait.
Perhaps the site looks unappealing and unprofessional so you don’t trust the business.
Maybe you land on the website and can’t find the information you’re looking for.
Now, think about a search result that does meet your standards. The site probably loads quickly, has a professional design with interesting media, and gets you the exact information you need.
A Minneapolis SEO expert looks at SEO services from every angle — not just the technical stuff — and focuses on the end result first.
It’s easy to throw around jargon like rankings, traffic, and conversions. It’s harder (but more beneficial) to understand the goals and target audience of your Minneapolis business then craft an SEO strategy around their needs.
At MLT Group, this is exactly how we perform SEO.
How Can You Tell You’re Working With a Minneapolis SEO Expert?
Here’s your first clue…
You found us by Googling “Minneapolis SEO expert” or something similar. As the famous saying goes, “the proof is in the pudding.”
Seriously though, we understand your concerns when it comes to SEO services.
You might know a little bit about SEO services, but you’re not an expert. You need to be able to understand the services you’re getting and how they benefit you. There are a lot of Minneapolis SEOs out there, meaning that some will be better than others. How will you know which one to choose?
A good digital marketing agency can easily describe it services and help you understand the process from start to finish.
Continue reading, decide if we’ve done that or not, and you’ll know the answer.
The Exact Breakdown of the SEO Services We Provide
There are many factors that determine where your website appears on Google. Some experts say there are up to 200!
Let’s break down the main factors that affect your site’s ranking on Google and discuss how our services can help.
Research is the first step to a successful SEO campaign.
You need to know what people are searching for online. You need to know which key phrases — terms people type into Google — drive the most traffic.
After compiling data, you have to decide which key phrases work best for your business based on a number of factors:
- Relevance– A key phrase with high monthly traffic but low relevance — meaning it doesn’t describe your business well — won’t work for your business
- Competition – Based on the authority of your site, you must determine which phrases make sense to target at different stages of your campaign
- Intent – Different key phrases have different intent and represent different stages of awareness, e.g., “shoes for sale” and “price for red Nike Air Jordans size 12”
At MLT Group, we use the following techniques and tools to find the right key phrases for your business.
We Talk to You
It’s a mistake to jump in and start working on your SEO campaign without understanding your business first. Before we begin any research, we’ll sit down with you to discuss the aspects of your business that will dictate the type of campaign we create.
We’ll ask you questions like:
- What are the goals for your business in the next 6-12 months?
- What marketing techniques have you tried before and how did they work?
- Who are your customers? What are their demographics? How do you acquire them? What makes them tick? Where do they hangout online?
- Who are your main competitors?
- What’s the geographic service area for your business? (This is key for Local SEO)
- What are your services and how do you prioritize them?
- What does a successful campaign look like to you?
And much more.
Knowing these key details helps us achieve the stated goal above – using SEO services as a tool to grow your business. These details are much more important than metrics.
This process begins before you decide to work with us, too.
We provide a free site audit that tells you everything you need to know about your websites SEO performance, we’ll talk to you about your business, then we’ll see if our services are a good fit for both of us.
We’re in business to make revenue, of course, but it matters much more to us to first find out if and how we can help you. We don’t use pressure tactics because we’re genuinely curious about you and your company first and foremost.
Sound good? If so, go ahead and fill out this form right now and we’ll start the free audit process right away:
Did you know there are tools that tell you exactly what key phrases your competition ranks for, how much traffic they receive, and the links pointing to their website?
With the help of tools like Ahrefs and Moz, we can discover all the above. Once we compile the data, we can create a strategy to emulate what they’re doing well and find the opportunities they missed.
This will help you rank above your competition.
Competitor research is one facet of the key word research we perform.
What is key word research? It’s the brainstorming process of finding which words people use to search for your product or service online.
We use tools and techniques to decide what content to create, in what order we should create it, and the exact steps required to make website pages that Google loves.
When you work with us, you’ll get an easy to understand report that gives you the ‘why’ behind our strategy and allows you to make informed decisions when you weight in on the campaign.
After we create your SEO strategy, we’ll use the following techniques to help rank your business on Google.
On Site Search Engine Optimization
Google uses an algorithm — a fancy math equation — that programs ‘crawlers’ (think robots) to index information across the web and decide which pages to rank above others based on a number of factors.
The higher you rank, the more people view and visit your website.
While smart, the bots can’t quite decipher content at a human’s level (although they continue to get closer), so they use certain identifiers to understand the sites they visit.
Let’s walk through each section of a perfectly optimized web page.
It’s been said many times before — content is king. First and foremost, you want your site content to be useful and deliver the type of information the user expects.
Back in the day, you could get away with adding lots of keywords to your content, regardless of how well they fit or how useful the page was. Not anymore. Thanks to the Penguin update, sites that rank on Google must have content that meets the users needs.
We take our research and use it to create content both readers and search engines love.
When creating content for your site, we use these key techniques:
- Add your key phrase early in the content (first page or paragraph)
- Use your key phrase a few times in the content (but don’t overdo it)
- Add related key words to give more context to the crawlers
- If your business targets a geographic location, we make sure to mention it in your content and tags (good for Local SEO)
We provide as much depth as needed, add useful content like media when it applies, and focus on providing a great user experience.
This is important. Too often, SEOs will create content just for search engines. This makes for robotic writing that doesn’t provide value for the reader. Out of any strategy we use, writing for your readers first is the number one strategy.
Google keeps a tight lock and key on their algorithm and smart marketers have to make educated guesses about what works. When Google does state something officially, though, you must take it into account.
Look at Google’s main recommendation — straight from the horse’s mouth — here:
Next, consider the way we’re talking to you right now.
Does it sound like a sales pitch?
Is it using a bunch of unnecessary jargon and metrics that confuse you?
No to both. As best we can, we’re explaining our services in-depth, helping you make a smart decision, and talking to you like a regular human being.
That’s all you need to do to create great SEO content and that’s what we’ll help you do if you work with us.
At MLT Group, we have a staff of dozens of writers with experience in many niches. We’ll work with you to create SEO content that reflects your business and makes visitors want to engage and ultimately buy.
Each page on your website has a space in the code to enter a tag that tells the crawlers what your page is about. You’re only allowed a certain number of characters per tag, so it’s important to put the right key phrases in the tag.
Here’s an example of a Title Tag as it appears on a search engine results page (SERP) that appears after you search something on Google:
Your meta description also shows up on the SERP and it’s a key factor in optimizing your page, but not for the reason you’d think.
There’s a persistent SEO myth that Google takes the keywords you use in your meta description into account as a ranking factor. It doesn’t, but that doesn’t mean your description isn’t important.
This is where SEO with business strategy in mind comes into play.
Your meta description should be treated like an irresistible advertisement for your business that gets people to click through to your website.
QuickSprout has a great guide on writing metas if you’re interested.
Some highlights are:
- Add special offers (if you have any) to your description
- Study the descriptions of paid ads (these appear at the top of SERPS and will have an [ad] tag next to them). Why do this? People who spend money on ads are going to take the time to make sure they’re compelling.
- Create a strong call to action (CTA) to entice them to click through, e.g., “get your free no-obligation website audit today “
Metas are important for two reasons.
First, of course, you want people who find your site on Google to click through to it.
Second, Google uses click through as a ranking factor to decide the order in which pages appear.
They do this because Google is interested in providing the best results for users.
Here’s a good example to illustrate:
Let’s say the number two result has a more compelling description — meaning more people are clicking through — than the top result.
Why continue to display the top result at the top if user behavior shows people like the number two result more? It makes sense to switch them.
Thanks to one of Google’s recent updates, Rank Brain, this is exactly what’s happening.
An aside on Google’s continued updates: while industry standard techniques still work great for SEO, Google is trending towards serving up the best content.
This means your business can compete with more — technically — authoritative websites if you create the most compelling content possible.
A smart agency goes above the standard techniques alone and focuses on every aspect of promoting a business.
That provides an added benefit, too. Being persuasive, compelling, and informative isn’t just good for SEO, it’s good for business period.
Alt tags are pieces of code that describe images.
The site crawlers can’t look at an image, per se, so they need a little help. Your alt tag provides a spot to tell the crawler what the photo is about, which gives you additional SEO credit.
Using the right keywords in your headings helps the crawlers know more about your page. The more the crawler knows about the page, the more likely it is to rank it.
Headings also help organize information and keeps pages from looking boring and tedious from having large blocks of text.
Good headings provide an SEO benefit in another way, too. Google tracks how long people stay on your website. They figure if people stay on your site for a while, you must have great information.
It also tracks ‘bounces’ which means people visit your site and click back out of it immediately.
Which type of page is likely to keep you reading longer — one with organized headings that help you find the information you need or a giant wall of text that looks like it will take a ton of effort to understand?
On each page of your site, you want to link to other relevant and related pages on your website. This sentence is an example of an internal link.
Linking to other pages on your site is important. When a crawler visits your site, it uses links to find more relevant pages.
Done right, your link structure will allow the crawlers to index important pages on your site.
Done incorrectly, and the crawlers might miss important information on your site, fail to index it, which means those pages won’t rank on Google.
Your page url is the link that shows up in your web browser:
The url for this blog post is – https://www.mltgroup.com/blog/minneapolis-seo-expert
This link has good structure for SEO because:
- It uses the target keyword we are trying to rank the page for
- It tells the user what the page is about (this is important because it appears on the SERP as well)
- It’s concise – long URLs that don’t describe the topic are bad for SEO
When creating URLs for our client’s site, we keep these items in mind, e.g., creating a link like http://multisourcemfg.com/services/cnc-machining/ (this is a term people in the target audience understand.
Additional On-Site Optimization Techniques
These items are also key for creating an optimized page:
- Optimize for loading speed — Google doesn’t like to rank slow loading pages
- Save image files under names with key phrases, e.g., Minneapolis SEO Expert.jpg — This aids the alt tag
- Build responsive web pages — Your website must be optimized for mobile devices, tablets, and various screen sizes
- Add media – video, photos, infographics, social media sharing buttons, etc create a more engaging user experience and boosts dwell time, which is a ranking factor
Now that we’ve covered the core initial steps of an SEO campaign, let’s talk about the other techniques you need to use to improve your site’s performance.
Once the on-site techniques are completed, off-site techniques are used to help your site meet the right search engine standards to rank highly.
We provide these strategies as part of our SEO services on a recurring basis to help your campaign evolve over time.
Links and Link Building
Long story short, when the founders first created Google, they realized links were a great way to prioritize and organize information on the web.
Think about what it means to link to another web page.
It means you want other people to visit that page or reference it. If you want other people to visit the page, the page must have important and useful information.
To this day, the number and quality of links pointing to a page on your website is one of the top factors that determine where your site appears on Google.
Each time a website links to yours, it’s like a ‘vote’ telling the search engines your site is worth visiting.
This is where link building comes in.
We help you get more links to your website to give your site more authority.
We achieve this in a few ways.
Create Content Assets
If you create great content, people will naturally want to link to it and use it as a resource. As we’ll explain below, there’s leg-work that goes into finding sites that want to link to you.
Before that, though, you must make sure the pages on your site are worth linking to.
We use the techniques we described above to make pages worth visiting, thus worth linking to.
Buying links from spammy site directories no longer works.
You can, however, get good links from finding quality directories.
What makes a directory quality:
- Manual review – A good directory has people who will actually look at your page to determine if it’s worth linking to. Spammy ‘pay to play’ directories don’t have these quality controls.
- Relevance – A spammy directory will often feature your business next to something completely unrelated like a gambling website. Good directories are either industry based, e.g. a trucking company association, or location-based, e.g. a local chamber of commerce
We find directories that feature businesses from your industry. We submit your site for consideration, they review the quality of your site and post the link if it meets their standards.
Often, there are related sites who would link to you if they knew who you were and you had content worth sharing.
We offer outreach services to gain links to the content we create for you.
How does this work? We will reach out to other related businesses on your behalf and send them a pitch on why your content is worthing linking to and how linking to it will benefit their site.
For example, we may share an informative article on fire damage restoration with an insurance company. This gives them a useful and relevant resource their clients might need.
The benefit for them is that they don’t have to spend time creating content themselves.
Our outreach process might include other strategies like reaching out to journalists looking for an expert’s opinion about your industry or offering to create a guest blog post for a related business in exchange for a link.
Linked gained through outreach are the highest quality because they take real effort and relationship building to get.
If you decide to work with us, you’ll receive a report showing you exactly how many backlinks your site is getting with details on how they’ve affected your site’s performance.
If your business has been around for a while, information about it will start to populate the web.
Some directories will create pages for your company without asking you.
Actually, this happens often.
Here’s where this can turn into a problem.
Information about your business will change over time. You might move locations, change your phone number, change your hours, change your website’s URL, create & delete social media profiles, etc.
If these changes aren’t monitored, you can have inconsistent information displaying online, which has a negative impact on your SEO.
This is especially important for Local SEO because the search engines track the consistency and uniformity of your business information online. Mainly, the name, address, and phone number of your business (NAP).
Again take Google’s thought process into account. If your NAP information is inconsistent, why would Google want to rank your website?
This would confuse searchers, which is the opposite of what the search engines want.
Also, consider the impacts an inconsistent profile has on your business.
How does your brand look if someone searches for your business online, calls the provided phone number, and gets a disconnected message?
They’re probably not going to keep digging to find the right information. They will look for another company.
In addition to hurting your brand reputation, an inconsistent profile will literally cause you to miss out on potential sales. No good.
Here’s how our online identity services work and why they’ll benefit your business.
These larger directories populate information on smaller directories, helping you create a consistent profile across the web.
We also monitor the overall health score of your online identity profile and make sure to find unclaimed listings, duplicate profiles, and listings with the wrong information.
Remember when we told you links back to your website count as a “vote” for the quality of your business and its content?
There’s another type of “vote” we help you build called a citation.
You earn a citation anytime your business is mentioned online, regardless of whether or not it’s in the form of a link (although certain citations provide links).
Citations can come in the form of social media mentions, reviews, and listings on directories (although the large aggregators find directories and build citations, there are always more to find and claim).
We help you build citations for your business by reaching out to relevant areas online and promoting your business to earn these important relevance signals.
Citation building is also the cornerstone of a solid local SEO strategy.
These citations help you show up in the ‘map pack’ which are those prominent map-based listings you often see on the SERP (example below):
Citation building and link building creates a potent combination to help rank your business online.
We won’t dive into a ton of details here because technical SEO can be very complicated.
Here’s the short version.
Your site performance affects your SEO. A site with performance issues will hamper an SEO campaign even if you do everything else right.
If you work with us, we’ll monitor your site for factors including but not limited to:
- Broken links – Broken links — links that point to an expired page — hurt your user experience, which hurts your SEO. We have tools to check and fix those links.
- Redirects – Anytime you remove a page from your site or change the URL, you must redirect the old URL to a new one because if you don’t, your page will show an error message called a 404
- Loading speed – The way you add images and media to your pages, structure the code, and develop a site architecture can all impact how fast your site loads. We work to keep your websites loading as quickly as possible.
Simple Reporting to Help You Understand Your SEO Campaign Performance
SEO can get confusing … fast.
This is why we try to share the performance of your campaign in the simplest way possible.
We do this because we know you don’t have time to become an SEO expert. You need to work on your business.
We also know that, although many factors and metrics contribute to SEO, you want to understand a few key things about your campaign and you want to know that it’s working.
Our reports include easy to understand information like:
- How many people are visiting your site through Google and whether that number is increasing or decreasing over time and by how much?
- How many leads you receive directly from Google searches, e.g., phone calls and contact form submissions
- Where your website is ranking for important key terms related to your business
Simple reporting helps you understand if our campaign is helping you reach your business goals, which is the only real metric that matters.
You’ll receive automated messages each month and a more in-depth report for each quarter.
After you receive your quarterly report, we’ll schedule a phone or in person, meeting to review it, help you understand it, and answer your questions.
While in-depth, this guide shares exactly what we do, how we do it, and why our services will benefit your business.
Why pull back the curtain and show you our techniques? Because we believe transparency is vital.
You need to be able to understand our services.
You need to work with a company you can trust, not because we say we’re trustworthy, but because we plainly and simply show you how trustworthy we are.
We love helping business owners because we’re passionate businesses owners ourselves.
SEO is one of the best marketing techniques you can use for your business and educating our clients while helping them not only builds stronger businesses, but stronger business owners too.
Your business is successful because you’re in expert in your field. That’s why you went looking for another expert to help you with your online marketing.
Meet with us and you won’t have to wonder if we’re Minneapolis SEO experts, we’ll demonstrate it for you in a way that’s undeniable.
That’s a bold claim, but we’re a bold company who stands behind our work. Connect with us and you’ll see.
You’re at the end of a 4,000 + word guide because you’re interested and curious.
Here’s what you do next. Fill out this form below, receive a free audit in the next 48 hours, and see the expertise for yourself.
See you on the other side. We can’t wait to connect with you.