What Is SEO
What is SEO? - You might have some idea about it, but do you really?...
This article aims to clear up the air about SEO, SEO services and educate you on how SEO contributes to your businesses long term growth.
1. What Is SEO And What It Means For Your Business
2. SEO & The Lies You Have Been Told
3. What Does SEO Stand For?
4. Basic SEO Factors For Your Website
5. White Hat SEO & Black Hat SEO
6. How Much Does SEO Cost?
7. SEO Glossary
8. What SEO Means For Your Business
Defining SEO (The Simple Answer For What SEO is)
SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) - The process of optimising something, typically a website or web-based content so that it appears at the top of search engine results pages (SERP's) within search engines like Google. SEO is done by manipulating and understanding how a search engine works and building around it to favour your content. SEO is typically utilised by businesses that want more people to find their company and use their services, or buy their products. It is also a very large industry for people who want to make money online through affiliate marketing, lead generation, and other forms of marketing with SEO.
1. What Is SEO And What It Means For Your Business
Have you been told you need SEO for your business by some local "marketing guru", your friends and business colleagues, or just discovered the term and concept but want to know more? Keep reading as we answer the questions you have with everything you need to know about SEO.
SEO has got to be one of the most polarising and misunderstood terms in the world of online marketing.
What started off as a professional industry has become infected with snake oil salesmen and cowboys who jumped on board the hype train to try cash in on the craze.
Now it spams your Inbox, causes scammers to call you up to sell you their services, and the topic that is mentioned - or quickly glazed over - at all the business seminars and networking events you attend.
You may know of it, but still don’t know or fully understand what it really means. Every time you hear an explanation of it, you get confused even more and wonder if SEO is really worth the effort, or even worth thinking about because of the mysteries and confusion behind it all.
Don’t worry, I get spammed with the same junk on a daily and also roll my eyes when an “expert” explains SEO and only makes it even more confusing.
Today I am here to set the record straight about SEO and tell you why it truly can matter for your business and its future growth. By the end of this article you will clearly understand that dreaded word (it’s actually an acronym), and realise that without SEO, your business could seriously be missing out.
Grab a coffee, tea, wine, or your spirit of choice, and buckle up, because even with a simple breakdown, you’re in for a bit of a wild ride.
2. SEO & The Lies You Have Been Told
I wanted to start with this section to discuss the general misnomers and false information you may have heard about SEO. I know everyone hears about SEO in different contexts, at different stages of their business, and from different levels of authority on the topic.
Plus, this section can potentially save you a tonne of cash and prevent you from making some huge mistakes.
(Skip ahead to part 3 if you want to learn what SEO means.)
Below are a few common lies (and myths) that I hear so often, it scares me to think how many people fall into those traps. I am willing to bet that a good chunk of these have prevented many people from ever trying SEO again due to such bad experiences, so I thought it best to clear the air and start the topic off fresh.
If you have heard these things from your colleague, marketing/IT person, friend, family member, business partner, web company, at networking events etc. Please note that a good amount of them aren’t actively lying to you, they likely just don’t fully understand it themselves and mean well for you trying to help…
Or the people making these claims may have fallen to believe that their experience with this form of SEO was positive even when it may not have been if you truly look at the data. The goal of this post is to help you better understand the topic enough to enable you to make your own informed decision on if SEO is worthwhile exploring.
It is difficult to cover all scenarios, so please take this with an open mind and expect some of the below to contradict a lot of what you may have been told (it may even contradict itself). This is also not a vendetta against my competitors in the industry to try and make them look worse than us. There are some quality local SEO companies in NZ and we know who you are.
With that being said, onto the lies and myths!
Lie #1: SEO is Affordable/cheap
From personal experience, recently it has been the vast amount of misinformation within Facebook business groups that have spread this lie so far. Constant posts asking for advice on SEO being bombarded with comments from companies desperately trying to make a quick buck. Other opinionated business owners then chime in, throwing down the lay of the land with their experience on the topic.
Most of the time it leads to debates, arguments, mixed and conflicting comments, and mostly (unfortunately) the person asking the question to be left so confused that they don’t know what to think.
That, along with the constant outreach spam hitting your email Inbox with cheap and discounted offers, all conditioning people into thinking that this thing you may not fully understand is just a cheap fad or a last-minute marketing ploy to get some “quick wins” and kick start your small startup, save your business from those dreaded quiet periods, or prevent it from falling into the ground for a few hundred bucks a month.
What is there really to lose at that price?... Your friend said their small boutique business in Matamata had great results from X affordable SEO company. But do you know how well they're REALLY doing?... did that cheap SEO package really improve their business?
Here’s something for you - SEO for $99 is not SEO. It’s a waste of money.
It’s like buying an electric car to save on petrol costs except the batteries last for 5km’s. You are better off not buying it all and sticking with what you got.
$99 per month SEO or whatever other “special offer” you get hit with will get you nowhere. That is basically one hour (or less) per month that some self-proclaimed SEO expert will spend on your site. They won’t achieve a lot in that hour, let alone 12 months down the track. If you are going to invest $99 dollars anywhere, you’re better off buying some ads.
To be perfectly honest, if you are expecting anything less than $700 per month for SEO in a moderately sized city, or you have been offered a deal for less than that amount, I would seriously consider looking elsewhere for a solution.
Shocked at that price not cutting it as affordable SEO? Yes, I know, many people I speak with have that same reaction.
It usually indicates a few things:
- Lack of understanding about SEO and its potential value
- Your business is not at the stage to afford to compete in the SEO game.
Both situations will benefit a lot from continuing through this article. You can also learn to do SEO on a budget and get quality results, but it is not easy.
SEO is a competition, it can be dirty, and only the best will survive. If it was a legal battle, you wouldn’t even think twice to avoid going cheap and dirty because we all know the outcome of that… but when you don’t have a choice, you want to at least somewhat know what you are doing or understand what you are getting yourself into.
Reading up on SEO articles and watching reliable videos published this year, avoiding the Yoast SEO plugins, and staying away from SEO books that are out of date before they are even published can be a great start to your SEO journey. The game can change from day to day, so it's important not to "set and forget" your SEO.
A Few Small Changes From Google in 2018:
Lie #2: SEO is Easy
As with most things, if it were really that easy everyone would do it successfully and everyone would be super rich from it. If we have to put together such a detailed and lengthy post just to explain what SEO is, you can bet that there is even more that goes into learning how to do it properly.
So those couple of YouTube vids and blog posts from 2017 that your mate Sally read a few years ago when starting her business may have given her some insights into the basic principles of SEO. However, the basics will not cut it when it comes to converting SEO into money in 2019 and beyond.
A lot has changed and will continue to change. But if you are not willing to accept that and either try to keep up with reliable sources of information or find someone that does, then you will fall behind.
SEO can be highly complicated to get right, requiring many moving parts to think about, as well as the different types of data to track, measure, and understand. It's not just about throwing a few plugins on a site and writing content. That’s only the beginning, add a couple hundred more SEO factors and tasks into consideration and you’ve made a start. Without experience and solid techniques, it is an overwhelming task for someone to get right.
It is still possible to learn, and if you are in lower competition industries, in smaller locations, then learning and implementing what you can from reliable sources will most likely get you some great wins. Just be prepared to learn a lot of new information.
Lie #3 SEO is Guaranteed to Work
This lie typically stems from the spam outreach emails you may have received. They are something along the lines of “Dear Sir/Madam I hope you are doing well! Today we are offering guaranteed SEO services for the top placements in Google. All for discounted rates to fix all your blah blah crap spam.”
Don’t listen to any of these. They have absolutely no idea what they are talking about and no idea what they are doing. These emails mostly come from out-of-date email script templates from out-of-date SEO outreach courses from 2013 and for whatever reason they still try them on unsuspecting business owners.
Just like most forms of marketing, you can not guarantee results or placements in Google. Good marketers, like good SEO’s, won’t even agree to do the work without a full and detailed analysis of your current business situation and goals. There is no point in taking on a client if they see there is no way to improve the numbers and recoup your investment costs. Whether it's because the budget is too low to allow any meaningful movement or the account is not the right fit - if they can't help, they won't take you on.
There are exceptions, where they may have worked on a similar industry before so they know what to expect and the types of results they can bring. Even I do this myself if I spot a hole in a market that someone is asking about. After some quick checks and I know I can get some great results due to a range of circumstances, I’ll get excited and say that we can absolutely help (because I have done it many times before). But just be careful, because not many people are as experienced.
Lie #4 SEO is Guaranteed to Fail - It’s a Dead Industry
On the opposite side of the spectrum, there are people who will outright say not to even bother with SEO. Almost all of the time, these people have either been burned by underperforming (probably low budget, or underpaid) SEO companies. Or they have tried it themselves and failed miserably. They continue to spread the anger of their experiences to anyone and everyone whenever the topic comes up. Watch out for these people, always ask why they claim that and pay close attention to their answers. Don’t take their initial thoughts as gospel and proof.
Another situation where people say it is dead comes from other forms of marketing. It may be your web designer, Ads manager, social media marketer, or even your in-house marketer who can’t fully grasp how it all works. Most of the time they either say this because once again, they don’t understand it properly, or they are trying to get you into the services they provide instead.
As long as good research has been done, and you know what you’re up against with the right budgets SEO can work, and it can work VERY successfully.
Myth #1 Start With Basic SEO And Do The Rest Later
A lot of people (generally startups, or businesses with limited marketing budgets), tend to assume that you can start with the basics of SEO and come back to it later. Yes, you can do this, but don’t expect any results from it. At all.
The only exception is where you want to appear in Google for your brand name, unless of course, you made the decision to call your business something that resembles what we call an "exact match phrase" which means your brand is an exact phrase that people are already competing for in Google because it has a high search volume or is known to convert.
This mentality of doing the basics or bare minimum for SEO often comes from web design packages, or web platforms that state things like “basic SEO included” and it is talked about like it is a little add-on that they throw in out of the goodness of their heart. It is simply an upsell to do nothing and make more money off you.
SEO is a constant moving target and you can not do the bare minimum and expect any results, no matter what people say, you will waste time and money doing it this way.
Myth #2 Your web company can absolutely help with SEO
As said just above, a lot of web companies tack on SEO to their design & marketing packages or include basic SEO with whatever you buy.
Again, not ripping on any competitors or trying to make web agencies look bad, but just stating something all too common. If you belong to a web agency and are doing this just realising that you are making a bit of a mistake, let's talk and sort out a potential partnership to actually get your clients ranked after you build their site 😉
Not all web companies are created equal. Not all web companies fully understand what they are doing when they decide to provide SEO to their clients. SEO is much more involved than a small add-on service so don’t let them fool you into believing otherwise.
Myth #3 You Need SEO
While I am slightly biased and will always look for ways to make it work, I have to say that not every business needs SEO. There are plenty of other forms of marketing that can help a business and generate some great results.
SEO is a long term marketing strategy, so if you are looking to be in it for the long haul and generate a steady, increasing flow of traffic and revenue then it will work out great. For quick short-term results, look elsewhere.
After going through this article, hopefully, you will be able to make your own decisions about if you need SEO or not.
3. What Does SEO Stand For?
SEO is an acronym for the words: Search Engine Optimisation.
Okay, so you know the words, but what does it ACTUALLY mean? Let’s break it down further.
What is a search engine? If you were to try and find the answer to that question online, I’m going to bet that you used the biggest search engine on the planet to find your answer - Google!
Google controls 92.62% of the Global Search Engine Market Share as of June 2019. In New Zealand it is a higher number at 96% There are also other, less common search engines such as Bing, Duck Duck Go, Baidu, Yandex, and a few more.
When we are referring to SEO in most cases you want to assume we are talking about Google, as all others are minuscule compared to Google.
How a search engine such as Google actually works is a large topic for another day, but know that Google has a highly complex job to achieve a very simple outcome: Show you the best, most relevant results possible for what you are searching for.
I’m going to assume that you know what this means, but just for reference in regards to SEO, optimisation is to improve, tweak, edit and modify for better results. What exactly are we modifying? - In most cases, it is websites. To be more specific, it is websites that we want Google to show at the top of their search results.
Search engine optimisation essentially means that you are making it very easy for search engines to find the information they are looking for on your website and display it for the user.
Search engines like Google, Yahoo and Bing are just fancy lines of computer code that run around the web, looking for results that best suit a search term and display them in the search engine results page. (SERPS). It has billions of websites to choose from and its only goal is to serve the user the best information possible for their search query.
What Does Google Want To See When Ranking Websites In SERP's?
So how does Google know what the users want? The technical side to this answer can get quite complex, but below is a hypothetical situation Google may find itself in when comparing which website it displays first.
Here is an example of two tradesmen in similar locations in Auckland who have just built their websites Think about which one you would want to see:
Joe the plumber decides to DIY his website, he just wants to get something up and running so he has an “online presence” or use his website as a “digital business card” for people to start finding his business online - ultimately hoping to generate more calls, leads, & sales.
He buys his website: calljoesmiththeplumber.com and proceeds to create a simple single page website about his business, consisting of around 300 words about the services and quality business he provides, with a phone number and gmail address displayed on the website. Joe didn’t want to pay too much for a basic online presence and now his site also takes around 40 seconds to load when you visit it, and sometimes it doesn’t load at all.
Mike is in a very similar situation, however, he has a bit more marketing experience than Joe and decides to put a bit more time and investment into his online presence as he realises it’s a direct reflection of his own business. He buys mikesplumbing.co.nz and proceeds to fill his website with 5 individual service pages, each are full of detail and are very relatable to what someone would want to find on a plumbing website.
His “about page” is very trustworthy, with nice clean photos of him and his business. The homepage allows users to easily navigate to what they need. The contact page clearly states where he is, when he is open and how to get in contact.
Mike also goes on to create social media pages such as Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube. He proceeds to create content on those platforms and connects them all to his website.
Because Mike cares about his reputation, he also works hard to build up a list of glowing reviews on his Google and Facebook listings which are all tied back to his website. The website is using a few premium services which allow it to be online 99% of the time, and loads in under 3 seconds.
So if you were Google, which website would you want to serve more to the user?
If you answered Mikes website - mikesplumbing.co.nz then you are correct.
Now, if you were Joe, what would you have to do to beat Mike?.... Search Engine Optimisation!
In this situation, Google chose Mike’s website over Joe’s because it was simply the better website of the two and had more SEO factors ticked off.
There are over 200 confirmed factors that Google alone takes into account when deciding on where to place a website. So it’s not just about content and website speed but a whole bunch of extra factors with varying degrees of complexity.
200 sound crazy? We track over 800 individual variables that potentially contribute to a top-ranking spot, co-relate the data by analysing the top 100 websites for the search term, and work out which factors are the best to take advantage of in a specific industry, for a specific search phrase.
Yes, it's not an easy task, but it is part of what separates us from our competitors and what contributes to consistent and reliable results for clients.
The more of these factors that a website has right, the more favourable position a search engine would give you.
These factors directly apply to search queries.
If a website is set up well to talk about dog groomers in Auckland, then it will show up in a good position when someone searches for “dog groomers in Auckland”.
Your content can also show up for derivative keywords and synonyms. So even though you only say “dog breeders in Auckland” on your website, if you get things right you can also potentially show up for:
- Auckland dog breeders
- Dog breeders Auckland
- Dogs for sale nz
- Puppies for sale nz
Showing up for many related keywords is greatly beneficial but usually, the challenge is deciding on which keywords to target in your website content, how frequently they should be used.
Another challenge is working out which keywords have the potential to make you the most money. Often times it can be a great solution to try running Google Ads and test the market with experiments to find your money keywords. Once you have the data on what converts traffic into cash, you can make better decisions on what you want to rank for in Google organically.
An SEO specialist can do this analysis for you and tune your content to show up for the most commonly searched term so that you show up for the juiciest of search terms first and show up for some synonym keywords as a bonus.
The more words your website shows up (Ranks in Google) for, the more traffic you get to your site.
More Relevant Traffic = More Leads.
4. Basic SEO Factors For Your Website
In case you are curious, here are some very basic SEO Factors that Google looks for in a website.
Example of SEO Factors that Google looks for:
- A Fast Website - Site loading speed is very important as it serves the information quickly. A site loading time of 1-3 seconds is optimal across both Desktop & Mobile.
- Correctly Labeled Pages - A page about Dog Breeders In Auckland should be labeled as such in the URL (Universal Resource Locator) E.g www.dogbreeders.co.nz/auckland-dog-breeders
- Words On The Page - A 500 word article about dogs in Auckland is more detailed than a 100 word article and is deemed more useful for the user.
- Trust - Google and your users must be able to trust the content they are reading and the websites they are visiting. There are a wide range of trust factors to consider but the most basic ones are: Generating reviews and legitimising yourself as a business online.
Truth be told, there is not that many “basic” SEO factors. I was struggling to come up with those examples without going into things like proper header titles, Meta Tags, permalink structure, hyperlinks, anchor text, structured data and last but not least; backlinks.
Don’t worry, you don’t need to know what that gibberish means to understand SEO. But it pays to make sure that your SEO specialist does!
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5. White Hat SEO & Black Hat SEO
You may have heard about white hat and black hat SEO before, but what do they really mean? What should you look out for, and which one is best for your business?
What is White Hat & Black Hat SEO?
The original concept of white hat SEO and black hat SEO comes from the association with ethical and unethical tactics to achieve a certain goal.
The "White Hat SEO" is someone who works ethically and follows Google's guidelines to the letter about what they deem as being acceptable and not crossing any boundaries to reduce any risk of a penalty.
"Black Hat SEO" has a load of negative associations and they are often referred to as spammers, scammers, or unethical hackers, which isn't always the case.
How this came about was from back when Google was a lot easier to manipulate and gain favourable results simply by spamming and stuffing in a load of content on your website through various tactics. This all worked very well until Google got more technically advanced and released a few major updates - Penguin & Panda in 2011 & 2012.
We won't go into the details of these updates in this article, but the purpose of them was to provide a better search engine for the users while combatting the spam that was rampant and causing havoc.
A downside to these updates was that it also wiped out a large number of legitimate businesses that got caught up in the wave either due to being sold on the tactics that worked at the time or through figuring out how to manipulate Google themselves.
These two Google updates changed the entire way people looked at how search works and there became quite a divide in those that try to find loopholes in Google and exploit them, and those who follow the rules and try to win at SEO that way.
The Problem With Modern White Hat SEO & Black Hat SEO
Google and SEO have become so complex and everchanging, that it is near impossible to get a straight answer from Google about anything they do. Any announcement or update to their algorithm has been gone over with a fine-tooth comb and everyone has their own interpretation of what is right and what is wrong.
Google does not want you to know how their search engine works, they simply want you to stop trying to rank organically, give up SEO, and start advertising. They don't care what hat you wear or how ethical you are. They still hate you.
There is no straight cut line between white hat SEO and black hat SEO anymore. It is more a sliding scale of how much you really want to cross the line and get results.
Modern white hat SEO is a complete lie and sales tactic to make you think that you are buying into something "ethical" and "right". The whole purpose of SEO is to manipulate your website so that Google favours it over your competitors. If you want to be the best, sometimes you have to do what it takes to get results. White hat SEO alone will not get you consistent reliable results efficiently.
In most industries, white hat SEO alone will not get you consistent reliable results efficiently and that is simply because of what your competition is doing. You may want to stay 100% white hat but due to you lacking in the black hat factors that your competitors are doing, you’ll likely never see a top 3 position.
Did You Know?
Any form of link building is considered black hat. Any time you ask for a link or purchase a link - that is considered black hat as it goes against Google guidelines. If your SEO agency is outreaching to legitimate businesses for backlinks, or buying citations for your website, that is already black hat.
One other thing to mention about black hat SEO and ethics is that there are some people who offer services based on outdated or spammy techniques.
Most often their knowledge is based on courses that were questionable to begin with and not up to date with Google’s algorithm changes. Such “seo courses” are generally designed to rank a website fast, with no regard to long term results or longevity. For a business or any legitimate enterprise, such tactics should never be applied unless you know exactly what you are doing and understand what is involved.
These novice SEO’s may have the best intentions to rank your website, but their lack of knowledge in all forms of SEO and understanding of Google may end up harming your site. This harm can be anywhere from getting your website ranking worse than it already was or face a manual penalty from Google. A manual penalty often includes deindexing from Google entirely depending on the severity of what they have done.
We take a different approach and don't call ourselves white hat or black hat. It is a sliding scale and we start (and try as best we can) to stick to the least risk possible.
Are we ethical? Yes! As much as possible. But how do you define ethical when you are trying to take over your competitor's position in Google? - the prime real estate for relevant traffic and leads... and a good part of their income.
What about if your competitors are doing completely nasty or tricky things to achieve the results they have in Google? Is it ethical to report them and have them shut down - Potentially causing massive stress and financial harm to them? Do you reverse-engineer their strategy and replicate it for your website? Or do you stick with a "White hat" approach and generate content hoping that Google will one day rank your site. It could be in six months, it could be in six years.
Ultimately this is your decision, not ours. But just know that most "white hat" agencies don't often think about these things.
Generally, we look at the data. We look at the competition and try to figure out what they are doing. Our strategy often starts with your brand and establishing authority in an industry. When it comes to optimising and out-ranking your competitors, we start with over 800 different data points that we track. We optimise your website to compete as best as possible with structure, content, keywords, code, layout and many more on-page factors. Most of the time this leads to great jumps in improvement. From there, it can get a little grey if necessary.
We stay up to date with the latest strategies that work, from the private black hat groups where we can't discuss information publically about what they are doing, through to the latest private SEO testing groups that are pushing boundaries with single variable testing on supposed ranking factors.
So to apply it back to you, it pays to hire an SEO agency that you can trust and one that can stand by their work. Trust can come from their website, where they have clear business addresses, photos of their people and clear information about their service, but it also comes from past reviews, being able to show evidence of them generating results and rankings, and being able to discuss with you what your goals are and why you want SEO in the first place.
Such factors can go a long towards seeing whether a business is legitimate or not and if they can actually deliver quality and reliable Google rankings.
Hiring someone based off of their outreach email that offers an amazing deal is not a good road to take. Such emails are nearly 100% sent from an overseas company that you will never be able to find once they have damaged your site or simply done no work at all.
I won’t be surprised if you are now completely confused about black hat or white hat SEO and whether SEO is worth it at all if all you’ll end up doing is disobeying Google. Just know that it is not all as bad as it sounds as long as the company doing the SEO for you has a solid history of results, and knows what they are doing.
If you want to stick to Google’s guidelines verbatim for whichever reasons you have, then any form of SEO is essentially black hat. Going in and making changes to your website content because you feel it will help you rank - that’s blackhat. So essentially it doesn't come down to which hat you wear but how far you are willing to slide that scale.
There are plenty of safe tactics that help rank sites without damaging them. After all, SEO is a booming industry and the world’s biggest brands spend millions on it every year. In one way or another, they won’t be obeying that rule book 100% either.
6. How Much Does SEO Cost?
Do you pay monthly for SEO? (Organic SEO, not paid ads, AdWords etc)
- What does it cost per month?
- What do you get for your money?
This question is very open-ended, with more questions to be asked first before you can get a good and accurate answer, but you can expect a good SEO to typically charge a monthly retainer that usually starts at a minimum of around $750/month most of the time - that is for local businesses medium competition in one or two cities.
Anything less and you are pretty much wasting your time and your money unless you have a full understanding of what exactly they are actually doing, how they are doing it for that price, and how it could potentially harm your business or have it removed entirely from Google if they screw up their corner-cutting.
From there, it scales up quite a lot with many variables that [should] take into account the amount of work involved, audits, cleaning up someone's previous mess, strategizing, goals, competition in the market... the list goes on and it also varies from local SEO (for local businesses like tradies, brick and mortar etc. through to ecom, national, & international).
This is why the price can vary so much. Ranging from the $750-$5,000/month for smaller campaigns through to $100,000-$1,000,000/month for big players (I'm dead serious about that).
With that being said, a good SEO should be able to chat to you about your specific situation, goals and budgets, and either work something into that if it is a good fit while putting together a strategy that makes sense to you, or make alternative suggestions and recommendations based on your answers.
The goal of SEO is to get your site to the top of Google, yes. But the other goal that most tend to forget about is to ensure that it is making you money.
Most good SEO's will be able to work out potential organic revenue with you after discussing and doing a bit of research into your business, competition, goals, budgets etc. If not, you should be worried.
It doesn't matter what they rank you for if it is making you nothing in return.
Yes, SEO can be expensive, and there are those that take advantage of unsuspecting business owners because of this (or through complete ignorance when trying to get off the ground and make a few bucks), but there are the good ones that know the value that SEO can bring to a business and what their expertise is worth.
So although it may be expensive, providing you get a Good SEO who actually understands all of this and can actually do what is required to get results, it shouldn't cost a thing because it will pay for itself (sometimes 10-fold or greater) in the long run.
Length of time before you see results can vary greatly regardless of what you are paying. There are so many factors that go into SEO that even the best of the best won't give you direct answers on when you will see results. They may know they can do it in 2-3 months, but put in a 6-to-12-month buffer to account for anything unexpected that may arise.
This is not to make more money from you, it is genuinely them protecting themselves while setting realistic expectations to you the client.
Nobody can control what Google does but Google. It is somewhat of an insurance policy, or a way to allow time for making adjustments to anything Google does during the campaign, so just accept that fact because it is really worth it if SEO is the right fit for your business.
As for what you get for what you are paying…
Some SEO’s go all-out providing amazing and fancy reports, data, and analytics with all bells and whistles thrown in each month, with updates on a monthly or weekly basis, and really make you feel loved.
While some (including some of the best SEO’s in the world) prefer a more "as little contact as possible while I do my thing" kind of approach.
Neither, in my opinion, is better or worse... as long as you are getting results and making money from their efforts.
Generally, I find the flashy ones tend to be more full of shit, while the no-contact SEO's have systems and data in place to show their worth when the time comes and will hit you hard when you question their abilities or worth to your business.
But will, for the most part be in their cave working away to rank the hell out of your site, taking over Google and making the most money because they don't have to waste time showing you how good they are as the results will speak for themselves when your phone and email start blowing up.
It takes time to generate good reports (automated are usually crap) that the client understands and that the SEO can show real value for so that cuts into them doing the actual work.
It really comes down to ensuring they are really, truly good at what they do, and you know what to expect, vs what you want to see with the reporting side of things for what you are paying.
Most will outline how they work, or work with you for what you require and either tack on the cost of proper reporting or cut out some of their work hours for reporting.
At Ryze Digital, we take more of a middle-ground approach, where we will be more than happy to arrange and schedule catchups, meetings, and provide data when and if you require it. We don’t just do SEO, which means our team specializes in a range of digital marketing strategies and are quite flexible if we know you are the right fit for us to help you start growing your business, or completely take over an industry and scale to wherever your goals are.
My advice always is to learn at least the basics of SEO or how the whole system works. There are hundreds of free and reliable resources online and I'm happy to share some with you (or anyone that wants to know) because so many biz owners are left in the dark with this stuff and are being completely ripped off.
Not all SEO is bad, as I've hopefully outlined, but with a little understanding, you will quickly see where you are being fed complete crap and be able to filter through it all
7. SEO Glossary
Here are some cool SEO terms you can bust out at your next business conference and one-up your fellow business owners. We will be constantly updating this list.
Here are some cool SEO terms you can bust out at your next business conference and one-up your fellow business owners.
GMB: Google My Business
Google: Search Engine King
LSI: Latent Semantic Indexing
SEO: Search Engine Optimisation
SERPS: Search Engine Result Pages
Search Term/Keyword: A Word or Sentence Someone Enters In Google to Find Something
URL: Universal Resource Locator
Yoast: Cliché Website Plugin That "Does All The SEO For You" (it doesn't).
On-page SEO: SEO work that is completed on the webpages of your website. This includes things like structure, navigation, internal linking, CRO, content, code/HTML edits, keywords, siloing, structured data etc.
Off-page SEO: SEO work that is completed outside of your website, generally this is outreach and link building but there are more off-page strategies as well.
Backlinks: A backlink is a link that is generated on an external website (ideally one that is relevant and influential in your industry) that refers back to your website when discussing a topic.
Link building: A process to build backlinks to your site in order to improve your rankings on Google and make your website appear more authoritative in the industry. There are many strategies to link building including outreach, guest posting, buying links, building your own assets and linking from them to your website etc.
White Hat SEO: A myth in the SEO industry.
Black Hat SEO: SEO tactics that are often wrongly associated with unethical strategies, hacking, and spamming.
8. What SEO Means For Your Business
Basically, SEO helps people find you, and your products or services online. Consistently, without the need for paid advertisement.
Basically, SEO helps people find you, and your products or services online. Consistently, without the need for paid advertisement.
It can help previous clients trying to find you online via a Google search. They type in your company name and out pops a detailed result pointing to multiple pages of your site, a GMB (Google My Business) listing if you have a service-based business or office, and multiple social profiles. Being able to find a business easily is one of the smaller benefits of SEO but a very important one.
We have had local businesses call us up in the past asking why are they not showing up in Google for their brand. A quick search showed their website had little to no branding and was setup in such a way that a search engine had no way of telling what their website was even about, let alone that they were a business offering services.
Of course there is a much bigger and more beneficial side to SEO and that is the constant traffic and resulting leads that your website experiences when it is placed high up in a SERP. And when we mean high, we mean top 1-3, preferably first as that receives 44.64% of all traffic for that search term. (stats from Ignite Visibility). While this statistic is dependant on buyer intent and niche, it is mostly in that range.
Think of positions on Google like a business location. I’m gonna need you to get your imagination going for this one, so rev up your mind’s eye and follow along.
You have a fantastic store selling the best donuts in town. Your food tastes amazing and what clients you do have, love it and your business. Trouble is, your store is located down the end of a dirt road where only the occasional Fonterra truck drives past.
You have little visibility and little traffic coming through your door. This directly reflects on your sales rate.
You may have the best donuts in town and you're able to cater for everyone but it dosen’t change the fact that NO ONE actually knows you and your delicious donuts exist.
At the end of the day your business is in trouble.
So, you got the business side of things sorted but no one to do business with, what do you do?
Move your business into the busiest street in town where there is more visibility and a high amount of hungry traffic seeing you. That traffic and visibility will drive numbers through your doors and increase sales.
So to bring this back into the digital world (no donuts sadly), a poor ranking in Google is like having a business that no one can see and no one comes to. Anything after page 1 is seriously affecting your business, anything after page 2 or 3 may as well be nowhere.
The average Google search lasts less than a minute, that is how much time you have to capture a prospective client into your sales funnel. That is not a whole lot of time, especially if you are back on page 2 and the person is in a hurry. They won’t have time to click around every result and then go even further to page 2, 3, 5 etc.
Ask yourself this:
When was the last time you went beyond page 1 to find something?
I don’t remember when I did and I practically live in Google search.
So we know that in order to make more money and help build awareness about our brand/company, we need to get more visibility to it.
Of course SEO does not grow on trees nor does it develop naturally so that is why SEO Agencies exist. We offer SEO as a service and therefore it is an investment on your behalf to help build the business.
Hopefully, this article helps to clear some uncertainties around SEO and answer some of the questions that you had around the topic. SEO can be confusing and mysterious at times but we hope to help change that for you as much as we can.
Get In Touch With an Expert Today!
Get In Touch With an Expert Today!