Your business has a website — now what? It’s time for SEO.
SEO will fine-tune your site, driving traffic to your business through search engines like Google. When it comes to the internet, traffic means customers, and customers mean sales.
What is SEO and how does it work? Trust us, there’s a lot to know — from the outside it can seem pretty mysterious. It’s possible to put in the time and effort to optimize your own site, but wouldn’t you rather invest that energy in running your company?
Here’s where the best small-business SEO company comes into play. You could pay for traffic through online advertising, but why not do everything you can to drive prospective customers and clients to your site through the power of search engines. (And best of all, for free!)
That way, you know for sure that the customer is there for the exact goods and services your business provides.
In this article, we’ll tell you why you need a small-business SEO company, how to choose one, and everything you need to know about the very best SEO companies that cater to small businesses. Best of all, you’ll hear from the small SEO companies themselves, telling you why their service is the best for you and your business.
With the best small-business SEO company on your side, your website will become an asset, driving sales with an appreciable effect on your bottom line. An SEO company from our ranking will turn that investment you made in an online presence into real and tangible revenue.
Choosing the Best SEO Company for Small Businesses
Before choosing an SEO company for your business, it’s helpful to understand a little bit about SEO and how it works. There’s too much to cover here, but if you’re hiring a company to take care of the highly technical side of SEO, here’s what you need to know (in plain English):
SEO, or search engine optimization, calibrates both the content and the technical side of your website to increase the likelihood that your site shows up at or near the top of search engine results for the goods and services provided by your company.
In other words, when a customer standing in an inch of water in their kitchen searches through Google “best plumbers in my area,” your company, Joe’s Best Plumbing LLC, will show up at the top of the list. And trust us, showing up at or near the top of that search engine result page (also called SERP) is powerful and will drive a lot of business to your site and, in turn, to your business.
For those non-technical among us, that’s about all you need to know about SEO. Trust us, though, because the best SEO company will do more than tweak a few keywords here or there, or just futz with some programming language elsewhere.
When choosing the best SEO company for your small business, keep the following in mind:
Can I Just Do it In-House?
Maybe you already have an email newsletter, and maybe you’re already doing a pretty good job posting to social media. Maybe your nephew Jason is a real computer whiz. Perhaps you’ve also checked your website traffic, and it’s as busy as you need it to be. Maybe you don’t need more business. Do you even need to hire an SEO company?
Maybe not! But keep in mind, SEO isn’t a one-time service. It’s a process, with keyword best practices and powerful search engine algorithms changing constantly and without warning. What works one day may not work the next. Unless you can devote one full-time position to the task, it’s probably best to hire out.
Working with the best SEO company keeps you on top of all that: guiding adequate website traffic and business revenue in the short term toward solid growth in the future.
What Services Do SEO Companies Provide?
Start the process of searching for an SEO company and one thing will become clear right away: there are a lot of businesses out there that offer SEO services. How do you know which one’s right for you?
Anna-Vija McClain, founder of Piccolo Marketing, a boutique SEO marketing agency with 30 clients, five full-time staff, and more than 10 part-time contractors, has some advice:
“If your small business is looking for an SEO partner, you should always get a definition of what actual activities they will do to improve your ranking,” McClain tells Business Pundit in an email. “If the proposal only says ‘SEO,’ ask them what actions they will take and to update the scope of work.”
McLain says to look for SEO “ingredients” like the following:
- Keyword research
- Claiming directories and citations
- Optimizing your website content
- Developing backlinks
- Creating photos and videos coded for search engines
What Do Other Clients Have to Say About the Service?
Before settling on an SEO company, be sure to check what current clients have to say about the service. Of course, every company says they’re the best in the business. Customer testimonials often serve as the real proof, however. When evaluating a possible SEO partner, look for the following:
Are case studies and testimonials clearly posted on their website?
Any worthwhile SEO company will post customer reviews, testimonials, and case studies directly on their own website. Each example should state clearly the nature of the industry, the challenges faced, the strategies utilized to overcome those challenges, and examples of results.
Of course, the SEO company is going to cherry pick the best customer reviews to post on their website, so don’t be afraid to call the SEO company for direct contact information to check their references. Or, even better than that, a complete list of their clients, with contact information included.
It’s also a good idea to go beyond the SEO company’s own website in search of client feedback. To seek raw reviews of the SEO service before they’ve been filtered by the company in question, try Google Reviews, Yelp, and Clutch.
Is it a personality match?
Most SEO companies aren’t that big. The process in fact, can be highly one-on-one or limited to a small group of experts that get to know you and your business.
Be sure to check the about-us page on an SEO company’s website. Does it feel like it will be a good match on a personal level? Hiring an SEO company is not so different than hiring a new employee: personalities and a good working relationship matter. If you suspect it might not be a good match on that level, trust your gut and move on.
Now that we’ve provided some pointers when shopping for an SEO company for your business, let’s now move on the main event. Up next are the 10 best SEO companies for small businesses.
What Is the Best Small-Business SEO Company?
To bring you the best SEO company for your small business, we applied the metrics we’ve already mentioned to each business, plus gathering testimony from the businesses themselves. That way you won’t just have to take our word for it: you’ll hear directly from the source why their business is among the very best SEO companies in the nation.
We broke down our ranking into the following categories:
- Best Overall: Linchpin SEO
- Best Family-Owned SEO Company: Red Canoe Media
- Best for Tech Startups: JJ Studio
- Best Fully Remote SEO Company: Galactic Fed
- Best SEO Company Teaching SEO Skills: Digital Dynamo
- Best for Small Budgets: Rank Fuse
- Best for SEO and Web Design: Digital Gravy
- Best Woman-Owned SEO Company: Maria Grace LLC
- Best for Scalable Businesses: Red Egg Marketing
- Best Hands-On: Ferreys & Co
Best Overall: Linchpin SEO
Coming in first in our ranking of the best small-business SEO is Linchpin SEO. Linchpin is made up of seasoned professionals bringing their years of experience to SEO for small businesses. “In short you get senior-level and above knowledge and experience at an affordable price,” Linchpin founder Bill Ross tells Business Pundit.
“I started Linchpin SEO because I believe in a better small-business SEO agency experience,” he continues. “By prioritizing project efficiency, our client relationships, and caring about our clients’ success (most say too much), we’re able to achieve better marketing ROI, increased leads and sales, and provide exceptional client experiences.”
When shopping for SEO services, Ross says the company you choose should not just sell you a package, but rather tailor their approach to your specific business goals. You should also ensure processes are in place to manage, organize, and build your projects going forward.
Those processes should include monthly reports outlining metrics. Insights should also be provided, “This goes beyond just exporting or taking screenshots from Google Analytics,” Ross goes on to say. “Reports must have custom metrics that speak to your goals, and insights for future strategies.”
And Ross says don’t forget to check for testimonials from real people (and by real, he means folks you can actually find on LinkedIn).
Last, look at their website. Is it well designed with great informative content? Does it provide a great experience? If not, “then I’m not sure you should trust them with your website and brand,” Ross says.
Best Family-Owned SEO Company: Red Canoe Media
When a company of any sort is family-owned, it generally says something about their level of service and the kind of investment they have in the quality of their product. For that kind of experience, we recommend Red Canoe Media, the best family-owned SEO company in our ranking.
Specializing in SEO for small businesses, Red Canoe provides digital marketing, SEO, and paid ad management to small businesses all across the U.S. This veteran and family-owned business has provided years of SEO experience to a wide variety of small-business owners, generating more local leads and revenue for their clients.
Services also offered by Red Canoe include WordPress maintenance, website security, Facebook advertising, and done-for-you marketing. Past clients include the internationally known clothing brand, Carhartt, among many others.
Will Hanke, president of Red Canoe Media, says starting digital marketing is pretty easy and low-cost, “but that doesn’t mean they’re any good,” he continues. “We’ve been at this longer than Google has been a thing,” Hanke says. And when you’re shopping for an SEO company, he says to be sure to ask for a case study from a current client. “Good SEO companies won’t be afraid to share their successes,” he adds.
And cheaper isn’t better, especially when it comes to your potential revenue, Hanke continues, “Consider SEO an investment in your company’s future and not an expense. It should easily cover ROI.”
Best for Tech Startups: JJ Studio
Tech startups have unique needs when it comes to SEO. Who better to understand that world than two former Uber execs? That’s who founded JJ Studio, our choice for the best SEO company for tech startups.
With a focus on providing marketing and product launch services to startups and small businesses, JJ Studio offers their clients the benefits of Silicon Valley-style expertise without having to hire a Silicon Valley–priced employee.
JJ Studio’s specialty is series A and B startups looking to grow their user base, launch new markets and verticals, or streamline their operations. They also provide end-to-end project management for new product launches, among many other kinds of projects. They also provide ongoing consulting and area ownership on a monthly retainer basis, as well as one-off, hourly consulting.
JJ Studio founder and former Uber exec Janeesa Hollingshead tells Business Pundit that small businesses should be cautious when they’re comparing SEO services.
She goes on to day “There are many SEO agencies that promise a number-one ranking on Google for any keyword selected within a ridiculously short timeframe These offers sound too good to be true because they are — SEO takes time and continuous effort, and no one can guarantee an organic number-one spot on Google.”
Additionally, small-business owners should trust but verify.
To do so, Hollingshead suggests the following tip: “If [you] are interviewing an agency that states they’ve achieved specific rankings for other clients, it’s very easy to open an incognito window and Google the term yourself to check those claims.”
Best Fully Remote SEO Company: Galactic Fed
Looking for an SEO company that offers their services fully remote? A company you can trust with your SEO marketing, and then, to leave you alone to run your business, only to show real, provable results when necessary?
If that’s you, consider the best fully remote SEO company in our ranking, Galactic Fed.
This fully remote growth marketing agency specializing in SEO and PPC has helped tons of small businesses grow fast. Through white hat best SEO practices, Galactic remains hyper focused, using their expertise to help small businesses gain visibility and increase traffic.
They’re also known for content and copywriting that converts, helping develop content strategy, keyword research, and public relations, as well as lead generation and content management. Best of all, because you have enough headaches running your business already, it’s all done fully remote taking these important considerations off your plate.
When evaluating SEO services, Galactic communications manager Dallin Porter says don’t neglect on-page services like monitoring page load speed, using headings and subheadings, crawling the site regularly for broken links, addressing site map errors, and weeding out duplicate content.
Porter explains these things, in conjunction with off-page services like building backlinks from other reputable sites, using social media to drive traffic, and utilizing Google My Business and local SEO to the fullest extent possible, make for a complete SEO package. Accept nothing less.
Best SEO Company teaching SEO skills: Digital Dynamo
But what if you’re just looking for someone to help your business get started with SEO, equipping you with the skills required to take on SEO for yourself?
That company is Digital Dynamo, the best SEO company in our ranking that will teach you the SEO skills you need to eventually be successful in SEO all on your own.
Digital Dynamo marketing strategist and founder Marcie Lord says what differentiates her agency from others is that they will teach clients basic SEO skills, allowing their clients to take SEO work on for themselves some time down the line. This saves their clients money in the long run, but also empowers them to make their own marketing decisions.
Additional benefit of choosing Digital Dynamo, Lord explains, is their expertise in web development, as well as Google Analytics.
“Digital Dynamo endeavors to de-mystify SEO,” Lord tells Business Pundit in an email “whereas other agencies prefer that their clients know little about the process, making the client fully reliant on them.”
“We can implement optimizations without having to engage a developer,” she says, “and we can implement tracking that lets us show the client if the website — and the work we’ve been performing — are working toward their bottom line and goals.”
When asked what she’d tell a small-business leader interested in SEO, Lord says, ” Any agency you engage needs to give you robust reporting at the end of each month,” and she says that report needs to include both gains and losses in organic traffic, as well as impressions, clickthrough rate, conversions, and search rankings.
The report also needs to include an explanation about what they did in the previous month and what the agency is going to do to keep growing your company’s search presence, Lord continues. “Without reporting, there is almost no point in doing SEO,” she says.
Best for Small Budgets: Rank Fuse
Small-business budgets are tight enough already. Can yours really absorb the added expense of hiring an SEO company? Rank Fuse, the best SEO company for small budgets, says it’s possible.
“The main reason we are so good at catering to small businesses is that we are one ourselves,” Rank Fuse president Kevin Pike tells Business Pundit through an email. “Our small team knows what it takes to operate a small business, and we know how to implement strategies that can help small businesses improve their search engine rankings.”
Even if your budget is $500 dollars a month, Pike continues, Rank Fuse is here to help, “Which is pretty rare,” he says.
One piece of advice Pike and his company give small-business owners in regard to SEO is to make sure all the metadata is filled in on their website. “You want Google to understand what users will find on every page of your website,” he says, and metadata will help.
Another tip is to optimize every piece of content you put on your website. “We always recommend that all of our clients either produce their content or have us produce content for their website,” Pike says, “and that that content needs to be optimized for SEO.”
According to Pike, proper optimization means making sure the correct keywords are included — including local keywords — as well as internal links and images.
“We also recommend putting local keywords in your metadata if you only sell products or services in a specific area,” Pike says.
Best for SEO and Web Design: Digital Gravy
If you’re after SEO services, why not make it a one-two punch and get some web design services while you’re at it? The best SEO and web design company in our ranking for small businesses is Digital Gravy.
Where many SEO agencies just do SEO consulting or advisory, Digital Gravy is a full-service web design and SEO agency. They build sites from scratch but also optimize existing sites. This saves a small business money, since they don’t have to hire multiple providers to manage both their website and their rankings.
“We believe we’re the best option for small businesses because we take the time to teach our clients how SEO actually works,” Digital Gravy CEO Kevin Geary tells Business Pundit through an email.
That way, he continues, clients fully understand the process. “We never put clients at risk by cutting corners or cheating the rules,” Geary says. “We do everything in-house — no outsourcing — we set realistic expectations; and we hold ourselves accountable with analytics and rank tracking.”
Geary says Digital Gravy understands that small businesses need local SEO — which is very different from traditional SEO.
“Make sure the agency you’re looking to hire fully explains the differences to you,” he continues. Geary also cautions that too much bargain hunting in the world of SEO can lead to scammers. If the price is too good to be true, it probably is.
“SEO isn’t a quick fix tactic and it’s not necessarily ‘simple,'” he says. “You want to hire a team that’s willing to work closely with you and that’s going to be around for the long haul,” which Geary defines as 12 months, at a minimum.
Best Woman-Owned SEO Company: Maria Grace LLC
The tech industry is a male-dominated world, and so too can the SEO industry seem to be. To support a woman-owned SEO company, we recommend Maria Grace LLC. Grace’s area of expertise is search engine optimization for Squarespace websites, an important niche as that platform continues to grow.
“While the Squarespace platform claims to be optimized for SEO,” Grace says, “there are several key components missing from most sites.” If potential customers cannot find the business through Google or other search engines, marketing the product to the right people will be an uphill battle, she continues.
Grace goes on to say the first step of any successful SEO campaign is defining the business’s target customer, which is the foundation for every part of the online marketing.
After defining that customer, Grace will do the heavy lifting for you, from keyword research to content editing, and from creation to the technical aspects of metadata, including site titles, “and everything a business owner may not know about,” she says.
When shopping for SEO services, Grace recommends asking the following questions: What is the value of good SEO to my company? What would it do for my business if I ranked significantly higher in search engines? Also, based on this value, what is my budget for the project? Am I looking for a one-time overhaul of my website, or ongoing support?
“Because I have owned a small business for over seven years, my approach is very individualized and specific to the small-business sphere,” Grace explains.
Best for Scalable Businesses: Red Egg Marketing
Even though your business is small right now, it won’t be in the future. You have big ambitions, and you need your website to keep up. For the unique SEO needs of scalable businesses, we recommend Red Egg Marketing. The team at Red Egg Marketing believes that businesses, regardless of size, can employ affordable, highly effective marketing strategies. What’s important is that those marketing strategies need to be able to scale.
“We’re a full-service marketing company [that] works with small- to medium-sized businesses around the nation to develop highly tailored marketing strategies,” Red Egg digital marketing manager Delaney Kline says.
“Working with us is like having your own on-demand marketing department,” she continues. “Our unique concept means clients can call us any time of day to bounce ideas off of our marketing experts and get new initiatives moving at the drop of a hat.”
At Red Egg, clients are able to leverage the benefits of an in-house marketing team while only committing to the services they need. “This helps curb costs while getting the business on the map,” Kline says.
She goes on to say that, rather than employing cookie-cutter strategies and marketing plans, Red Egg works with businesses to make sure their unique marketing goals are being met. “We believe this is the key to finding the perfect small-business marketing company,” she says.
When shopping for SEO services, Kline says to look for a team that will be flexible and available.
“Small businesses often don’t have the budget for a large-scale project, so it’s important that your marketing team is able to prioritize what’s important for your goals and scale from there,” Kline continues.
Best Hands-on: Ferreys & Co
But maybe you don’t want an SEO company to meet with you once and then disappear. Perhaps you want a close working relationship with the service you hire, because that’s the kind of manager you are — no stone unturned, no corners cut — and you expect the same philosophy from your team. For the best hands-on SEO company, we recommend Ferreys & Co.
A full-service marketing agency, Ferreys & Co. specialize in niche industries like wedding, law, hospitality, spas and medi-spas, and the service industry. Among many others, services offered by Ferreys & Co. include web development, SEO, SEM/PPC, and one day/one page for building a beautiful web presence quickly and efficiently.
What really sets Ferreys & Co. apart is the high-touch relationship they create with their clients, with daily updates from an SEO Strategist, helping move the agreed-upon strategy in the right direction — which gets faster results with more accountability, Ferreys and Co. director of digital platforms marketing and sales Shearly Reyes tells Business Pundit in an email.
“Also, our ‘complete’ plan is just that: complete,” she says. “If the rules change or if the strategy changes and we need to add services to get results, the client isn’t penalized with upsells; rather, we incur the costs under our monthly fee.”