The Best SEO in Ireland 2019
As a follow up on the article best-seo-in-ireland-2018 we decided to repeat the exercise using much the same test criteria but with one or 2 enhancements in keeping with the ever changing SEO landscape.
Once again, the main purpose of this exercise is to measure performance to help with improving our performance and to get some insights into our competitors.
You can’t manage what you don’t measure
W. Edwards Deming
So why would we want to know about our competition?
We take the approach that there is always something new to learn and if our competitors are better than us at something, then this is an opportunity to learn, to improve and to excel.
Finally, the overall objective of measuring our performance is to set new goals in order to be the best SEO company in Ireland in 2020.
What makes an effective SEO company?
The primary objective for any Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) company in Ireland must be to help their clients achieve the highest possible ranking, on the major search engines like Google and Bing, for the search terms that are most meaningful to the client. The SEO company also should advise clients to ensure that the key phrases are well chosen and represent the search terms that people are using.
In addition to keywords, there is of course helping the client to be perceived as the expert in the field; to encourage other sites to reference the client site; to engage with potential leads through social media; to optimise the site infrastructure to ensure a good experience for potential clients who visit the site and so on…
However, these objectives are difficult to measure because SEO companies don’t openly advertise who their clients are or provide metrics on how well they are able to meet their clients’ expectation in terms of these factors.
As SEO companies are offering services that apply to their own success, what better measure could there be than to measure the SEO companies against their own performance. Once again start with the same 3 categories used in 2018 for measurement of success:
- Performance – how well does the company rank in Ireland (SERP)?
- Engagement – has the company engaged with the interested community in Ireland? and what SEO or digital information has the company shared in the form of presentations, news, sales information etc?
- Technical Ability – can the company claim any technical SEO expertise? have they stretched the boundaries or displayed any good technical knowledge in the field?
Performance was measured by how well the company is able to rank in Ireland for the search terms that prospective SEO clients are most likely to search on in Ireland. We will confine this assessment to searches on Google as Google commands a 96.33% market share for search in Ireland (accoring to Statcounter Jan – Dec 2019 Ireland).
The list of companies identified by this list then were assessed in terms of blogs, presentations, news, social interactions, social engagement or anything else that the company may have provided to advance SEO in Ireland or to improve the knowledge of web site owners in Ireland during 2019. This assessment includes any (free) training provided, video etc. The information in this section is largely qualitative or semi-quantitative at best.
Data (measurement) -> information (interpretation) -> knowledge (progress)
As SEO is a technical field in which consultants need to have a good skills, Technical Ability of the company was included in the assessment. In 2019, we defined technical ability as ‘the application of SEO that extends beyond standard SEO techniques keywords and backlinks’. We believe that Technical SEO is about gathering data and turning this data into knowledge in order to improve the performance of the website in search. This Technical Performance measure must be quantitative (or semi-quantitative) and should help to interpret the data in a novel or innovative way.
Performance: Organic Ranking
The same key search phrases used in the January 2018 assessment were used to obtain the list of SEO companies eligible for the current assessment. This approach allows comparisons to be made between the SEO performance in 2018 and the SEO performance in 2019. There is an assumption in this that the leading SEO companies are those that are best able to promote themselves for ‘SEO in Ireland’. We feel that this is a fair starting assumption because SEO is all about promoting the client through Search Optimisaton and SEO companies that are unable to promote themselves for what they do, are unlikely to be able to promote their clients.
The list of search phrases for SEO companies in Ireland was as follows:
Next we extracted a list of the top 20 ranking companies from Google for each key search phrase and created a table containing the domain and the ranking position. We then applied a weighting based on this ranking position using the assumption that position 1 is twice as likely to be clicked than position 2 and position 2 is twice as likely to be clicked than position 3 and so on… Finally, we calculated the sum the results for each company and sorted these to find the top 10 companies that display the best organic ranking performance. The higher the number the more prominent the company is in organic search.
Engagement: Articles, Presentations, Information
Engagement is all about interacting with the community and with potential clients by showcasing the consultant or company knowledge of SEO. The information will not be primarily of a sales nature and will have the goal of disseminating SEO knowledge to people searching the web or through public SEO courses (on-line or direct). The information provided does not need to be novel or particularly technical, however the information must be accurate, relevant and plausible.
Of the companies in the starting list, 5 companies had an active Blog that presented SEO articles of general interest which were not not only intended to driving sales back to the company but provided valuable information to the community. Also the articles needed to be published in 2018. The websites that met these criteria are:
- CreatorSEO – https://creatorseo.com/seo-blog/
- Web Clare – https://webclare.com/news/
- Ireland SEO – https://www.irelandseo.ie/blog/
- New World Digital – https://www.newworlddigital.ie/category/blog/
- Core Optimisation – https://www.coreoptimisation.com/blog/
This is a big improvement on the results in 2018 where only 2 of the SEO companies provided a news or blog section that offered current expertise and valuable information.
Active Social Media Presence
Social media has become an integral part of any Digital improvement or SEO programme.
The table below summarises the results for each of the top SEO companies listed. An active presence was defined as having at least 3 posts in the past month and is represented by a tick. Having an inactive account was marked by a dash and if no account was found then this was marked by a cross.
A semi-quantitative figure of merit value calculated by assigning a value of 5 to a tick, 1 to a dash and 0 to a cross. The numbers were added together by company and normalised to the overall mean value. The final number can be interpreted as: higher is better, 0 is average and negative is below average.
The outcome of this exercise ranks the companies as follows:
- Web Clare
- Core Optimisation
- Ireland SEO
- Dublin SEO Expert
- Nuasoft (NUA)
- New World Digital
- Ignite Solutions
Formal Training courses
This refers to relevant (SEO or Digital) training provided to the public or to formal groups in the form of live talks, training courses or on-line training.
We could find evidence of only 1 company that provided formal public training courses in 2019.
- Enterprise Ireland Digital Marketing Presentations – SEO [4 session in 2019]
- AB Commerce client training for Magico
The only company that presented infographics relevant to SEO was CreatorSEO.
Active YouTube pages were found for one company. Promotional video posts were accepted as this section is about engagement and not not about technical SEO (which is the subject of the next section).
This assessment focusses on physical evidence that the company has some level of technical expertise. Any sales documentation is discounted from this assessment. The following would qualify for this area:
- White papers, Patents, Articles on SEO that include some form of measurement, ranking or semi-quantitative analysis of factors that influence SEO performance;
- Developed software tools for measuring site performance, social engagement, competitor comparison, on-page tag implementation, page errors etc.
White Papers, Reports
The only company in Ireland that provides tools for SEO and digital mareting is CreatorSEO. These tools are available as stand-alone performance assessments, WordPress plugins and Paid-for Digital Performance tools. The tools provide:
- On Page performance assessment
- Readability assessment
- Performance tracking
- Competitor Monitoring
- Backlink evaluation
- Social media impact appraisal
Digital marketing tools that allow companies to monitor visits to their website and then allow these to be resolved into Leads, prospects, Customers and Competitors are particularly useful for growth (especially for B2B companies). These tools were included in the list of useful Digital Marketing resources in 2019.
CreatorSEO provides tools for search engine optimisation and for lead tracking and identification. A WordPress plugin for monitoring and improving SEO is available on the WordPress repository.
- Stand-alone SEO tools application (http://mysiteperformance.com/)
- WordPress Rank Plugin (https://wordpress.org/plugins/ranking-and-competitor-tracking/)
- Client SEO Dashboard (https://hub5050.com/)
- Lead identification, tracking and monitoring (https://leads5050.com/)
We adopted a similar approach to identify the leading SEO companies in Ireland in 2019, as this allows comparisons between 2018 and 2019. It can be argued that the assumptions and assessment techniques used can be improved and we have little doubt that this assessment will get a little better every year. We are always open to suggestions, so please let us know if you are aware of a better way of appraising the SEO companies in Ireland or other proposals for the Best SEO in Ireland 2020 assessment.