The hard truth is that somewhere around 75% of people never scroll past the first page of their search results on Google, Bing and the like. Searchers want information fast, and they generally click on one or two of the first links that were in the initial results page to find the solution to their query.
Depending on what someone is searching for, the behemoth companies like Yelp, Trip Advisor and Amazon are always going to appear first before any smaller company or author. Seriously? How does any normal business show up after the big dogs with million-dollar digital marketing budgets and paid ads taking up the first spots?
Knowing who your ideal customers are, the words and phrases they use to search for your product or service, and optimizing your site so they can easily find you leads to higher visibility. It is very possible to perform well! And getting noticed gives you a better chance at earning sales. However, the world of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is massive, and so are the number of options you have in choosing the right level of service and a credible professional to partner in your success.
By the way – if anyone ever promises you a position on page one or a certain ranking by a certain very quick turnaround, maintain eye contact, back up at least 10 steps, then turn and run. It’s a red flag that this person or agency is either inexperienced or a total sham. That said, there are tried and true steps and skilled professionals who are experienced with search engine requirements that can ethically influence your website’s performance. Some of our own clients got their first calls within days of starting their campaign, and others simply took longer. Every client, every website and every industry are different.
Without providing the full recipe of their secret sauce, the leading search engine, Google, has shared their basic framework to understand the kind of content they favor when providing actual search results. Their many algorithms (automated systems) identify relevant information to the searcher’s query, then prioritize content from website pages that is fresh, credible and helpful. All of the technical steps a SEO professional takes behind the scenes for each website helps to submit what search engines need to read the content quickly and deliver those results in a ranked format, like you see when you search.
Let’s look at the basic essentials of SEO then compare with the advanced steps. This may help you to think through what level of service you need.
Basic SEO Essentials:
These are some of the first steps a SEO professional will manage. This list is not all-inclusive but should give you a sense of what’s happening at a foundational level behind the scenes for your website.
Analysis – reviewing past performance using tools (i.e., Google Analytics) to show what has been successful, what has not, and the demographics of the searchers.
Keyword research - these words or short phrases are the ones being used when searching for your product or service type. The ideal keywords/phrases get used a lot, are relevant to your business, but are not also being significantly used by your competitors.
Research of competition – inspecting how your competition has optimized their websites and any observable actions they are taking to promote their business.
Inspection of your site and activities to assure everything is happening above board to meet search engine requirements and eliminate anything that could unnecessarily slow the site, be considered spammy, or unethical practices that may get you blacklisted or penalized.
Initial optimization – recommendation of site redesign and/or content updates, if needed, along with multiple tasks involving labeling and organizing site elements in a way that communicates well with search engines.
Indexation – officially submitting your site to search engines for the content to be added to their indexes, which they will then read and use to provide search results based on their algorithms.
Ongoing monitoring – using multiple tools to observe your website’s basic performance, checking for and correcting anything that needs intervention.
Basic reporting & updates – the overall performance is being communicated from the SEO professional back to you.
These steps are critical and will have a transformative impact on your website’s performance. It’s possible to do these steps once and then step back for the search engines to begin inspecting and using the content they received during the indexation. We only charge a flat fee for this and recommend our clients participate in keeping their content fresh and active, then we reindex again as needed.
Advanced SEO strategies are highly customized and can include some or all (plus more!) of the following aspects. Agencies performing this level of SEO are significantly more expensive and require long term commitments and regular payment installments because they are focused on specific sales targets and use a longer period of time to monitor and refine their actions.
Integrate social and digital marketing with targeted ad campaigns to promote sales conversions.
Brand monitoring and outreach to anyone mentioning your company on external sites requesting they set up a backlink to refer back to your site, which may boost traffic.
Networking and outreach, connecting with relevant businesses to yours to promote content and create links between sites (requires a skilled touch so Google doesn’t mistake backlinking for spammy, unethical actions, which they penalize).
Content creation for your site (i.e., blogs) or outside of your site to drive traffic back to it.
Creating additional supportive, related websites as part of funneling strategies to boost traffic.
Ongoing monitoring for a committed timeframe to be able to continuously refine all of the strategies being used to accomplish the key objectives stated in the contract.
Customized reporting and communication with you so you know how they’re performing for you against the key objectives stated in the contract.
Basic SEO Essentials are extremely effective and absolutely critical for your website to show up in those early search results. At La Mejor Website, we often say that your website is like a car, and SEO is like gas for your car. If your website doesn’t have SEO, then it literally can’t go anywhere.
Small to mid-sized businesses may be better suited to start with the basics and pay a one-time fee for service. If a person or agency still requires a contract with you or payment installments for this level of service, make very sure you understand what continuous work they’re doing for you. It should include something/s from our Advanced SEO list that requires ongoing activity. Passive monitoring doesn’t count, so make them explain their service in detail.
Advanced SEO is best for companies that need a partner to handle all aspects of SEO on a regular, ongoing basis and at a level that is all-inclusive of digital marketing. A longer period of time is needed for these activities to be managed, and a skilled professional or agency will be actively engaged in monitoring your site’s performance, as well as continuously fine-tuning their work to accomplish the targets set in the contract.
Remember, every client, every website and every industry have different needs. As a Certified Google Partner, La Mejor Website offers SEO packages for Basic SEO Essentials and more customized, advanced work. We even teach you how to read the Google Analytics for your site so you can personally monitor your website’s progress and have clear transparency to see the demographics of your visitors. We prefer to empower you rather than repackage the same data to create a report with our logo on it.