SEO – The Answers You Are Looking For
What is Search Engine Optimization (SEO)?
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the practice of creating a website and content that gets more people (especially the ones you want as customers) to your page using organic search results. Organic traffic is the visitors your site gets without paying for ads or clicks. Basically, those individuals checking out search engines and finding your site at (or very near) the top.
Most people start looking for information on the internet using search engines (Google, Bing, Yahoo!, etc). Search engines want to show the most relevant results for any given query. They send “crawlers” to websites to gather and process information. The information is filtered through algorithms which dictate your site’s rankings for a particular search result.
Many factors go into a search engine’s algorithm. These factors change frequently. For your site to remain at the top of search results–where most viewers get their information–you need to be aware of the most current SEO best practices.
How Can SEO Help My Business?
Businesses need an online presence now more than ever. Many people are more comfortable browsing the internet than window shopping or strolling through malls.
Creating a website is a great first step. But…if people don’t find your website, it’s not helping your business. SEO brings traffic to your website without spending big money on advertising. We’re not talking about random people, either. SEO can help attract those that are actively searching for products and/or services you offer.
A high ranking in the search engines also brings credibility to your business. After all, who really starts with the 27th page of results after typing in a search?
Also, unlike a billboard or local radio ad, SEO is a long-term way to attract customers. Applying and maintaining SEO best practices keeps high rankings and organic (FREE) traffic well after a billboard fades.
How Can SEO Increase My Sales Leads?
SEO uses a variety of practices to attract your potential customers. One key practice involves researching the most popular keywords used for searching your type of business.
Keywords or phrases can be used in blogs, meta-descriptions, optimized images, etc. This makes your business more visible to potential customers and the search engine “crawlers” who determine rankings.
For example, if your page is optimized for the keyword phrase “yoga studio near me” all those locals eager to try yoga have quick access to your page. Why? Because it is at the TOP of the search results.
Also, high search engine results appear more credible than paid advertisements. Ever do a Google search and see results with the little bold “AD” at the beginning? Many savvy searchers scroll past these ads feeling like the content is more about sales and less about information.
Once you get the attention of those actively searching for products or services related to what you offer, you’re opening the floodgates to interested and motivated leads.
Does SEO Make Me More Money?
SEO helps get the attention of potential customers who are actively searching for services you provide. So yes, SEO can open up opportunities to get you more customers and better profits.
By using SEO best practices, you are not only ranking higher in search engines, you are optimizing your content and website to make it more readable and customer-friendly. These days, people looking online (often on mobile devices) are overwhelmed by big blocks of content and clunky websites. They want quick answers…not a novel.
Following SEO best practices helps to make your website well-rounded and appealing to search engines AND customers. Once you drive traffic to your site, however, you want to make sure all your ducks are in a row. Be sure your sales funnels, customer service, and onboarding system is ready for this extra traffic. That’s how you convert!
Is SEO Just for Online Businesses?
Think of the last time you wanted to find a great restaurant to dine-in or carry out. Did you drive around town looking for a place with a nice sign or clean building? Did you listen to the radio for hours hoping to hear an ad for a place that suits your tastes?
Probably not–unless you are incredibly patient and not that hungry. More likely, you asked Google (or another search engine) to find “Mexican restaurants near me” Immediately you were given choices, menus, ratings, and lots of other information. Those restaurants on the top of the list were most likely using SEO practices. How many pages of search results did you go through before deciding on a restaurant?
Everyday, people use search engines to find the information they need on the web. This includes businesses and services. Even if someone heard about a business word-of-mouth, they would probably check it out on the web before deciding to move forward.
Think of it this way: You’re one of five locksmiths in your area. Your website is optimized for search engines. You have blogs with great information, your website is easy to use, you have keywords appropriately in place. The other businesses are kind of old school–they have clunky websites with just a phone number and some basic information.
Who will the search engines rank first? Who will people call when locked out of their cars? Answer to both: YOU!
And, as you probably can guess, SEO doesn’t just work for locksmiths and Mexican restaurants.
Is There a Stage in Business Where SEO is More Relevant?
SEO is relevant for new AND established businesses–even those with little or no competition. Why? Pages ranking high in search engines get more traffic. More people to your site means more potential leads and sales.
Of course, SEO is just part of a process to increase sales and profits. You need a functional website that can handle the extra demand. You also need to make sure your products, services, and sales funnels keep new visitors interested.
Recent events have created a lot of uncertainty in the world around us. Many businesses are struggling. By adapting your content AND using SEO best practices, you CAN take control of your search engine rankings and highlight how your business is helping those dealing with the ever-changing “new normal”.
What’s the ROI for SEO?
Of course, you want to make sure your hard-earned money is not being wasted. How do you know if SEO is worth the money you spend? After all, it’s not as clear cut as calculating Pay-Per-Click (PPC) advertising conversions.
SEO experts provide a variety of services including keyword research, content creation, page optimization, link building, etc.
Sure…You could do this yourself. Do you really have the time to create SEO-friendly content (with researched keywords) and the technical skills to make sure the page is optimized?
Many entrepreneurs with a DIY spirit skimp on these very important SEO practices. Sure, reading a few articles (probably found by using a search engine) can give you some tips, but it certainly won’t make you an expert. DIY SEO is possible, but you may make some critical mistakes affecting your search rankings.
Ultimately, determining your Return on Investment (ROI) for SEO depends on your specific goals for driving traffic to your site. If you have an Ecommerce site, it may be increasing organic traffic that ultimately leads to sales conversions. If you consider the expenses of SEO services and determine how much more money you can make with a significant increase in traffic that converts, you’ll see the investment may pay off sooner rather than later.
Lead-based businesses may be a little harder to determine ROI. For example, you may want your new website visitors to sign up for a newsletter or join your email list. Once they opt-in, you probably have an idea of the conversion rate. For example, say SEO services drive 2,000 new visitors to your site a month and half of them sign up for your newsletter. Calculate the new traffic based on your current conversion rates. And, keep in mind, if your website is optimized and you have air-tight sales funnels, your current conversion rates will likely increase.
Tools like Google Analytics make it easy to track traffic and how your visitors interact with your site. This can help to determine how the SEO services are helping your site.
The best way to determine your ROI is to talk to a SEO expert about your challenges, goals, and the services you want. From there, you can determine if the cost (and time you save) is worth the investment.
Are SEO Benefits Immediate?
Think of SEO services as a long-term investment. Since there are so many websites on the internet, the search engine crawlers have to keep up with all the additional content.
Generally speaking, SEO can take 3 to 6 months to start showing a noticeable increase in traffic. This time frame depends on your type of business, the keywords you use to drive traffic, and how you’re optimizing your content.
Once the growth starts, however, it has the potential to increase exponentially. Especially as you continue to add quality content with SEO best practices.
In contrast, spending a bunch of money upfront for paid advertising may show some immediate results, but you’ll have to continue paying to maintain the traffic. Stop spending on paid advertising and start seeing a big drop in your traffic.
What is the Difference Between SEO and Marketing?
SEO is an important part of marketing. It sets the foundation for driving FREE traffic to your site. When SEO is ignored, your money spent on marketing is short-term.
The key difference between SEO and marketing is what you’re paying. Getting your page properly optimized with SEO best practices allows your website to get higher rankings for search engines. As a result, you get organic (free) traffic to your website. There may be an upfront cost, but, if done properly, you can expect free traffic as long as your page stays relevant.
Marketing, especially digital marketing, allows your website to quickly reach the top of search engines (or social media platforms). But, of course, you will have to pay for it–sometimes thousands of dollars monthly depending on your business. When your advertising budget is depleted, your online traffic may come to a halt when not using SEO practices.
What is the Difference Between SEO and Sales?
A website using SEO best practices attracts traffic to your business. Once people get in the “virtual” door of your business (via SEO), your product/service, offers, sales funnels, and onboarding system need to be in place to convert.
Think of it as a Black Friday sale: People are lined up at your “virtual” store ready to see what you have to offer. If your website isn’t ready to meet the needs of these potential customers…. well…they go looking elsewhere.
If organic website traffic isn’t producing the desired results, you may want to consider getting some advice on conversion optimization to decrease the risk of losing eager customers.
How Can a SEO Specialist Help My Business?
As a business owner, you have plenty to worry about. Do you really have the time to do keyword research, create optimized content regularly, make sure your page speed is up to par, and so on?
For SEO to be successful, it takes time and know-how. Sure, you could try doing it yourself, but are there really enough hours in the day? You started a business to get a sense of personal freedom–not spending WAY MORE time trying to maintain it.
Ask yourself: What is my time worth?
Hiring a SEO specialist can save you a ton of time. When you are tending to all the other aspects of your business, the SEO specialist diligently monitors your SEO campaign, stays informed about search engine algorithm changes, and ensures your site is using SEO best practices.
What Is Not Typically Included in SEO Service Packages?
SEO services packages offer a lot to grow your website traffic. That being said, it’s often not an all-inclusive package to revamp every aspect of your business. For example, SEO services can help edit an existing website’s content. It does not include building a completely new site.
SEO service packages improve your business’s website to make it more accessible and attractive to customers and search engine crawlers. Keep in mind, we are not a public relations or business coaching service.
If you have a strong business and website that needs to increase organic traffic, a SEO service package can be invaluable. If there are major problems with your website or how your business operates, these issues need to be addressed beforehand to make SEO services as effective as possible.
What should I avoid when looking for a company who offers SEO services?
We have a joke in the SEO industry. The answer to any and every SEO question is… it depends!
Clients hate hearing this, but of you don’t, red flag ???? if you get offered up a one-size-fits-all, works for everyone everytime, “yes” SEO can fix this issue (without an in depth analysis), or anything else that seems too easy or simple to believe: it is.
Free audits are red flag (a proper audit is there me consuming and should cost something)
Volume over quality mindset. (More is not better, more precise is better)
If they want to set up all tools under their accounts, run. If you fire them everything falls apart. It’s a way to make you dependant/reliant.
Side bar ~ I call myself an “ethical” SEO bc we don’t do questionable, black hat tactics, just white hat (and sometimes a lil grey) long-term & sustainable, but also we set up all the systems inside their accounts so we can slip out and it still runs for however long they choose to maintain it. A key part of our six month strategy is to offload it to them if they choose.