SEO is fast gaining its popularity in the business world. We all know what SEO is. Put it in simple terms, it means optimise your website to rank it high on Google search results. Many businesses, be it traditional brick and mortar stores, or online Ecommerce stores, have implemented SEO strategies to get their website up in Google.
We have also helped businesses from various industries get their website up in Google for relevant keywords, which in turn bring them a steady stream of customers for their business. However, during our discussion with clients and other SEOs, we realise that even though SEO is popular, not many people truly understand what SEO is.
If you are keen to engage an SEO service for your business, read this 8 facts of SEO before you get one.
1. SEO takes some time
We can rank any websites, but how long it takes? It depends on the SEO status of your current website. If your website is brand new (you just registered it yesterday), then you may need at least 3 – 6 months. If your website is live and ranking for some keywords, then you may need a few months too. If you are trying to rank for highly competitive keyword in a super competitive industry, then you may need 6 – 12 months.
Whatever it is, it will take you a few months.
If you are a start up and in need of traffic and sales, do not start with SEO. SEO will takes you a few months, and you may find yourself dead, even when the search engine traffic comes in. Go for search engine marketing with Google Pay Per Click, or Facebook Advertising. These are platforms where you can buy traffic and sales almost instantly.
However, if you are running an established business, you will want to invest in SEO. Below is the search rankings we achieved for one of our clients over a 5-month period. You can see the Google rankings (red column), and its lifetime ranking changes (‘Life’ column).
SEO gets your website ranked and drives you consistent flow of traffic (without paying for clicks), and thus reducing your costs of advertising, and increasing your ROI. By getting your website ranked high, you are also establishing a presence in your industry online.
2. SEO is an ongoing work
Getting your website ranked high for relevant keywords can take a few months to almost a year. When your website is ranked, you should already be generating sales month after month even without doing anymore SEO work.
However, you should not stop there! The sweet spot that your website is sitting on the top 3 positions of Google, is being targeted by your competitors, and other SEO agencies as well! We have worked on websites that sit on top 3 of Google for more than 2 years without doing any SEO work. However, we still want the website to dominate and maintain the search rankings, by creating more content, do more back linking, and write more guest posts.
If the website has already ranked for your desired keywords, don’t stop there. Get the SEO agency to continue their work to get the keywords higher, or rank for more keywords. Alternatively, you can also send your employee to SEO training so they can continue to work on your website rankings.
This way, you will continue to stay ahead of the pack, and continue to reap the benefits high search rankings can bring to your bottomline.
3. SEO is not free
You may see that many SEOs (including us) says that you can get Free and Unlimited traffic from search engines if your website is optimized for relevant keywords.
The traffic is Free, because you don’t have to pay for every visitor that come to your website.
The traffic is Unlimited, because the more keywords you rank for, the more traffic you will receive.
However, this does not mean that SEO services are Free! There is time and work required to get your rankings up the search engine, and these work include fixing the on-page factors, connecting with other webmasters for links, and writing of content to generate engagement.
The more competitive it is, the more work needs to be done. That is why we have to charge 4-figure monthly fee for some of our clients to bring up, and maintain their rankings. Clients are willing to pay, because they see the value and higher Return on Investment from high quality leads generated with SEO.
4. Google don’t certify SEO agencies
If an agency tries to sell you SEO services by telling you that they are a Google Partner, or they are certified by Google to do SEO for you, then you have been lied to! Marketing agencies get their ‘Google Partner’ status when they can get companies to spend on Google Advertising platforms, like PPC or Display Advertising, because that’s where Google gets its revenue.
Google do not certify SEO agencies, and they have no reason to. In fact, Google don’t even reveal their search engine algorithm to anyone. Top SEO agencies who manage to get top rankings do regular tests to ensure their SEO strategies are up to date with Google’s algorithm changes.
If you do plan to engage a SEO agency, don’t rely on certificates or the Google Partner logo. You are not hiring people. You want the SEO agency to show you updated proofs or case studies of sites that are ranking at the point of engaging their service.
5. Not every business is suitable for SEO
We already know the benefits of SEO. Many people out there knows the benefits of SEO as well. For some niches, we do not recommend SEO because the niche can be so competitive that it will take you a huge budget to rank your website.
For example, we have a client who is a financial planner who is looking to get leads online. He is interested in our SEO services and looking to rank for profitable terms like ‘life insurance’, ‘personal accident insurance’, ‘endowment plans’…etc.
We did an analysis of the market with my friend, who specializes in Minneapolis SEO, and realize that these terms have been dominated by huge banks and financial institutions in the search results. That means that the big banks and insurance companies are already investing huge marketing budgets to compete for the top positions in Google for those lucrative terms.
If this is the case, why will I want to recommend our client, who is just an individual financial planner, to go head to head with the big guys, including the insurance company he is representing?
Hence, we advise him on social media marketing, and build a following using channels like Facebook instead. We also help him set up a marketing funnel that will help gather quality leads, nurture them, and convert them into raving fans who will seek his consultation at the end of the funnel. This sales process will take longer, but it will be more effective than going head-on with the big guys on those big insurance terms.
But does that mean we can never do SEO for our financial planner client? No! We will still implement SEO strategies for his website, but instead of targeting highly competitive keywords, we go for longer- tail and less competitive keywords. And that is what the next point is about.
6. SEO the RIGHT keywords
While ranking your website is important, knowing what keywords to rank for is more important! Hence, the most crucial work for any SEO campaign is always in the keyword research phase, because you want to know what keywords to rank, that will lead to a growth in search traffic, leads and sales.
In our daily work, we do receive requests from clients who want to rank for certain keywords that they ‘think’ is important for their business. For example, we have a furniture shop client who want us to rank for the keyword ‘furniture’ in his city.
A furniture shop ranking for the keyword ‘furniture’ is possible. However, if they want to get leads and sales from search traffic, then it is not wise to rank for that keyword. The buyer’s intent for that keyword is low (a person who is searching for ‘furniture’ may want to know the meaning of the word ‘furniture’).
A better keyword would be ‘office furniture supplier’, ‘furniture shop in [city]’, or even more targeted ones like ‘L-shape sofa price’. These keywords shows higher buyer’s intent and will likely lead to an enquiry or sale when the person lands on your site.
Hence, before you start any SEO campaign, spend more time on keyword research to ensure you are ranking the right keywords!
7. SEO is just part of the equation
Many businesses thought that as long as their website is ranking high on Google, then they can expect to see increased in leads and enquiries for their business. Sadly, SEO is just part of the equation. You still need a good website that converts the search traffic into leads!
You don’t need a fanciful website with beautiful templates or graphics that cost you 5-figures. What you need is a website that works, that look professional, that looks good on all devices, that will convince visitors to leave their details with you. This is where good copywriting and web design comes in.
When you plan to invest in SEO services, do set aside a budget for redesign or redevelopment of your website if necessary.
8. You can really get #1 ranking for your keyword
Ranking #1 in Google is possible, and that is the ultimate goal of any SEO work. A website that is ranked #1 will get almost 25% more traffic than the website ranked #2. Hence, when you engage a SEO company to help you get ranked, don’t just stop on Page 1 (top 10 positions).
Let them know that you want your website to go as high as possible, preferably #1. While most SEO companies do not guarantee the first position ranking, do know that it is a goal that is achievable. Given enough time and work, you can achieve that. Don’t settle for less!
We hope that these 8 facts will help you understand more about the Search Engine Optimization work that you are getting into, and not just throwing money into it just because some SEO agencies preach it to you.
If you are keen to know how we can help you to grow your business with SEO, check out our SEO service page here.