There are many ways to market a business on the Internet today. But unquestionably, the most important to any business’s success is how visible that business is when potential customers perform searches related to their business’s products or services.
If you have an unlimited marketing budget and can afford to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on PPC, targeted marketing, etc., then stop reading now. You are one of the lucky ones and this would only be a waste of your time. But if you are like most business and need to get the most out of your marketing dollars, then please read on.
Very often people believe they have better organic visibility than they actually do. There are a number of reasons for this, but the two most common are:
Searches using the same terms, but done in different locations, will produce different results. The closer a person is to a potential site, the more likely that site will have a favorable ranking. Most often if you are testing SEO results on your site, you are at your office and can’t get any closer than that. Results may look good at one location, but a few miles away could be producing much different results.
Search engines save users habits in the forms of cache memory and/or cookies. They want to show people results that they like. One of the ways they determine this is how often you visit a site and the time you spend on that site. If you are visiting your site and spending time on it, the search engine will interpret this as you liking the site. Anytime you search a term that is relevant to your site, they will return your site at the top of the list.
These subconscious behaviors of search engines mislead people into thinking they have good organic rankings when in fact they don't. People searching the same terms for the first time will not see the same results.
Within our system, we are able to simulate different locations to gather data from. This allows us to test the same terms in different locations, giving us an overall look at a client’s visibility. Our system also does not allow the use of cache memory or cookies, so we see the same results a person searching the term for the first time sees.
In my 25 years of digital marketing, I don’t think one customer or potential customer has NOT asked me this question. Unfortunately, there is no one simple thing you can do to your site to get top rankings, however, we can sum up what they base their results on in one word: Relevance.
I could write 300 pages outlining how to make your site relevant, but in the end, you would most likely be confused and hire someone to do your SEO so I won’t waste your time but I will sum it up with three key points.
These are key factors in how the search engines determine the ranking in which sites are listed.
There is no better form of marketing than Organic SEO. THERE IS NO OTHER FORM OF DIGITAL OR TRADITIONAL MARKETING that can produce the ROI that organic placements can. The problem is that there are a lot of companies out there claiming to know how to optimize your site. In reality, they are only taking your money without producing results.
Over the years I have tested sites that just about every SEO company out there has performed SEO on. Over 95% of the time the customer is wasting their money. Real SEO is hard and, unless you are monitoring your vendor effectively, you have no way of knowing if what they doing what they claim.
Bad SEO warning signs to look for:
Good SEO will produce leads and sales. If your SEO isn’t increasing phone calls and walk-ins, you need to start looking at why.
There is no one report that will tell you everything you need to know. The three reports I find most useful are:
Each of these reports will tell you different information, all of them are important if you want to be successful and outsell your competition.
Very often when talking to a potential new client they tell me their SEO is great. They show me a report where they tested a few terms that their SEO provider gave them and they came up with a good ranking. I ask them, “do you know how well you competitors sites are ranked?” Almost always they tell me “no”. If you don’t know how well everyone else is doing, what are you measuring your success against?
Let’s say I test 50 terms in 10 different locations. That’s 500 tests. Your site comes back with first page results on 200 of the tests. If that’s all the information I gave you, you would most likely think that was great and move on to something else.
But what if I then told you your main competitor who has been out selling you is listed on 400 of the terms? I’ll bet you would want to do something about that.
I call this my 30,000-feet report. It’s like flying over a city at 30,000 feet and looking down. It gives you a wide look at what is going on over a large area but does not have pin-point information.
This report takes key locations based on population in a general market. We then gather most, if not all, the companies selling the same products or services as our client in that major market. We select hundreds of key terms that potential customers use when looking for our client’s products or services and test their sites as well as their competitors' sites. We compile this data into a report that shows our client their organic search engine visibility in comparison to their competitions.
The report will show you the following for Google, Bing, and Yahoo by website:
The “Local Market Report” the same format as the “Major Market Report” but in a more condensed area. Testing all the local cities within a 5-mile radius of the business, we also test most, if not all, competitors within 30 miles of the client. This report not only tells you if you are visible locally, but it can often show you if a competitor is targeting your market.
This report focuses on one website and 10 locations. It breaks out the information into a microscopic view of displaying exact hotspots and cold spots of your SEO visibility. The data can even be drilled down to specific products on a hotspot map.
Let’s say the client is a Ford dealer. This report would show the client what areas by model and city they have strong a visibility in compared to areas with a weaker presence. This would allow the client to adjust their SEO efforts focusing on the areas that help.
Another use for this report is if you have a competitor that is selling in your market. A report on that competitor would tell you if they have a strong SEO presence in your market, allowing you to take counter measures to reclaim your market share.