Designing and building websites is our game, and we love it. We believe in our customers, what they do, and how they do it – our goal is to provide them with the platform that they need to be successful. Aside from their websites, a key component to their success is recognition, in the digital era that we live in ignoring Search Engine Optimization (SEO) could be detrimental to a business.
One of the most frequent questions that we get when a site goes live is “Why don’t I show up in Google searches?” The answer isn’t that easy, there are a lot of moving parts when it comes to SEO rankings and I’m here to tell you, it’s not something that can happen overnight. Optimizing your website, social media platforms and brand recognition are the key components to your success, each of which requires constant review and effort. Search engine optimization is a long-term investment, and if you start early your return will be fruitful.
Out with the Old, In with the New.
There was a time in the not-so-distant past where search engine indexing was driven by adding meta tags and descriptions to your website. You would choose a handful of keywords that best described your business and used the to drive traffic to your website. Don’t get me wrong, keywords are still very important to your website, however they are no longer the main driving force.
Gone are the days of individuals typing in one keyword into a search engine to find specific products or services. Consumers are now using search tools like Google Now and Siri to find what their looking for, which leads way to the concept of “Natural Language Search.”
“Natural language search allows users to speak or type into a device using their everyday language rather than keywords. Users can use full sentences in their native language as if they are speaking to another human, leaving the computer to transform the query into something it can understand.”
When building a plan for your search engine optimization, you’ll need to shift your focus from individual keywords to broader, ever changing, natural language searches.
How long does it take?
In a recent blog from Josh Steimle at Forbes.com a comprehensive bird’s eye view of what your SEO plan entails is showcased, and we couldn’t articulate it any better than this:
Research and discovery, website audit, keyword strategy, and planning. If research and discovery can be done quickly, then technical changes may start being made to the website within the first month. In other cases, a thorough research and discovery phase can last more than one month.
Begin technical SEO work, that is, making modification to the website based on site audit results. In some cases, the website needs to be overhauled, and this of itself can take months. Other SEO activities such as working on the link profile and building content can be done at the same time the overhaul is happening. If you find yourself in this overhaul situation, you’ll be doing “SEO” but you still won’t be seeing any results at all, since the changes being made will only start to have an impact once they’re finished.
Start focusing on content creation. Blogging, FAQs, whitepapers, articles, expanded product and company information, etc. Ideally you would have started on this right after the strategy and planning, but often budgets restrict what can be done at once, and so a technical overhaul needs to come first. This being the case, you might start seeing some improvements in rankings by the end of this month. If those rankings are translating into leads or sales then even better, but you wouldn’t necessarily expect them yet.
Continued content creation, technical optimization of the website, and development of a healthy link profile (which may include cleaning up low quality links). By this month you could expect to see a marked increase in rankings, traffic, and lead generation. It won’t be anywhere close to the improvements you should 12 months into your SEO efforts, but it should be significant enough that you know SEO is working.
By this month or perhaps earlier in the process you may have started incorporating social media management into your plan to amplify your content and increase direct traffic to your website. This can lead to a healthy, natural link profile, and of course generate leads in and of itself. You would continue with content creation and perhaps engage in some PR or media outreach. You should be seeing more and more traffic coming in from SEO at this point, and your leads should be growing as a result.
If your traffic has reached 5,000 visitors per month or more by this point, you could benefit from adding conversion rate optimization to your efforts to improve how the traffic you’re receiving converts into leads and/or sales. From this point on, your activities may be consistently focused on content creation and promoting that content, or you may be doing things that are more creative. The specific activities can vary greatly depending on what type of company you are and what kind of website you have.
It's a Long-Term Investment
As you’ll note from this plan provided by Josh Steimle, SEO practices are a long-term investment and when you have a plan in place and a team to support and guide you through the process, you’ll start to generate leads.
This is the success we want from you, feel free to reach out to us to help you get started and build out a plan to boost your SEO efforts.