The goal of this article is not so much to educate you the small business owner on SEO but more to fill you in on what good SEO companies do when you hire them.
Tactics change all the time in the SEO world and you have plenty of both white hat SEO companies as well as black hat SEO companies out there.
Here is the video from our live Hangout
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What is SEO
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization and is the process of optimizing digital web assets to rank high in search engines for desired keyword terms.
Why Do SEO
- It works
- It’s not going to stop working any time soon
- It’s cost Effective
- Search Engines Used to Reafirm decisions
- Mobile Phone Searches (location based) terms like near me.
- Your competition is doing it.
According to a study conducted at Cornell University, 80% of all clicks go to the top 3 listings.
Most people only click on websites on the first page of a search engine’s results–including 98% of study respondents.
When you take this study and think about the new layout insides Google with no right hand side bar and 4 paid ads showing first, then the 3 map place that means you are already starting in position 8 if your business is not in the top 3 map places.
WhiteHat SEO vs. BlackHat SEO
I won’t spend much time on this. Blackhat SEO is the process of getting links unnaturally to gain the system where Whitehat SEO is the process of gaining links in a more natural way.
We could quibble all day on the exact terminology and if all SEO is blackhat. The only point I want to make here is that you ensure your SEO company is following industry best practices that we will outline below.
Getting Started with SEO
When a SEO company first get’s hired on they will do an assessment of your current digital assets.
Step 1: Initial Assessment
A look at What an SEO company does
- In-depth interviews with marketing department and technical teams
- Keyword and content analysis
- Internal linking structure analysis
- External linking review
- Competitive analysis
- Graphics/design analysis
- Technical analysis
- Site architecture review
- Benchmark Report analysis
- Current/past SEO initiatives
- Paid search/advertising performance review
These are the main aspects an SEO company will touch upon. They are needed to get an understanding of the current playing field for your companies market and the location in which you serve.
Every market is different and every company within that market is different in their abilities and capabilities.
Step 2: SEO Recommendations
Based on the initial Assessment you will most likely be given a course of action to take moving forward.
If you have not had an expert look over your digital assets in a while you will most likely have some really easy and quick changes you can do to improve your SEO that won’t cost a tremendous amount of money and can often be well worth the cost of an initial assessment.
Digital Asset Changes
You will most likely have some site architecture, images, layout and content changes that will need to be added to your website to get it up to the level or past the level of your existing competition.
Off Page Changes
In most cases your SEO company will make some changes to other assets online such as anchor text coming into your site or attempt to remove or change links on other sites that are referring to your site.
There are other 1 off things that most likely will have to be changed but the above 3 are generally the initial things that need to be done while you start on step 3.
If analytics are not setup this is generally done at this stage. It will include Google Analytics as well as Google and Bing Webmasters and probably Facebook as well as remarketing code if none are being used.
Step 3: Ongoing SEO Optimization and Management
This is the part where you pay the money fee to help maintain and improve upon your SEO rankings.
I often compare this to paying for an ad in the phone book. To be listed, it costs you nothing. You can have that text line with you company in really small print and the phone number listed.
You can also upgrade to be highlighted in bold or you can upgrade to a 1:16 page ad, 1:8th ad a quarter page ad, a third page ad, half page ad or full page ad.
The bigger your ad and if you have decent ad copy the more calls you will get.
The same goes for SEO. In general, the more of a budget you have the more initial boost you can get.
Ongoing Efforts usually include
Content Recommendations / strategy plan
I’ll often not let clients do their own content just because it never gets done. A content strategy is a must have in today’s SEO and it should encompass not just your website but also your social sites.
Reporting and Analysis
This is where you have your monthly 1 hour call where you go over reporting and cover metrics to show how you are fairing online and offline. This is important because you need to be able to have a measuring tool for how the SEO company is performing.
Ad Hoc Recommendations
Based upon the initial successes or failures that you have, some changes will be needed to your marketing plan. Notice I said marketing plan and not SEO plan.
Ongoing SEO Support
Search Algorithms change all the time and with RankBrain it could be daily. It’s important for your SEO company to constantly monitor new changes and how this may affect your rankings and position in the search engines.
Link Building and Online Profile Management
- Link building
Link building is the main item every SEO company will focus on. This in the end is where you gain your authority and what can push you to the top of Google.
Building links correctly however takes a lot of time, phone calls, e-mails and effort. It’s not uncommon for my team to have to spend long periods of time building a relationship to get a link for a client.
- Competitive Comparison
This is an ongoing process where your rank is tracked for numerous keywords you wish to rank for and your competitors are tracked for their backlinks and position. You need a clear picture of what your competitors are doing so you can match and stay ahead of the them.
- Content Creation and Promotion
This is overlooked by many SEO companies but important enough for me to include it as it’s slowly becoming the new normal item on the SEO invoice.
Developing GREAT content in any format and then driving paid traffic targeting influencers, bloggers and industry experts to that content is quickly becoming the new normal to acquire links.
Where most SEO Companies Fall Short
They do not provide digital marketing help. It’s all about you not only getting that click but also getting the sale. This is where most SEO companies fall short.
Having not just an SEO Strategy but also combining that with a marketing strategy will produce the most bang for your buck and it’s an industry trend that is starting to take shape.
You will find more SEO companies are also doing sales funnels and connecting with marketing departments to help fine tune the overall goals of your company.
I’m Doing SEO Myself. Where Should I start?
First off you should sign-up to our newsletter and connect via our connect page in every way you can.
- Local Places Setup Without a doubt is one of the first places you should start. All three major search engines have free options. You do not have to pay to be listed.
- Create Local Places Pages
- Optimize and Categorize your local page
- Consistent Nap (Name, Address, Phone)
- Online Reviews
- Provide Photos to the listing
2. Develop a content strategy
I have talked about this in the past. Simply posting regularly with great content is a solid start. check out http://marketingplaybook.co/hangouts/developing-content-strategy-small-business/
3. Build out your social profiles and link back to your own content
We covered this more indepth in the hangout http://marketingplaybook.co/hangouts/social-media-right-business/
That is it for today hangout. I hope you enjoyed the video and the article write up.
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