Let’s be clear on one thing: search engine optimization is what your business really needs, not an SEO company.
I know a lot of things are going through your mind right now. But first, remember that this article is against search optimization companies – it isn’t.
Instead, it’s for entrepreneurs and business owners like you who may think that what they’re getting is SEO (since that’s what you paid for) when in the real sense of things, it is not.
Let’s take things in turn. First, I’ll dig into who SEO companies are. Therefore, I am going to show you what SEO for your business should look like.
Who are SEO companies
Try to remember some of the horrible experiences you had with SEOs. I’m talking about cases like when you removed rankings from page 3 (pre-SEO) to page 8 (post-SEO).
Or maybe you upped your rankings as promised, got that traffic visiting your website, got few sales here, then another over there… the reality dawned on you: your website disappeared from the search results. You have just been penalized by Google!
If you remember correctly, here’s how the event went that resulted in your ranking going down (and therefore potentially penalizing your website from search results):
You contacted this small SEO company that you needed help with your SEO. (Keep in mind that this is pretty much the progress you have been able to make when it comes to securing their search engine optimization services for small businesses).
So they responded, raving about their expertise, their years of experience in the industry, the number of websites they’ve helped to rank # 1 on Google blah blah blah. They might even claim they were responsible for SEO for Amazon, Forbes, hp, and other big brands you already know.
Or they could go so far as to guarantee results before they even get a chance to see your website, know your industry and its competitive nature, and whether there are enough SEO opportunities to deliver on their otherwise bold promise.
The goals of your SEO campaign have not been discussed in detail. For example do you want Link insertion service. The SEO company may have just assumed that since most business goals are revenue and traffic, these will likely be your own campaign goals as well.
Expectations at the outset are unclear. Which ultimately led to mismatched expectations.
It works both ways. It could be that as a business owner you have little or no knowledge of how SEO works, which is why you make requests like “Just put me on the first page” or “Bring me on.” get me as much traffic to my home page as you can “- and the SEO company, on the other hand, may have inferior SEO skills and experience and hence they will have to pretend that they meet your request is the last option she has.
And, oh, the traffic? It’s easy.
But do you care whether the traffic is coming from black, gray, or white SEO strategies? Or if the strategies will be effective and sustainable in the long run (hint: these three SEO strategies will get you a ranking, the ranking of any of these strategies, if executed well, is very assured, while the other two strategies will get you penalized, eventually.)
Then you might not be bothered if the traffic generated is from your main keywords, if they are converting visitors, the quality of those visits, or maybe those visits are in fact from people who aggregated your contact. from the many directories that your website has been submitted by your SEO specialist versus people actually interested in your offers (spoiler alert: it is 2018 and the links from directory submissions may not be enough to help you rank you, and the leads generated from directory submissions have a hard time converting. Often these are sales calls – people who want to introduce you their services.)
Seriously, it doesn’t matter where you rank or how much organic traffic you get from a particular keyword. Are these your main and most important keywords? If the keywords you’re ranked for can’t help achieve key measurable goals, that doesn’t count.
Anyone can guarantee a # 1 Google ranking for the long-tail keyword “best article 2017 for small business”. In reality, this keyword will not be of any use to you because no one is searching for this term.
Likewise, your SEO consultant may promise that he’ll rank you high as “best running shoes,” but you’re not selling shoes so that traffic won’t convert for you as well.
Considering all of the above, there shouldn’t be any surprises as to why SEO for your business never worked: you wanted an SEO company and voila, they come highly recommended; you chose them because they could guarantee results and make a lot of promises (since results are what should count, after all); or because they seem to be the SEO destination for big brands.
What SEO should really look like for your business
So what keywords are you trying to rank for and why are you trying to rank for them?
What you need to have in mind when trying to rank for a keyword is converting a visitor into a customer by forcing them to call you or schedule a quote.
Other times, you can ask them to complete micro-engagements like submitting forms, uploading master magnets, watching videos, adding items to baskets, and other traceable goals.
In this case, your first stopover: determine which keywords to rank for and how ranking for those keywords will impact your business.
First and foremost, your website needs to be optimized. Not just titles and meta descriptions, but for conversions.
Do you have lead generation forms on every page? Do you have clear calls to action? Is your payment process simple and short? Do you use microdata? Does your phone number appear at the top and bottom of every page? Does your site pass Google’s insights?
Do you also follow phone calls and research on site? The former is very likely to have mobile searchers calling you. The latter, on the other hand, will ensure that you optimize your page for people who are genuinely interested in your services.
Additionally, goals should be set up in Analytics so that you can track where your submissions, purchases, registrations, and more are coming from. This is what you should use to measure your SEO success. More conversion is the only thing that matters.
And you see, there’s no point in sending traffic to a site that’s not going to convert. Google values user experience and all of this will help.
For SEO companies who offer their SEO Business rather than offering their referencing services; one way to know them is that they always want you to trust them rather than earn your trust. This way you will be easy to handle.
The main thing will be to review the purpose of your willingness to do SEO for your business and the criteria you use to qualify SEO companies.
Just because an SEO company is # 1 in the organic bottom line or is highly recommended shouldn’t take the place of your responsibility to check their background to see if they have enough experience in your niche / space, and / or if they care about their customers’ businesses.
Type their name into Google, Facebook and see what others who have used them say about them.
After making your choice of an SEO firm, discuss and set expectations. Next, make sure their SEO efforts take into account what your business’s SEO should look like, making adjustments when and where it’s needed.
This way, you will see positive results from your SEO investment and thus be able to link those results to revenue and other KPIs that are important to you.