(Updated July 23, 2017)

Why Do You Need SEO Anyway?

Answer: Because search engine traffic, generated from search engine optimization (SEO) campaigns is the most valuable incoming traffic that your web properties can receive.

There is a current myth that “search is out, social media is in”. Sure, “social media” may be more familiar to the larger population across the globe. It is the darling of the traditional media world — and in news, entertainment and so much more…

(…WAIT FOR IT…)

…however, with over 6 billion google searches per day (mobile now exceeds desktop searches) Google drives a lot of visitors and traffic (that’s an understatement!).

Couple this with the difference in the intent of the searcher on search platforms (vastly different from social media) and you have a very different engagement path … with a much more targeted visitor. As you continue building out your marketing strategy, a highly functional, white hat SEO website will be yours.

What follows are my SEO tips and strategies to help your overall internet marketing objectives, including what you should consider when hiring an SEO and what happens during SEO client engagements.

If you are not too technical, it will help to have web developers standing by. Creating a brand new website, modifying an existing one, or updating a theme that you bought, will be critical.

search volume google

Search market share and volume

Organic search — “SEO” is driven by keywords and contextual content (Hummingbird). And, let’s not forget back links!

Search engine optimization results do not magically happen automatically or overnight. You also need to launch web promotions, and leverage on-going content marketing to position your brand, and earn the respect and trust of the marketplace.

That should include adding social media, paid search (Google Adwords), press releases and a blogging schedule to your SEO campaigns, for example.  This is where search engine marketing comes into play. This is true for a local business, a large multi-national brand and globally.

IMPORTANT: Search engine rankings help drive traffic, but without a conversion system and funnel + a well designed website and custom landing pages, you are leaving money on the table!  Sure, adding title tags to begin your onpage SEO can change results quickly, but learning SEO and applying a broader marketing strategy within your digital marketing eco-system will really move the needle for you.

SEO Backlinking campaigns are complex

You might find yourself in a Google penalty state if you over do it (over-optimize).

Here’s a backlinks chart showing an anchor text link distribution chart of a likely healthier SEO backlinks profile:

backlink-strategy-anchor-text-chart

Healthy SEO backlink chart (from https://www.searchenginejournal.com/4-important-ranking-factors-according-seo-industry-studies/184619/)

Do all of this correctly, and you should get a super interested and ready-to-engage visitor.

That’s exactly what a business wants. And what you need. All day, every day.

Finally, when you have optimized your website and serve that human visitor (and bots) with your best content — you have a great chance to convert them and grow your business faster.

SEO traffic is key.

FREE SEO Checklist:
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What Does SEO mean … and how can it help my business grow?

SEO (search engine optimization) is both an art and a science.

Briefly stated, it’s an approach to building search engine friendly websites and any online asset that search engines can index (store in their global databases).

But, it’s not enough – you must have an ongoing process for ensuring high ranking in search engines for the long term. You do this with continual keyword research, competitor analysis (both externally and internally), ongoing content development and promotion.

Always use keywords based on user intent and long tail keywords

There is a strategy for building incoming SEO traffic that ranks high. In other words, these keywords are attainable and probable to go after. It’s the long tail strategy. (Initially named by Chris Anderson, Wired Magazine)

keyword-research-keyword-strategy-long-tail

The Long Tail Keyword Strategy: Low traffic, easy to rank, high conversion, lower paid advertising cost

It’s not about being ‘technical’, per se

It involves both creative, technical and marketing-based skills and business strategies for serving your audience. The more informational, useful and helpful your pages become to the searchers (your market), the more that content will be consumed, shared and linked to.

However, much like building a house, you need a strong foundation, so make sure to have powerful hosting, no technical issues, blocks or slow loading pages.

Mobile friendly websites and pages are essential to users and search engines.

mobile-ranking-factor-google-venturebeat

Mobile ranking rollout – https://venturebeat.com/2016/03/16/google-will-start-ranking-mobile-friendly-sites-even-higher-in-may/

Using voice search is becoming more and more important and popular. So, make sure the data returned shows current information with address info, phone number, directions, etc.

For the technical side of the ‘SEO house’, 10-20% of your work should be spent here (in most cases). SEO audits will help kick-start this process and reveal issues now. That is true for the entire search eco-space. It’s not just about your website, but mobile, video, images, books, news and more.

Trust and Authority Rules for Search

All this “natural” attraction of trust, authority and social awareness brings about positive, upward movement in the natural, or organic search listings. The top quality page factors as seen from the Google Quality Raters guide (PDF):

google-page-quality-rating-factors-seo

SEO expert services typically include:

  • keyword research
  • content strategy and development
  • link building
  • promotional campaigns
  • technical advice and fixes
  • ongoing consulting

…and inbound marketing building strategies, and are the keys to successful search engine optimization. This is true for any web property that you might want to optimize for top results (web pages, images, videos, news, audio, PDF’s, “office” files and more).

A local SEO expert will leverage and use content, links — but also local citations, reviews, directories and work with region-based signals for top listings within “local maps”.

SEO is Marketing (using search)

When SEO marketing and revenue generating business strategies are merged (they should), it’s not uncommon to be shown for multiple web assets on the first page, as well as driving big traffic and more leads (prospects) to your business.

You would likely find yourself listed in many screen real estate areas  — for example — Pay Per Click (PPC/Adwords), organic (algorithmic search),  the local “3-pack” (Google Business Maps), video, news, books, and image results.

Ownership of first page Google results

In this example we see a brand name (Jon Rognerud, a Google SEO Expert) listed across the entire first page of Google organic results. Online sites have been optimized to include the Google Knowledge Graph, authority sites (Entrepreneur Magazine), Twitter, Amazon, Huffingtonpost, LinkedIn, Google Plus, Facebook and more.

This opens the door for you in many ways — branding, authority and trust building for your audience as well as search engines. A highly trusted domain with a topic based architecture that is easy to navigate and consume…is exactly what you want.

Figure 1 – Example of multiple listings in Google – First page
multiple listings google - seo complete

Search phrases should be targeted

Many business owners and webmaster think that massive traffic flow is the key to success with SEO.

That couldn’t be more wrong.

The secret to SEO (watch video below) explains the complete picture. It’s more important to make yourself (keyword) targeted by your market and provide quality content and value to them as you capture leads and convert them. If you show up as a total authority in your marketplace, you have a better opportunity to close that business and continue to serve them with excellence.

An important reminder (and a reason many don’t “get” the power of an SEO investment) is that SEO “takes time”. That’s relative of course, but no business or market is the same.

Think about this: If you are in a “high-ticket” service or product market, what would it mean for you to get just one more client into your business next month? What about two or three? And, that they naturally arrive at your doorstep with a high likelihood of closing, and consistently over time? That is good SEO and marketing at its finest.

Figure 2 – Example of #1 Position Using SEO

social media los angeles result using seo

How long does it take to rank first page Google?

A very common question and a natural expectation from any business owner. The answer is simple, but not easy: “as long as it takes”.

Imagine starting a brand new website business in your local community. After you have discovered and analyzed your perfect keywords, you have to address all of the ranking factors and business issues below. With so many moving parts, with each situation being different, every campaign will be different. Some will take less time. Others, not so much. And, since the business markets change all the time, your SEO work never stops.

seo ranking factors moz report

Local SEO ranking factors (from https://moz.com/local-search-ranking-factors)

Depending on the level of competitiveness among keywords and domains in the market (and several other factors) it can take months (even years) to rank as number one in Google.

Hiring SEO consultants can be hard for prospective buyer. Professional SEO Consultants often switch the conversation to “what is your budget”? If you want it fast(er), it will cost more.

While all business is focused on revenue and profit building, clients don’t want to discuss SEO marketing budgets as the first course of action. But, it’s the right approach, the budget question is the correct one to ask. SEO takes time and money. If a client is expecting to rank #1 for “credit card repair” in 30 days … and they have a budget of a $1,000 dollars to invest per month …that expectation is completely false.

An example:

Let’s say a company is in the debt management space and want to rank for a set of keywords in the LOCAL market and for terms like “debt repair services omaha”, and for variations of that theme — now that it’s an easier/better conversation to have. Search phrases that are targeted, local and long tail in nature – are easier to rank for and still can have great value for the business.

Search terms that are very specific can rank quickly (in minutes if done right via Video/YouTube), from several weeks to few months in those cases.

google-dance-term-seo-rankings

The rankings will “dance”, and they don’t all stick the first time. However, much like a marathon race – you don’t expect an athlete to enter the game without preparation, understanding and a commitment to winning. It’s the same with building websites. We actually optimize “pages” that rank high in search results.

Professional SEO consultants will break campaigns into milestones. “In 3 months, you can expect “X” and in 6 months, “Y”, etc”.  SEO is a long term effort, and any guarantees of overnight rankings (that bring revenue or profit) is not sound advice.

Buying and selling SEO

Selling SEO can be hard.

Especially with all the “me too” folks that have little to no experience, and offer “bronze-silver-gold” packages, and try to differentiate by price only.  The client doesn’t know what to do, or how to choose.

Basically, every SEO is selling the same thing on the surface. And, the audience typically doesn’t understand much of it. A business owner feels ‘tech-overwhelm’ and doesn’t want to feel stupid. In other words, a lot of of resistance to buying or believing the the person selling SEO.

Here’s what a client thinks about when considering buying SEO programs from you:

  • Will it work?
  • How long is this going to take? (I need results now)
  • Hard to trust you (anybody)
  • Talking to several companies, not sure about who or what to go with (confusion, i.e. big opportunity to educate and show leadership)
  • Shopping for lowest price and/or not sure if this is the right time (not always the right client, be careful)
  • Embarrassing to the business and themselves if he or she chooses poorly (true for all)
  • No real proof that it will work (provide the proof, or show results in advance)
  • My business is different (a common issue)

Ask about revenue generation (business goals), not timelines

Rather than asking about time expectations for rankings, sit down with your team (and SEO practitioner) and discuss options for lead generation, higher conversions and revenue creation from the most profitable keywords. That can be obtained by reviewing existing web analytics, pages performing well now (but needs more help) coupled with market and keyword research.

Using your analytics and search console data, you can estimate or forecast business goals based on current inventory of keywords and their positions:

seo-business-case-overview

Estimation of SEO traffic from a client using “non-aggressive” SEO strategies and tactics. A 12 month plan can yield a sizable amounts of new visits and conversions. (From seomonitor)

Then, build out pages, make them information rich (i.e. answer questions, provide solutions to problems), show and share products and engage users with sales and copywritten materials focused on the user. Implement this along with strategic link placements and call to action elements to drive real results to your business.

That includes capturing leads anywhere you can and building out the sales and marketing funnels (backend emails, tracking and CRM management).

Here’s an infusionsoft sequence from our own business:

nurture-sequence-infusionsoft-SEO

Sample from one of our ebook campaigns in Infusionsoft

Do this consistently with promotional strategies (that includes social media and paid search), and you’ll notice traffic, leads and conversions pick up. The ROI will become apparent over time, but must be tracked and measured against goals.

SEO done right provides the most trusted click and possibly highest return on your investment…and for the long term.

The conversation then changes to “what else can I do to grow my business from SEO this year”, “what are my biggest revenue generating products and services” (that you can rank, promote and share) rather than “how fast can I rank”.

What is the secret to SEO? (Video on YouTube)

Expert SEO Copywriting Is An Advantage

We know that keywords are essential in the SEO formula.

Some, like bloggers – will state that SEO is just “content” and that if you write content (posts, articles) naturally, with passion and make that content easily share-able, SEO will take care of itself.

I disagree.

If you don’t build out a proper SEO strategy and with written materials and a broad-based content utilization (different media) that include well researched keywords and relationships between words (context), pages and sites — you are losing out on potential better rankings and higher quality visitors.

The impact of your shared content will be that much greater and the link “juice” (authority/trust) that it can bring to your pages — will be evident from your ranking and traffic reports.

Reputation Management SEO Strategies

A brand or product may receive negative input over time. Therefore, reputation management for brands are important in our competitive economy.

reputation-management-reviews-seo

A strategy to be proactive and track mentions for your brand or “names” is not only smart, but necessary these days. When you are alerted to a negative sentiment (google.com/alerts), you can prevent major headaches by responding quickly and professionally.

Do not try to hide, but at the same time – do NOT respond with an aggressive tone or let the emotions take over.

However, poor reviews, crappy comments or negative mentions about you/your firm can sometimes be completely out of your hand.

Even though you and your company provide great services, quality products, have a spot-free history, A+ business rating, been in business a long time and have always provided excellent customer care, rogue “Internet trolls” can create MAJOR noise for you online.

The work and positioning for your online reputation is an ongoing effort.

But, if you find yourself in a negative light when prospects search for your brand (Google is now more trusted than traditional news media), you can utilize SEO reputation management firms to help create positive content, leverage your in-house experience and provide new information (content) to help push negative mentions off the first page of search engine results. Show these listings on page two, and you’ll be fine.

The funny, but true expression: “the best place to hide a dead body is on page 2 of Google search results” applies.

best-place-hide-body-seo

How do you replace these negative listings?

Begin by creating and placing positive, quality content on other domains and authority parasites. Then, add a leveraged inter-linking SEO strategy to push trust equity in your ‘network’.

SEO reputation management services can take months, and sometimes years, depending on the level of competitiveness of your brand/keyword. A thorough review of the results in search, along with leverage of trusted authority domains can be very helpful in this regard.

Utilizing domains like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube can assist you in creating primary assets to be positioned on the the first page.

Legal action or asking Google to remove content is of course possible, but not always the first thing I recommend.

SEO Reviews and Testimonials

This is what clients, vendors and other experts are saying about me.

seo testimonial

financial-seo-testimonial

CEO SEO testimonial la

publications seo testimonial

Adwords expert SEO testimonials

Media company SEO testimonial los angeles

corporate client seo work testimonials

big business client seo testimonials los angeles, ca

Reviews (recent book on web optimization and SEO with Entrepreneur Media:)

This book is the perfect prescription for anyone suffering from SEO overwhelm. Rognerud’s approach breaks down SEO in a simple-to-understand way then builds on visibility breakthrough concepts. I ultimately love this holistic approach to SEO. His strategic approach teaches how to get people TO a site but it also helps plan ways to get them THROUGH it to maximize ROI.
—Lorrie Thomas Ross, M.A., Author, The McGraw-Hill 36-Hour Course to Online Marketing, lorriethomas.com

Rognerud has a long history in technology, business consulting, and web development. His new book reflects that knowledge and experience in the search marketing field. He is a smart guy, and for folks starting in SEO, I suggest you pick up a copy.
—Andy Beal, MarketingPilgrim.com

Rognerud is a master in SEO and internet marketing. The tips and suggestions that he offers in his book are easy to understand and to implement even for a novice. He also offers many other powerful strategies that even an old pro like me finds insightful. This is one of the few books that I recommend to students at our SEO workshops.
—“Radar” Roy Reyer, Certified Advanced SEO—Search Engine Academy, SEOtrainingSW.com

This is the best treatment of SEO I’ve seen—get this book! It’s the first SEO reference that also covers the latest in social and local search. At over 300 pages, you can brush up on your skills or just put it on your bookshelf to impress your colleagues!
—Dennis Yu, Chief Executive Officer, BlitzLocal

Professional Services Outline

SEO has become a full-featured, 360 degree approach to online marketing.

If you hire an SEO, make sure to look at your business as a growth machine with multiple parts. Here are the most important that somebody might consider, or at least to start with:

  • SEO
  • PPC
  • Facebook Native Advertising Programs and Training
  • Social Media Marketing Strategies
  • WordPress Design & Development (WordPress Integration and Customization)
  • Content Writing, Copywriting for Sales Letters (landing pages)
  • Sales funnel development
  • Web analytics and conversion optimization
  • Video SEO marketing (#1 for “local seo tips” on YouTube)

Published Articles on SEO and Online Business Growth

Entrepreneur Magazine Online
http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/181412 (SEO Consultants)

Huffington Post
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jon-rognerud/what-7-things-everybody-n_b_5830470.html (SEO)

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jon-rognerud/5-ways-new-google-adverti_b_5632000.html (Pay Per Click)

Related Resources on SEO

Other SEO experts in USA and abroad to check out:

SEO Expert Service in Los Angeles

Looking for a seasoned SEO expert? If so, get more organic growth from White Hat SEO services. (Do not engage in black hat SEO. It is only a matter of time before you are “caught” by Google)

My name is Jon Rognerud and I’m an SEO professional in California.  I hope you have enjoyed this post, and I while my schedule fills up fast, I love hearing from you. Don’t be afraid to reach out.

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