There’s a lot of misinformation about SEO. I wanted to write a quick guide so you know how SEO can affect your business. Let’s get started!
What is SEO?
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. When people search on Google there can be millions of possible webpages that could show up for the term, or “keyword,” that was searched.
If I go on Google and search “video production company,” I see that there are over 3 million webpages all competing to get seen.
SEO is the process of getting to the top of the results page so people go to your website instead of your competitors.
What does SEO include?
SEO is just one component in an online marketing campaign. It’s not a simple process. SEO generally falls into three main categories: on-page SEO, off-page SEO, and technical SEO.
On-page SEO involves making pages on your website and making those pages readable by both Google and people. On-page SEO optimized content gets people to your website and then turns those people into customers. If you ever wondered why businesses have blogs, this is why. Every SEO optimized page on your website is another chance to show up on Google search.
Good on-page SEO involves researching what other people are searching, analyzing the competition for those searches, and then creating better and SEO optimized content to capture those searches.
Once you get customers on your website, you can educate them, qualify them, and then have them do something such as give you their email, give your business a phone call, or even make a purchase right there.
Off-page SEO involves promoting your website on other websites. The most common way this is done is by getting backlinks. Backlinks are links from other websites that link back to your website. This can drive traffic from other websites to yours. Off-page SEO also helps your rankings on Google. The more high-quality websites that link to your website, the better your chance is of showing up on the first pages of Google.
When you hear about “link building” this is what is happening. Link building can be very expensive, but if done correctly, can be worth it. Link building usually involves reaching out to other website owners, developing an agreement, and you creating content for their website. You may even have to pay for some sort of “editorial fee.”
Yes, you read that right. You have to create the content that will be used by others and pay them to link back to you. Sometimes these “editorial fees” can cost $200+ for a good link, but getting good backlinks helps your site tremendously and can be well worth the cost.
Technical SEO involves following search engine standards and making your website friendly for computers. This involves making sure your website is:
- Mobile friendly
- Easy for Google to read
SEO vs traditional forms of marketing
SEO is much different than traditional forms of marketing. Take a billboard, for example. Billboards can cost $1,500+ a month and be seen by tens of thousands of people each month; however, there are three major problems with billboards:
- Viewers (drivers) are distracted
- Viewers (drivers) can’t act after seeing the billboard
- Money is being spent to advertise to people who are not interested in your business
These are just a few examples using billboards, but the problems are applicable to many other forms of traditional marketing. Let’s look at the problems.
Viewers are distracted
When people see your billboard or other forms of traditional advertising, they are usually in the process of doing something else. Drivers can’t pay attention to your billboard because they are busy doing what else? Driving!
SEO captures people who are actively searching for information. Their attention is focused while searching, which means being in front of them is very valuable.
Viewers can’t act after seeing traditional advertising
If we take the above example, what happens when someone sees your billboard? Are they supposed to pull over, take out their phone, and then give your business a phone call? In the best-case scenario, a customer sees your billboard and makes a call while driving. If this happens, you don’t have their full attention. And using a phone while driving is prohibited in some states.
With SEO and other forms of online marketing, you have your potential customers’ attention and can ask them to act at that second.
Money is being spent to advertise to people who are not interested in your business
Most people that drive by a billboard won’t be interested in your business or services.
When people find your website through SEO, they are actively trying to find a business that will help them.
Let’s say you have a video production business. Someone searches “video companies that make wedding videos” and lands on your website. Do you think they are interested in your services? Of course!
With SEO, you only spend time on customers that actually want what you are selling.
SEO vs other forms of online marketing
SEO doesn’t have to happen in isolation. A good online marketing campaign will most likely have a mix of SEO, PPC, email marketing, and social media marketing.
It often takes more time to see results with SEO, but if SEO is set up correctly, depending on your business, it can bring tens of thousands of targeted visitors to your website every month. If your industry is competitive, you will most likely have to have SEO “maintenance” after the initial campaign has been run, but this maintenance cost will be much lower than if you paid for non-SEO marketing.
Also, with other forms of marketing, as soon as you stop paying, that’s it. SEO is like planting seeds that will continue to bear fruit for a very, very long time.
How much should I expect to spend on SEO?
An effective SEO campaign will usually cost at least $1,500 a month and need to run for at least three to six months to see significant results. It really depends on how competitive your industry is. That may seem like a lot, but remember, compared to most forms of traditional marketing, SEO is
- Only targets interested customers
- Usually qualifies leads
- Can bring in hundreds or thousands of new customers each month (depending on your market)
Is SEO right for my business?
Most SEO companies will tell you “of course SEO is right for your business,” but I view SEO a little bit differently. I think that SEO and all other forms of online marketing have two goals: leads and direct sales. SEO is just one tactic to use in a marketing campaign to achieve these.
Many businesses can get huge benefits from an SEO campaign, but other businesses may see a better ROI with other forms of online marketing, such as PPC. My goal is not to sell you SEO – it’s to find out what will work best for your business and give you the best ROI. Before you pay for any SEO service, you should talk to a marketing professional about what will be the best for your business.
SEO is definitely worth it for many businesses, but SEO really needs to be a part of a bigger marketing plan to get the biggest results. If you’re interested in SEO for your business, go ahead and contact us to see how we can help you.