SEO – Search Engine Optimization
The term “SEO” is a very popular term and the process of it tends to be quite confusing. SEO is basically what happens on and behind your website to ensure that it is visible to your audience online. For example, if you are trying to find a pair of blue satin high heels, you would enter “buy blue satin high heels” into your Google search bar and would find hundreds of results for these shoes. The results at the top of your page typically fall into two categories:
- Paid Results: The sellers/companies of blue satin shoes have paid Google to make their results appear at the top. You will know that they paid because the words “Sponsored” or “Ad” appear next to these results. Paying for your product or service to appear first is one way to ensure that consumers seeking you can find you.
- Organic Results: The next set of results are sellers/companies of blue satin shoes that have focused on their organic results. These savvy people have likely built their websites correctly so that Google has enough relevant content, new content so that Google knows they are currently operating and keywords to help consumers seeking their products/services to name a few.
Best practice is to provide a combination of Paid and Organic results. Paid being easier to achieve but obviously more costly. Organic being more difficult to achieve but extremely necessary to ensure that your company is ranking at the top of your future client’s search results.
What is the connection with SEO and Google?
Google is the world’s largest search engine – about 77% of the world uses Google to search. Therefore, SEO is often tailored to what Google requires to rank at the top. Below are a few tips to explain organic SEO in more details:
- SEO is about “training” Google to understand the purpose of a website. Google looks at the webpages on a website to understand what the website has to offer. Google looks at various parts of the website and picks up terms and phrases to understand the website. These terms and phrases match the user’s search.
- To achieve this your website content needs to focus on keywords, the content or description of your services needs to be accurate and your website build needs to adhere to Google’s preferences.
- Content needs to be added to a website to consistently give Google an ongoing reason to look at the website. The more often new content is published on a site, the more Google will come back and trust the site. The content that is published needs to include specific terms and phrases that Google can find to match with the users search. The more content we have the more times the website can be match to a user’s search.
- To achieve this you need to have an ongoing content strategy. This is typically done through blogging and the topics are relevant, informative and include your keywords.
- SEO also needs to focus on location. What drives local search results are ensuring your business listing is consistent and accurate across your website. Setting this up is mostly done manually and then takes time for your website to update the information so that it trickles down to other places throughout the web. To achieve this your SEO team will work with Google to have your location validated and ensure that your website location tags are setup how Google prefers.
- Finally, SEO needs to focus on backlinking and building “street credit” with other sites. PSM’s SEO team builds backlinks that are naturally complimentary so that they gain online influence. This tends to be a slow process and takes time to see results, however, it is an important step that others typically do not complete. To achieve this, you simply need an excellent SEO team.
Timelines – How long until we rank at the top?
SEO is not a “one and done” effort. It is an ongoing strategy that is continuously evolving and growing. Paid SEO will typically have a more immediate result. Organic SEO is achieved over time.
SEO success is based around keyword performance and the traffic they generate to a website. We set goals in ranking for a business’s most important 4-5 terms. Once we have reached these goals and the website is ranking well, we move onto another set of terms. It can take up to 6 months to rank well depending on competition, local saturation of the market, and the value of the keyword itself. The truth is that no one can guarantee anything in SEO, but our aim is to start seeing this traction build within 3 months.
Reporting – How do we monitor our results?
There are countless SEO “specialists” for hire. No matter who you decide to hire for your ongoing SEO efforts, you must ensure that they are providing you with reports to show their value. The reports are typically given in two ways:
- Google Analytics: Google provides a free reporting tool called “Google Analytics”. Your SEO team can set this up for you and you are able to login and monitor your website at any time. This reporting tool is very detailed and can show you almost anything you desire. The main key performance indicators (KPIs) that we recommend monitoring on a monthly basis:
- Organic Traffic is the traffic that consists of undecided users. These users search using terms without a specific service provider in mind. The goal is that the user chooses your website. It is a lead measure for your success.
- Keyword Rankings detail how much exposure and what type of exposure your website is generating. It is the lag measure of Organic Traffic.
- Conversion Metrics should also be monitored and tracked. A simple example of conversion is looking at how many people visited your website and how many purchased/contacted you to engage in business? If fifty people visited your site and five of them purchased/became clients your conversion rate is 10% (5/50 sessions). Additional KPIs to monitor that can help to support your conversion rates include:
- Where did people enter your site (what page did they land on first)?
- Which features did they engage in (where did they spend their time)?
- How were they referred to your site (what did they click on to connect with your site)?
- What devices or browsers did they use?
- Who are your clients/customers (age, demographics and interests)?
- Where did the user leave your site?
- Tailored Reporting: Your SEO team should provide you with a tailored report that shows their efforts and results of your agreed goals. For example, you may want to organically rank in the top three for “blue satin high heels”, “blue high heel shoes” and “blue satin heels”. Your SEO team would show the monthly results for these goals. Clearly this is just one example to illustrate a tailored report. The overall goal is that your potential customers/clients are able to find your products and services and achieving this requires ongoing work with your SEO team. Tailored reporting ensures that your goals are being met and that your SEO dollars are working.
Why should I be concerned with Google Local and Google Maps?
It is especially important that that your SEO team focuses on Google.com as well as Google Local and Google Maps. Google provides users with several ways to discover products/services for their needs. The majority of people are familiar with Google.com but Google Local and Google Maps generates more qualified traffic. Best practice SEO should focus on these 3 Google tools and your keyword reporting should show results accordingly.
No one ever said SEO was simple. PSM’s SEO team are experts at what they do. Below is a list of steps that our SEO team conducts during setup and ongoing strategy. If you would like to learn more or have any questions, please contact PSM today.
PSM SEO Team Steps for SEO:
- Webmaster Tools Setup
- Keyword Tracker Setup
- Google Analytics Setup
- Form Tracking
- Goal Setup
- Define what the goals are.
- Determine how we are measuring conversions
- Determine what defines a conversion for this client
- Content Creation
- List of keywords
- Associated landing page(s) analysis
- Call to actions
- Content volume
- Supporting images
- Onsite SEO
- Title tags
- Internal structure
- Sitemap XML
- Keyword saturation in copy
- Lengthen word count
- Meta descriptions
- Location Rich Snippets, testimonial rich snippet, etc.
- Local SEO citation building & cleanup (on-going)
- Initial focus on:
- Yellow Pages/what is the most important for their industry
- Setup YEXT and MOZ
- Initial focus on:
- Google Ad-words Setup
- Landing pages
- Set Goals and Execution Strategy
- Build Re-targeting List
- Monitor Campaign/s