1 Surefire Way to Know if Your SEO Quote Will Work for You
A Good SEO Knows Search Engine Practices – a Great SEO Knows Visitor Behavior
Businesses have been conditioned to expect the bullet point list of tasks along with a fee because it is a great sales technique – for the SEO company, not for your business. Easy to grasp neat little packages with a modest price.
There is a huge problem with that approach and this is why you should disregard any SEO telling you that they will provide you with this list of tasks (insert # backlinks from high authority websites, title meta tag, description meta tag, x amount of blog posts per month, etc..) None of that addresses your website’s user experience and engagement.
When I am asked to look at a website that is underperforming and being beaten by competitors in Google’s and Bing’s search results, it may need those things, but invariably the website just needs a lot more that people do not understand as being SEO.
What is SEO?
Besides the obvious definition of search engine optimization performed to get higher organic rankings in search engines, which you would presume would deliver more traffic and therefore more revenues, SEO is about helping a business get more business by focusing on search engine AND visitor behavior.
Click Through Ratios
Click through ratios are the number of times your organic listing was seen compared to how many times your listing was clicked. If your website’s listings in the search results only get 1% click through ratio – the average, then your rankings will not hold simply because Google wants to have the most relevant sites on page 1 of their listings and 1% click through ratios signal that your site is not relevant to people searching for your keywords.
If your product or service is relevant, but you have poor click through ratios, your rankings will drop even though your business might be the best choice for consumers.
How often do you visit your own website? If you get good click through and people are visiting your site but they leave right away and never return, then your website wasted a perfectly good opportunity to convert a contact or a sale and cultivate a relationship with someone that might not buy today but who is thinking about buying soon. If you don’t have a reason to visit your site regularly, do your best prospects? Is there a reason that visitors might want to come back to your site to hear more of your marketing message?
Giving your visitors a reason to come back is vital for a modern website. Repeat visits and engagement are the only things that can’t be faked by black hat SEOs so it is taken as a very strong ranking signal by Google and Bing.
When I audit a website, I start at the beginning. I look closely at the website for reasons that the site is not successfully converting traffic that it does get and I use analytics to understand how many people it takes to visit a site before a contact or sale is made.
If I find deficiencies in conversion ratios then for SEO to be successful in the goal of bringing a business more customers, then the website must be converting the visitors. If you get 1,000 visitors to your site and only get a few contacts and a sale or two, then high rankings won’t help you earn more revenues – yet.
Improving a website’s conversion ratios from 1% to 5% is a 500% increase in revenues! Furthermore, if your business site does not engage visitors and convert leads or sales, then any search engine rankings gained will not only be ineffective and wasted money but it will also cause your rankings to quickly slip right back to where they were.
Does your site have analytics installed and configured to tell you information about how many of them hit key landing pages and how many of those converted by making a contact or buying a product? Without this vital information, DO NOT start an SEO program. You must understand your visitors’ behavior and your conversion ratios first or any money spent on SEO will be wasted.
Your website needs to be focused on your visitors, so if it is not, then you need your SEO to be able to make the changes or completely revamp your website to make it focused on your visitors, while being aware of calls to action in the page titles and how they will perform in the search engines when real people read them. A real SEO is primarily a great web developer that understands people’s behavior and the search engines and can make that all come together in a well-organized site that converts new business.
What You Should Be Getting When You’re Thinking of Buying SEO
People assume that higher rankings will result in more traffic and therefore more sales or leads, so SEO companies tend to sell them on SEO as if it were a standalone product. SEO is not a standalone product. SEO is all about the visitor’s experience, which is all about your website.
To be truly effective at SEO, the website must be fast, secure, beautiful, have great landing pages, have calls to action in the page titles, must have engagement from visitors and must above all convert leads and sales by gaining loyal visitors that come back again and again while they recommend your site to their friends.
If the SEO company that just contacted you starts their package with the number of back links, the number of posts and the page titles, etc., then they are simply selling you a list of easy to do tasks that are not that effective at helping you achieve your goals. If the SEO company has not given any mention of your site’s engagement for visitors, then they are not focused on your visitors but simply focused on making an easy sale.
To quote Bruce Clay – the first to coin the term SEO “It is not the job of the SEO to make a pig fly.” This may be a crude way to put it, but it is accurate. A website that is not focused on the visitor’s needs will ALWAYS UNDERPERFORM and getting a website like that to compete in search engines takes too much effort. Effort better spent on developing a site your visitors will love..
Walk away from SEO companies that give you a bullet point list of tasks they will provide based on quantity (of links, words, meta tags, alt tags etc.). If they have not taken the time to look at your entire website and online presence, they don’t deserve your business.