SEO, also known as search engine optimization, is the method by which you rank higher in search engines. Traditionally, marketers focused exclusively on Google – because, well, it had most of the traffic. Now, with search engines like Bing+Yahoo, having 25-35% of the market, this paradigm has drastically shifted.  Many search engine marketers are now facing on search engines like Bing, and Yahoo, and paying attention to something that was before – largely ignored. Unfortunately, many, if not most, SEO campaigns fail. They fail for any number of reasons, some of which we’ll try to go over below.

Shady and/or untrustworthy Vendors

When polling all the various business owners we’ve spoken to: this is the number 1 reason why most SEO campaigns are though to have failed due to. You don’t need a license, in order to be an SEO vendor. Anyone, and virtually everyone, can claim they are a top company. All they need is a shiny business card, and a new website. If they can talk smart, you’re likely to hire them and work with them. Typically, filtering out a shady SEO vendor will be the job of the business owner vetting the companies.

Unrealistic client expectations

SEO is not an overnight thing, and can take a while to implement. Many firms looking for SEO, or marketing managers, often portray SEO as a golden ticket to success. SEO is not an isolated service – SEO is part of a process, which is your overarching marketing strategy. Years ago, SEO meant building tons and tons of links. Today, SEO means your public relations campaign, it means your social media, it means your content strategy, it means the user experience of your website. As Google, and search engines in general, become smarter – they are trying to provide searchers the best possible results. When a brand has been ranking for years, it’s naive to assume an SEO vendor will help you dethrone them in just 120 days! Unfortunately, that’s the expectation clients have, and it’s the expectations shady SEO vendors set. In many instances, clients have failed to ask what a realistic timeframe for results should be, and consequently, vendors will omit this very important detail as well.

Focusing on traffic, instead of revenue

One of the most common mistakes SEO vendors, and prospective clients make, is focusing on clicks not dollars. Clicks are an important indicator of the success of a campaign, but by no means should they be the ultimate goal. The point of SEO is to make revenue. The reason most companies fail to adequately generate SEO success, though, is because they don’t realize this. You could rank for all the keywords in the world – but if the keywords aren’t the right keywords, then this won’t translate into business results, and business success.

Black Hat SEO Tactics

In this day and age, with all of the various Google algorithm updates, BlackHatSEO is something which you simply can’t afford to be caught doing. If you’re doing it: stop. If you find out your vendor is doing it, equally – stop. It won’t pay off, and you’ll end up burning yourself.

Advantages of SEO

When looking to market a business today, one of the most cost-effective marketing mediums that businesses have at their disposal is Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Instead of targeting customers directly with a pushy message, businesses can influence the purchasing habits of their prospective customers by altering the organic search results that come up online. This can be a much more effective way of reaching new prospects because they will be less likely to feel as though they were ‘sold’ and more likely to feel that they are getting genuine value out of the transaction. Below is a complete overview of the advantages that businesses can realize by investing in SEO.

Lucrative Potential

Studies have proven that the first hit on a search engine for a specific keyword gets nearly 50% (48%) of all web traffic for that query. Additionally, more than 99% of the hits for a specific keyword are found on the first page. This means that businesses looking to obtain a competitive advantage today will need to find ways to rank highly for relevant keywords. Without this, a lucrative amount of revenue will be passed on to competitors who will instead be able to reap the rewards. Since internet marketing is still an emerging field, many businesses have been slow to adopt the technology. As a result, competition is lower and businesses can expect to realize a much higher return on investment from SEO marketing activities than through traditional channels.

Targeted Traffic Growth

While building a great website is an important first step for online success, few results can be obtained without generating avenues to drive targeted prospects to the website. Since SEO targets specific keywords during campaigns, businesses are in a position to capitalize on this by selecting keywords that are only needed by a specific demographic. This means that the entire campaign can be constructed in a way where it will drive targeted traffic to specific pages that are designed to draw customer interest. By doing this, businesses can expect to not only grow the traffic on their website, but get better results from this traffic that actually generates revenue.

Improved Brand Awareness

Even if customers aren’t ready to buy something right away, businesses can still take advantage of gaining increased visibility through SEO. Businesses that do this will be more likely to make a sale at a later point or acquire customer referrals. When a brand is known among a given target market, it will have a much better chance of being able to close new sales with these potential customers. This means that revenues will increase right along with the company’s reputation either nationally or within a community. Best of all, this awareness can be gained only where it matters most, instead of wasting valuable resources on customers of little potential value.

Search Engine Optimization For Local Business Owners

Whether or not you’ve run a brick and mortar store, its imperative you ensure your website is well rated in the local search engine results.

What does this mean?
People aren’t only searching for ‘widgets’ anymore they’re searching for “widgets AND my town” more and more. They are attempting to narrow their searches with their own community.  People want to know whom they’re working with on the web. They want to know who is the business selling them a product/service. They want to find a way to visit your company for your products, or at the very least have the reassurance that they could if they desired to.

For instance, if you own a dry cleaning business, potential prospects want to not just see your prices; they want to be able to come to your shop.

Here are a few additional suggestions to consider when considering local search engine optimization

Mobile Website: Don’t overlook cellphones. Yes, it’s expensive to get a mobile app/mobile compatible website; more and more people are using cell phones instead of their computers. Cell phones are rapidly taking over the “simple” browsing consumers do. Make a website that works on cell phones.

Press releases: Press releases are the bread and butter of business owners. Consider running press releases, which are posted on high page rank websites, and therefore appear for local search results because of how powerful they are.

Google Places/Yahoo Reviews: Consider setting up a local Google plus, or Yahoo, profile. This business profile will help you get visibility, and appear for local keywords when people type them in.

How much does SEO cost?

The cost of SEO can vary, some companies charge a few hundred dollars per month whereas others charge thousands. It all depends on the scale of the competition, and how far behind you are. It’s not impossible for vendors to charge an amount of money and generate no results, that’s why the issue of cost is such a wild card. Just because you pay more doesn’t mean you get more results. It’s all a matter of the quality of your vendor. If you hire the wrong SEO company, it’s likely you’ll get little to no results. But, if you hire the right SEO company, you can get phenomenal results. 

What are SEO and SEM?

SEO is search engine optimization. SEM is search engine marketing. Generally, SEM means PPC. 

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