Any knowledgeable SEO expert will tell you that having search engine optimization performed on your site is like building a new home.
Does this sound stupid?
Read on – it’ll make sense.
Here’s a few ways that SEO and building a home are alike:
- One size does not fit all
- They’re budget driven
- Both require a solid foundation
- Both need a good set of plans
- Neither should be handled by a novice
- Buying cheap often leads to problems
Think about building a new home. The same home isn’t right for every home buyer. Different people need different things, # of bedrooms, garage, square footage, etc. And their budgets are different.
SEO is the same way. One size does not fit all.
A True SEO Expert Always Start With a Good Plan.
No contractor would build a new home without an architectural drawing and set of plans, so why skip this critical step with your website?
No SEO that knows what he or she is doing would work on a website without analyzing the site completely to gain a full understanding all aspects of the project. This is an area that can go very wrong with an inexperienced SEO. If the SEO team that you're considering hiring tells you this is not important, it's probably because they cannot do a full audit of your site that addresses everything from page level to domain level, server to backlinks, and everything between, and you should run away.
Audits like this are not easy, but a legitimate SEO will need this information before he optimizes. The audit should be covered in the SEO expert’s fees and should take 20 to 40 hours to perform correctly.
SEO Audits Save Big Money in the Long Run
An SEO that doesn’t do a deep audit will absolutely be cheaper to hire. But, without an in-depth site audit an SEO is blindly optimizing and will likely cause havoc to your site and its rankings. I can't tell you how many times a contractor comes to us after a cheap SEO has really hurt him and we fix his problems. In nearly every case it would've been cheaper to hire us first.
Now, on to budget. This is another place where SEO is like building a house. Let’s be honest, nearly everyone dreams of that million dollar home with 6,000 square feet of living space, a pool, game room, gourmet kitchen and maybe a wine cellar. But not everyone can come up with that million dollar price tag. This is where many of us learn compromise.
Builders aren’t going to build you a million dollar home if your budget is $300,000. SEO is very much like this.
True SEO experts make a good living and have a team of specialists on staff that work on every project together. That team cannot afford to do top level work for a small fee. BUT the results you get for investing a few dollars more are incredible!
Remember all an SEO has to sell is his time and expertise. If an SEO is good – he’s busy and can’t afford to take a low fee project. If an SEO is bad, he’ll not be busy and take low fee opportunities but probably doesn’t have the skill to deliver even minimal results.
SEO is Budget Driven.
Start with what you can afford and, if you have a smaller budget, add on later. When you bought your first home you probably didn’t buy a mansion, did you?
Go with quality over quantity. It’s far better to have less done very well by a true SEO expert than have a ton done by someone that really isn’t very good. This would be like hiring the unlicensed, uninsured builder that subs out all of the work to whoever he can find to build your home because he was the cheapest bid. When the project goes very wrong you can look back at the bad decision to hire the wrong person.
Your Best Salesperson
Your website should drive significant revenue for your business. In some ways, it should be your best salesperson. The future of your business relies on the leads that your site generates. This is not the place to go low bid.
Forbes magazine published an article about SEO pricing that can be read here: https://www.forbes.com/sites/joshsteimle/2013/09/12/what-does-seo-cost-infographic/#42ab4d527102
They tell you very directly that cheap SEO is where most of the snake oil is sold.
It’s unfortunate, but there are far too many people calling themselves SEO experts that are entry level or worse… incapable. So, check out anyone claiming to be an expert before hiring him or her. If someone is charging you less than $500 per month, you might want to take a second look at that Forbes Magazine article.
The Foundation of SEO
Now that you have had an audit performed and know what you need, you need to build a very solid foundation or the whole thing comes crashing down. The technical structure of the site is the foundation. If the foundation is wrong, no matter what you do next, it’s on shaky ground.
We’ve all heard that content is king and that content will get you ranked well.
Content is very important, but it cannot overcome bad code or technical structure (unless you have hundreds and hundreds of extremely well written pages). Going back to the house analogy, a coat of paint doesn’t fix rotting wood, no matter how pretty the color is.
Many contractors want to hang on to their site because it’s attractive or because they spent some money having it built. The question to ask yourself is, “Are you willing to hang on to a badly performing site because it’s attractive?” Would you keep a truck that broke down every time you drove it and kept you from getting to job sites? You'd buy a new truck in this case wouldn't you? Most people say they would rather have a site that generates a ton of new leads than hold onto one that isn’t working over a few dollars. Remember that a coat of paint may hide rotting wood, but it’ll never fix it – look past the paint on your site if you want to succeed online.
Google’s Recommendation about Hiring SEO Experts
Google recommends hiring an SEO expert when you’re considering a site redesign or are planning to launch a new site – you can read that article here: https://support.google.com/webmasters/answer/35291?hl=en
A big mistake that many contractors make is that they have a site built and then have it optimized. Unfortunately, most of the time this is an extra cost, as a site built by someone that is not an SEO will most often need to be rebuilt to meet the proper search engine optimization standards.
Any legitimate search engine optimization specialist will tell you to fix the foundation before you start to build your search engine marketing strategy. WordPress can be a good way to start. It’s a very good CMS, or content management system, with a good SEO plugin available called Yoast. It’s easy to use and should you part ways with your SEO company, the site can be worked on by nearly any other SEO.
Content Plays a Part
Content is a great tool for anyone creating an optimized website. Develop your content around what the site visitors need, not what serves your purpose, and you will do much better. Great SEO is about a good user experience and a good search engine robot experience. Both the visitors and the search engines have to be happy with what they see on your site or they leave without you getting what you want. We all want rankings, traffic and conversions from our websites.
A conversion is defined as the site visitor doing what we want them to do. Maybe you want them to fill out a form to become a lead or call you on the phone. Whatever your conversion is, you want more of them, and the right user experience makes that happen.
Today’s SEO Must Do More
In today’s world an SEO specialist does more than get your site found well online and bring you traffic. Search engine optimization professionals need to understand marketing and how to convert visitors to leads so that you can get more jobs and make more profit.
A true expert in SEO will build a marketing funnel into your site so that the visitors are funneled from the cold traffic stage to the evaluation stage and onto the conversion stage seamlessly. They will be retargeted or remarketed to if they leave you site without becoming a lead. This can increase your conversion rate greatly, and that means more jobs and revenue for the business.
Of course any decent SEO will do the proper internal linking, back linking, directories, social media, etc. But as competitive as the Internet has become, SEO’s have had to learn more and do more for their clients. Some of the very best have become certified in digital marketing so that they can help you reach your goals online.
When it comes time for any contractor to choose an SEO expert, make sure they show you many rankings for other contractors that they work with, how they improve conversions for them, and get the phone numbers of those clients so you can verify the story. Don’t hire the cheapest guy you can find and expect stellar results. We all want a deal, but price is the absolute worst way to pick an SEO expert.