Everything about Outsourcing SEO Services, and what matters to you, explained in detail so that you can be confident in selecting the right partner for your SEO. You probably had bought SEO services in the past or planned to Outsource Your SEO services!
For any business or brand to survive the competition and stay afloat, search engine visibility is of prime importance. If you are not on the first page of Google, you are not visible.
These days, the most common method to stay on the first page of Google Search is Pay Per Click Ads. But everyone cannot afford to keep paying Google for running their business.
The fact that Google Ads, Bing Ads, Facebook Ads are all costly. Much money needs to be pumped in to stay visible.
Phenomenal Wisdom: If you talk about your business everywhere, sooner, people start talking about your business everywhere.
The search got you here!
In 1 second, as per internet live stats;
- 87305 google searches per second,
- 86793 Youtube videos viewed,
- 2968159 emails sent,
- 9220 tweets,
- 104575 GB of internet traffic &
- 4.7 billion users on the internet.
And these numbers keep changing as you read through this article. Your search for meanings, content, images, videos, news, and shopping. And that almost syncs into our daily life.
We all are creators; we read and share numerous stories on a day-to-day basis, and in a way, are building someone’s visibility.
The first thing we talk to Strangers is our Name. If the name seems to be familiar, you feel OK. If the name is unfamiliar, curiosity arises to ask them, ‘what would the name mean?’.
The same goes for business. If you know about someone’s business, you feel familiar with other people of the same business. But if you are familiar with a business and had a bad experience, the same notion goes for other people running the same business.
Phenomenal Wisdom: The Familiarity Principle of Attraction states that we are attracted to what is familiar to us, and that repeated exposure to certain people will increase our attraction toward them.Deborah Ward
SEO or Search Engine Optimization (full form) seems to be the buzzword for brands and businesses. And with so much said about it, it makes it overwhelming and complex.
What Is SEO?
To understand SEO Services, it is incumbent to start with “What is SEO?”
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization, which is the practice of increasing the quantity and quality of traffic to your website through organic search engine results.
& Another Definition says
Search Engine Journal defines SEO as the process of optimizing a website and the content so that it can appear in prominent organic results of search engines.
SEO requires an understanding of how search engines work, what people search for, and why and how people search. Successful SEO makes a site appealing to users and search engines. It is a combination of technical and marketing.
What Is SEO Services?
SEO Services are Services rendered through a process to make your Website or Digital Asset more familiar to the search engines. The Outcomes of SEO working for you start with Organic Traffic from Google Search.
For consistent activities, the outcomes are Domain Rankings, Authority, and Visibility.
Who Needs SEO?
If you are one of these;
- A Brand
- Non-Profit Organization like Unicef
- Small, Medium, and Large Business
- Startups with ambitious goals
- Knowledge hub or Forum, or a Community
- An Enthusiast, hobbyist, or a Creator
If you want to be known for what you do, certainly you need SEO.
You are probably using it. You have used it before. You are trying to scale it. You probably have some success or have failed with SEO. Knowing SEO and doing SEO are two different things.
SEO takes much human effort, repetition, and optimization to get things right time and again.
Phenomenal Wisdom: SEO at times might seem complex and can be confusing and here’s a little secret: It’s one of the legitimate ways to improve your company’s bottom line. SEO has a snowballing effect on your business. – Santosh Acharya
When Should I Start With SEO?
SEO starts when you choose to go digital. A Website is the Hub of your business activities. A website made without, considering SEO is not more than a digital catalog. Who needs a catalog when funnels are the way to the future.
To know more about starting your digital journey, Read here.
What do I need to get started with SEO?
You need a web presence. Social media has given everyone a web presence, but there can be a lot to talk about you, and social media deprives you of your right to information ownership. Social media is a promoting channel for social selling and networking.
A web 2.0 website is the way to go. Termed as the Hub of your digital identity, a website can connect more resources than a social media page. To know more about how websites have evolved, Read here.
Why is SEO Important?
SEO is a set of rules that the search engine algorithm uses to rank your content. Setting various relevant elements that complement each other, knowing what they are, and how they work is key to understanding why SEO is important.
Primary reasons regardless of the industry or business size that makes SEO Important to take their brand or business to the next level are;
- Organic Search is the Primary Source of Website Traffic
- SEO targets quality inbound traffic based on your customer persona
- You don’t need to pay for ads in SEO
- SEO gets more clicks than PPC
- SEO helps PR
- You can move ahead of the competition.
- SEO Builds Trust & Credibility
- SEO makes User Experience a charm
- Local SEO Means Increased Engagement, Traffic & Conversions
- SEO Impacts the Buying Cycle
- SEO Best Practices Are Always Being Updated
- Understanding SEO Helps You Understand the Environment of the Web
- SEO Is Relatively Cheap
- It’s A Long-Term Strategy
- It’s Quantifiable
- SEO Brings New Opportunities to Light
- If You’re Not on Page 1, You’re Not Winning the Click
Alternatives to SEO
There are certain alternatives to driving traffic other than the Organic route.
- Online Ads
- Influencer Marketing
- Guest Blogging (Part of Influencer Marketing)
- Influencer Partnership (Part of Influencer Marketing)
- Social Media Marketing
- Host Bloggers on your site
- Youtube Marketing
- Email Marketing
For Online Ads, these days, there are two options – Google Ads and Bing Ads.
Google Ads have evolved the way businesses advertise online. You get multiple options to choose a campaign goal automating the ad creation process.
Pay-Per-Click, or PPC as it is commonly known, is one of the quickest ways to generate traffic to your website. It means your ad is shown to many people who have searched for the keywords related to the ad in the recent past and present.
The amount of people who came across your ad is called Impressions. When they click on the ad, you pay a CPC (Cost per click), which differs from industry to industry and keyword to keyword.
It’s about targeting an audience based on the search terms they are using by having an ad appear next to the search results that come up for selected ‘Google Ads.’ Check out this video by Google for a more detailed explanation of how it all works.
Your ads can appear with Google search results and other search sites when your keywords are relevant to a user’s search. On Google search sites, Ads can appear above or below search results on Google Search. Interested to know how google search works? Read here.
- It’s quick and easy to set up an ad.
- It works. And you get to see results.
- It can be confusing if you know nothing about it.
- Your cash can quickly vanish if you are doing it wrong.
- You will need to run the ad for some time, till google search can refine some results for you, you’re spending a good amount of money.
- Ongoing optimization can give you great results for your investment, but you will need an expert to take care of your ad account.
- If Ads are not a large proportion of your spending, hiring an expert can be costlier.
But before you go splashing your cash, it’s important to know what you’re doing (or you could quickly find your budget has vanished, but you have nothing to show for it!). Here we give you some valuable pointers on how to get started with your PPC campaign.
One of the best ways to make yourself popular is being an influencer. We are at the brim of a large number of influencers who have started making their voices heard through platforms like Instagram and YouTube.
Influencers are the next generation celebrities in business with a huge following. It’s all about followers and engagement. The more people talk about you, you will generate traffic for your business. Influencers can spell disasters too.
“Sooo does anyone else not open Snapchat anymore?” she asked her Twitter followers. “Or is it just me… ugh, this is so sad.”
She followed up with another tweet: “Still love you, tho snap … my first love.”
The tweet slammed Snapchat’s parent company shares, Snap, knocking them down by 7% the following trading session and wiping out $1.3 billion of market value. Since then, they have lost as much as 72% amid competition from Facebook’s Instagram and a string of executive departures.
Just look around, and you can easily spot some influencers you follow, track and want to listen to what they are talking about.
- Everyone is an influencer; in some manner, we do influence ours and other businesses.
- You can be an influencer. All this while, you are selling your product to someone every time. So you can pitch your product to the masses. Compare and Review products help customers make the right choice in your niche.
- Think about your product. Does it solve someone’s problem?
- Influencers cause action. They can move people to act.
- You don’t need a product to become an influencer. You just need to know about a niche.
- All it takes is the energy to help people make choices, keep them updated, and keep making video content.
- If you are an introvert, it could be overwhelming to start.
- If you can’t delegate your business activities, then it would turn difficult.
Guest Blogging used to be very famous some time back. Yet, the charm is still not lost. You are the guest for someone else’s blog, and your original content on other’s blogs can drive traffic from their followers. It gives you the following advantages;
- You get SEO Backlinks for your Guest Post.
- You get traffic from the guest blog for your content.
- You get a large and relevant audience to speak to
- Your credibility and authority increase for valuable content.
- You get an opportunity to cross-reference an audience that may have never come across your blog.
- You get to network with other influencers, talk to their audience.
- You get credibility and authority.
- Your SEO improves through backlinks.
- Guest Blogging is getting difficult since the outreach has its limitations.
- You may have to pay for Guest Blogging if you are aggressive to build an audience.
- You may have to fulfill some traffic conditions for your website, Domain Authority, to do guest blogging.
In an influencer Partnership, the brand partners with an Influencer wherein the influencer agrees to expose their audience to the brand’s messaging or content.
These influencers usually have a vast and engaged audience, so brands benefit when influencers share or mention their content or messaging. The exposure allows the brand to positively, naturally, and meaningful in front of its target audience.
Whereas Influencer marketing is about gaining exposure, it isn’t about working with people having a large audience. Influencer Partnerships is also about cross-selling, affiliate deals, coupons, discounts and mentions, and tweets.
The following types of Influencers are the right options;
- Social Media Stars
- Industry Experts
- Thought Leaders
- Non-Competing Brands
- Both the Influencer and the Brand gets the benefit.
- Audience Engagement increases with cross-selling
- Influencers’ reach increases as the word of mouth increases.
- As a Brand, the product gets sold, and the reviews come back quickly.
- Don’t qualify the influencers by only the size of their audience. The right audience type is the key to success. For a Brand, it can be a danger.
- If the product or the brand promise gets skewed, the influencer is at risk of his reputation.
Social Media Marketing
Social media marketing is a powerful way for brands and businesses to reach prospects and customers. It doesn’t matter if you are doing SEO or Not, Social Media is a must. It’s about Social Selling and the concept of Community.
Your customers are already interacting with brands through social media in community groups and channels, and if you’re not speaking directly to your audience, you’re missing out! The most sought channels of Social Media are Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest & Twitter.
Social media marketing, or SMM, is a form of internet marketing that involves creating and sharing content on social media networks. Consistently sharing relevant content can build your marketing and branding goals.
Social media marketing includes posting text and image updates, videos, and other content that drives audience engagement.
Social Media Ads can be beneficial in building your immediate audience when you are starting fresh. All social media sites offer ads, although these ads could fetch you great results for different goals.
To know more about how social media can work for you, Read here.
We’ve created this guide to provide you with an introduction to social media marketing and some starter social media marketing tips and training to improve your business’s social presence.
- Increasing website traffic
- Building conversions
- Raising brand awareness
- Creating a brand identity and positive brand association
- Improving communication and interaction with key audiences
- The bigger and more engaged your audience is on social media networks, the easier it will be for you to achieve every other marketing goal on your list.
- Although there are several tools available to ease your work, the amount of content creation and audit can be intimidating.
- You will have to boost your content to reach with ads & hashtags.
- Knowing your audience is significant to save money.
- The building, Moderating, and driving a community of audience will require a team effort.
Host Multiple Bloggers on your site
It is a common strategy employed by all these websites like;
- Search Engine Journal
- Search Engine Watch
- Search Engine Land
- Search Engine Roundtable
Get some good bloggers in your niche to publish articles to your website, and start marketing the blog on social media to drive traffic to your website. Sounds Great!
It’s the power of 1+1 = 11 that makes a difference. You get good mileage with the article and, in turn, can generate traffic through the content.
- It works faster than a one influencer blog.
- It also brings the goodwill of the blogger to your website.
- The speed of content can drive huge traffic to your site.
- You will have to set some standards for the content. Original Content with a minimum length of 1000 words can be sufficient.
- Background check of bloggers and content audit is a must. This can turn out to be much work to publish the articles.
YouTube is a free platform to host videos. It helps business owners connect with customers through the power of video.
YouTube has more than two billion logged-in monthly viewers, and over 70% of YouTube viewers say that YouTube makes them more aware of new brands. – YouTube
You can upload videos like product tutorials or brand stories. You can use YouTube Advertising through Google Video Ads to increase your reach and get your content in front of viewers who are most interested in what you have to offer.
YouTube has also become a home for thousands of creative entrepreneurs. It levels the playing field, allowing creators to turn their talents into thriving businesses by sharing their stories with millions of people worldwide.
- If you are good at public speaking or generally a good explainer, you can easily make videos and promote them.
- Videos can be made quickly and can be posted instantly.
- It works. And you get to see results.
- It can be confusing if you are an introverted kind of person.
- You need to get familiar with how the video content has to be structured, and investing time can help. But if you don’t have the time to learn, it can be intimidating.
- YouTube Ads are run through Google Ads. You will need to run the ad for some time, till google search can refine some results for you, you’re spending a good amount of money.
- Ongoing optimization can give you great results for your investment, but you will need an expert to take care of your ad account.
- If Ads are not a large proportion of your spending, hiring an expert can be costlier.
Email Marketing is the surest way to interact and cause action among your followers; however, the lead list’s biggest concern. You could fetch leads through ads, social media, website visitors, etc. However, if the list has to be bigger, you could run giveaways or offline and online events that would help deliver value to your audience and, in return, get their email list.
Email marketing has an ROI of 4400%, as per Campaign Monitor
Relatively the easiest and fastest way to create traffic and nurture your audience and create a fan following. Send emails to other influencers’ email list with freebies and drive traffic to your website. On your website, create subscription options for them to subscribe.
- Email Marketing is highly measurable.
- Email Marketing is a long term strategy, so over the period of time, the list can be retargeted through other media to make them active followers.
- There no real cons unless buying an email list is a big ‘no’ ‘no.’
There’s an audience for everything. Podcast Too! I often used by driving to work periods with audiobooks and training audio. Podcast work. It worked for Pat Flynn.
It can be terrifying. But it’s only the situational factors. Once you are through 100 odd hours of recording, it should be a cake.
- Listen to some podcasts, and then you can too set in for recording.
- It’s OK not publishing the first few recordings until you get a hold of your breath.
- There’s nothing like a podcast. If you are a video guy, you surely can do podcasts.
- If you think you can’t do it, you can’t
Should you just learn and implement SEO yourself?
In all Probability No! Unless you are enthusiastic about SEO and know about it, want to try your hand at it, sure.
But it eats up much time that you can otherwise invest in your cash-generating business activities.
There is always a wait and watch response period for SEO, which can be intimidating and requires extreme patience for an SEO Consultant, and it would bite them, as they are used to it.
What are the different kinds of SEO engagements?
SEO Engagements are generally of three types;
- Project Contracts
- Freelance Gigs.
Projects can be small and big. It can range from setting up analytics for a website to many complex analytics parameters, ensuring various links and UTM parameters for your marketing action plan.
Projects generally have a clear KPI that is revisited every quarter. These contracts can involve a team of people working on the project.
A retainer is termed for monthly renewals for websites and can continue for six months to three years.
Retainers are fixed fee, paid monthly for a set number of actionable and outcomes. Retainers mostly involve an SEO Expert or a team.
Large Projects sometimes get roadblocks, and the team working on these projects may have different viewpoints and can’t reach a consensus.
At times a need may arise to ascertain, what’s going wrong, or is the project in the right direction. Consultants are hired to clear the ambiguity and fill the strategy gap or change activities to bring the project back in the line of action.
Freelancers have a Gig for everything on earth. Doing this can work out cheaper and faster with hourly rates or a calculated amount based on the work assessment.
What are typical costs for SEO services?
The typical cost depends on the number of tools the SEO Experts use, Team size, Cost of infrastructure and living, and the amount of time involved. The cost will vary much between cities and Countries.
- You could get a freelancer for $50 to $750 per hour.
- You can sign up a small agency for a retainer from $300 to $3000 per month.
- You may get Consultants from $1000 to $5000 per hour.
- You can sign-up for a branded Agency for more than $5000 per month with many other charges. I know Experts who charge $3000 for a single Website Audit.
There’s nothing wrong talking about it or nothing messy about anyone. People always charge according to the nerd they breed together. So possibly saying that Quality and Customer Service improves with Cost can be a good Justification. And it could be the other way sometimes.
The freelancer possibly only charges for his time and effort at the lower level, while the Big Agencies possibly for the outcome.
Whatever it may be, the methods may differ, the strategy may differ, the amount of time taken to reach the destination may differ; it all matters that you reach your destination.
Phenomenal Wisdom: Unless you arrive, you cannot conclude on whether the cost was justified or not. The Goal is important, not the method. – Santosh Acharya
Things to be suspicious of while choosing the freelancer or agency:
At times, things can go wrong, and they will because SEO is not a guaranteed game.
Selecting an SEO Services Company
- If you can talk to someone like a friend, polite, and address issues that you face, what you expect, and both can have a common ground of understanding, it’s a good point to start working.
- The final destination is the Goal, and before you reach your Goal, there are milestones. Do talk about your goals but don’t forget to count the milestones.
- When two people are coming from different backgrounds, the kind of synergy can be different. If both parties don’t mind going the extra mile, then it looks like teamwork.
- While each side will always opine about the other, a little compassion goes a long way.
Things that demonstrate the effectiveness
If you happen to here the following, be cautioned;
- Someone guarantees outcome
- Someone says we will rank you to the 1st page of Google.
- Someone can’t explain your query.
- Someone tells you to buy expired domains.
- Someone tells you to buy backlinks in bulk.
- Someone tells you to Google Penalties are common.
All these and more are being promised by people who want quick money. They would charge you and nothing for you.
All websites are different, and SEO brings outcomes for websites differently.
- Outcomes are important. But how soon no one can say.
- Being on the 1st Page of Google is a breeze, but there isn’t enough space now with Google showing Shopping results on the 1st page.
- The ability to explain is competence. Acknowledge it.
- Expired Domain has an unknown history that can damage your digital outlook.
- Backlinks are important but focus on E-A-T (expertise, authority, and trust). Backlinks will come if you have these three.
- Google Penalizes all Grey areas of SEO. You may get penalized for something out of your notice and unknowing mistake. But it is not common to make such mistakes.
Feel Something Fishy With Your Ongoing Contract
Go ahead and check out this free tool from ahrefs. This gives you access to your site audit and backlinks checker. It also shows you any errors on your site and recommendations on what to do.
You will need to verify your ownership of the domain you want to connect and crawl. This can be done by connecting your Google Search Console to the Webmaster Tool to crawl all your Websites for a limited period of a month. At least you can check every aspect of your SEO ongoing and cross-check what your service provider claims.
You can see your Site On-Page SEO Score, Domain Rating, Referring Domains, Backlinks, Organic Traffic, Organic Keywords that your site is ranking, plus much more.
On the image, you can see my site rating as below;
- UR 7 – URL Rating (UR) shows the strength of a target page’s link profile on a 100 point scale.
- DR 2 – Domain Rating (DR) shows the strength of a target website’s backlink profile compared to the others in the ahrefs database on a 100 point scale.
- Backlinks – are incoming links to your webpages. It’s just like making a new friend and your friend having your contact details on his phone. So when you insert your new friends’ contact details, your phone updates their images to the contact when added. Backlinks work the same way.
- Referring Domains – are websites containing one or more backlinks to your site. So if your new friend mentions you or becomes fast friends, it’s like a referring domain. The amount of connections keeps increasing, showing some kind of reference to each other.
- Organic Keywords – keywords that your prospects searched for and your web page were shown as relevant content to the prospect.
- Organic Traffic – Traffic that your organic keywords fetch for you. In my case, I do not have much-ranking content, so my organic traffic is zero. The traffic I currently get is through social media.
On the left side panel on the Image, I can check for;
- Lost Backlinks – If you happen to lose any, and normally happens when your information is updated or changed or deleted on the page fetching a link to your website. It’s like your new friend is not so interested in you and delete your contact.
- Lost Referring Domains – You broke up with your fast friend, and you are no more friends now.
- Top pages 2.0 – Top pages on your website that are ranking for your website. 2.0 is a new version of Ahrefs recommendation.
- Organic Keywords 2.0 – Organic Keywords that are ranking your web pages.
- Competing Domains – Competing Domains based on the content on your website.
- Competing Pages – Pages that have the competing content for which the competing domains are listed.
- Content Gap – Content Gap gives you recommendations on your content or blog pages compared to the pages of competing domains and who is ranking for what.
- Top Content – The content on your website that is ranking and the page ranks.
I also searched for issues related to my website with the Ahrefs free Webmaster Tool. Hooray! I found none.
I keep checking for broken links or other errors that may arise from time to time on my websites, so I make corrections.
Phenomenal Wisdom: You can only know that which you measure. So if the errors are unknown, you can’t correct them. – Santosh Acharya
What are the Outcomes of SEO Services?
If you are serious about Online Promotion for your Business and know what that means for you, you must invest in Search Engine Optimization.
- Visibility – SEO brings Organic Traffic to Your Website. It’s much easier to convert than the PPC Paid Traffic. SEO Traffic is search intent-based. It means people are searching for it, and your website is shown to them in the SERP (Search Engine Result Pages).
- Customer Persona – SEO traffic comes from a category of audience based on your Customer Persona, for example. If I am selling SEO Services, I would certainly fetch the Audience Profiles looking for SEO Services. So, that makes my traffic relevant.
- Cost per Acquisition – SEO Reduces your Cost per Acquisition. Cost per Acquisition refers to the amount of money being spent to acquire one customer. Interested to know more about Cost per Acquisition Read here.
- Inbound Traffic – SEO brings in Inbound traffic. Imagine you open a new store on the nearby street and people walking to your store, and ask for specific items as if they had come to your store many times before. That’s Inbound Traffic. So there should be some opposite – called Outbound Traffic. Imagine you had opened your new store and nobody walk-in. And on Day 2, you decide to go out and promote your flyers to the pedestrians on the street. That’s Outbound Traffic.
- Zero Paid ADS – SEO can save you millions of paid ad dollars over your lifetime. Paid Ads are good to start your business, but you won’t be able to switch it off in the long term. SEO builds your business gradually, but SEO’s snowballing effect is (tremendous) than that of Paid Ads.
- Expertise – Your expertise on the product or service you cater to and the subject per se is your Credibility. Your knowledge, when exposed to the world, produces value for others. That’s Content, and the content of your knowledge builds your expertise with the help of SEO,
- Authority – SEO builds authority the most healthy way among your industry to rank your domain and rule the industry.
- Trust – SEO builds trust among your customers, and better trust can double or quadruple your profits for who you are.
- Attribution is the number of times your audience sees your brand. SEO increases customer attribution for your website by increasing your clicks and conversions with potential buyers.
- Referral Traffic – SEO means more friends for your website. It means people are talking about your company, and that brings referral traffic to your website.
- Offline Sales – Yes, SEO can boost Offline Sales. Walmart is a good example. I searched for a PS4 1-TB Slim Console a year back when my friend returned from the United States of America. Walmart gave me a precise location where I could handpick the console I was searching for. So if you have multiple offline stores, and your customer is looking for something, you could suggest stores where there are stocks available.
- Size Doesn’t matter in SEO – Whether you are a startup, small business, or a large corporation, size doesn’t matter. What matters is Expertise, Authority, and Trust. If you have these and are just starting, you can beat the rest of the peers and rank on the top.
- SEO Let’s you Scale – Let’s consider that you start with the small market size or a small city, scaling your expertise, authority, and trust to other locations fairly easy with SEO. You consider other markets, and you just scale with your rankings.
- Boosts Your Public Relations – Once your SEO boosts your website rankings, your PR activities will also increase. The News Runners are always on the lookout for growing industries and budding entrepreneurs.
- Compounding Effect – SEO has a compounding effect on your business. 1% a day for 365 days would mean 900%.
Negative Outcomes of SEO
Yes, there could be negative effects of SEO. It depends on the domain you are using. It depends on the following factors;
- Expired Domain – You bought an expired domain, and there is much bad history to the domain.
- Any PBN issues that could relate to previous Grey SEO done.
If these issues are not there, you need not worry. SEO doesn’t leave your website with issues, but SEO is to take care of the shortcomings.
What are the deliverables?
The deliverables differ by service providers, website categories, kind of service, asked for, and from country to country. However, the Internet is a common ground, and everyone stands on a common playground for internet-based services.
SEO Services is purely an online service, nothing to do offline, except the personal meeting anyone would consider sacred.
Project Contracts & Retainer
Project Contracts & Retainer are similar, but the obvious difference here is as follows;
- Projects are long term; Retainers are short term.
- Most Projects have a team; Retainers can be a freelancer.
- You may not dump the project as you may have to pay for the rest of the term on an early withdrawal. Retainers are mostly for six months to 12 months, and in some cases, retainers are available on a month to month basis. You can withdraw from a retainer easily if there is no cost for early withdrawal.
Phenomenal Wisdom: You should not outsource until you have a clear and precise strategy about what to do. When you start SEO for the first time, it can be overwhelming and you may not have a precise plan. But either way, unless you hang on for six months with any SEO Team, you cannot make sense of their work and outcomes. – Santosh Acharya
The Deliverables from a Project Contract can be as follows;
- Initial report/analysis – Often starts with an initial report, basic analysis, and study done for your website & a questionnaire.
- Website Quality Audit – Mostly a Paid Audit to retrieve details to SEO, the errors and issues, often in detail. This is the first point of sale for the Agency.
- Proposal – Post Website Audit, the detailed report often comprises a clear strategy and timelines on an excel sheet. Proposals include Agency Branding, Projects handled, Timelines, Execution plans, Possible Outcomes, Offer, Payment Timelines, Legal Formalities, Offer Acceptance, Point of Contact, and Contact details.
- Competitive landscape audit– brings much information about your competitors, their methods, strategy, efforts, what they have, doing what they do, and a brief of what you should be doing to outgrow your competition.
- Google Search Console audit – GSC is a pandora box, will give you so much about your domain and history and the pages, links, issues as the robots crawl your website. In a sense, everything positive and negative about your sitemap submitted to google, you get to know what’s happening.
- Keyword research – Keyword Research is the heart of SEO; the more done is always feels less. In fact, keywords drive your website rankings, organic traffic, and most of the time, determine what kind of customers your site is attracting.
- On-page Optimizations – A website keeps growing as your business grows, products add on, you got more to convey to your customers, more landing pages, and so on. Optimizing page elements: Headlines, Header Tags, Title tags, Meta Descriptions, Image Optimization, Alt Text, Image Caption, Image Description, etc., increases your page visibility, and relevance. Based on rankings and other competitive factors, these elements may need corrections ongoingly. The SEO Expert will make it a point to keep correcting your On-Page errors to keep your page relevant in searches.
- Broken Link Checking – Broken links are error codes that pop up on a page when they are not found or cannot be served. The most common being the 404 – Page Not Found, 400 – Bad Request, 500 – Bad hosts, 400 – Malformed URL, Invalid HTTP response code, Empty Request, 408 Server Timeout, etc. You can read about HTTP Server Responses on Mozilla’s Blog. Broken links happen for many reasons, so finding and fixing broken links seem easy, but if the fix is not right, you will end up having a huge puzzle to solve.
- Target pages – Everything that your whole website contains since creating the domain in the form of pages and URLs crawled by the Google Search Console & Screaming Frog SEO Spider (Often used by SEOs). All the target pages are fetched to a Google Sheet or Excel, and then every month few pages are scheduled to be checked and optimized.
- Website Optimization – Website is the place where your customer comes in, likes it, spends time to read through your offering, access contents that you are offering free to the customer, maybe a calculator, or specific infographics, or any data that can be useful for your customers on a day to day basis. All the SEO Factors matter when it comes to your web page ranking, customer experience, page flow, relevance, and engagement.
- Link building strategy – Like Social Friends, your website needs Link Building to increase referrals and authority. Before you start building links to your website, you will need a cool homepage, blog, and posts, to build some organic traffic and then start building the links.
- Link prospecting & outreach – A rich strategy if you have a blog and regularly add content to your blog. It’s a very intensive strategy that requires much research, reaching out to the websites, requesting links, and getting the link to your content. It takes a lot of time and patience for link prospecting.
- Guest Blogging – Building your brand is important, and one of the strategies is to do guest blogging. Since the digital population and Influencers are increasing rapidly, guest blogging is becoming expensive if you need it faster. Using outreach method is time-consuming and difficult when you have just started.
- Technical SEO audit – Google Search Console has much information to offer. A technical audit gathers all the issues and resolves the need to make your website technical audit complete and resolve issues.
- Keyword Gap Analysis – reveals the gap between your keywords vs. that of your competitors and influencers. It’s an opportunity to increase your keywords and ranking. It takes much research to find which keywords are opportunities and how those keywords can be included in your bokeh, and by what content.
- Content audit – Having a blog helps, but ranking your content is a task. Auditing your content will reveal how SEO Optimized is your content. It can reveal content optimization requirements and probably content rewriting to rank your content. If your website has many posts and is not updated frequently, you must get your content audit done.
- Schema audit and implementation – Google’s search engine understands your website through schema or structured data. The search engines need to understand your website better since it helps your website and pages come up in relevant searches.
- Content strategy – We believe in topic clusters that use a single “pillar page” as the main hub of content for a given topic. All of your content assets related to that topic link back to the pillar page, and the pillar content has linked out to each asset. Customizing your content in a structured manner will allow customer interaction and engagement better.
- Content topic ideation – contains a report on what content topics you must focus on, topic ideas, and cluster topics to work on. This helps your content rank better, as this report is based on content that ranks and brings organic traffic to your competitors.
- Content creation & management – Depending on your goals and your competition audit, we help you create an optimum content creation strategy and outgrow your competitors and better engagement.
- Monthly Reporting – Report on what has been done against the goals allow us to track how the results show up against what has been done.
- Google Analytics Audit – Reports on configuration and settings of Google Analytics & proposes key metrics to be tracked and data conversion to graphical representation on Data Studio.
- Content promotion helps promote your content on relevant social platforms that would suit your industry and goals, specific forums and Reddit groups, quora, Facebook, and Instagram.
- Influencer campaign strategy – For any business, the Founder, Managing Director, or CEO is an Influencer. The Influencer Campaign Strategy is about building an influencer’s brand image using videos, podcasts, social media promotions, etc.
- Influencer campaign prospecting & outreach – Very special about this report is that we find out influencers who can complement your business and collaborate with your marketing efforts to boost conversions.
- Social media ad strategy – whatever your goal is, social media ad strategy can strategize your social media strategy with videos, contents, pep talks, podcasts, and more.
- Content generation (video) – Video content is a popular and the most sought over the medium of content strategy. Video Content strategy can be creative with this special report that will help create content faster and better.
- YouTube strategy – If YouTube is the channel you want to use, it’s an opportunity to tap the potential of organic traffic from YouTube to your website or landing pages. This strategy report should give you too many insights like topics, video counts/ day or week, video length, promoting your channel, SEO, strategies to improve your videos, competition research, branding your channel, writing descriptions, video titles, and more.
- Email marketing strategy – This report is the most sought over for every business. If you aren’t using email marketing, you miss conversions on your audience who visited your website through your paid ads or social media. Email marketing is the best to nurture your audience, give them more information in bite sizes, and promote your products and services.
- Local SEO Audit – If you have a local address for your business or store or where your headquarter is, a local SEO audit will help you create trust among your audience, potential customers, and your business higher on Google Search.
- Citations audit, building, and cleanup – Part of Local SEO or Google My Business is called and referred. Citations are brief mentions about your organizations that can fetch you traffic to your GMB page and then to your website.
Consultants are often silent Warriors. They would ask for details from you rather than giving you details. So you can expect a ‘Questionnaire,’ not a plan.
Whether you consult for a Strategy or a peculiar problem, consultants would want to know everything from you. So the sequence would be similar to this;
- Questionnaire – Often derives the goal, and the past actions are taken, current and future activities planned.
- An Offer Letter or Proposal
- Paid Audit – To understand issues, conversions, past outcomes, ROI, etc.
- Post Audit Questionnaire – To have clarity.
- One or More Strategy Meet with you and your SEO Project Manager.
- Final Strategy Report
Consultants too charge for their time. Most of the Consultants are super costlier, and they only meet when they see clarity to deliver. Most conversations would be written. If you had asked for a Strategy, Consultants would deliver a ton of report..hmm… I mean at least a book full of pages.
The biggest advantage of hiring a freelancer is cost. Freelancer does it cheaply. They charge for their time. Working with freelancers can be a charm. They execute faster, and they know their stuff.
A freelance is a One Man Army. You can expect quality, but too much documentation is a task. So freelancers break down tasks into modules or ‘gigs.’ Gigs have been quite familiar to people who have been in this industry for a year or more. Gigs don’t promise the outcome for the obvious reasons;
- Gigs are based on time. So it’s about completing the task as per an industry-driven SOP. SOP’s may differ from freelancer to freelancer.
- The outcome is the execution of the gig.
- Based on execution, results are not the freelancer’s liability since the freelancer is only building a small task out of your SEO plan.
- So, you got to have a precise plan and strategy before hiring freelancers.
What are the Key Metrics to be checked in SEO?
The Key Metrics are those that affect the SERP. Broadly these are;
- Organic Traffic
- Page Authority
- Domain Authority
- Citation Flow
- Trust Flow
- FB Share
- Link Profile Strength
What tools are they using?
There are plenty of tools, and all tools have something similar and something different. While these tools can be alluring at times, sticking to tools that work for you can be a better idea to avoid distraction and overburn.
There are plenty of Tools available from freemium to paid, small business to enterprise versions. The category of these tools can be broadly mentioned below;
- Technical SEO Tools
- Keyword Research Tools
- Freemium Tools
- Website Support Tools
- Analytics Tools
- Website Audit tools
- SERP Checkers
- Page Speed Analytics
- Content Creation Tools
- Social Media Analytics Tools
- Link Building Tools
Read the in-depth article on SEO Tools here.
What is the ROI of SEO?
Return on Investment of SEO is a compounding rate of return. It depends on Content Quality, Relevance to Search, Authority expression by your audience, Ranking & Upvote, Popularity & Visibility of your Content. ‘Search Engine Result Pages’ or SERP is one single measure that tells you a snapshot of your Content. If your Content has everything I mentioned above, it will show up in the SERP. SERP means Google’s response to a user’s search query.
Creating Quality Content is one thing and making your Content Visible is another. It’s like a rope with two ends stretch together for your audience to see, tied to different locations on Social Media, Blogs, Guest Blogs, Videos, Channels to Promote, Podcasts, References, Social Shares, Downloads, Saves, etc. More the points of Visibility, Likes, and Shares, better the SERPS.
It could also translate to the following;
- Subscriptions to your programs, events, webinars, newsletters, etc
- Organic Traffic from your Keywords that rank
- Social traffic from the content you share
- Growing Traffic
- Bounce Rates
- Audience Engagement
- Registrations, Sales, and Campaign Conversions
- Reviews, Mentions about Your Brand
- Increased Community Engagement, if you have a Community.
How to know if we have the right SEO partner?
People generally don’t have badges for their potential on their foreheads. Certainly, comparing humans to humans can be confusing and won’t work. Behaviors, Experiences & Knowledge can be tested. Having said that, unless working with someone for a period (six months), you can’t make out whether the partnership works or not. Look for the following in your SEO Partner;
- Your Partner hears you out.
- Your partner is proactive and responsive.
- Your partner prefers to share checklists and google sheets for the plan to work and works the plan.
- Your partner values time and delivers on time.
- Your partner is straightforward and conveys your shortcomings.
- Your partner is not overburdened with too many clients. Generally, an SEO Expert works with not more than three clients at a time.
- Your Partner justifies the proposal and the charges.
- There could be times of disagreement on spend and efforts, but you can come to a common ground based on outcomes. Although all outcomes don’t boil down to sales, there are still outcomes for every effort invested in SEO.
How long does it take for SEO?
The Most Common Question Asked Repeatedly, and You will get a mixed opinion for this question. To understand how long SEO takes to show results, let’s first look at the myths of SEO.
Myths about SEO
There’s a wealth of information available online about SEO. Unfortunately, not all of that information is entirely accurate. So as you learn more about this important marketing tactic, there are a few common myths you should be aware of — so that you can stay away from any SEO “professionals” perpetuating them.
Myth 1: Keyword optimization is the most important part of SEO
The idea that keywords are the most important part of SEO isn’t an outright lie — but it’s certainly outdated.
Ever since the rollout of Hummingbird in 2013, Google has increasingly prioritized user intent over the exact keywords they use.
That means that today, you don’t need to focus as much on specific words and phrases.
To be clear, keywords are still an important part of SEO, and keyword research can help guide your strategy.
But as you incorporate them, make sure to do so naturally and write your content in a way that prioritizes addressing the intent behind them, repeatedly overusing the same phrase on your page.
Myth 2: Optimizing a site is quick and easy
If you come across anyone promising SEO results within a matter of weeks, run.
Many of us might wish that this were possible, but that’s simply not the case. It generally takes four to six months for an SEO strategy to start showing results.
So while the idea of fast and easy results might be tempting, don’t fall for it. Find an SEO professional that offers a clear outline of their strategy and a realistic timeline for results, and you’ll be more satisfied with the outcome.
Myth 3: You should focus on keywords with high search volume
Many site owners new to SEO make the mistake of focusing their efforts on keywords with extremely high search volume.
After all, wouldn’t it be awesome to rank on the first page for a keyword that gets searched tens of thousands of times per month?
But for most sites, that’s simply not a realistic goal.
Considering how difficult it is to rank for these keywords, focusing a strategy on them is unlikely to produce any significant rankings — or traffic — at all.
Instead, it’s much more effective to focus on longer, less competitive keywords.
And in case you think that these keywords aren’t worth your time, just consider that long-tail keywords account for 70% of searches.
Myth 4: You need much content to rank better
Brian Dean from Backlinko, for example, has only published around 30 posts in two years. Yet, he keeps all of his posts up to date by rewriting them and adding new information as he finds it.
Well, SEO takes some time. It can be 3 months, 6 months, or maybe more. It depends on how consistent you are with your content, your USP (Unique Selling Proposition) that differentiates you from your competition, your flair to influence your audience, collaborating with other influencers, and the value you give out to your audience. But nobody can be discrete on when and how soon your effort will yield results for you. One thing for sure, you aren’t going to the dead-end if you practice everything given here.
Are PPC Ads required even when we do SEO?
Most people ask me why we should do PPC ads when we are already started with SEO. My answer is YES! You have to do PPC Ads until you get enough organic traffic to need PPC Ads regularly.
- If you are at the start of your digital journey, PPC ads are easier to fetch traffic.
- If you are in a competitive product category, high-volume sales like cameras, watches, VPN, etc., you will need ongoing PPC ads since your competitors are already doing ads. It doesn’t mean you can rule out SEO since PPC ads don’t build your website’s reputation and trust.
- Even when you have enough Organic Traffic, you need PPC Ads for specific or new campaigns that you want to launch.
- PPC brings instant traffic to your landing page, whereas SEO brings a loyal audience to your website or landing page.
What skills are needed to do SEO?
Prime responsibilities of an SEO Expert include:
- Understanding Clients’ needs, analyzing the situation, and evaluating needs.
- Ability to identify keywords for the client’s business
- Preparing comprehensive strategy reports
- Running Optimized PPC campaigns
- Understanding various technologies for websites, blogs, and social media accounts.
- Extensive knowledge of Webmaster tools such as Google Analytics and Google Search Console
- Knowledge of Domains, DNS, and Google Ads
- Understanding various Web Technologies
- Strong Analytical skills
- Passionate about technology
- Updated about the latest SEO trends
- Updated about Google Algorithms and the implications on SEO
- Adept in identifying and fixing technical issues
- Knowledge of CSS & HTML necessary, understanding JS and PHP, SQL is an advantage
- Knowledge of various SEO Tools
- Strategizing – Having a flair for creating, changing, and executing strategies for SEO Growth. At times, things may not work as planned, so understanding, accepting mistakes, and changing the route is important.
- Prioritizing – The ability to streamline and prioritize steps and events based on what’s important now makes it relevant in execution.
- Competitor Research – The ability to research better is a sign of critical thinking and can save time.
- Knowledge of Marketing – Most SEO’s don’t have a Marketing Degree. Knowledge of Marketing can help not repeating other mistakes in your business.
- Analytic Skill – SEO should be good with data and should be able to analyze and interpret data.
- Keyword Research – Keyword research is almost 50% of SEO, and Planning the right keyword strategy is essential from the start. Keywords take some time to rank, and your content has to be keyword rich without stuffing. Right Keywords will help your content rank better and build authority for you.
- Writing Skills – SEO is driven by the quality of content, and content optimization is one of the key areas which affect the website’s relevance, authority, and trust.
- Customer Persona Mapping – Mapping the right Customer Persona is selecting your audience for your website. At the start of your business, you won’t have many details about your customers, but having a clear idea is better than none.
- Communication Skills – Communicating is a common skill and essential in interacting with clients.
- Flexible – No Strategy work forever. With changing algorithms and SEO has to follow the algorithm, not the strategy. Every change either comes with benefits or damages. Being flexible allows one to accept and act immediately to reduce damages.
What Topics Does SEO Covers
I will give you a quick grasp of SEO in short.
The first thing we hear about SEO is
- On-Page Optimization – Refers to Optimizing page elements on your website. Page elements consist of Headlines, Header Tags, Page Title, Title tags, Meta Descriptions, H1 Tag, H2, H3, H4, H5, H6 Tags on each webpage, Images, Anchors, Cross-Linking within the website pages referred to as “Link Juice”.
- Technical Optimization – Refers to crawling, indexing of your website without any issues. It takes care of all the elements and links that link to or from other websites to yours, and all the other element that affect SEO.
- SEO writing – refers to optimizing content relevance, seed keyword inclusion, keyword research, and grouping; ensuring that most keywords are covered in the content, without overstuffing keywords.
- Keyword Cannibalization – means a number of blog posts on your site rank for the same keywords or query on search engines.
- Image Optimization – Images form a large part of your webpage content in terms of size and optimizing images to deliver faster and on time is extremely important.
- Alt Text – alternate text for the image is a mention about what the image signifies, in the event, the image cannot load or is unavailable.
- Image Caption – a title or a brief explanation of the image.
- User Engagement – refers to users’ liking, commenting, engaging with your content, and webpages, sharing and spending time on your website, specifies that your website contents are of value to users.
- Keywords – are everywhere, in a blog post, landing page, or website page, and the descriptive content includes subtopic keywords. These keywords and clusters of keywords make your content relevant when the search keywords match your content. The use of the right seed keywords and keyword groups are based on research using various SEO Tools.
- Internal links – are linking webpages internally to guide the reader through the best possible user experience.
- Sitemaps – are the map of your web pages, and how each page is structured to the main page allows crawl robots to understand and index your pages on the search engine.
- Content – is a vital part of SEO because it’s the vehicle you used to reach and engage audiences. Content comes in various forms, including Web page content, Videos, Blogs, Infographics, Podcasts, Whitepapers and e-books, Social media posts, and Local Listings.
In short, SEO is significant as it makes your website more visible. That means more traffic and more opportunities to convert prospects into customers.
Effective SEO – It’s All About Search Topics, Subtopic Keywords & Pillar Pages
Changing search practices and ongoing changes to Google’s algorithm means it’s essential to focus your SEO strategy and tactics beyond just keywords.
Subtopics of SEO
SEO can be defined in many ways. So I would break down the subtopics that relate to SEO for better understanding:
- Quality of traffic. Refers to attracting the right kind of visitors to your website. If you are unsure about who is your target audience, you may refer to Customer Persona. If your site is not attracting visitors who are genuinely interested in the products that you offer, you are losing money.
- Quantity of traffic. Once you have the right people clicking through from those search engine results pages (SERPs), more traffic is better. The right kind of audience ensures better conversions.
- Organic results. Pay-per-click Ads make up a significant portion of many SERPs. But Organic traffic is any traffic that you don’t have to pay for. And for free traffic, your content must be relevant to the keywords the user is searching for.
- Search Engine Functionality. Knowing how the search engine works and what the rules of the game are. Google has been the leading search engine since the majority of the traffic coming from google search. Over the years, Google had focussed on user experience, and the relevance of content is the primary focus. As the new algorithm emerges, the search experience gets refined for the best user experience.
- Content Quality – refers to relevant and authoritative content, the things you always wanted to educate your customers, often talk about when it comes to selecting the right product and services.
- Expertise – Expertise comes when you have quality and relevant content and your Industry peers point to your website for the quality content you have, it often is called as backlinks and are milestones of growth.
- Authority – Authority is built through expertise and value creation for your audience on your website. More mentions about your content and expertise bring authority.
- Trust – Trust comes when you have authority and expertise. Creating Value with ethical practises, build trust in your audience. So they refer you to others and your followers grow with trust.
- Sitemaps – Sitemaps represent the hierarchical structure of your website pages, images, and other pieces of code, that are easier to read and understand by search engines, often presented in ‘XML’ format. Sitemaps is a guide for the search engines to understand how much of your website is crawled and what cannot be crawled.
- Schema – Schema, is independent of pages, each page on your website has a schema or needs a schema for search engines to understand what those page contents refer to subjects in the form of keywords. Search engines understand what your business stands for through these keywords.
- SSL – Secured Socket Layers are encryption between browsers and your website, and protect your traffic and website from DDOS Attacks.
- Page Speed – Page speed refers to how soon your webpages load, mainly your frontpage or homepage. If your homepage doesn’t load between 1-3s, you lose the audience.
- Mobile-Friendly – refers to the accessibility of your website on mobile browsers with speed and readability. Nearly 80% of searches are done through mobile phones, so it’s very important to have a mobile friendly website.
What topics should I focus on as a business owner or a Brand?
As a Brand Owner, you should focus on the following;
- The Cover Story of your Brand.
- The Theme and Content Headlines
- There should be rules written down on what you accept and what are non-acceptable. These rules set a tone for the ethics you believe in.
- Define what outcomes should look like.
- Set the Numbers for your promotional content as your Goal, set the right times, and keep track of the scoreboard.
- You need a Dashboard for your SEO outsourcing that translates to numbers in marketing terms. Content popularity & ranking, Follower count, Reviews, Upvotes, Reach, Conversions, Amount Spent, CPA (Cost per Acquisition), and real-time data.
- Your interaction with your audience is significant. Your Audience will tell you about the right kind of content that you need to create.
- Creating Products and Services, Webinars, Videos, and podcasts are sales points that you are responsible for conducting.
- Having an eye on Social Media interaction metrics, how your money is spent versus the sales, which channels are working better for you, and being consistent with your promotions are extremely important.
- Having a flair for learning SEO will definitely be better in the long term and allow you to understand how the search engine works.
- Following Influencers in your business area will let you have more ideas and better content for your audience.
- Networking, Reading, and Learning new skills will make you better at your game.
Growing Together with SEO
SEO can be a wonderful experience for your marketing automation efforts, growing your online business, building your community, selling your products online, and it pays for your marketing efforts.
Basically, all you need and can do using SEO and marketing automation is covered in this “Pillar Post.” SEO is exhaustive, a lot of human efforts, trying new things, and takes time. Every Business is different, and the strategies to move ahead certainly will be different.
Having a Big Hairy Audacious Goal & a Grand Vision of what to achieve can help you know that you are investing money and efforts to build a bigger dream of your future.