Search engine optimization is confusing. Multiple consultants all suggesting different strategies, algorithm change announcements making the news, people trying to hide their real methods and tactics – it has certainly built itself a questionable reputation.
Despite the confusion, SEO is an amazing source of traffic, leads, and revenue for many businesses – both local business and those competing on a larger National or International scale. Sure, there are a large number of factors to consider when undertaking a search marketing campaign but it doesn’t have to be as confusing or intimidating as people make it out to be. First let’s get a handle on what SEO really is.
You’d think this would be the easiest part, but sadly it’s not. Other SEO consultants have done a great job of confusing their potential customers, purely to make it seem like you need them for everything related to online marketing. And unfortunately, this confusion starts by defining SEO in wildly different ways. Yes, SEO is connected to many aspects of web marketing, but that doesn’t make them SEO.
We created this diagram to help illustrate what parts of a typical Google or Bing search result SEO applies to.
Search engine optimization (SEO), at its core, is about making the necessary changes to your website’s internal and external link profile and content to help ensure it reaches top rankings (e.g.: #1 position) in the Organic search results section of any search engine (this is the blue section in the diagram).
While local map results are a part of SEO, they’re typically not the primary focus. This is because those results should not require a large amount of attention on the part of your SEO consultant. It’s a set it and forget it component, assuming you do it right from the start.
You’ll be comparing us to two different types of SEO competitors. The first type is a devilish blackhat SEO firm that spams your keywords throughout your website and then does the same with backlinks, haphazardly spreading them throughout the Internet. These firms are the quickest way to a month or two of great rankings, then years of recovery from being blacklisted by Google. We know this from experience: years ago, we did the very same thing to one of our own websites, then vowed never to do it again.
The second type of firm are angelic whitehat SEO providers. They’ll build your brand slowly but surely, creating meaningful one-to-one relationships with other companies for backlinks and eventually, perhaps years later, you’ll get the rankings you want. Unfortunately these guys also charge thousands of dollars per month. They offer a great service, but it’s typically well outside of the budget of a small business.
We’re smack dab in the middle of these two types of agencies. We handle things differently from the rest of the pack. Our unique approach to organic search engine optimization was built to be the perfect balance of fast to rank (compared to the angels) and our powerful and custom built backlinking system is inherently less risky than the devil’s methods.
We’ll also help guide you towards developing and using the content and online marketing strategies that best support your SEO efforts and therefore reach as many people as possible.
Best of all, our pricing is affordable for most small businesses.
Not only can we help you rank organically for a variety of search terms, but you also have the option of combining our SEO services with proper analytics, tracking, and testing to make sure your website is making good use of the newfound increases in traffic. Check out our conversion optimization service for more info on this.
Although SEO is much more complex than what we discuss below, the following will help give you an idea of what is involved and some of the factors that go into ranking your website.
Everything starts here. Understanding your market, researching what people are looking for and what problems and questions they have is incredibly important. In many cases it’s better to focus your efforts on more targeted keywords that have less volume but also less competition than trying to go after the hugely popular keywords. This is because of relevance. You want as targeted traffic as possible. Take this example: if you’re a personal trainer, you could try to target the keyword “weight loss” – it’s a keyword that is searched for thousands of times a day. However, the traffic would be very off-target and your return on investment would be very low. You’d be much better off ranking for a term that focuses on both your location and the service you deliver. “Halifax personal trainer” for example is much less competitive and would result in better targeted traffic, looking for the services you provide, and therefore better qualified leads for you to convert into customers.
Understanding your market and their search behaviour is extremely important.
Competing Locally? Ask us about creating your Google Local page (used for Maps results) and linking it to your Google+ page and website!
This is an important component to obtaining a good ranking because you have a lot of control over it. Every good search marketing solution starts with looking at your website. Once you know what your potential customers are looking for and what problems they have, you need to make sure that your website provides the solutions and answers. Creating great sharable content is always a plus when it comes to SEO.
It’s more than just content though – paying attention to your Titles and Meta-Descriptions and making sure they reflect what the page is actually about will help tell search engines and searchers what to expect. Internal linking and navigation structure can make it easy or difficult for both a user and a search engine to browse through your website. Sitemap XML files, keyword density, Analytics and tracking, broken links, and many other factors all come into play when optimizing the structure and content of your site. Here’s a bunch more:
In its basic form, the third pillar of good organic search engine optimization is everything else that involves your website but happens somewhere else. This is where the magic happens.
Acquiring links that point to your website is still the number one way to get your site ranked in search engines. Let me say that again: Acquiring links still takes the cake.
This is something that gets debated every other day in the search marketing world and we’re done debating. We’ve tested it over and over again and acquiring links is by far the best way to rank for anything. Links count as votes in the eyes of search engines – it’s like a webmaster or website owner vouching for the credibility of another website. Sure, there are some pretty spammy ways of acquiring links – no doubt about that. But there are also some amazing, low-risk tactics that we have in place that just simply work.
While social media has wide-reaching marketing value that is strongly recommended to partake in, it also has a very specific SEO connection too! Beyond the usual questions like “Does your website get shared?” and “Is your website being talked about?” (which we discuss more in our content marketing section here), the biggest question we ask about social media from a SEO perspective is:
Are your social media profiles linked to your website properly so that they are providing the most benefit?
Our search engine optimization techniques ensure that these types of connections are properly configured between your social profiles and your website.
This is a hard one to nail down, but we’ve got some general ranges that we’ve quoted to dozens of both local and international companies. If you’re a small business looking to target an industry in your local town or city, you can expect to start around $500 one-time and about $75 – $300 per quarter.
If you’re in a competitive market – whether a large city or a high margin industry – you might need to spend a little more in the $250 – $500 per month range. Similarly if you have a website with dozens of pages, your on-site optimization spend might be in the $1,500 – $3,000 range.
If you want to go more broad and target keywords on a National or International level, you will start at the $300-$400 price point and could be as much as $2,000-$3,000 or more per month depending on the level of service and types of strategies that are necessary to ensure you get the rankings you need.
We take a couple days to learn a bit about your business and website. We research your industry and competition and with your input, decide on the keywords you want to target.
Based on the decided keywords, we optimize your website for search engines and visitors. All changes to structure and content will be approved by you before being applied to the site.
Once all the work is done on your site we begin creating the content for the articles and scheduling out your links. This is done over the next 30-60 days to appear as natural as possible.
Every week you will receive a rank report. You will also have access to our team via email to answer any questions you might have.