Your Guide to Choosing a Los Angeles SEO Expert

Today's businesses live and die by the internet. Reaching target audiences has always been critical. A Pew Research Center fact sheet reveals that 93% of American adults use the internet. With statistics like these, reaching your potential market online becomes even more crucial.

Working with a digital marketing agency offering SEO services is a wise solution, but how do you choose one that best meets your needs? In this guide, you'll discover what you need to know when selecting a Los Angeles SEO Expert.

What Is Search Engine Optimization?

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. It's the practice of optimizing website content to improve its ranking position on search engine results pages. Its origins date to the late 1990s with techniques such as keyword stuffing, indiscriminate link trading, and paying for links.

These tactics no longer work because Google changed its algorithm in the early 2000s to return results based on relevance instead of simple keyword matching.

Why Google?

SEO tactics mostly focus on gaining higher-ranking positions on Google. Why? That's because Google is the prime search engine used by most people. Statistica data reveals that Google has an 84.69% global search market share.

By comparison, Bing has 8.95% while Yahoo has 2.59%. Logically, Google's market share allows it to set industry standards.

How Google Captured the Market

Google used algorithm-based approaches from the start. Its goal was to help users find what they needed in the ever-growing collection of content that was accumulating online in the late 1990s. The company determined that its algorithm approach was more effective than paying people to read and curate content. Through ongoing development and refinement, it created the page ranking system that returned better results than other search engines at the time.

Google's page rank scoring system formed the basis of the algorithms it uses today. This efficiency and accuracy increased the search engine's popularity, allowing it to slowly capture a larger market share.

The search engine's focus on serving relevant content paired well with its Adwords service that launched in 2000. Besides presenting its search results, Adwords displayed ads pertinent to searched keywords. The pay-per-click model resulted from this system. Digital marketing strategies that rely on SEO and PPC ads harness Google in two different ways to gain traffic and leads.

The Importance of Great Content

Content is king. Journalists understand that, and so does Google. As the world's largest search engine tweaks its algorithms, helping users find worthy and relevant content remains a priority. Google uses automated ranking systems to promote content written for the benefit of people. Ultimately, the quality of your content matters. Without it, no amount of SEO matters.

Google encourages creators to judge their content by asking several vital questions. Measures of evaluating content include shareability, originality, insightful analysis, and quality of research. Expertise, authority, and trustworthiness are also critical standards by which Google evaluates and ranks content.

Finally, presentation quality is key. Content should be free of spelling and grammar issues, but it also should avoid including too many ads and display correctly on mobile devices.

SEO & Organic Search Engine Traffic

search engine optimization

The prime goal of SEO is to gain more organic traffic to your website. Quality content and impactful SEO strategies can increase your SERP ranking and organic traffic. Why is this critical to your digital marketing strategy? Let's take a deeper look at what organic traffic means.

The Importance of Organic Traffic 

People use search engines like Google, Bing, or Yahoo to find content. When they get a search results page, they're far less likely to click on paid ads than on links that naturally appear that match the content they want. The natural search results lead to organic traffic — visits to your website from users who have performed a search and clicked on a link on a SERP.

Organic traffic offers several benefits:

  • You don't have to pay for visits from organic search results.
  • It's easier to gain new visitors who've never heard of your brand.
  • Organic search traffic comes from all over the globe.
  • Organic traffic increases your site's credibility with search engines.

Two notable statistics demonstrate the importance of organic search engine traffic:

  • 70% of eCommerce sales begin with search engine activity. 
  • 75% of all clicks come from the top three results on a Google SERP.

Google frequently updates its algorithm to serve up better quality results in organic searches. A marketing agency in Los Angeles has the expertise to understand and track these algorithm changes. With this expertise, your agency can create effective marketing strategies and modify them as conditions change.

Organic vs Pay-Per-Click Traffic

Search engine activity is essential to gaining more website activity. But why not just pay for ads? We've already discovered that users prefer to click on organic results rather than ads. Semrush reveals that organic click-thru rates fall between 25% and 40%, whereas pay-per-click generates a maximum click-thru rate of 5%.

Hubspot's advertising ROI calculator can give you some idea of how organizations spend money on pay-per-click ads. With this tool, you can estimate values such as target conversion and lead-to-customer rates, average sale amounts, and expected cost per click.

Depending on market conditions and desired results, your strategy may include a small portion of PPC ads with more efforts on SEO to gain organic search traffic.

What Do Digital Marketing Agencies Do?

Digital marketing agencies use thoughtfully chosen strategies to increase their client's online presence. By helping achieve these goals, their clients enjoy more engagement and increased sales.

While every agency is different, many have teams of experts who handle multiple aspects of digital marketing:

  • Graphic designers
  • Website designers
  • Marketing consultants
  • Content writers
  • Social media marketing experts.
  • Digital marketing strategists

An internet marketing agency may provide many unique services such as:

  • Content marketing
  • Social media marketing
  • Search engine optimization
  • Website development
  • Google Ads management
  • Email marketing campaigns

Is It Worth Hiring Los Angeles SEO Services?

los angeles seo services

Like many organizations, you may need to choose between hiring an in-house SEO specialist and working with a digital marketing agency with SEO services. Both have distinctive advantages, but you may benefit more from working with an agency.

Wide Range of Knowledge

Maybe you know a little about keywords. Perhaps you've tried a little keyword research by yourself. Unless you've studied these concepts extensively, you could be merely stabbing in the dark with your SEO strategies.

An agency offering SEO and digital marketing services offers a large collection of knowledge it can use for your organization. Besides working with many clients in a broad spectrum of industries, your agency also knows what gets results. Pairing SEO with other proven strategies, its experts can help you gain better reach in digital spaces for both mobile and desktop users.

Google Algorithm Expertise

Google continually refines its algorithms, resulting in hundreds if not thousands of yearly changes. To provide the best possible SEO marketing services, your agency must stay in the know about these changes. With regular modifications to its SEO strategy, your agency can help you gain and maintain advantages over your competitors.

Meanwhile, a full-service agency can recommend services to work with your SEO strategy. Together, these can improve your search engine ranking, reach, and engagement.

Budget-Friendlier Solutions

A new employee is an investment: You must pay that individual's wages, benefits, and other perks to compensate them for their labor. If you hire an SEO specialist through a staffing or consulting firm, you must pay the firm's going rate. If you hire only one individual, you only benefit from that person's efforts and knowledge.

In contrast, you usually pay an SEO agency a flat rate. Many offer subscriptions or bundled services billed through a monthly fee.

Greater Flexibility

Flexibility is ideal on both sides of a client-agency relationship. As your needs change, you can add or remove services to best support your ongoing digital marketing efforts. You're not locked into anything, allowing you and your agency the freedom to react to shifting market conditions and technological developments.

How Much Does a Digital Marketing Agency Cost?

The cost of hiring a digital marketing agency can vary. Moreover, agencies use many different approaches to pricing their services. A brief breakdown of these pricing models may be helpful as you search for a Los Angeles SEO expert:

Monthly Pricing

Monthly subscriptions are a popular pricing model with marketing agencies offering digitally-focused services. Firms typically use this model with contracts or services for which monthly pricing naturally fits, such as SEO, content marketing, and social media marketing.

Hourly Pricing

While hourly pricing is more common among individual marketing consultants, some agencies also use it. Hourly pricing is sometimes the norm for extra services beyond a client's usual contract agreement.


Project-based pricing may be more appropriate with some services: creating and rolling out a marketing campaign or developing a brand new website, for instance. A complete SEO overhaul of an existing website is another example.

Packages or Tiers

Package or tiered pricing is another popular model with digital marketing agencies. With this approach, an agency charges a flat rate for specific service bundles. Packaged and tiered pricing can be a one-time affair or used to price multiple monthly subscription plans.


Some agencies use a menu-based pricing model, charging different rates for each service. While it isn't a typical approach, it may be appropriate for add-on services.

Pricing Information

Semrush provides some helpful data on digital marketing agency pricing. Most agencies' prices fall within a broad spectrum. For SEO, these costs typically average $10,000 per month. Large corporations can pay up to $200,000 per month. Several factors impact pricing, including the service bundle you choose. SEO is not one-and-done — it's a process that requires continuous attention and effort.

Pricing on other digital marketing services can vary. A customized marketing campaign may cost between $10,000 and $40,000, according to Semrush. Pay-per-click ads usually run between $250 and $1500. Social media campaigns can cost from $300 to $5,000 per month.

Which Agency Is Best for Digital Marketing?

Ultimately, the best Los Angeles digital marketing agency is the one whose services and approaches most closely meet your needs. Some helpful tips can guide you in choosing a digital marketing firm.

Tips for Selecting Los Angeles SEO Experts

los angeles seo experts

1. Know Your Goals and Budget

Before you start looking for a marketing agency in Los Angeles, you should consider your goals and your budget. When looking at objectives, think about measurability: ROI, conversion rates, and relevant industry metrics. You also need to know your budget, specifically what you've allocated toward marketing.

2. Review the Portfolio and Case Studies

The results speak for themselves. The first indicator that you're dealing with a reputable agency is its portfolio. Many firms post theirs online, but you can also ask the agency for additional examples. Instead of a portfolio, the agency may have a "case studies" section on its website. Look for cases and examples from clients in similar industries as your own.

3. Look for Transparency

Trustworthiness isn't just a measure that Google uses to rank content. It's also critical to any business relationship. When evaluating digital marketing companies, look for firms that are upfront about their methods. They should be willing to share information about their processes and practices.

Hesitancy to reveal these details could point to unethical practices, namely the use of black hat SEO. Black hat techniques include keyword stuffing, hidden text, link farms, and guest posting networks — all of which can quickly sink your site's ranking or get it deindexed entirely.

4. Think Outside the SEO Box

Sure, you're primarily looking for Los Angeles SEO services, but don't discount other internet marketing agency tools that can benefit your business. We've already mentioned some of these — social media marketing, content marketing, and website development.

It's important to look at SEO as just one tool in a huge toolbox of digital marketing strategies. Together, these can help you achieve long-term growth for your business.

5. Don't Fall for Guarantees

It's easy to be wowed by extraordinary claims and big promises. But before you sign or pay anything, carefully evaluate what you're hearing. There's no overnight success, especially when it comes to SEO. With Google continuously making minor changes to its algorithms, there's no possible way to guarantee specific ranking results.

6. Ask About Reporting Procedures

Along with SEO and other marketing services, a digital marketing company also provides results data to its clients. That's one aspect of transparency, but it also shows each client how the agency's efforts are impacting site traffic, click-thru rates, and other vital metrics.

Besides sharing these metrics, the agency should also analyze and interpret them. As SEO and marketing professionals, it's the agency's job to help you understand what's working, what isn't, and how to modify strategies going forward.

Growth Marketing

Maybe you've heard of the term "growth marketing" before. But isn't all marketing geared toward growth? The answer isn't quite as simple as you may think. Instead of campaigning for a single product, growth marketing is part of brand building. Its core focus includes attracting customers and cultivating long-term loyalty. Growth marketing can use multiple tools and strategies.

Each client defines growth on their terms. Typical goals include better brand recognition, boosting sales, or an increased customer base. While the client must articulate what growth means, the digital marketing agency must understand, recommend, and implement strategies and tools to help generate that growth.

Like SEO, growth marketing is also an ongoing process. There's an experimental dimension to it. Its approaches mirror the scientific method: Start with available information, draft a hypothesis, test the hypothesis, gather resulting data, and analyze the results.

What Is Growth SEO?

los angeles seo agency

Growth SEO is a unique concept pioneered by elk marketing. As a digital marketing agency in Los Angeles, we developed our method starting with three proven SEO pillars:

  • Onsite optimization 
  • Content development
  • Offsite authority

These pillars combine with a data-driven approach to prioritizing keywords based on their potential to increase profits. Critical metrics include keyword position, difficulty, and past return on ad spend data for pay-per-click advertising.

Data-driven approaches are essential to any SEO effort's success. After all, that data holds the key to understanding what works best for any client. Analyzing global search data can reveal keywords with the best volume levels to gain new traffic and fuel growth.

Our Growth SEO methodology yields proven results. Clients such as Highline Wellness have experienced significant advantages: The New York-based eCommerce retailer now ranks in the top three positions on Google for around 300 keywords (and growing!).

Within its first three months of partnering with elk marketing, Highline also saw 42% page-one keyword growth. Another eCommerce client, Neptonics, experienced a 120% growth in online sales. Sands Investment Group, a commercial real estate brokerage firm, increased its website traffic by 87%.

Your Los Angeles SEO Agency

Thanks for reading our helpful guide on choosing a digital marketing agency! As a Los Angeles SEO expert, elk marketing has helped eCommerce retailers, investment groups, nonprofit organizations, and other clients achieve growth and accomplish the goals they desire.

We'd love to discuss how we can help your business achieve its goals with personalized marketing solutions. Get started by completing our contact us form today.