It’s 2012, and SEO has never been more difficult.
Convincing business owners to utilize us is an uphill battle.
SEO is not easy. Even the brightest and most talented of Internet marketing managers don’t have the capacity to devote to the effort. It takes dedication, persistence, patience, scientific inquiry and a heart of stone. Oh, and let’s not forget – TIME. However, if done correctly, SEO can reap huge benefits for online conversions. We know this, but we have to communicate this to business owners and marketing managers in a more effective way. Perhaps we begin with communicating the SEO landscape more efficiently.
But, what do business owners really need? In the past this was an easy question: links. How can I build links? This, however, is no longer the case. SEO strategies need to evolve in a serious way, and that’s what the majority of us are doing. These companies need SEO consultation, tactical implementation, content production and an overall strategy that will wrap this all together. Every company or organization that owns a web property that is or is one of its basis for making money, should be interested in investing time and money into search engine optimization and the consulting that may, or may not, be needed to accompany those initiatives. Period.
Let’s look at the funnel below:
I’d be willing to bet that every business owner would look at this graphic and quickly identify that it their funnel gets squeezed pretty tight around “Keyword Rankings”.
Business owner: “I need better rankings.”
It’s a simple answer. Develop and implement an SEO strategy. (I said it was simple, not easy.)
A modern day SEO consultant might approach that task like this: Optimize your domain. Optimize your pages. Optimize the architecture of your domain, and make sure it can be properly crawled and indexed by search engines. Create off-page signals that communicate an optimized, relevant message. Create a social network that’s connected and actively engaged with your domain and brand. Finally, make sure each aspect of your strategy works in conjunction with the other moving parts, thus creating an environment of interaction surrounding your domain and your brand on the Internet while creating the proper signals to search engines that will increase your keyword rankings and overall traffic.
Rinse and repeat. Right? Well, not exactly.
You’ll have to keep up as Google updates their algorithm around 500 times per year, optimizing your pages and domain ever-so-slightly in order to avoid dying the slow, painful death of traffic decrease as a result of a minor loss of 2-3 positions on page one that comes from not staying on top of your SEO game (or a massive stab in the traffic jugular in a few cases, *ahem*…Panda).
As SEO experts, we know how difficult it is to achieve and maintain top tier rankings nowadays. This must be communicated to our audience. There is no longer a silver bullet or magic formula.
For many, this is the end of the store when it comes to what they’d expect from hiring us. In order to earn and keep the business of enterprise level clientele in the SEO space, we must step up our game. The tactics and strategies mentioned above focus on both domain and page micro-level issues (eg: building links, optimizing anchor text, fulfilling on-site content needs, and more). It’s 2012, and there is a whole other world of SEO offerings that we can bring to the table. I’m talking about macro-level offerings SEO consultation fulfills that are often overlooked, undervalued and in some cases, even ignored.
This is the macro-minded marketing and digital promotion expertise of the majority of professionals in the SEO field possess, understand, value and can offer to our clients. Bottom line: We know what a good, effective and profit-driving website looks like, inside and out.
Consider some of these macro-level questions that business owners desperately need help with:
Sure I need SEO, but where do I begin? What do I look for? How do I do keyword research on a mass scale? Where do I start when looking at my domain? What pages are most important to focus on for SEO? What’s most impactful? Can I aggregate Analytics data to put a weight on my pages? What am I already ranking for? How do I analyze rankings, are there tools for that? How do I create goals within my analytics for SEO performance? How do I report performance and time spent on SEO activities to my boss? Should I use a subdomain for development on a new segment of my company? What are my alternatives? My conversions are happening on a different domain – my users are redirected once they click the “buy” button. Is this acceptable? How do I fix it if it’s not? I have great rankings and awesome traffic for a couple of big terms – but they don’t convert, why is that and what should I do?
We SEO pros chomp at the bit for questions like these. We hear them, answer them and see results driven from them on a daily basis. There’s more to us than attempting to get backlinks built to a site, now let’s make that known. This is an evolving industry, and it’s evolving fast. We need to communicate that it’s alright for Internet marketing managers to ask for help with SEO. In fact, it’s expected.
Unless a company feels comfortable tacking their entire SEO operation by themselves or with the internal team they have developed at their organization, it’s expected that they’d hire on the help of an SEO agency or consulting company.
A final quiz for our world of Internet marketing managers:
Can you develop and implement a continuous SEO strategy around your domain, concerning both on and off page signals that are consistent and optimized with one another?
Do you feel comfortable answering all of the questions above and any related questions having to do with the macro-level nature of communicating your progress, success and standing in your competitive SEO space? Do you have the time to consistently track, analyze and deduct sound strategies from competitive and on-site data such as analytics, rankings increases/decreases, and other SEO driven tool sets?
If they can answer no to any of these questions, then they’re in the market for SEO consultation. We need to re-evaluate the perception of the SEO consultant and communicate the reality of our situation. SEO is not what it used to be. It’s a holistic effort, in every capacity. We’re quickly becoming digital brand advocators. We know SEO, we know the Internet, and we know how to make money from websites. Period.
Plus, we’re nerds – and who doesn’t love a nerd?
SEO Consulting for 2012