When someone calls me looking for SEO services, they typically think we’ll submit their website to search engines, build a handful of links, and after a few weeks they’ll be ranking on page 1 of results. Ten years ago, yes, this was the case, but today search engines are much more complex and aren’t just looking for a few links pointing at your website, they’re looking for a quality website and quality company.
Over the years, numerous updates have been rolled out by Google to make it more difficult for people to manipulate their search results. And today we’re at a point where while it is still possible to manipulate rankings, it’s much easier and safer to just practice quality SEO work which means building a quality website and a quality online brand. When I tell this to business owners, they immediately start seeing $$$ flying by and think I’m just trying to up-sell them on things they really don’t need. In all honesty this isn’t the case, but far too often these same people end up calling some other low quality SEO company that will gladly take them on at, say, $150 per month and leave their website and online reputation in much worse shape then before they started.
There’s six main things that Google looks at when they judge the quality of a website:A CMS System: Google doens't actually look for a content management system, but you really should have it as it will save a ton of time and money in the long run. A CMS system such as WordPress allows us to make SEO related changes and website changes extremely quickly vs. a static, old HTML website. Often times when I recommend to business owners that we should put their website into a CMS system they think I'm trying to sell them a website they don't need when in reality I'm actually trying to save them some money. In our experiences, the cost of a CMS system is recovered in about 4-6 months because it saves us so much time making SEO related changes and it will save us/you time in making website changes as well. An Updated Website: Your website needs to be updated with unique content. That means your pages, products, categories, and every element of your website should be updated and unique. You should also have a blog that is updated on a regular basis as search engines love fresh, new content on your website. It truly is important to do this, and when I tell this to website owners they often don't see the value in updating the site content or blogging but there truly is an enormous value to it. Social Media: Having a strong presence on sites like Twitter, Facebook, Youtube, and Google+ is important, but will likely become much more important over the next several years in terms of rankings. If I had to say there's one area you can skimp on, I would say social media. I often encourage business owners to let us setup their pages, but beyond that if they can't afford letting us manage the pages then I think this is one area to save and let the business owner manage the social media sites with regular updates/interactions with their followers. Links: Yes, links still are important and an enormous part of SEO, but not the old links you used to get for a dime a dozen. Links today need to be quality links from authority websites with unique content which quite frankly translates into a lot of man hours to acquire links. This aspect of SEO has become much more expensive over the years, but I can guarantee that quality links are much better than a large quality of junk links. On-Site SEO: There are still hundreds of elements on your website that effect SEO, and we need to make sure they are optimized. Additionally we have to often "un-do" work by lower quality SEO companies or even website owners such as keyword stuffing (repeatedly using your keywords on your pages), link exchanges (pages with lists of links or hidden links), and other website problems that are actually hurting your site's ranking. This is probably one of the most important parts of SEO and falls under the CMS -- if we have a good CMS, we can make these changes very quickly, but if we're going at it the old way and manipulating hundreds of HTML files it becomes a very long, expensive process. Proper Coding: Part of on-site SEO is your website's coding. If your website is older than 5 years old, it may be using outdated coding that doesn't work well in new browsers, doesn't work in mobile devices, and isn't search engine friendly. In this case, we will recommend getting into a new CMS system and again this isn't an up-sell, it's the honest truth about the situation. Websites need to be majorly updated usually every 3 years or so, so if your site is outdated it can be hurting your rankings.
At The Marketing Masters, we always are open and honest with our clients and we never will sell you something you don’t really need. We don’t believe in praying on small business owners and the lack of information out there about online marketing, and I can personally assure you that we’ll properly handle your online marketing campaign and only do things that are necessary while sparing you the expense of those “add on” services that really aren’t needed. When it comes to SEO, yes, it is getting more expensive, but you typically get what you pay for. Do it the right way and you’ll see a good ROI which is the ultimate goal of any SEO campaign, no matter what the initial cost.