Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
For some clients it is not enough to know that we give a money-back guarantee if we fail to get you on the front page of Google for the keywords in the campaign. They want to know what we do, and in many cases other companies have tried to keep a veil over the process to make them think it is some sort of magic. I can assure you there is no magic and as far as understanding how Google ranks websites, actually what it takes to get to the top is pretty well known.
Below I have outlined the steps to a successful SEO campaign:
1. Keyword Research:
It’s no fun to win when nobody’s watching!
I have met many people who come to me and say “SEO doesn’t work”. They explain they are on the front page and their phone never rings. In most cases I find that this person was sold an SEO package that was completely absent of simple strategy.
It is easy to find out how many people search for a certain phrase, and if no one is searching, there is no reason to spend time and money trying to win (although in most of these cases it is easy because no one is trying to win). Perfect example: I was recently working with a prospect that ranked very well for “design build firm Marietta” the problem…less than 5 people per month search for this phrase. In my experience if you don’t have at least a few hundred people searching it is not going to garner any results. Now, do a little research and you will find many terms such as “kitchen remodeler Marietta” where there is significant traffic to generate leads. So, first lesson in buying an SEO package: know what keywords you are trying to win and how many people search for them.
2. On-Page Optimization:
Tell Google who you can help.
On-Page Optimization involves laying out pages and content in a way that Google and other search engines can understand what your website/business is all about. We won’t get into the finer details here, but basically if you want Google to see you as a valuable site for “Atlanta Roofing Specialist” you better have some titles and content that reference the same. There are some things in this part that could be considered tricks, but by no means is there any magic.
All of our SEO programs will make certain that your Titles, Site Maps, Page Descriptions, etc. are set up to be Google-friendly. For the most part, this is a very small time commitment of only a few hours or less for a local campaign with 5-10 keywords. Many companies that sell you SEO and offer no guarantee as to what will happen are just coming in and doing this one-time fix. In most local campaigns where there is some competition such as the “Atlanta Roofing Specialist” mentioned above, On-Page optimization can take your site from not being found at all to getting you in the top 50-100, unfortunately there is no reason to spend money on the On-Page optimization if you don’t have a plan to get to the front page because from a results perspective, being on page 4 is pretty much the same as being on page 400.
3. Off-Page Optimization:
Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work. ~Thomas A. Edison
The final and most important step to getting to the front page of Google has very little to do with brain power. It is much more about spending large amounts of time researching the web, your industry and your competitors to find links.
Links are basically other websites, directories, blogs, etc. that link back to your website. Google views each one of these links as a vote of credibility. In addition, it is not just the number of links but the strength and relevancy of these sites that are linking to you as well. There have been many strategies employed over the years to buy links from other people (called link farms), trade links or just post your website in some random blog posts. But for the most part, these strategies are basically worthless in the eyes of Google today.
So what is one to do?
First we write articles and/or press releases related to your business and industry we then manually submit these articles to online press release sites, article sites and much more. But this alone will generally not generate enough links, so we go back and look for blogs, directories, associations, social media sites etc. related to your industry where we can post information about your website. For the first 3-5 months of a program we generally will have one person dedicated to this type of activity 20-40 hours per week for your website.