SEO (or search engine optimization) helps your Google ranking, improve your search engine marketing, and drive fresh traffic to your site. For most companies, it’s challenging to understand the basics about keywords, never mind trying to keep up with changes.
So what does SEO even mean these days? And with so many people paying to be at the top of Google, does it even matter any more?
Let’s take a closer look at some realistic expectations for an SEO provider and some questions you should ask them to get the most out of your SEO efforts.
Learn the Language of SEO
SEO is essentially a way of building online word-of-mouth. It woos Google, Bing, and other powerful search engines, making your website an authority in their eyes. In turn, these online traffic guards will direct their users to seek you out for information.
While some companies throw money at Google to try to get their website to rank #1, we advise taking a more systematic and methodical approach. Adding content to your website that is keyword-rich allows your website to get found and rank for free.
Content marketing and creating strong blog pages and website pages is a solid, long-term strategy for ranking highly, as well.
There are No Guarantees
A good SEO company won’t make outrageous claims or offer amazing guarantees. Be very wary of those that do. The truth is, there are no guarantees in the world of SEO.
In fact, this is true for all of marketing - no matter how much time and effort you put in, sometimes it just doesn’t work the way you anticipate. There might be unexpected changes in the marketplace or economic shifts that prevent your campaigns from panning out.
But one thing is guaranteed: you’ll never be able to rank highly in the search engines if you don’t start creating content.
Talking About Timeframes
This leads us to another important point: SEO takes time. Don’t expect your SEO consultant to produce results in one day, one week, or one month. A solid SEO strategy unfolds over a period of months or even years.
How ambitious are your goals? This will affect the timeframe. The bigger you’re dreaming, the more time it will take to build success.
Believe it or not, your timeframe will also partially depend on your geographical location, even if you’re an online-only business. Search engines tend to deliver location-specific results, and New York City, for example, is a busy marketplace online just like in the real world. Standing out takes time.
The competitiveness of the industry you’re in matters, too. If you’re trying to rank on extremely sought-after keywords, it may take time to build authority on certain topics.
#1 Isn’t Everything
You might be surprised to discover that your SEO consultant isn’t trying to make your company #1 on Google. That’s because a business can be very successful without throwing away valuable resources competing for that top-ranked spot.
It can be extremely difficult to rank #1 in search engine results. Plus, Google has shortened the average number of page 1 results from 10 to 8.5 over the past few years while redesigning for mobile. Why fight for a handful of spots when you can make plenty of money using other SEO strategies?
Your SEO specialist may set a goal that’s totally apart from your Google ranking. Maybe your goal will be increasing your site traffic by X% or improving organic leads by X amount. These are actually much more meaningful goals for your company, in terms of boosting revenue and profitability.
Step Back, Step Forward
Before making forward progress on your SEO strategy, your SEO expert might suggest taking a step backward and re-examining what you’re already doing. They’ll look at your landing pages, pillar pages, and overall site design.
And you’ll wonder: Why take the time to do all that?
Because SEO won’t work right when everything else is broken. SEO services can’t solve all your problems, especially if your web pages are full of poor design, page loading errors, broken links, and other optimization problems.
In fact, your SEO consultant is doing you a huge favor by pointing these things out. If Google notices them, your ranking will only slip lower and lower.
SEO Next Steps
Here’s the good news: An investment in SEO consulting services can bring a huge return on investment over the long term. Although it’s common to see a negative ROI if you only focus on the first couple of weeks, the ROI grows much stronger over a period of months.
A successful SEO strategy is about building solid authority online and driving exponential growth as time goes by. With some careful SEO planning and the guidance of an expert, you can see a fresh burst of interest in your company and a solid stream of new leads.
Do you need help with SEO? Connect with 11outof11. We are a full-service marketing, SEO, and content creation company with the expertise you need to build a strong business online.