You know you need the services of a quality SEO company. As you crunch the numbers and work it into your budget, there may still be some nagging questions. Is this a one-and-done line item or a long term initiative? How long will it take to see results so that you can justify the expense? It’s important to remember that, for anything that matters, real results come over time, not overnight.
Today, we have all become accustomed to instant-everything. From cooking a meal to starting a business, things that used to take hours or months can now be accomplished in minutes or weeks. Thanks to the Internet, even complicated processes seem easy. When in reality, they seldom are. The same holds true for SEO work.
How SEO has changed
The practice of identifying keywords and driving traffic has changed drastically in just a few years. In the beginning, all you had to do was find a few keywords that were unique to your business, fill your website with those keywords, wait for prospects to type in those magic words, and watch the customers pour in.
Now, if you are still utilizing SEO in this manner, you are missing a majority of the customers you want and falling behind the competition. In order to be highly ranked on search engines these days, you must move away from common, nonspecific keywords and take advantage of long tail search strategy.
Adding to the problem is the fact that there are so many web pages you have to compete against. In 2014, we reached the milestone of one billion web pages on the Internet. The latest research counts more than four billion pages. Keep in mind that this jump occurred in just a few years. This makes the probability of being seen above the herd especially daunting.
With so many web pages, people realize they have to be specific about the information they are trying to find. As a result, they are asking regular questions instead of performing a generic search. Where before they might have searched for simply “Olympics,” now they ask “What country offers its Olympic athletes the most money for bringing home a gold medal?” This shift happened primarily because most people now use a smart device, where you can speak your question rather than typing it, to perform searches.
More detailed searches provide an opportunity for your company to rank higher. This is because it makes the pool of competitors who list those same specific keywords smaller. As an added bonus, when people find you based on a particular, detailed question, they are more likely to convert because you have exactly what they want. You can leave it up to your SEO company to find the natural language searches that are important to you and make sure you continue to rank as these inquiries grow and change over time.
How concerned should you be about search engine rankings?
You hear people say all the time that if your company is not highly ranked in search engines, you may as well not even exist. Still, plenty of companies do great business without appearing on the first page of hits. So, what gives?
The truth is that, of course, rankings are significant. Having your company at the top of the list for searches related to your industry can bring profitable traffic to your site and offer lead opportunities you would not get otherwise. When your company is among the top few hits on the page, you can invest less in tools like online advertising and email marketing.
There are many factors that can push your listing further down the page, such as direct answers and sponsored ads. Still, it’s crucial to endeavor for top ranking as this remains one of the most powerful methods to connect with new customers.
Research shows that the first organic listing on a Google search commands a 30 percent click-through-rate. The company listed in fourth received a 7 percent click-through-rate.
It’s vital to realize that you can take advantage of numerous ways to engage with customers. Thanks to social media and niche environments, you can also focus on real conversations and identifying relevant channels in addition to search engine rankings.
In other words, once you have ranked high enough to bring customers to your site, remember to keep them returning with the right content. SEO specialists work to maximize your website traffic and lead conversions by developing quality content that correlates with keywords and phrases your customers search for. This way, you can achieve the right yield as well as the overall results you really want, which is to build brand awareness and online reputation hand in hand with increased traffic and revenue. These kinds of long standing, comprehensive results take time.
So, what should you expect, and when, from your SEO company?
In business, results are the name of the game. Its fine to explain how you overcame obstacles and reached a goal, but all anyone really cares about is the final outcome.
When it comes to SEO results, the truth is, because every company is different and each web page complex, the timeframe will vary. Your circumstances will be widely divergent from anyone else’s, even than that of a similar business right down the street. Some of the factors responsible for the division include how long you’ve been operating your website, how much content you already have and whether you’ve done any prior SEO work.
Here is a rough estimate of the type of work you can anticipate from an SEO company:
The SEO company will likely conduct a website audit to determine a keyword strategy and plan of attack. This is arguably one of the most important pieces to the process of your SEO company. A word of advice we can offer you here is, if your SEO company doesn’t spend a decent amount of time in their pitch talking about this part of the process, a red flag should go up in your head. This is the foundation of your engagement with them and it should not be taken lightly.
Months 2-4 :
Necessary on-page SEO activities based on the results of the audit will be performed or advised on. There are two breeds of SEO company out there; SEO Consultants and Full-Service SEO Companies. Be sure to ask your SEO company if they will be performing the tasks for you or if you will be responsible for doing it yourself. Both are perfectly fine, but be sure you are in the know before making a decision.
On-page SEO tasks might include title and meta tag editing, content creation or editing, image repair, etc. These tasks are a necessary evil when building the foundation for a productive SEO implementation. In this time, content such as blogs and articles should be posted consistently and a content strategy should be implemented.
Content creation continues while link and citation building should be in full swing. Being found on relevant directories is not only important, but mandatory. A good SEO company will have this strategy built out prior to month 5 and will be ready it implement immidiately.
This is what you pay an SEO company for. SEO companies can analyze where things are and make decisions based on results. They may begin to alter their strategy to test new keywords. This helps to get a better foot hold in other areas. SEO is an on-going process. If you are happy with your SEO company, this should be a longterm relationship. Many SEO companies are retained for 24-36 months on average, though we have seen them run longer.
If an SEO company promises you immediate results, we have one word for you… RUN. SEO takes time and SEO company that says otherwise is looking to make some quick money. You should give it at least 6 months before you start to see any real results. Depending on your SEO budget, this could take even longer.
In any case, don’t give up. With patience and hard work, you will get a worthwhile return on investment (ROI).
For a high quality SEO company, you can trust 9Sail to steer you in the right direction. Whether it’s consulting or implementation, 9Sail, an SEO Company in NJ, has your back.