Many business owners pay thousands of dollars for Search Engine Optimization and never even sniff the first page of the search results! Some businesses pay a small amount for empty services that provide no value — this is very common. Others are sold on a whole list of services that actually do work, and look great on the surface… but don’t produce any extra revenue in their pockets. There are so many ways to waste your money on marketing.
I hate to see this happen to anybody! It actually takes businesses down by trapping critical cash flow. It really bothers me to see quality businesses providing valuable services to the community who go down in flames because they are blinded by the latest online fad that would improve their online “whatever”. Or perhaps they bought SEO Services from an Atlanta SEO Firm who isn’t able to take care of them – or doesn’t care enough to earn them results.
Every day, you get calls, emails, snail mail, texts, and faxes with different messages claiming to offer the latest technical solution for marketing your business online. If you are like most business owners or managers, you’ve gotten run over on the information super highway! You have a lot to lose: your business, your financial future, all your hard work goes down the drain! I understand, and I empathize with your situation. Don’t let it happen to you.
I happen to find SEO fascinating. I wake up thinking about SEO, go to sleep thinking about SEO, and think about SEO at the most inappropriate times. Please don’t let me overhear you discussing marketing at dinner. I implore you to read this short list to help protect yourself. Even if you don’t end up contacting me – or if you use this merely as a test to see if someone’s offer is legitimate, that’s great. I’m happy to save some of your precious marketing dollars from going down the drain.
(1) What Exactly Are Your Prospects Searching – aka Keyword Research.
What is the point of ranking for something no one is searching for? No reason, from a business standpoint. Many people (at first) are ecstatic to get page one rankings for terms no one is searching. Months down the line, however, they do the math and realize no new business came through their doors and they think to themselves, “But, but, but I’m on the 1st page of Google!” Their SEO Consultant failed to walk them through the first and most basic internet marketing exercise.
If a Search Engine Optimization Company does not show you, in their proposals, what your market is searching – don’t waste another minute with them. Move on. Without this basic information (even if it is a bit flawed), you cannot make an informed buying decision! Some businesses just don’t have the search volume to justify the costs of SEO.
Google gives out search data freely. They tell you how many people are searching for whatever you want. Their data isn’t perfect, but it is a great start and very accurate for most search phrases. Broad match search quantity includes searches for anything related to that search phrase. Exact match only gives results for that one specific search phrase.
(2) Is SEO the Best Fit for Your Company?
Once you’ve found what your market is searching, it’s time to do some math. You’ll love the kind of math that prevents you from losing money and brings in more profit to your business! Any SEO Consultant worth his or her salt should help you make this evaluation.
Take a look at 3 different numbers to see if you should pursue Search Engine Optimization:
- Average Customer Value.
- Quantity of Search Volume That Is Your Target Market.
- The Cost of Doing SEO.
At the very least, if you were to rank # 1 for all your search phrases, would you make substantially more than the costs of SEO? The answer is not simple, but from the 3 numbers above you can get a decent enough estimate. Other factors like site conversion rate, lifetime value of a customer, etc., are also important – but first, conduct this reality check. SEO is probably not a good investment if you ‘d make only $100 over the next 12 months by ranking # 1 for everything! However, if the numbers show that your average ranking was #3 and the estimated income is 10 times the price of SEO, then you have a winner. If you didn’t do step 1 (keyword research) you cannot make this estimation.
This calculation is why I don’t like Social Media as much as SEO. Social media is unpredictable – it is difficult to estimate. Social Media and other such services provide activity, but no measurable progress – one of the worst sources of wasted capital in internet marketing — a company sells you on all sorts of extra features that result in no extra business.
PPC is far more expensive than SEO and its costs have been increasing for business owners by 50 -150% per year! As low quality SEO providers are booted by Google’s algorithms, companies flee to PPC. SEO provides the best balance between predictability of results and cost. Usually. Contact me to find out.
(3) What Does Google Think Of Your Site Right Now?
Do they hate you? Do they know you exist? Do they like you? You figure out what Google (and other search engines) thinks of you via a full On Page and Off Page Analysis.
On Page Analysis consists of 4 major factors:
- Do your page titles have the appropriate keywords in them?
- Do you have the main keywords or slight variations within your text at least once?
- Is the linking structure of your site set up properly?
- How well do people respond to the look, flow and feel of your site?
There are other pieces involved, but this provides a good 5,000 foot view of where you are. This is usually the easiest stuff to fix.
Off Page Analysis consists of 4 major factors:
- How many sites are linking to you?
- What is Google’s opinion of the sites linking to you?
- How relevant are the sites linking to you?
- What text do these sites use when linking to you?
Again, there’s more involved, but you get the idea. This is difficult for you to do yourself. Frankly, most SEO experts do a poor to mediocre job of this. And that’s good news for me and my clients!
(4) Are You Currently Monitoring Your Traffic?
If you’ve set up visitor and rank tracking software, this is invaluable and easy information to capture. If you haven’t – stop reading right now and call me (404-586-4906) to help set this up ASAP. At the very least, you should have visitor tracking software – it’s free, easy and provides a good set of historical data to analyze. This data gives you an invaluable glimpse of how Google estimates your relevance. Start getting this data or find an SEO Consultant to help you get it. Now.
(5) Do You Have Duplicate Content?
Enter your website into Copyscape. Has someone else online copied your content? Have your content writers copied it from elsewhere? Copyscape will tell you. Hopefully, you have no results. If you do, take steps to fix this as quickly as possible.
The easiest way is to reword the duplicated content on your own site. You must determine this before beginning an SEO project – or you’ll be trying to rank a page that Google believes you’ve copied from someone else! Take this easy step – or have your Atlanta SEO do this for you.
(6) How Effective Is the SEO of your Competitors on Page One of the Search Results For Your Desired Terms?
The only competition we are concerned with are those companies located on page one for your desired (read: most profitable) search terms. Is your competition highly optimized with lots of backlinks? Are they ranked number 1 with smoke and mirrors? You need to know this information. Google doesn’t reward you for being in business longer than your competitor. Google is only interested in what your website relects in terms of quality content, popularity and relevance to the search results desired by their clients: Google searchers.
Why is this information important to you in deciding upon an SEO plan? Without it, you will not know how to budget properly nor when to truly expect seo results. Don’t let your SEO Consultant use the lazy technique of using “competing pages” as a competition metric. Who cares about the guys on page 100?
ALWAYS closely examine what the competition at the top of your biggest search phrases is doing to rank. Without this step, you have no idea how much money or time it will take to meet your ranking and traffic goals. Otherwise, you may discover after 6 months that you’re competing against companies with excellent seo plans which will require you to spend a fortune. Think of entering the soft drink market. Would you really desire to take on Coke or Pepsi?
(7) Do You Know the Steps You Need To Take?
Has your Consultant provided an action plan overview? You should have a general plan to work with and understand that the plan is customized to your business situation. This plan can also change as new information comes in. It doesn’t have to be the same every month. It should not start off at full blast– you need to slowly ramp up your link building. If your “SEO Expert” says he’s going to build 200 links for you every month from here to eternity… consult with someone else! Your link building should ramp up and plateau.
(Bonus!) Are Local SEO Listings Showing Up In Your Search Phrases?
Do Google’s Local SEO Listings show up in search results for searches you’re targeting? Knowing whether the Local Listings show up is important, because the way you rank in these is a little different from Organic SEO. Here’s an Atlanta Local SEO search and what the Local Listings, Organic Listings, and Pay Per Click (PPC) Ads look like:
To summarize, you need Online Reviews, Citations, proper SEO for your listing (a lot like On Page Search Engine Optimization), and a good domain authority. For more details, watch this video I made on Atlanta Local SEO.
One Last Thought.
Search Engine Optimization is about getting leads to your business. There are only two methods to achieve this: an in-house SEO employee or an expert SEO Consultant. No professional SEO Expert will be your employee. Fact. The reason? We don’t want bosses or time clocks and you can’t afford us as employees. You also don’t want us as employees.
Employees lose their motivation to stay at the cutting edge. They develop a 9-5 mentality. The motivation to provide results wanes. There are a million and one reasons an employee will provide, to explain your lack of results. A professional SEO Service Provider knows that if you do not achieve the results you desire, you will stop paying. When you can get a higher level of success for less money elsewhere, don’t burn your hard-earned dollars on an employee.
For a limited time, I’m offering a Free Online Presence Analysis. Soon, I will start charging $500-$1500 for this service.
Here’s what you should do right now to get the full value from your marketing dollars:
Call Me (Cary — your friendly neighborhood SEO Expert) @ 404-586-4906.
Or Shoot Me an Email Telling Me a Little about Your Business.