What is SEO?
Search Engine Optimization is a complex strategic process to improve search engine rankings
What is SEO? SEO is an acronym for search engine optimization. SEO is a strategic process, not simply a set of random actions using a static checklist of tasks. Achieving optimal results requires strategic planning to customize your SEO services to meet your specific business objectives. We are experts at customizing SEO services.
The most important SEO work is done on your website. On-page SEO refers to work done to your website coding (back-side) or content (front-side). Off-page SEO refers to things done away from your website such as building back links.
SEO has three main objectives
- Develop competitive rankings for targeted keywords.
- Increase quality and relevancy of website traffic.
- Improve a website’s technical performance metrics.
Website optimization serves as a strategic extension of good website design. By improving visibility SEO upgrades a basic website to a highly visible internet marketing asset that can generate inquiries, leads and sales.
Proper search engine optimization work requires a solid understanding of algorithms, website coding, content optimization, viewing devices, and off-page factors. SEO techniques provide site enhancements to help search engine crawlers evaluate website content and improve technical performance. All of this is coordinated and managed to ultimately improve the volume of quality site traffic.
Improving the quality of website traffic
Improving search engine rankings is the cornerstone of an internet marketing strategy. Your SEO strategy should focus on improving website traffic quality. This means reaching users using keyword searches that are highly relevant to the products or services you sell. Accordingly, SEO work should be customized to meet the exact needs of your business.
Keyword searches generate more website traffic than direct navigation and referring sites combined. The core purpose of search engine optimization is to get your site found for specific keywords and generate quality traffic.
Website Traffic Sources
Improving website ranking on search results pages increases the quality and volume of website traffic. Existing customers often are direct traffic meaning they typed in your company name or URL. Traffic from search engines comes from generic keyword searches, and represents the greatest opportunity to reach new customers. New customers have a need, no idea of who to call, and no preference on who to call. Search engine traffic is increased by SEO services. Traffic from referring sites is not affected by your SEO company. This traffic comes from third party websites.
More about website traffic sources
A broader list of internet traffic sources includes direct navigation, organic ranking, local search listings, social media, video, images, PPC advertising and offline advertising. All of these can provide quality traffic however; search engine optimization affects your organic traffic.
- Direct Navigation is from users entering your domain name (URL) without doing a general search. This is typically an existing customer, a referral, or someone who has been influenced by advertising or other types of introduction to your business.
- Organic Traffic is generated from the main area of search engine results pages (SERP’s) where your website is ranked.
- Local Search traffic is generated from online business listings on Google Places, Bing Places, Yahoo Local Search and citation site business pages.
- Social Media can generate traffic, and social signal metrics play a role in search engine algorithms. Social media marketing on Facebook, Instagram, GETTR, LinkedIn and other sites can help SEO.
- Paid Search traffic results from PPC advertising services on Google Adwords, Bing Ads, LinkedIn Ads, Facebook Advertising, etc.
- Creative Advertising from third party sites using PPC remarketing, or video marketing, content marketing, etc.
- Offline Advertising such as direct mail or coupon books can generate direct navigation traffic.
An often overlooked important fact about search engine traffic sources
Yes, organic search results deliver the majority of visits to a business website. An extremely important thing to know is that you need to know how much of your traffic comes from desktop searches vs. a mobile searches. There are SEO techniques that are unique to optimizing a website for mobile search. In a major market it is not uncommon for mobile searches to account for 60-75% of website traffic. Additionally, the most skilled SEO companies know how to optimize a website for voice search (i.e., Siri, etc.). Many business owners are amazed at the noticeable increase in website inquiries after optimizing their website for mobile search.
Why high rankings are important
People typically believe that sites listed on the first page of search results are the best choices for their need. The top 3 rankings on a search results page capture as much as 90% of user clicks. Your SEO efforts position you to connect with more people.
Internet user statistics prove the necessity of having an optimized website
- 90% of internet users click on first page organic listings. (10% click on PPC ads such as Google Ads or Bing Ads)
- Up to 65% of first page clicks happen among the top three organic placements. (split 33%, 18%, 11% respectively.)
- 90% of internet users do not go to page two of results.
- Mobile searches in the U.S. greatly exceed desktop searches – even more so in larger cities.
The bottom line is SEO drives ranking of your website
Organic SEO affects website ranking order on search engine results pages (SERPs) for specific keywords and phrases. There are variations in SEO techniques to improve ranking on Google, Bing, and Duck Duck Go. If your site is optimized well for major search engines it should also be good with second tier search engines.
Use holistic SEO when local search matters
The holistic approach to SEO involves improving both organic search results and local search results. The techniques are different however; the goal is the same – improve rankings and visibility on search engine results pages. In addition to our organic SEO services, we recommend learning about local SEO services.
What is SEO duration? How long do you need to do SEO?
The length of time to engage in SEO work varies. Search engine results pages are a dynamic environment. Competitors working on SEO, and algorithm updates dictate that achieving, holding and improving rankings requires active attention. There are basic on-page items, such as unique page titles and descriptions, which are rarely changed. There are off-page things such as link building which should be continually managed. The bottom line on the amount of time required is what it takes to make your site search engine friendly and earn competitive rankings. Holding and improving your organic rankings will require ongoing SEO work. We offer one-time services and monthly SEO programs.
One-time SEO services may achieve satisfactory results, and need only periodic SEO services to maintain competitive positions. A typical SEO overhaul initiative includes a thorough on-page SEO process to improve coding, content quality, structure and value. We perform site audits to identify problems and ways to improve a website. This option provides a defined scope-of-work with flat rate SEO prices.
Monthly SEO services are the most common, and are usually required to maintain competitive rankings. Monthly SEO programs allow for a richer mix of services, and allow flexibility in measures of implementation. Ongoing SEO services include active analysis and adjustments that respond to algorithm changes, competitor pressures and changing needs of the business. Ongoing SEO services are performed with a fixed monthly rate, based on an hourly rate.
How much should you spend on SEO?
It’s a horse race. Whichever route you take, it’s all relative to what your competitors are doing. If you’re investing $500 a month and your competitors are investing $2,000 a month then, all things being equal, you may see results but your competitor will still be ranked better. Achieving high organic rankings for high value terms can substantially increase your business. Our strategic, customized and scalable approach to providing on-page and off-page SEO allows you to get the services you need, stay within a reasonable budget and improve your business.
The key determining factor on how much to spend on SEO is ROI. Obviously you need to net a positive result from your investment. This is where a truly smart (and ethical!) SEO agency can guide you to success. You may find that your best investment is to optimize only pages for your higher margin services or products. You may find that you need to promote every aspect of your business in order to stay busy. In a small market with less competition, or less competitors utilizing an optimization services, you may get away with needing to spend only a modest sum. We have a page with representative SEO pricing for people who want to know “how much does SEO cost?”.