In our last post, we talked about making sure you’ve found a trustworthy SEO provider for your business. Now, let’s talk about what you should expect — what does an effective Search Engine Optimization (SEO) program look like, anyways? What are you paying for? How will you know you’re getting it?
Successful SEO gets your business in the game.
Expect to collaborate on your winning SEO game plan
A talented SEO partner values your input and will involve you and your team to develop a strategy tailored to your business. SEO is a team effort … You need to do stuff, too.
What a good SEO team brings to the table
Your SEO team has loads of table-stakes know-how and expertise based on their years of experience. Plus, they’ve got a handle on the industry’s ever-evolving best practices and algorithm developments.
The types of developments that you’ll never have to know about, unless you want to. If you do, just ask. Great SEO consultants are in the game of good communication.
For your part, you know your business & audience better than anybody
Your partner SEO should ask lots of questions about what makes your business tick, especially if they haven’t served your field before. They”ll bone up on your industry, audience, drivers, competitive landscape, and so on.
While it’s true that you can expect them to do the heavy lifting, like coding and so many other esoteric site development tasks, it’s up to you to support their efforts. For example, you get to:
- Explain the value your product and/or service brings to your target market
- Help define your target market according to their personalities, user personas, and profiles
- Address the topical subject matter most sought out by your target audience, including your most frequently asked questions (FAQ). Knowing your customers, clients, prospects, and their motivators is critical to our work.
- Help brainstorm an initial keyword list to further research and analyze competitively
- Clarify and help segment broad topical and industry keywords so we can narrow the scope for your long tail keywords
- Make some back-of-napkin sketches of your buyers’ journey(s) so your SEO team can properly set goals, sales funnels, and conversion tracking
- Help integrate your keyword phrases and long-tail keywords into a well thought out content marketing strategy
And, of course, be prepared to quickly grant them access to your Google Analytics, Webmaster Tools, and your site’s backend. If you aren’t yet using these tools, be ready to help with login credentials so your SEO team can get them up and going quickly. We’ll talk in a bit about why this is crucial.
Work your Search Engine Marketing (SEM) game plan together
It works if you work it. But, you’ve got to keep on working it. Many industry experts advise their clients to expect results in four to eight months.
That’s possibly as many as 32 weeks of steady investment before you start seeing the marquis results. Good SEO doesn’t promise first page success, at least, not overnight. But, when it’s done right, we can definitely deliver improved search results gradually over time. In some instances, really quickly. It all depends on the client, their goals, and the competitive market.
As one industry commenter clarifies, initial results do not mean return on investment (ROI), which is to say don’t expect immediate results. Green shoots come before the fields of gold.
Initial results you might expect to see, depending on your situation
- Improved website visibility
- Better search positioning & improved ranking
- Cleaner user experience
- Faster load times
- Mobile responsiveness
- Increased traffic to site
- Increased time on site
- Higher conversion rates
- More local traction
Your SEO game plan eventually pays off
Your initial results become routine, your gains cumulative, and your efforts convert into sales revenue.
The pace of your SEO progress depends … on a lot
As we’ve mentioned, time is a major factor. And so many other variables, lots of which are beyond our control. I’m not saying a penguin in California can flap its wings and cause you a penalty, but you never know. (That’s an SEO insider joke — and that’s why you’ve hired a trustworthy SEO team to stay on top of these developments for you.)
Other critical success factors for your SEO program
It’s not just your “real world” competition, as in feet through the door or good word of mouth on the grapevine.
We’re talking about competition in the keywords and online search phrases that your customers are using to try to find somebody like you. This is where your long tail keywords come in and why your SEO plumbs your business expertise to build that list.
Other aspects of SEM where you’ll need to be competitive: user experience (UX), mobile responsiveness, and quality content. Your content marketing strategy and your SEO program go hand-in-hand to make sure that people find you. That is, those who are asking the questions you’re known for answering.
Depending on the size of your business, if there is a C-suite, they need to be bought into this process. If they’re not, your SEO partner and you, as their champion, may spend more time spinning your wheels, while you convince (and re-convince) the higher-ups to continue to invest in this long growth cycle.
Improved ranking with regard to timelines depends on client commitment. A more aggressive timeline for success requires greater and more proactive commitment of time, talent, and treasure from both your team and your SEO partners. Remember, a good purveyor of SEO and online marketing guarantees improvement, but not overnight first page results.
Ranking alone is not an accurate measure of your SEO success. You have to make sure that you’re ranking for the right market. For example, if you run a yoga studio downtown, you don’t need to be showing good results for pilates classes uptown. That’s why winning SEO teams measure and track the data that show who’s coming to your site — to make sure your search terms are relevant to your audience and finding traction with them.
Typically, SEO is a longer-term business investment that pays off when you partner with a team of experienced and trustworthy experts, and you commit to work with them to grow your audience, expand your reach, and raise your revenue.