When I’m approached with a client who heavily relies on business from a specific geographic area may seem daunting to come up with advanced strategy for SEO without a bit of out-of-the-box thinking. There are only so many profiles you can submit, customers who review your business, citations you can claim, and onsite optimization changes to make. Eventually there comes a time when you need a strategic link building campaign that focuses on giving search algorithms the signals needed to improve your geospecific rankings.
Through the use of content marketing, social media, and traditional link building you can compete against the rest of that 7 pack. The concept is simple: look for sites that are designed and used almost exclusively by those in your geospecific area. Those signals can help improve local rankings. Here are a few tips to help you with your geospecific link building.
If you have the luxury of being a business in a large metropolis or heavily populated area you stand a chance to integrate your business into the local community through a variety of avenues. Reach out to local bloggers, influencers, artists, photographers, business owners and PR professionals. These are the people who will want to link to your site, share the good word about your brand, and of course become your customers too. Many of them likely have websites or blogs where they can link back to you.
Contact local organizations like Local First Arizona, here in Phoenix where I live. Their goal is to work to support the local economy. Organizations like this, promoting the local movement, exist in many other areas too.
Government and Local Resources
The department of commerce websites often contain large lists of local businesses with information such as phone, address and website. Submit your business to sites like this and to local resource sites also. Using an advanced search command such as “phoenix” “list” “businesses” “add your company” or “phoenix” “list” “add your company” “pizza” can yield some decent results for local resource pages.
Targeted Local Directories & Libraries
Many local directories exist still today. More commonly used prior to the popularity of search engines, local directories are a great place to obtain a link. Advanced search commands, just as described above, can showcase some opportunities. Try adding “add your link” to the searches listed above to find additional sites.
Libraries often have local resources linked to from their sites as well. Again, advanced search commands come in handy to track these sites down.
Online newspapers and news sites offer a great way for businesses to highlight their businesses – allowing them to become contributors. A news site like NowPublic.com are crowd powered sites, relying on citizen journalists to help tell the news. They are looking for experts to help contribute and as an expert in your own field you can apply. Bio pages on these reputable sites often have in content do-follow link building opportunities, along with of course the content itself.
More and more radio stations are becoming content publishers. Many have entire forums and social components to their sites where users can drop links. Additionally some rely on citizen journalism as well. Apply to become a writer or search around the site to see if they have a local resource list to add your business to.
These are just a few of MANY strategies that work to reinvigorate a geospecific link building campaign. Have you done much geospecific link building? Tell us about some of the ways you were able to find some great local links in the comments below.
I recently stumbled upon a search engine ranking report from Chitika, an online advertising network, that focused on answering one question: how valuable prime search ranking positions really are.
Although the report was published a while ago, I believe that little has changed since then, and the following results are definitely something to pay attention to.
Of course we all know that it’s great to have #1 Google search engine ranking for your keyword.
But how much is it really worth in terms of traffic generation?
According to the data from the Chitika network, it’s worth a great deal – double the search engine traffic of the #2 spot, to be precise.
Let me put it another way:
The #1 Google search engine ranking spot gets as many visitors as positions 2-4 combined!
To come up with these impressive numbers, Chitika analyzed a sample of 8,253,240 impressions across their network.
“In order to find out the value of SEO, we looked at a sample of traffic coming into our advertising network from Google and broke it down by Google results placement.
The top spot drove 34.35% of all traffic in the sample, almost as much as the numbers 2 through 4 slots combined, and more than the numbers 5 through 20 (the end of page 2) put together.”
Search engine ranking #10 gets 143% more clicks than #11.
“The biggest jump, percentage-wise, is from the top of page 2 to the bottom of page 1.
Going from the 11th spot to 10th sees a 143% jump in traffic. However, the base number is very low – that 143% jump is from 1.11% of all Google traffic to 2.71%.
As you go up the top page, the raw jumps get bigger and bigger, culminating in that desired top position.”
Here are the search engine ranking numbers:
Show Me the Money!
I admit, having a number 1 search engine ranking on Google is very exciting and all, but if you are ranking of the wrong keyword, it won’t help your business much.
How do you know when it’s worth to improve google ranking?
To determine that, you can do one of the following:
Test your keywords with Google Adwords
- Start a Google AdWords campaign for the keyword, select “exact match” and point the ad to the page on your website that is most relevant to the keyword.
- Track the impressions and the conversion rate of the ad. To get useful data, you should track at least 500 clicks.
- With that data, you can make a guess about the value of a visitor that finds your website through that keyword.
For example, your ad might have had 10,000 impressions during a week and 200 visitors have come to your website. Six of them purchased something of your website and the total profit was $500.
That means that the average single visitor who finds your website through that keyword is worth $2.50 to your business ($500 / 200). The 10,000 ad impressions in a week can create a click-through rate of 34.35% (see table above) if you have the number 1 ranking for that keyword.
That means that you would get about 3,435 visitors per week. Based on the average value of $2.50/visitor you would earn $8,587.50 per week or $446,500 per year just with a single keyword.
Getting Market Value figures in Market Samurai
If you already own a copy of Market Samurai, the task of gathering all this info becomes even more of a breeze.
This data is gathered under you Keyword Analysis Data in Keyword Research tool.
Here are the numbers we are interested in:
• SEO Value (SEOV) – This is the maximum total value of traffic that the #1 ranked web page for this keyword (based on search results) is likely to receive – per month.
• Adwords Value (AWV) – This is the maximum total value of traffic that the #1 ranked advertiser (in Google Adwords) is likely to receive – per month.
In both cases, Market Samurai is taking the Market Value benchmark to the next step…
…by breaking down the Market Value number into how much #1 ranked web site will bring through organic SEO and Google Adwords respectively.
If you don’t have Market Samurai, I would recommend you get a copy – it will save you a lot of time (and money) doing market research and give you access to a lot of really powerful keyword research tools.
Image credit: ICanHasCheezburger.com
Back in October, I wrote an article on optimizing your social media profiles for SEO which included a detailed look at YouTube channels. And of course, here we are in December and YouTube has completely revamped their channel design. If you haven’t been to your channel recently, I’d suggest you go take a look at it now as it has all changed.
Here are some highlights as to what you need to go in and modify.
The first thing I noticed right away was my set featured video was nowhere to be found, and the channel was displaying my latest videos in the order they were uploaded. So if you’re like me and you want that featured video back, be sure to go in and set it. Click on the Edit button above the top video on your channel.
Use the dropdown to select whether your featured video is in Uploaded videos, Favorite videos, or a custom playlist. Then uncheck the box for Most Recent Video in Featured Set to see all of your videos in the category you chose. Click on the video you want as featured and then click Apply.
Beneath your featured video is a playlist, usually set to your most recent uploads or another playlist. Click on the Edit button above this playlist to choose what you want displayed.
Select the playlist (Uploaded videos, Favorite videos, or a custom playlist) you want displayed below your featured video and then click Apply.
About You and Your Links
To edit your channel’s information, click on the Edit button in the right sidebar above the About You text.
The downside to the new changes is that there is no longer any customizable field that counts as the meta description for your channel and your links are no longer dofollow. The upside is you can include more links on your channel to your website, social profiles, etc. While they may not have SEO value, they are in a great position to be clicked upon by visitors to your channel.
Beneath your links are additional fields about you as the user, your hometown, occupation, companies, schools, and interests. The most important area to fill out is the top About box and your links as the rest of the information will be hidden unless someone clicks on the more link.
Featured Playlists and Channels
Underneath your information and links are two areas where you can highlight your featured playlists and featured channels (or links to other YouTube channels). Click on the Edit button above each section to set these in the order you prefer.
Have you updated your YouTube channel? Do you love it or hate it? Please share your thoughts on the new design in the comments!
We want what we want when we want it. This on demand nature can impact the success of your website and your business. From website speed to free downloads, there are a few things you can do today that can live up to the on demand requirements of today’s society.
Nothing frustrates savvy online users more than a slow website (pop-ups are certainly up there on the list too!). Increasing the speed of your website will help users download content faster, view photos with ease, watch videos quickly too and of course buy products.
A few areas you can increase speed today:
- Compress images and specify image dimensions in HTML code
- Minify HTML
- Test your host – upgrade if necessary
- 10PoundGorilla.com provides a few more tips here
Have you ever asked your sales people, customer service agents, or other employees what the number one question they’re asked is? Find out what it is and make sure the answer is on your site. Seems simple enough but is often overlooked. And for those on demand folks they won’t wait to find the answer and many won’t even call – they’ll just go onto the next site that has the answers.
While an often debated premise, putting prices up on your site for your services and products can bode well for your bottom line. Certainly it depends on your services and industry, but many experts suggest adding prices to your website. For an on demand society they don’t want to wait to see what your prices are, or fill out a form just to get directed to a sales person. Give them what they want – prices!
Using free guides or white papers as a way to bring visitors to your site is a great concept. Where some businesses may slip up is by making their content only accessible after a lead form is filled out. Check out these 9 epic free eBooks. Quite a few of them from large content marketing agencies aren’t opt-in. Before you automatically assume you should have an opt-in form think about making it 100% free to your visitors.
When I happen to land on a site that allows me to login with Facebook or Twitter I usually do. One less form for me to fill out? Yes please! Using the login button for Facebook or for Twitter promotes a more engaged user base and makes the process of signing into your site much easier too. If a user wants to log in then let them do it quickly and easily by integrating these buttons onto your site.
Creating the easiest possible shopping process is ideal for eCommerce sites. Easy to access add to cart buttons, personalization options, ship-to-store availability, quick browsing, and reviews at the ready are all parts of making the shopping process easier on your site.
Sharing a new purchase with a friend or getting feedback from a family member on a possible purchase is a regular occurrence these days. Make it easier for prospective customers by adding share buttons to each of your product pages and thank you pages as well.
How do you deal with marketing to an on demand demographic? Let us know, in the comments below!
I don’t know about you, but I’ve never liked doing keyword research.
Let’s face it: it’s tedious, time-consuming, and overwhelming, and that’s not even the biggest problem.
The core aspect of keyword research that many webmasters get wrong is finding keywords that THEIR readers search for when looking for information about their niche subject.
There’s a huge difference between THINKING you know what your readers are searching for and KNOWING what they are searching for, wouldn’t you say?
The following keyword research method is the easiest way I’ve even found to identify such search terms.
Oh, and did I mention it’s entirely hands-off, apart from setting it up, and entirely free?
Google Site Search
Chances are you have a search box on your site, and it’s most likely used by your readers to look up the kind of information they would expect to find on your site. Also, chances are your search box is powered by Google Site Search.
If you DON’T have a search box, stop right here and install it immediately! There’s nothing more frustrating than being on a site and not being able to find the information you are looking for. Search boxes keep your readers happy and your bounce rate low.
So, now that you definitely have the search box on your blog, have you ever checked what your readers are searching for?
If not, you are missing out on a vital piece of information that could tell you exactly what kind of content your readers want to see on your site.
In other words, TARGETED keywords.
Now let’s get down to business and set up a way for you to tap into this valuable information by tracking it in Google Analytics.
How to Track Site Search in Google Analytics
Setting up this process is very simple.
Note: since the new Google Analytics interface will soon become the default one for everyone, that’s the version I’ll use in the instructions below.
1. From “Profiles” go into “Profile Settings”.
2. Scroll down just a bit till you see”Site Search Settings” and set up the parameters like you see them in the screenshot below:
Note: set “s” as the Query Parameter.
Just in case you are wondering why, “s” stands for “search” and is found in any search URL.
For instance, when I do a search for “web traffic” on my blog, this is what the URL for the search looks like:
4. Click “Apply” and you are all set.
I told you it would be easy, right?
Site Search Results
Depending on how busy your blog is, it might take some time to accumulate any actionable results.
My blog gets about 400 site searches per month, which is plenty enough to determine what kind of content my readers tend to search for.
Here’s where to find these stats in Google Analytics:
And there you have it.
Not only do you know now what content you need to write about, but also what content you might need to make more accessible to your readers, for instance in your sidebar.
Easy, perfectly targeted, hands-free keyword research – check.
Social media marketing can be a daunting task which takes time away from other important responsibilities. This is especially the case for small business owners who don’t have the staffing power to fully maximize the benefits of social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Linked In. Buzz, etc.) with regard to their online marketing strategy. Such benefits include increased brand awareness, networking, customer interaction which can turn leads into sales.
- Formulate a strategy. According to Diana Huff, a leading Internet Marketing expert, there are strategies that small business owners can implement that will help them manage their social media campaigns effectively and save time.
Before interacting on Facebook or Twitter, know why you wish to maintain a presence on each site. Without a strategy you will not be able to market your product or service effectively. The following are some key questions to ask as your create your online strategy:
- What is your company’s marketing objective?
- What results do you wish to achieve?
- How will success be measured?
- Who on your team will be responsible for monitoring your firm’s online presence and interacting with prospects and customers?
- How much time will this employee be able to devote exclusively to social media?
- Which of the platforms are best for your business?
- Start slowly with one platform. Many small business owners mistakenly believe that they must jump into all social media platforms at one time. This is simply not the case. You can start with any of the sites and once comfortable on that site, build a presence on the others. It is also fine to elect not to participate in some sites at all. What is most important is that you develop a consistent presence on those sites you do choose to use. It does not good to develop a page or profile, post a couple of comments and then disappear. It takes time to develop a following but well worth the effort once you recognize the viral effect of online marketing.
- Set a social media schedule. Tim Ferriss, author of the 4 hour Work Week, includes much discussion on how to manage email overload. One of his suggestions is to simply stop checking it 50 times per day. The same advice can be followed with regard to social media. Schedule a set period of time each day when you will post a question for your Facebook fans, post a comment to your LinkedIn group, check your Google feed, or post and article to your company blog. As per Diana Huff, setting aside as little as 30 minutes twice per week should suffice for carrying out each of these tasks. Grouping your social media time in this way lessens the anxiety associated with building a social media presence.
- Use tools to help manage multiple platforms. If you have several employees posting to the sites or if you are an Internet marketer with several accounts, it helps to use such tools as HootSuite or TweekDeck. These tools shorten your URL and eliminate the need to log in and out to multiple platforms
- Outsource if necessary. While there is much discussion on the ethics of ghost-blogging, it is a fact that many small companies are not able to manage their social media campaigns effectively while trying to grow their business. In light of this, hiring ghostwriters is a smart move when trying to balance the competing needs of your firm.
An effective social media campaign is managed in the same way as any marketing effort: with a strategy in place based on your business model and objectives.
Sure, the Facebook Share button is no longer officially available from Facebook. But that doesn’t stop sites from finding the code and using it. The question is – why are people (like myself) still using it and how does it affect your actual “like” count?
Customizing Shares with the Facebook Share Button
The main reason I still use the Facebook Share button on my blog over the Facebook Like button is for the way it works. When you click on the Facebook Share button, you will get the chance to do the following.
- Change the privacy of your shared post to Public, Friends, Custom, or only to be shown to specific lists.
- Post the share on your own timeline, on a friend’s timeline, in a group, on your page, or in a private message.
- Add a comment on why you are sharing the post.
- Change the thumbnail to one you like the best.
- Click on the title and description of the link and edit it to suit your needs.
When you click on the Facebook Like button, however, you only get the chance to add a comment.
It will then automatically show up on your Timeline as a public post with the thumbnail Facebook chooses and the default title and description.
The tradeoff with using the Facebook Share button over the Like button is that the people who don’t care how the post appears on their profile might be miffed at the fact they need to take the extra steps to customizing the post before it goes on their profile. You can satisfy everyone’s needs by placing both buttons on your website, but then you have less room to add other social sharing buttons. Since I have mine in a neat row at the top of posts, I would have to trade off my LinkedIn, Google+, or Buffer button.
Counting Shares vs. Likes
The next question about the Facebook Share button is what the difference is when counting shares vs. likes. I had the same question, so I used the links.getStats console for Facebook developers which you can only use if you have developed an app on Facebook. I only use the Share button on my blog posts, so I got the stats for one of my most popular Facebook posts on the new Timeline profile.
It shows the total count of Facebook shares as 467, Likes as 294, and comments as 276. Whenever I plug my post’s URL into the Like button code box, I get a total of 1,037 likes.
This means that whenever someone shares, likes or comments on your post on Facebook that it all will be totaled up as likes toward your post!
Getting the Code
Before adding the Facebook Share button, I will give you this disclaimer – although it is working now, it might not be for long since Facebook has redirected the page for their Share button to the Like button. If you choose to use it until it stops functioning, you can do so by placing the following code into your website’s template.
If you want the code for the Facebook Like button instead, you can get it via the configuration tool on the Like button plugins page.
Do you use the Facebook Share or Facebook Like button? Which one do you prefer using when going to someone else’s site? Please share your thoughts in the comments!
Do you prepare a content calendar? Its surprising how many publishers fail to plan out their content, even if only in pencil. Sure, plans change but at the very least having a rough outline is suggested. Why? Calendars help you organize ideas, prepare for busy times, avoid delays, and keep consistency and relevancy.Here are a few tips to help you along the way when you develop your content calendar.
Tip #1 – Research
The first step to developing a content calender is figuring out what type of content you’re interested in producing. Doing your research can help you undercover the right types of content and potential topics.
- Examine the types, frequency, and style of content your competitors are producing and the topics they’re writing about.
- Utilize Google Insights to view cyclical patterns with certain keyword phrases. Keywords that are popular during certain times of the year should be examined and integrated into content during those times of the year.
- Pay attention to lags in popularity for terms. These are times you should hold off publishing and save budget and efforts for busier times.
- Conduct keyword research to find long tail search terms such as questions and statements that your prospects may use during the research phase of the buying cycle.
Organize your content ideas and start thinking about how it might relate to certain months out of the year. Keep subjects and themes consistent throughout the months and making a rough outline will be a lot easier.
Tip #2 – Timelines
Understand how long it takes you and your team to come up with, research, develop and place content. This should dictate deadlines and help you fill in the content calendar outline you developed after doing research. Look for opportunities to make processes efficient to reduce delays and always plan ahead for delays as much as possible.
Tip #3 – Measure
Use an analytics program to help you measure the results of your efforts. Also look into measuring with third party tools. Account for this in your content calendar to help remind you.
- Goals/Conversions/Price Per Visit – Figure out the conversion metrics you want to track to help you understand if any purchases, goals, etc… were completed after a visitor viewed your content piece.
- Traffic – Determine where your traffic came from, paying particular attention to social networking sites and referrers. These metrics will help you understand which promotion efforts are working and which ones aren’t.
- Time on Site & Bounce Rates – Are visitors finding the information they’re looking for? Examining time on site and bounce rates can help you answer this question. If users aren’t finding what they’re looking for then it might be time to revamp your content piece. Also look at the keywords visitors used to find your content piece and examine these factors.
Tip #4 – Promote
When developing your content calendar remember to account for promotion time in your calendar. Every piece of content should be good enough to be tweeted out, shared on Facebook, +1’d, bookmarked and linked to. Develop a promotion campaign around your content to include each of these methods along with others such as: guest blogging, press releases, social press releases, commenting, manual link building, and media outreach. Do your research to start a resource spreadsheet of all media contacts, website contacts in your niche, bloggers in your industry, websites to promote on, free resources, etc… The first few promotions you conduct will take longer, however over time you should save a bit of time by organizing your resources.
Have some experience developing content calendars? Add to the tips, in the comments below.
I am sure Gerald is sick and tired of hearing about this, but since it’s my post (never mind that it’s on his blog), he’ll have to bear with me one more time.
Allow me to give you some background on the issue.
One of my favorite product releases of the year was CommentLuv Premium by Andy Bailey.
The free version of the plugin has been floating around the blogosphere for years and loved by both blog owners and commentators (aka “link builders”) alike.
Don’t ask me why, but the minute I heard Andy was working on the premium version of the plugin and all the features he was adding to it, I thought it was the best thing since sliced bread.
Anyway, this post is not about how great this plugin is, but about Google rankings.
Or how I felt like I was beating against the brick wall trying to rank my CommentLuv Premium review post on the first page of Google for “CommentLuv Premium“, to be more precise.
I am pretty good with SEO. Not great, but good enough. Plus, I’d like to think of myself as a creative link builder – I have to be since I don’t have much time for it.
So I wrote the review post, optimized it to the “T”, built a few links to it, and then ran a giveaway for a free copy of the plugin in exchange for an in-content dofollow backlink with exact anchor text back to my review post.
I told you I was creative, right?
So I got about 50 links from other blogs and, considering that my competitors for “CommentLuv Premium” keyword didn’t have many backlinks to speak of, I sat back and waited for the SEO traffic to start pouring in.
Only it never happened.
My post showed up on the first page for a brisk day or two and then disappeared into the neverland of page 4.
You can imagine my frustration. Poor Gerald heard all about it…
Assumptions and Observations
1. My post was very well optimized for the keyword.
2. It had a good amount of quality in-content links coming in, as well as some low-quality links like social media, social bookmarking, etc.
3. Thus, as far as Google is concerned, it should’ve been found extremely relevant to the keyword.
Side note: the way Google determines relevancy is by the keyword usage on the page, including your title, description, etc, and the anchor text of the links pointing to the page. Of course, this is a very simplistic explanation; take a look at how Google works, if you’d like to go more in-depth on this one.
4. The posts ranked on the first page for the keyword at the time had but a handful of low-quality links.
5. On the upside, thanks to Google+ and all the connections I made there, most of my readers saw my post on the first page because of Google personalized search, even though I wasn’t technically ranking for it.
Considering my existing domain authority and a few quick links, they both showed up on the first page that very day (I didn’t take a snapshot of the video rankings, but the post was in position 7 in 4 hours).
Both stayed on the first page for a while, but left without much link building, my CommentLuv Premium YouTube video eventually moved to page 2 and the post to page 3.
HOWEVER, guess which post finally showed up (and is staying there so far) on the first page position 5?
Besides being brilliant (I need to keep saying it to believe it – you should try it sometime), I am also very stubborn and never gave up on ranking that very first CommentLuv Premium post of mine.
So How Did I Do It?
I made one big change to the post, which I believe did the trick.
Of course, one could argue that Google simply came to its senses, saw all those links, and decided to give credit where credit was due (huh!)…
However, the ranking came about very shortly after I decided to turn my post into a page.
What’s the difference, you might ask?
- Pages are static; posts are dynamic.
- Posts are displayed in chronological order on your home page, archives, category and tag pages, etc.
- Pages are not sorted by date; they are not classified by categories or tags.
Don’t remember where I read it at this point, but someone somewhere once said that the way pages and posts are coded in WordPress is different enough to make the pages more SEO-friendly.
Since I don’t know much about coding, I can’t support or disprove this statement.
The following factor does seem to support it though: most of the higher PR URLs on any given blog are not posts at all – rather, they are pages.
Let’s for instance take this blog and check the PR for inner pages using SEOQuake Firefox Addon.
All of those results are pages. And this tends to be true for most blogs.
To learn more about using pages to increase your rankings, take a look at my post on blog structure.
How to Turn a Post into a Page
Here are the step-by-step instructions (I’d recommend you open 2 tabs since you’ll have to go back and forth between the post and the page):
1. Create a new page.
Copy and paste the content from the post to the page; save.
2. Change post permalink.
Since you’ve already built links to the post permalink, you’d want to keep it for your page. Of course, WP won’t let you have the same permalink for more than one page, so you’ll need to change the permalink on the original post first.
Usually, I simply add something like “original” or “part-1” or “2” to the end of the original post permalink; that’s plenty enough for our purpose.
3. Use the original permalink for the page.
Now go back to the page and use the original permalink for the new page. Save.
4. Avoid duplicate content issue.
Now I would edit the original post SEO title, description, and change the post content – usually by simply cutting out most of the post and placing the link to the new page with “To read more, click here” type link.
Using keyword-rich anchor text is even better, of course.
5. Optional: close comments on the page.
This one is arguable; however, I’ll use any trick up my sleeve if I can.
The original post will retain all the comments that were made on the post before you “transferred” the content to the page. It’s only fair to make sure that your commentators keep their links, right?
I tend to close comments on my pages though.
As I said, this one is entirely optional.
Was it my newly created page that did the trick and pushed me to the first page of Google?
Argumentative, but logical.
This wasn’t the first time I did this either. Each time I turned posts into pages, they tended to rank higher and have better “sticking power” – most of them are currently ranked at the top of page one, if not in position one.
Thoughts? Ideas? “I have nothing solid to support my opinion, but I’ll say you are wrong just for the heck of it”s? Comment below!
Recently I spoke with a partner in an insurance agency about his needs for SEO (Search Engine Optimization) Services. It was a referral, which is how I prefer to do business, because I never want anyone to think I am just trying to sell them something. We had a brief chat and he shared that he was paying $500 every month for SEO and that he wasn’t happy with the results. I asked him what exactly the SEO company was doing for the $500 per month, knowing that for an insurance agency in his city that really wasn’t a reasonable budget to see success. He said “they do SEO stuff” at which point, I realized we had another victim. A victim of the smoke and mirrors often associated with SEO, where the company doesn’t really tell you what they do for you.
I told him flat out, “if you don’t know what the company is doing for you AND it’s not working, you would be foolish to keep paying.” He asked me what I would charge and I told him I couldn’t tell him until I did an analysis and took a look at everything. The funny part was that he seemed to have a problem paying for something tangible (an analysis which would be followed by a road map) yet he seemed ok to pay someone and not get any results.
Let me take the mystery out of SEO; there are a handful of factors that make up good SEO, but for the most part it’s about good site architecture with good content that has good links to it. The architecture part is fairly straightforward; use static pages with WordPress CMS being a preferred platform. Good content means that it is unique (not stolen), reads well (not stuffed with keywords), optimized (it has a theme and does target specific keywords), and the pages are of reasonable length. That leave us with the link building aspect which is where you find out who really knows there stuff. Links can come from a variety of sources including web directories, social media sites, blogs, trusted industry websites, press sites, and the list goes on.
Now that you know what is involved, the real question is “what do you need to move your website from where it is to where you want it?” And I assume that it is ranking in the top 3 positions of Google for your keywords. The only way to know what you specifically need is to do some checking, otherwise known as an SEO Analysis. Some items will be glaringly obvious, but others should involve some analysis to see what types of links the site has, what kind of rankings the sites has, where the site is already listed, and the list goes on.
I met a local web designer who impressed me because he said he would not do any work for a company unless they allowed him to do an SEO analysis. I’d say that’s pretty impressive coming from a web designer; it says they have a holistic understanding of their craft and don’t just see it as “making a pretty digital brochure” which no one is likely to find.