Search engine traffic 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 searches per day, Google drives a lot of visitors and traffic (that’s an understatement!). Couple this with the difference in the intent of the searcher (vastly different from social media) and you have a very different engagement path … with a very targeted visitor. SEO is driven by keywords and context (Hummingbird), links. Do this right, and you can get a super interested and ready-to-engage visitor. That’s exactly what a business wants.
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.
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 databases)… along with an ongoing process for ensuring high ranking in search engines.
It’s not about being ‘technical’
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. 10-15% of your work should be spent here in most cases.
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. SEO expert services include keyword research, content, links (and promotions), 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 “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 “7-pack” (Google Business), 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.
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
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”.
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. 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.
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. 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 will think about buying SEO 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)
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.
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 – along with strategic links and call to action elements to drive real results to your business. That includes capturing leads anytime you can, and building out the sales and marketing funnels (backend emails, tracking and CRM management).
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. Reputation management for brands are important in our day and age.
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. You do this by placing positive, quality content on other domains and authority parasites. A leveraged inter-linking SEO strategy must also be put in place.
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.
Reviews (recent book on web optimization and SEO with Entrepreneur Media:)
—Lorrie Thomas Ross, M.A., Author, The McGraw-Hill 36-Hour Course to Online Marketing, lorriethomas.com
—Andy Beal, MarketingPilgrim.com
—“Radar” Roy Reyer, Certified Advanced SEO—Search Engine Academy, SEOtrainingSW.com
—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:
- 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
Related Resources on SEO
Other SEO experts in USA and abroad to check out:
SEO Expert Service in Los Angeles
Looking for SEO expert? Organic growth via White Hat services.
My name is Jon Rognerud and I’m an SEO optimization expert in L.A. I hope you have enjoyed this post.
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