Wondering what SEO is?
As a successful small business owner or company tactician, you’ve most likely built your business on the foundation of a series of good decisions, calculated risks, and maybe a bit of luck.
Thankfully, you’ve made more good business decisions than bad ones, or you wouldn’t still be in business.
As one of the many SEO companies in Minneapolis, our job is to help companies like yours who take their business seriously, and are looking for ways to improve and grow their business. Not by rolling the dice, but by implementing a proven, methodical, strategic approach. In other words, we want to help you make another good business decision. Is SEO right for your business? Don’t know. Hopefully this guide will help.
Of course, it’s no secret that the internet provides a tremendous amount of potential to grow businesses across all industries. But how do you leverage the internet for business growth? Dropping a Tweet or a Facebook post certainly isn’t going to light up your phones. Build it and they will come, right?
Not when it comes to SEO.
An awesome website, or well-crafted LinkedIn article on its own isn’t nearly enough to get you top search engine rankings.
If your goal is to make your website more visible in internet searches, what we’re talking about is improving your organic search engine rankings. This is where you’ll see your growth, and by utilizing expert SEO services or expert SEO strategies, you can get there!
SEO, or Search Engine Optimization is the term used for a digital marketing strategy that is focused on improving your search engine rankings. I’ll get this out of the way up front. There IS no magic bullet for page one rankings. If someone says that they guarantee page one rankings, run away. They’re bad news. They don’t. We don’t. NO ONE has a magical back door into Google, where we can get our clients better search engine rankings.
In fact, there are over 200 ranking factors in Google’s algorithm. With SEO, the objective is to provide the search engines with more positive signals and more compelling content than your competitors. This includes optimizing your website, social media, creating insightful content, and improving your backlink profile (to name a few).
SEO is a laborious, methodical strategy, that done properly, and given enough time, will reward you handsomely with prolonged search engine visibility. Quite simply, it can take your business to the next level. But ONLY when executed properly. Therein lies the challenge for you.
Quality SEO companies aren’t easy to sniff out for most business owners. Let’s arm you with some information, so you can make a better, informed decision when shopping for SEO services, or trying to decide if SEO might be a good move for your business.
There are no shortcuts with SEO. It's a natural process that will improve your website rankings over time. If you're impatient or unwilling to give SEO the time to work, you should consider other digital marketing strategies like AdWords, or Facebook advertising.
How long does SEO take?
It depends. Could be a few months to see better rankings, or it could be a year or more. I won't touch an SEO project that is unwilling to commit blindly to at least four months. That's just me, but success is my driver, and I value my business relationships above all else.
A lot of SEO agencies will try to convince you that SEO is just too complicated. Only they have the answers. "If you're not an Expert in SEO then it's just not going to work." "You need sophisticated dashboards and reporting tools like we have". WRONG! It's not rocket science. It just takes work. I could put a game plan in front of you, that you COULD execute on and see results. Not only that, there's an endless supply of content on the internet regarding SEO strategies.
IF you had the time.
That's the biggest challenge. SEO strategies take a lot of time to execute. If you haven't had an SEO assessment done, that's often a good starting point to determine whether you want to execute an SEO strategy on your own, or hire a professional SEO agency. Most SEO companies will provide a thorough SEO evaluation for you at no cost.
Think about your own shopping experience. What’s the first thing you do? If you’re like the majority of the world you’ll open up Google and type in a search. The results that you see on page 1 will capture over 90% of the clicks. How far back will you look in an internet search? Most people doing internet research aren’t going to go very deep in the search results.
With SEO, as you begin to start ranking for terms that are important to your business, your traffic will see a boost. Using tools like Google Analytics, this is a tangible, measurable statistic that you’ll be able to monitor and track.
However, more traffic on its own isn’t the goal of SEO. Who cares if you’re seeing a 500% increase in traffic, if sales aren’t going up? What we’re looking for is the “right” traffic. People who are actively looking for your products or services.
So how do we do that?
Part of the job of any SEO professional or website company is to dig into your business, understand your strengths, advantages, and your business goals. What do you want to focus on as a company? What would you like to sell more of? Is there a specific vertical you’re wanting to target? What’s your top three selling products or services?
Next, you’ll want to understand how people are searching. Here’s a hint. They generally aren’t using industry acronyms or specific terms. In many cases, they’re looking for a solution to a problem.
Example: If someone has a sore neck, are they more likely to search “my neck hurts”, or “sore neck relief”, or would they search “cervical spondylosis”? Often, we find businesses focusing on “cervical spondylosis (insert your specific terminology)”, rather than how people are actually searching.
Through thorough research and analysis, we can better understand your buyers’ habits and begin to optimize your website to specifically target those searches.
This is pretty basic, but bears mentioning. A byproduct of improving your search engine rankings is that companies who were once ahead of you are now behind you. And that’s a good thing. Not only that, but as you now have SEO-optimized content and formatting on your website, you’ll start to see more than one of your pages ranking for the same term.
The more prime real estate you consume means less available real estate for your competitors.
People trust Google, and gravitate towards brands that they are familiar with. If Google is promoting your website in their search engine results, people will take notice. A welcome side effect of expert SEO tactics is that people will start to recognize your brand. You’ll find that your sales will begin to come “a little easier”, as a result of improved credibility.
Relative to other marketing channels, SEO is often a bargain considering the potential benefits. That said, hiring an SEO agency isn’t free, and budgets aren’t unlimited. Is SEO the best use of your limited marketing dollars? Not sure. As part of our SEO assessment process, we’ll dive into this to help companies make an educated decision.
I can tell you this. More often than not, SEO is the best bang-for-buck investment you can make if you’re after stability and growth for your business.
Here’s a hypothetical: Let’s say SEO services cost $9,000 over the course of a year. How many new buyers would it take for you to recover that amount? What’s the life time value of a new customer? How realistic is it that you will eventually recover your investment? These are some of the questions to consider when deciding whether or not to invest in SEO services.
When SEO is properly executed, the return on investment for SEO services is often extremely quick.
Much of this depends on your industry and your competitors. In some cases rankings are sustained for a long time once you stop doing SEO.
But Not Always!
When you stop doing SEO, there’s nothing stopping your competitors from using SEO services to overtake your rankings. Ranking formulas are constantly changing as well. This means that an algorithm change could lead to a sudden drop in internet rankings. A large factor with internet rankings is activity. When SEO campaigns stop, so does the activity, which can put your rankings at risk.
Again, the industry you’re in, and the products or services you sell play a huge role in this.
If your company were to offer a rebate as a promotion, it would be easy to measure the redemption rates, and pinpoint the success or failure of that campaign, right? Hell, you could probably forecast the success of that rebate campaign with great accuracy, based on historical data.
What about a billboard or radio advertisement? How do you measure their success? What about a mailer or a trade show? That gets to be more difficult, doesn’t it?
SEO sort of falls in between these examples. There are measurables, for sure, but at the end of the day it’s about sales, and SEO can’t close sales for you. That’s up to you.
Ultimately, are we able to view website traffic, keyword rankings, conversions, top pages, bounce rate, pages viewed, and track inbound phone calls? For sure! Are things trending upward? Yes? Great, but is your phone ringing? Are they qualified leads? In other words, is SEO bringing the right traffic to you? Those are the questions top SEO agencies will ask themselves.
Here’s my thought process when sizing up a prospective SEO client:
How likely is it that SEO will provide a return, given the client’s goals, minimum time frame, industry, company, website, etc. that I have to work with. There are a lot of variables to consider, and in every case I know I need to provide a positive return. If one or more of those variables will prevent me/us from succeeding, I’ll walk away. I won’t provide a one month SEO campaign, for example, and no ethical SEO company would either.
If your website isn’t mobile friendly or uses Flash (which can’t be crawled by search engine spiders), I won’t sugar coat it, pretend it’s fine, and take your money until the SEO campaign fails and you fire me.
To be successful, companies have to want success, and be willing to put the blinders on. What I mean is they need to be on board with the time frame that it’s going to take to succeed, and be willing to help, when necessary, to educate our team on their business.
Are you on the fence about using SEO services for your business, or feel like you need more information? As I mentioned, many SEO agencies will offer you a complimentary SEO assessment. Speaking from experience, this is a real value and will provide you with information that will be invaluable in making your decision. At HyperX Design, we’ll invest an average of 3 hours into each SEO assessment, knowing that not everyone is going to hire us.
I always recommend taking advantage of the free SEO assessment as a first step. Talk to more than one SEO company to get a feel for how they work. At the very least, you’ll be armed with information that will help you make a better informed decision.
Or just have a question? Drop us a quick message…
Want to learn more? Hyper X Design is a digital marketing company in Minneapolis, offering both website design, and digital marketing services including search engine optimization services. Interested in a complimentary website assessment to help you put a plan in place to improve your digital footprint? If you’re not sure how to move forward, this complimentary website assessment will provide you with a wealth of information to help you decide the best path for your company.