Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the process of optimizing your website to show up high on a search or to appear at all. This process includes both On-Page and Off-Page SEO. Therefore, it’s not just about website optimization but also involves creating other assets like citations and backlinks outside your own website. SEO is an integral part of your marketing strategy, offering numerous benefits along with a few downsides.
Let’s start by understanding what Search Engines do. We’ll focus on Google as the most common search engine and the one for which optimization is crucial. In essence, Google functions like a giant librarian who understands the library’s contents and can guide you to relevant information. Google’s business is to “recommend” websites to users, and it employs various algorithms to do so. The better it serves your search queries, the more you’ll rely on Google. Google excels at predicting queries and providing answers, which is why it’s a leading search engine. These algorithms are closely guarded secrets and continuously evolve.
So, how do people decipher Google’s preferences? Many professionals conduct testing and analyze these preferences, often publishing reports or updates regularly. These factors change frequently, and marketing agencies diligently follow these updates. For instance, consider the importance of geotagging your photos for a local business, the signals sent by Google Business Profile, or the role of online reviews. All these factors constantly fluctuate in value.
Now, let’s explore what local SEO marketing can achieve. Different agencies offer various packages, but it’s crucial to remember that SEO is not a sprint; it’s a marathon. While you can pay for a one-time optimization, this won’t provide lasting results. Users pose a wide range of queries, leading to numerous keyword variations. Think about the various ways people might search for family law: family lawyer, family lawyer near me, family lawyer [location], child custody, family attorneys, family law attorney, family law legal help, lawyer near me, and more. These combinations vary in popularity, creating different search volumes. The ideal scenario is to identify and rank for keywords with high search volume and low competition.
Ranking at the top of Google search results is a primary goal for most companies. Research indicates that the percentage of clicks a page receives depends on its position. For instance, the first three positions in paid search results receive only about 1-3% of clicks, prompting users to avoid them. In contrast, the first organic result captures a whopping 39,8% of clicks! The second position receives around 18,7%, and the third about 10,2%. This highlights the significance of organic search over paid search. Not only is advertising expensive, but it’s also less effective than SEO. There’s even a joke that goes, “Where should you hide a dead body? On the second page of Google!”
Now, let’s address the central question of this blog: What can you expect from SEO marketing? Different marketing agencies offer various packages, but it’s essential to choose an agency that adheres to white hat SEO practices rather than using shady tactics. Google’s algorithms are highly sophisticated and continually evolving. Here’s a list of what can be included in your local SEO:
- Keyword research: Understanding what your clients are searching for is crucial to offer it at the right moment.
- On-Page content optimization: This includes titles, tags, and overall content, all while keeping keywords in mind. Avoid keyword stuffing and aim for appropriate keyword density. Google increasingly recognizes user signals and assesses content quality, promoting good content while penalizing shady practices.
- Meta tags and descriptions: These are technically on the page but are not visible on the page itself. They are what users see on Search Engine Result Pages (SERPs). In just 160 characters, you must convey your page’s topic to Google using the right keywords, keeping it concise and compelling. Alt text for images is another vital aspect of SEO.
- Technical page SEO: This involves making your website favorable to Google. Technical SEO encompasses speed optimization, error correction, security reviews, and more.
- Google My Business profile (GMB): This is perhaps the most critical and free tool for local businesses. However, it requires ongoing maintenance and updates.
- Citations: Mentions of your website on other websites, usually with your Name, Address, and Phone number (NAP). Consistency in NAP across all channels, including GMB, is crucial. Think of it as town gossip—the more people talk about it, the better. Examples include Yelp and BBB.
- Backlinks: Unlike citations, backlinks contain live links pointing to your website. These have a similar effect to citations and contribute to Google’s trust in your site. As your website gains popularity, people may repost your links, creating even more backlinks.
- Analysis: This is a critical part of the SEO process. Monitoring metrics allows you to plan ahead. Analysis may include competitor research, Click-Through Rates (CTR), engagement rates, and more. There are numerous tools for analysis, many of which Google offers for free, such as Google Analytics, Google Search Console, and PageSpeed Insights.
As you can see, there are various paths for local SEO to follow. Additionally, other marketing tools, like press releases and Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO), can complement SEO efforts. The benefits of SEO are significant. When all these elements align, you can expect to:
- Be prominently featured on Google.
- Improve your website’s Domain Authority.
- Experience steady growth by consistently attending to your SEO.
- Achieve higher conversion rates as you make continuous improvements to your website.
Unlike paid ads, which primarily attract visitors, SEO focuses on enhancing your website’s quality. Initially, users may leave within seconds if they encounter a poorly designed website. Therefore, SEO is your opportunity to create a lasting impression.
Even ranking for a few keywords in the top three or achieving the number one spot is highly beneficial. Each keyword in a top position can bring in numerous users who can potentially become clients. Realistically, it’s impossible to rank for hundreds of keywords, so finding your sweet spot is what SEO can do for you.
SEO also offers a decent Return on Investment (ROI). While precise data on SEO ROI is challenging to obtain due to its complexity, various agencies have calculated numbers ranging from 275% to 1500%. In other words, for every dollar invested, you can expect to receive between $2.75 and $15 in return. These figures indicate a favorable ROI.
Now, let’s explore the downsides of SEO. Despite its numerous benefits, SEO has its challenges. For one, it takes time to see results, typically around 3-6 months. Even minor improvements may take weeks. SEO is not a quick fix but rather a gradual and long-term strategy.
Regarding scalability, SEO is not easily expandable. When clients demand immediate results, it’s tempting to allocate additional funds for paid ads to boost traffic. However, with SEO, you can’t simply say, “I need more customers.” Be prepared to patiently build traction over time.
Continuous adaptation and research are essential. While this applies to various forms of marketing, remember that you wouldn’t use the same image for all your Facebook posts. Testing in SEO takes time, and changes may require a while to yield results. If a change has a negative impact, it may take time to notice.
In conclusion, embarking on the journey of local SEO marketing can be a game-changer for your business. Settle with reputable marketing agency and start growing your business.