Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, is the process of optimizing a website or other web property (such as a Facebook page or YouTube video) to appear near the top of the search engine result pages (SERPs) for a given search term (keyword). Statistics show that up to 40% of the clicks on a SERP for a given keyword go to the first listing on page 1, and that less than 2% of the clicks got to all of the listings that are on pages 2 and lower. Getting a high ranking on page 1 of the SERPs, and particularly on Google, can mean tens of thousands of dollars of extra revenues per month for even a small company.
For this reason, businesses are increasingly turning to professional SEO consultants to help them push their rankings to the top of the SERPs. However, finding a the right SEO company for your business can be challenging. The following are some important factors to consider when choosing an SEO consultant for your business.
Research on Google is one way to narrow down your list of potential consultants. Do a search for “SEO Miami” or wherever location your business is located. Concentrate on the first 5 SEO companies listed–after all, if they can’t get a high page 1 ranking for their own website, how will they get one for yours?
Then check to see if they have testimonials from real customers. Unfortunately, many companies post fake testimonials, so look for testimonials that are listed on authority sites such as LinkedIn or Yelp. Your research should also reveal how long the consultant has been in business. The longer the consultant has been in the market, the more success and experience they will be able to bring to your site. For example, see the LinkedIn page of the consultant form discussed below, Silicon Beach SEO in Beverly Hills, CA.
Are their strategies ethical?
Some consultants use aggressive “black hat” techniques, which can achieve quick ranking improvements but pose a high risk of having your site penalized by Google and being dropped down the rankings. Especially egregious techniques can even get a site banned entirely from Google! Furthermore, Google aggressively seeks out these techniques and implements major changes to its algorithms every few months in an attempt to eliminate them. How can you tell if a consultant uses black-hat methods? One giveaway is a set price for an SEO package that is offered to all customers. SEO is a highly skilled profession, and a safe and effective SEO campaign for a given business has to be highly individualized. One-size-fits-all products usually indicate that the consultant is using automated software to send thousands of “spammy” links to their clients’ sites. Because the links all have the same profile, they are easy for Google’s algorithms to spot and penalize.
Other indications of unethical practices that an SEO consultant may be using include:
- Use of too many graphics on site
- Using a lot of keywords which are irrelevant
- Having the same content on multiple websites
- Using same WordPress themes, plugins, images and colors for different websites
Return on Investment
SEO is like any other marketing expense. You should treat it like an investment in your business, and make sure that you receive an adequate return on that investment. This means that you need to do some financial calculations to see if the price of SEO is worth it to your particular business.
A good SEO consultant should be able to demonstrate to you how many additional clicks on your website per month you can expect to receive if you ranked at the top of the SERPs for a given number of keywords. Say you are looking to rank for 10 keywords for which your customers typically search, and that a top ranking for each of these 10 keywords would give you an extra 2,000 clicks per month. You then need to estimate what percentage of those clicks can be expected to become paying customers. Then by multiplying the number of additional customers by your average profit per customer, you can estimate the expected additional monthly profits you can expect. So, for example, if SEO can be expected to bring in $10,000 per month in extra profits, an investment of $5,000 per month in custom SEO would represent a 100% return on investment (ROI).
Another way to analyze this is to estimate the increase in your monthly revenue, as opposed to profits, and then take, say, 5% of this amount as your SEO budget. This works well for many companies, since revenue per customer is usually a more robust measurement than profit per customer. Either way, concentrate on the return on your investment as opposed to the amount of the investment. Ask yourself which is better: spending $500 per month on a standardized SEO package that might bring me another $1,000 per month in revenues, or $2,000 per mounth that brings me an extra $10,000 per month in revenues?
For further information on these techniques for analyzing your SEO budget, we suggest contacting the professionals at Silicon Beach SEO in Los Angeles. They have a one page spreadsheet analysis that makes this process simple and clean. Their YouTube video also has a lot of useful information.
The best SEO consultants will provide detailed monthly reporting as well as ready access at all times to your SEO professional. Look particularly for companies that offer dedicated websites for their customers, where members of your team can post questions, view and download reports, and see real-time updates to your company’s ranking progress and other metrics.
Your business location also plays a major role in ranking on the SERPs and in the “3-pack” map listings at the top of many Google search pages. Listings in web directories also improves both search engine and map rankings. If you are a locally based business, then your SEO consultant should be able to assist with local ranking services.
There are also strategies you can implement yourself, such as:
- Puting your location on your home page and making sure that your content is designed to attract the right kind of audience who will create traffic. Include your phone number and hours of operations.
- Making sure that you company name, address and phone number are consistent across you website and in any web directories that list your business.
- Encouraging your customers to leave positive reviews on Yelp and other web directories.
In conclusion, this article focuses on ideas on producing the very best outcomes for your clients in terms of growing traffic, and sales to new levels always.