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A Guide To Understanding What You Should Pay For SEO eBook

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A Guide To Understanding What You Should Pay For SEO eBook

  2. 2. THE SEARCH ENGINE ALLURE Ranking in search engines requires a lot of effort, patience, and resources. However, businesses still adopt SEO strategies due to their many benefits. When you adopt these strategies, you will first watch your business succeed in the search engines. When your customers put in targeted keywords, your website is one of the first resources they will see. Increased visibility online then leads to increased recognition and traffic. Customers will associate a product or service with your brand, and more people—people searching for the service you offer—will visit your website. All of the elements above ultimately lead to more conversions. SEO can help your business sell more of your product or service, generate better leads, etc. You’ll achieve these results once your website and brand work together to create customer trust.
  3. 3. BRIEF HISTORY OF RANKING TACTICS 2012 - 2015 1998 - 2008 2009 - 2011 1994 - 1997 Based on the benefits SEO provides, you can see why site owners have tried everything to increase their sites’ rankings on search engines. Here are some tactics used throughout the history of search engine optimization. Social Media, High Quality Content, High Quality Links, Meta Tags, Usability, Branding Meta Tags, Content, Content Age, Domain Name, Links (PageRank) Social Media, High Quality Content, Meta Tags, Links (PageRank), Branding Meta Tags, Keyword Stuffing, Cloaking, Content
  4. 4. MAD HATTERS DILEMMA All of these tactics may have worked at one point or another, but search engines soon realized that some practices gave businesses an unfair advantage or resulted in a website that wasn’t user-friendly. Search engines want to deliver the best results to their users. Therefore, they prohibit some SEO practices and allow other, more natural techniques. We classify these different versions of SEO as white hat, black hat, or gray hat. WHITE HAT White-hat techniques are the clean and safe way of performing search engine optimization. These tactics are usually performed over a long period of time (1 to 2 years). White-hat tactics tends to look more natural. For example, you would obtain links from creating engaging, shareable content for a specific audience. Site owners experience broad results with some higher rankings for target keywords. The overall goal is to increase brand recognition and create a great customer experience. BLACK HAT With black-hat techniques, search engine manipulation is the name of the game. These methods include quick tricks that help your website rank fast. Site owners tend to get specific target keywords to rank with little or no association to broader keywords. The goal is to gain momentum for products (credit cards, pharmaceuticals, loans, etc.) quickly to make sales. Some site owners also try to tank their competitors’ websites, so search engines penalize the competitor. GRAY HAT The concept of gray-hat techniques has recently become a phenomena, though the tactics are certainly nothing new. These tactics represent a middle ground between black-hat and white- hat techniques. Site owners produce shareable content and promote it themselves to gain links. This type of SEO takes 6 months to a year to produce results. Gray-hat SEO tends to yield specific target keywords and some broad keywords.
  5. 5. TODAY’S RANKING ARSENAL If you want to practice white-hat SEO, you need to pay attention to today’s leading factors in determining search engine rankings. HIGH-QUALITY CONTENT What does it take to create “quality” content? Beyond including target keywords and synonyms, you need to create content that’s usable and engaging. Send a clear message to users and search engines about your products or services. And since capturing someone’s attention online is more difficult than ever, you need to include text, pictures, videos, and calls to action that work together. USABILITY Search engines can see more user data than ever before. They consider factors that measure how people use your site, including bounce rate, click-through rates, and dwell times. Websites need clear navigation and engaging web design, which may include elements like parallax scrolling and more photos and videos. SOCIAL MEDIA Social media has influenced, but never shown a direct correlation with, search engine rankings. Site owners should use social media platforms to amplify their content. You can bring in more traffic, conversions, and even links using these platforms. Social media can also assist business owners in customer communication if they are consistent with their messaging and the frequency of their posts. BRANDING Branding is arguably one of the most powerful components to ranking better in search engines. You want potential customers to associate your brand with a particular product or service. Successful brands have a unique identity with a consistent voice, and they also provide valuable information with a natural charisma to build trust. Keep in mind that creating and building your brand requires a lot of hard work and perseverance. HIGH-QUALITY LINKS Since Google’s Penguin update, people link to other sites less in fear of being penalized or providing a bad customer experience. Today, people determine a quality link by its relevance to other content on the website. Create purposeful and useful links. META TAGS Site owners must be concise but provide enough detail when describing a page in meta tags. You should provide your brand name and any information that might help a user click onto your page. Meta descriptions don’t have as much influence as a direct ranking factor, but they do have the biggest influence in click-through rates from search engine results pages.
  6. 6. THE SEO LANDSCAPE SEO started out as the Wild West of marketing. Every tactic was up for grabs. Nowadays, SEO isn’t as chaotic; in fact, SEO is now very controlled. You need to create great content and share it with the right audience to rank. The time and effort necessary to optimize your website has changed, and along with it, the cost of effective SEO has changed. The goals of SEO have also evolved for different websites and business needs. The audience, reach, and goals will be different for each campaign. Through this whole evolution of SEO, however, one element stays constant. The right tactics will always lead to conversions.
  7. 7. AUDIENCE To see why different types of SEO campaigns exist, consider the different types of businesses and the various audiences you could be targeting. LOCAL E-COMMERCE ENTERTAINMENT Local campaigns aim to sell services and products to the community where the business physically resides. The business may also be willing to send employees to the customer’s location. These businesses provide some sort of paid or free entertainment. This entertainment could be in the form of music, podcasts, or videos. Companies in this group traditionally earn revenue through advertising or subscriptions. Examples: BuzzFeed, YouTube, Netflix, Twitch, Blogger, etc. Examples: Plumbers, Lawyers, Retail Stores, Restaurants, etc. These businesses sell digital goods, physical goods, or services online. Examples: Amazon, Walmart, Nike, Cabela’s, eBay, etc.
  8. 8. CAMPAIGN REACH Along with your audience, you also have to consider how many people you want your SEO campaign to reach. For example, a plumber could start a local campaign because he or she only needs to reach the surrounding community. Other campaign types include: LOCAL STATEWIDE MULTILOCAL NATIONAL LOCAL The reach for a local campaign is often one city with some neighboring cities. These campaigns usually reach 10 to 100 people a month depending on the business. REGIONAL With this campaign, business owners target all locations and cities within a given area, including localized areas, metropolitan areas, suburban areas, or counties. The reach can be from 500 to 10,000 people, though one should consider that conversions will make up a much smaller portion. NATIONAL Going national is no small task. The goal of this campaign is to reach every state and local area. The overall reach of a campaign this large is 6 million to 100 million. Bear in mind that you cannot accomplish this reach with one medium. STATEWIDE This type of campaign attempts to cover an entire state, with an overall reach around 100 thousand to 1 million. MULTILOCAL (MULTIPLE LOCATIONS) These campaigns target multiple cities and locations. A multilocal campaign could lead into a regional campaign but often spreads too far. The reach grows with each added location (two locations = 20 to 200 people, three locations = 30 to 300 people, etc.).
  9. 9. GOALS AND CONVERSIONS Finally, SEO campaigns may differ based on potential conversions and your company’s goals for the products or services you sell. Businesses may offer: PRODUCTS Products range from inexpensive (food, toiletries, drinks, etc.) to fairly pricey (razors, clothes, movies, etc.). The average individual cost of these items is often much less than the cost of services. Consumers also purchase more frequently, with 1 to 2 items being purchased daily. LARGE PRODUCTS These items include cars, boats, TVs, refrigerators, or any other expensive items. Consumers typically purchase one large product per year. SERVICES A company’s services involve some sort of skilled labor (mechanical services, hairstyling, plumbing, etc.). Some services are fairly inexpensive, while others cost quite a bit. Consumers tend to buy a service once every 1 to 3 months. CONTENT Rather than offer physical goods, many brands offer content for users to view or read, such as videos, blog posts, etc. These businesses earn money through advertisements. Today ads come in many shapes and forms, such as a video before a user’s desired YouTube content. All of the potential goals of a business, along with the varying beliefs and opinions of business owners and SEOs, result in a wide range of SEO tactics. No one organization is right. SUBSCRIPTIONS With this offering, consumers pay for digital services or goods (like Netflix, Spotify, etc.) or even physical goods delivered monthly (Loot Crate, ShoeDazzle, The Produce Box, etc.). Subscriptions can have a nominal fee E-COMMERCESOCIAL NETWORK ENTERTAINMENT ADVERTISEMENT GAMES and are typically purchased weekly, monthly or yearly.
  10. 10. The SEO industry holds businesses to very generic standards, such as including great content and structuring your website well. These standards are set by experts within the industry and by information from Google itself. However, to rank or achieve better success within the search engines, businesses need to turn these general guidelines into specific actionable items. If I told you to “create highly shareable content,” would you know how to do that? What topics within your industry would people share? An expert can come in and provide you with these specific action items for your website. Whether you choose an in-house specialist or an external consultant, these experts will look at your website and your specific situation and identify key action items to help you. We point this out because the blogs within the SEO industry provide general advice. Even if they dive into a specific subject or issue, these websites do not dive into a specific issue surrounding a specific industry or a specific website. This information wouldn’t benefit the majority of readers. General SEO advice is great but should not dictate work for a specific campaign. Just like anything else, take industry blogs with a grain of salt. GENERAL ADVICE VS. WEBSITE-SPECIFIC NEEDS
  11. 11. BUDGET DICTATES ALL Money drives almost every aspect of a business, and this concept applies to search engine optimization as well. When it comes to budget, businesses have to consider how far they would like the campaign to reach and how much effort will be required to obtain that reach. If a business chooses a short, competitive keyword with high search volume, the campaign will become more expensive. It pays to have experts to guide your SEO efforts or even perform the optimization themselves. Businesses can involve an expert in these four ways. CONSULTANT $0-$50,000 One-Time / Monthly / Yearly Consultants provide specific action items or needs around SEO. They work with specific providers to fulfill those SEO needs. AGENCY $0-$25,000 Monthly / Yearly Agencies often provide white-label SEO services to small marketing firms. Agencies tend to work with small to medium businesses. BOUTIQUE $5000-$50,000 Monthly / Yearly Similar to agencies, boutiques provide more customized SEO services. Their work includes large marketing initiatives for medium to large businesses. IN-HOUSE $30,000-$150,000+ Yearly Companies bring in their own specialists when the company is large enough. They have individual departments dealing with each aspect of a company’s marketing.
  12. 12. SPAM MANUFACTURED ORGANIC Creating a link for the sole purpose of getting a link. Spammy content usually disregards user experience or relevance to the product or service. Building a link that’s relevant to the company. This type of link building may involve writing a comment or publishing content on an external site. The purpose of this method is to build a link, but the content around the link is relevant to users. Producing content purely for user experience. This method does not guarantee a link, but if the content is engaging, useful, and meaningful, users will share the content and generate links without any prompting. ORGANIC VS. SPAM LINK BUILDING No matter which type of SEO expertise best fits your business, most SEO tactics fall into one of the three categories explained below.
  13. 13. THE TACTICS A lot of factors contribute to an SEO campaign, from the content produced for the website to the branding a company has established. No two businesses are the same—so no two SEO campaigns will the same. A businesses should Tactic Name Short Description Approximate Actual Time Directories Social Bookmarks Keyword Link Building Business Profiles Blogs Articles Onsite Blog Onsite Content Marketing Infographic Video Social Media Custom Outreach Syndication Adding the business to an online directory listing websites typically by category. Adding the business’s site to a website where you can store your favorite links and share them socially. Finding an industry-relevant website and leaving a pertinent comment with a logical link back to the company’s website. Adding the business to an online directory (such as Google Maps) that typically requires some sort of verification. Posting a blog on an external site with industry content. The blog will contain a link back to your website for credit or more information. Posting a more authoritative version of a blog. This content contains more research and cited sources. Creating a blog for the business’s own website. The topics for these blogs relate to the industry, but they could be informative or more fun. Producing a researched piece of content to post on a relevant, external site that allows external writers to contribute content. Creating a graphic that displays data or a process. Businesses create infographics in hopes that they will become popular and be shared. Creating a tutorial, company introduction, or some other form of video to convey information in a quick and engaging way. Posting on platforms created for users to share and talk with other people, such as Facebook, Twitter, and Google+. Reaching out to websites that have content relevant to a customer and acquiring a link through various means (blog, lists, citation, etc.). Custom outreach has become the new standard of link building. Manually sharing content, such as infographics or videos. Businesses hope to get this content in front of the right people and draw attention to the company. 1–5 minutes 1–5 minutes 5–10 minutes 10–30 minutes 1–3 hours 3–5 hours 1–5 hours 5–8 hours 5–10 hours 5–10 hours 10–30 minutes 5–8 hours 5–10 hours customize its SEO campaign to fit the website. The following examples show what tactics businesses may use as part of an SEO campaign today.
  14. 14. SEO CAMPAIGN TACTICS: T H E I R C O S T S A N D I M P A C T S Many different tactics play a part in any effective SEO campaign. Each has its own benefits and costs, and each operates most effectively within a particular timeframe. The costs and results of any campaign vary depending on where you choose to invest your resources, but typically lower spends are less impactful on search rankings. DIRECTORY SUBMISSIONS For instance, a directory submission project is inexpensive, requires only entry- level data input skills, and takes only a short time to complete. However, it is likely to have only a minimal impact on your search rankings, even if you submit scores or hundreds of links to your site. Search engines do not normally rate links from business directories as “high quality” or “authority” links, which are they types of links they like to see before suggesting a site to their users. ONSITE CONTENT MARKETING Onsite content marketing is one of the most powerful tools at your disposal, but it is also one of the most expensive. A long-term content creation strategy is one of the main differences between a low budget and a high budget SEO campaign, since it requires considerable time and/ or financial resources. However, it can be extraordinarily effective at improving your website rankings and driving traffic. The more high quality content your site boasts, the more favorably search engines view you when assembling search results and the higher you rank in the SERPs. WEBSITE OPTIMIZATION In a website optimization audit, we analyze the content on every page of your site to make sure it is optimized to be “Google friendly.” We bring to bear a variety of important SEO tactics such as examining keyword density, optimizing title tags, composing compelling meta tags, and examining HTML-to-text ratios. A comprehensive analysis takes time, but it can dramatically improve your website’s performance in the SERPs. In Search Engine Optimization (SEO), every word counts, so—to break this example down to a page-by-page basis— stretching your budget to optimize a second page instead of only one can have a significant impact on results. GUEST POSTING On the other hand, offsite content marketing (better known as “guest posting”) can have a profound impact on your search rankings and—as a result—on your website traffic. This is especially true if you choose to guest post on high Page Rank sites that are relevant to your niche or industry. Google, Bing, Yahoo, and other search engines view such sites as authoritative, so links to your website from such authority sites are considered high quality, and thus carry a lot of “link juice,” or reflected glory. Guest posting is also a powerful tool because it helps build your brand, positions you and/or your organization as industry thought leaders, and builds trust relationships with your audience members. However, the financial costs of hiring high quality content creators, or the time and opportunity costs required to compose the offsite content yourself, are significant. Moreover, the amount of time this tactic takes to bear fruit—i.e. to create a network of high quality guest posts that direct interested readers to your site—is considerably greater than that of other tactics.
  15. 15. To give a visual idea of the differences between local and true enterprise SEO, think about the purpose of various ships. If you wanted to sell fish around your community, you wouldn’t need a battleship. A small boat would be enough to carry your stock and take you a short distance. Likewise, the tactics of a local SEO campaign will help you reach your specific audience. A FINAL EXAMPLE DIY Canoe LOCAL Fishing BoatMULTILOCAL Commercial Fishing Boat REGIONAL Battleship NATIONAL Cruise Ship STATE Cargo Ship INTERNATIONAL Aircraft Carrier
  16. 16. Colton has worked as a Digital Marketer for Boostability for over five years. He has substantial experience in sales, consultation, account management, and strategy, all with emphasis on SEO. He has worked with spends that ranged from $50 - $50k a month. He feels passionately about Search Engine Optimization, and he continually seeks ways to share his knowledge while learning more. He currently works as a Senior SEO Strategist for Boostability. In his spare time, he works on his personal life-style brand, Hectick. SENIOR SEO STRATEGIST Boostability Colton Miller

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