You’ve heard of SEO, right?
If you own a business or run marketing for one, somebody has surely come up to you at this point and mentioned those three letters. Are you using it? What do you think of it? How successful is it for you?
These are common questions for a reason. SEO is a staple for businesses around the world yet so few people understand it.
To us, that’s a terrible thing because you shouldn’t stifle your business’s success simply because it seems too confusing to use.
SEO is complex but it doesn’t need to be confusing and here’s a little secret: IT’S ONE OF THE QUICKEST WAYS TO IMPROVE YOUR COMPANY’S BOTTOM LINE.
That’s not a biased statement, it’s the truth.
In this post we’re going to break down what SEO is in various ways. Those ways are:
- What does SEO stand for?
- How it helps you look good in your local area online.
- How it helps you look good for more than just your brand name.
- Should you do it yourself? (The answer is no)
- Can hiring a professional SEO agency really give a strong ROI? (The answer is yes)
What does SEO stand for? A definition.
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. And what does Search Engine Optimization mean?
Google defines Search Engine Optimization as the process of maximizing the number of visitors to a particular website by ensuring that the site appears high on the list of results returned by a search engine.
In short, SEO is the process of working on your site in a way search engines like so real life humans visit your website.
Pretty simple concept, right?
If you want to learn even more about the definition of SEO, check out these blogs:
This “process” requires a lot of hours and expertise to truly be done right. In fact, Google Guidelines refer to over 200 different touch points required to really rank well in their results.
And why are Google Guidelines so important? Well, Google happens to own over 92% of the world wide search market. So yeah, their guidelines are worth paying attention to if you want to be successful online.
There’s a lot of nitty gritty but the basics of any solid SEO work will incorporate the following:
- Technical SEO: This assures your website is healthy. It means your site is secure with https, has good page titles, meta descriptions and schema. It also means that your website has a correct sitemap and robots.txt and isn’t blacklisted on Google SERPs. (Not sure what all this means? There’s an excellent breakdown on technical SEO found here.)
- Quality backlinking: This one’s pretty simple actually. A backlink is another website linking back to yours. These could be blog articles linking to your site because they described one of your products or it could be a vendor linking back to you from a list on their site. There are hundreds of different types of links out there. What’s important is that these links are coming from quality and reputable sources. You really want to avoid having links from foreign countries, shady sites and spammers. Those links are called toxic backlinks and are super harmful. In short, high quality links build your authority with search engines while low quality linking drags your website down in the rankings.
- Quality content writing: It may seem like websites are getting sleeker. More photos. Less text. But you’d be completely wrong if you thought that quality text content wasn’t an important part of SEO. In fact, 72% of marketers said that having a strong content strategy was a major key to their success and studies have shown that quality content marketing gets three-times more leads than paid search advertising (source). Content is important because it’s your best opportunity to tell Google (and your prospects) about your products or services.
- A solid user-experience: But here’s the kicker. You could have the best technical SEO, backlinking and content and if your website is difficult to use, it’s not going to turn visits into business. A solid user-experience (UX) means that your website loads quickly, the text is easy to read, links and buttons are easy to click on, the menu is understandable and it adapts to every screen size imaginable. What’s worse than wanting to buy some company’s product and then seeing that it’s difficult to check out or the site takes forever to load? If you wouldn’t stick around on a website like that, you can’t ask your prospects to either.
All told, if you have these four main components included in your SEO strategy, you’re on your way to ranking well in Google results.
Without these you can’t look good online or stand alongside your competition who is surely utilizing these strategies for their websites.
So, let’s just say, the above work is a given for the rest of the article. Sound good?
SEO stands for looking great in your local area
If you’re a local business and not using SEO, how are you marketing now?
Maybe you’re hopping on the local news or doing commercials. Not bad but that’s pretty pricey.
Maybe you’re sending mailers or rubberbanding your brand to someone’s door knob. Pretty old school don’t you think and how successful has it been for you?
Print ads and billboards are still around. Nothing wrong with that. But how can you truly tell if someone bought from you because they saw one of these ads?
Wouldn’t you like some certainty in your marketing? Knowing exactly what people saw to make them click on your site and buy from you?
Enter SEO: the new local marketing.
That’s right! SEO is considered one of the most effective marketing strategies for local businesses.
Through targeted local search engine optimization, your website can not only show up in Google organic result listings but also in map listings and in various knowledge panels on Google search engine results pages (SERPs).
Consider this. 97% of consumers go to the web to search for local services, 72% of people who perform a local search will end up at a store within 5 miles of them and 86% of consumers have looked up local businesses on Google Maps.
When you add that “near me” searches in Google have gone up 900% in the last two years, you can bet that there is local business to be had by ranking online.
So if you’re really wondering what SEO stands for to a local business owner, the answer is opportunity.
SEO stands for diversifying
If you haven’t been to this website yet: SEMRush, you need to get there pronto and see what percentage of your traffic is coming to your website for branded terms. Type in your website into the search bar, click on “Organic Search Traffic” and check out the results.
Chances are, if you’ve never done SEO for your products or services before, you’ll be looking at the majority of your traffic coming from branded terms.
Branded traffic means one thing: THESE PEOPLE ALREADY KNOW YOU. It also means, if the majority of your traffic is coming from people who already know you, then you’re not growing.
SEO is all about finding people who have never heard of you but need your product or service. Here’s an example of an Agency Jet client that saw that very change.
They started with us in September of 2018. At the time, almost 90% of their traffic was coming from their brand name.
Fast forward to today, with Agency Jet working on their SEO for their products in their local area, you can now see that only 41% is now coming to their site for their brand name.
Not to mention that they’ve almost tripled their organic traffic since they started with us, they now are much less reliant on getting business from people who already know them and are seeing a ton of NEW people to their site.
SEO stands for diversifying because if you have all your eggs in the brand name basket, you’re not truly growing for what you sell.
With just a few months of proper SEO strategy, you can begin to see these sorts of positive changes for your business.
Should you try and do SEO yourself?
Let’s put it this way, with enough effort, training and knowhow, you could work on SEO.
Here’s the problem: IT’S NOT IN YOUR BEST INTEREST.
Want to know why? There are two really simple reasons why.
- Without proper knowledge, you can easily screw it up and potentially harm your website’s chances to rank for years to come.
- It is a never ending job.
If you read up on anything we wrote for technical SEO and you don’t understand those terms, you have to learn them. That takes time.
SEO is so much more than writing text (never copy and paste) and throwing it up on a page. You need a proper strategy built around terms that are important to your business that people are already searching for.
You can’t half-ass SEO and expect it to work.
When somebody says they’re doing SEO on their site but don’t know what a page title is.
But let’s say you spend a lot of time learning the terms, the tips the tricks and you want to give SEO a fair shot on your own.
Guess what? You’ve just signed up for a job that never ends. When we say it’s not in your best interest to do it on your own we mean that from the bottom of our hearts.
You probably have other duties. If you’re a business owner, you’re running the company. If you’re a marketing manager, you’re managing staff, internal projects and a whole lot else.
SEO is not just a project, it’s a full time job if you want to do it right. You have to dedicate hours, days, weeks and ideally years to ranking well online. If you can’t dedicate time to it, it’s not worth dedicating some time to it. Why take hours out of your schedule only to get minimal results?
It just doesn’t make sense.
Finally, consider that Google changes their algorithm thousands of times a year. Can you keep up with thousands of updates and make sure your website doesn’t fall behind?
Should you hire an SEO agency to help your website?
We’re not biased when we say that. It’s an actual fact.
If you’re considering doing SEO yourself, hiring a marketing person to do it or an agency, here’s why hiring an agency is the best decision when it comes to affordable local SEO services.
Hopefully what we said a few paragraphs ago has convinced you that doing SEO yourself is a huge undertaking with potential little reward.
At the very least, we helped you understand what you’re getting into on a basic level and if you’re determined to do it yourself to save a buck, feel free to stop reading here.
If you know you need it and won’t be doing it yourself, you have to hire someone to do it for you. So that leaves you with two options.
- Hiring a marketing employee to handle it.
- Hiring an agency to handle it.
They both cost money and it may seem hiring a single person versus an agency seems more cost effective but here are a few reasons why that thinking is flawed.
Hiring the marketing employee means:
- You’re paying them a salary. The average entry level salary for a marketing employee in the USA is $46,000/year. Most of these employees won’t understand SEO to an expert level so they’ll need training. If you hire somebody who does have SEO expertise, they’ll cost far more.
- You’re also paying them through healthcare, social security, 401k, vacation and sick days. So let’s just tack another $10,000 as a conservative figure. So on average you’re paying this one person $56,000/year.
- You have to buy them a computer, a desk, the occasional lunch and all sorts of other perks.
- This person doesn’t guarantee results. Has a marketing employee ever walked in and said, “Fire me if I don’t get more Google traffic to your site in 4 months.”? Nope.
However, hiring an agency is more cost effective and we can prove it. Let’s use Agency Jet as an example.
Hiring Agency Jet means:
- Our average SEO campaign costs $18,670/year.
- With this campaign you get 5 full-time SEO experts.
- You don’t have to pay us healthcare, social security, 401k, vacation or sick days.
- We already paid for our computers, desks, our lunches and so forth. There is no added cost.
- Agency Jet guarantees results. In fact, we have two core guarantees. If you don’t see an upwards trend in the majority of keywords you choose with us and more Google traffic to your site by your 4th month, fire us, no questions asked. (Little secret: no Agency Jet client has had to do this). That’s a true guarantee.
- We show 100% transparent stats, we get on monthly calls with you, we build you a custom strategy and every asset we create for you is owned by you.
- There are no long term contracts and no handcuffing you if you ever decide to leave.
So if you do the math, your single marketing employee costs you a minimum of $26.92/hr and they don’t guarantee results.
Five SEO experts at Agency Jet costs you $8.98/hr and we do guarantee results.
We titled this post The Ultimate Guide to What SEO Stands For. Chances are when you first read the title, this post isn’t quite what you expected.
This isn’t an ultimate guide for DIY SEO. It’s an ultimate guide for what SEO can do for your business.
This post is here to show you that SEO doesn’t cost you an arm and a leg and that the return on investment for ranking well online can be absolutely massive.
If you want to…
- Grow traffic to your website
- Rank on page one of Google for your products and services
- Show up in Google Maps
- Increase leads
- Increase revenue
The best option you have are affordable local SEO services with Agency Jet.
We’ve served hundreds of clients, guarantee our work and have one of the highest client retention numbers in the entire country.
And guess what? We’d love to talk to you.
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|READ: The Local SEO Secret No One Will Tell You||READ: Search Engine Optimization Strategies for Small Business|