So your boss or upper level management finally got wind of SEO and the order has come from the corporate level to go and find the most reputable SEO company possible to shake the foundation of the web on behalf of their company.
Naturally, the most competitive phrases are the target for the first quarter objectives and the price they are willing to pay is only a few thousand dollars for an internet marketing budget. Sound unreasonable? Well this is the plight of companies offering SEO services each day.
What happens next?, the task typically gets passed off and someone with virtually no idea what the protocol is, then they haphazardly begin their journey to find the ideal firm to execute their campaign. After an arduous process which can take weeks or possibly months to spend hours on the phone to hear why each SEO companies services are superior to other SEO firms, weeks later with dozens of proposals and several rounds of eliminations later, it’s time to make a decision.
Just as we must learn to see from the eyes of the searcher in order to understand their needs and objectives, similarly if you are involved in any type of service oriented business, you must always put the objectives of the customer before your own.
For example, the idea of a search engine optimization company even considering using PPC (pay per click marketing) to promote their services for SEO is not the brightest idea. Sure, it may bait a few who are unfamiliar with the premise of organic vs. paid listings, but with SEO it is all about results – organic and natural results at that.
If you are considering SEO from a company that you cannot find for any of the main industry terms they should rank for, this should raise a red flag. Chances are their level of expertise is not going to aid your quest if they imply that their clients rankings are the most important. A true SEO company should be able to aid their clients as well as service and evolve their own organic rankings simultaneously. Essentially, they are their own first client, so the proof is in the pudding so to speak.
Is There a Tangible History of Results?
Just as there are professionals and amateurs in any industry, there are certain indicators that should be clear from the onset to avoid making a regrettable decision. Things such as, when their site was created www.domaintools.com how has it evolved over time www.archive.org are there any buried skeletons out there? (such as redirects from other domain names, etc. www.majesticseo.com).
Having rescued numerous companies from SEO horror stories and finally producing tangible results, I encourage anyone interested in SEO services to perform the proper due diligence. Check references, try finding them or their clients for competitive terms ( www.semrush.com ), but most of all make sure they are the right fit for your business model and management style.
Will you be appointed an account representative?, how is reporting done?, how frequently? And how long will it take to expect tangible results? None of these questions are out of the ordinary, just common practice if you were going to invest your hard earned money in a new process which is frequently misunderstood.
Are You Ready for SEO?
With so many variables in play when considering walking into the service side of SEO such as the age of the prospects domain, if there is any link popularity at all, if they update their websites frequently, if they are dynamically generated or static, if there are other systems in place for CRM or tracking analytics that are contrary to SEO friendly conventions. It is no wonder why SEO pricing ranges dramatically from 1000-100,000 or more for reputable search engine optimization services.
Managing Expectations and Setting Realistic Goals
Just like anything, you must start where you are at, engage the gap to determine the discrepancies between where you are and where you want to be, then build a logical and attainable model to compensate for the obstacles involved.
This is the SEO process, it is not about smoke and mirrors, it is about replacing outdated programming platforms, updating and pruning attributes that do not add value and recreating the website to be conducive to the signals that search engines identify as favorable to others.
It is in one sense a popularity contest, but more importantly quality is the benchmark utilized as a measuring stick to assess why one site should rank higher than another when considered from the perspective of organic search.
The Plausibility Option of In-House SEO and Consulting
If you have an IT staff present, then perhaps SEO consulting is a more suitable fit for your business model. However, often it is the case that the learning curve may in fact be too steep to manage multiple variables, but if you work closely with an SEO consultant, then it is plausible that with their oversight with your in-house team that the synergy can work wonderfully to create the results sought.
Excuses are Unacceptable
The takeaway for consideration is, real SEO companies rank at the top, no excuses can replace real results. So, when considering who should win your business (for prospects seeking SEO services), you decision should revolve around your goal and an attainable benchmarks backed by a contractual obligation to achieve the desired objective.
SEO is scalable, however those with the biggest budget can dedicate more resources to the common goal, but there is no reason to preclude a small business from attaining a competitive series of keywords to elevate their business.
How Search Engines See Your Site Matter
Keywords are the currency that search engines use to assess value online. The more authority your website has, the more keywords your website ranks for, so the underlying premise of SEO should not be relegated to keyword positioning alone.
The real value is in creating an authority site capable of producing and sustaining its own rankings for thousands of keywords that pertain to your niche, not looking at it like pieces of a puzzle with tunnel vision. So, hopefully this will aid those in search of search engine optimization to consider a few simple points.
What to Expect
The first point (1) your website will undergo changes (2) not all of them will be met with open arms (no need to SEO a dated site where it will only amass a high bounce rate after traffic arrives) and (3) results take time to produce.
Having said that, the logical step is to target keywords within your reach, acquire as many top 10 rankings for less competitive phrases in the onset to foster a relationship with search engines. For example targeting keywords that contain your ultimate keywords within the key phrase, but also have a few additional keyword modifiers to gain traction initially (starting with 4 word phrases, then moving to three word phrases, then two word phrases and eventually the main root phrase) over time.
Having Enough Patience to Facilitate the Process
All SEO results are not instantaneous, some terms rise to the top quickly, while others need time to acquire more trust from within your site and have the necessary infrastructure to support the relevance model and bypass your competitor’s relevance score.
However, top 10 rankings do just magically appear, you have to fight for the ones worth attaining, so the longer you sit here reading this and not taking action, the more time your competition has to cement their competitive advantage. Ultimately in an online society, those who fail to adapt will be left behind holding on to dated idiosyncrasies from the marketing methods of yesteryear.
The Competitive Landscape
The web is colossal growing exponentially every day, in order to thrive; you must plant your seeds (organic keywords) today to reap the reward of relevant traffic tomorrow and focus on market share vs. just the marginal keyword rankings that you can track and quantify.
So, often it is not the targeting of specific phrases that yield the highest returns for organic positioning, it is what happens in between the gaps of the targeted phrases that produce the highest return on investment which is true website authority.