seo frequently asked questions

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What Is The Difference Between Search Engine Marketing (SEM) & Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Search Engine Marketing is the umbrella for all the services that better align your website with the Search Engine algorithms, or the calculators the Search Engines use to determine keyword search hierarchy or rankings.

This includes website optimization but also Social Media posts, Blogging, optimized Press Releases, keyword tagged images and videos, Business Directory listings, Sponsored search campaigns and Reputation Management. Whereas, Search Engine Optimization is specific only to the SEO attributes of a website such as meta attributes, Blog posts and page copy.

How Long Before A SEO Program Generates Traffic

Results will vary depending on how competitive your market is, how well your competition has or is running their online marketing program and the amount of page content your site has. However, with all things being equal, a full-service Search Marketing campaign will begin to increase your keyword search rankings within 60-90 days.

We consistently see a group of phrases jump from a 7th page position to a 3rd or 2nd page ranking in that time frame with more popular terms taking longer. Remember, search optimization is cumulative, the longer the duration of the program, the more effective it will be in moving your core business phrases to top ranking positions and maintaining these positions against your competitors.

What Are Best Search Marketing Services

An effective Search Marketing program is constantly evolving to incorporate the latest updates that Google, Yahoo and Bing use in determining the keyword search ranking position of your business and your competitors. Your SEO services company should be optimizing your website with all the current basic attributes needed but expanding the program as new Search Engine algorithms are adopted.

Services should include:

  • SEO Website Analysis
  • Keyword Phrase Research
  • Competitor Review
  • Webpage Copy Optimization
  • SEO Attributes Added/Updated
  • Business Directory Updates
  • News (Blog) Articles
  • Social Media Management
  • Weekly SEO Reports
  • Optimized Press Releases
  • Pinterest/Instagram Posts
  • Site Traffic Analytics

What is Search Optimized Webpage Copy

The content on all pages of your website are Search Engine optimized by rewriting the copy to add ‘longtail’ keyword phrases your targeted audience are using in their search queries. Longtail means phrases of 3 words or more and that are written to be similar to how your products and services are searched for by End Users. The closer your webpage copy matches a search query, the higher your rankings will be.

There are other text attributes the Search Engines understand as a certain phrase or word is more important than other text on the page. A header phrase tagged as a h1 to h6, signifies a higher level of importance for the words in the header than the text contained in the paragraph below. Or adding a hyperlink (anchor link) to a keyword phrase also identifies the words as having more significance. Even bold text has a higher value in the Search Engine algorithms.

However, the challenge is to write engaging copy to retain the attention of the End User while incorporating the keyword phrases targeted in the SEO program. This is the talent of an experienced SEO Manager.

What is Meta Content

The Search Engines not only scan the forward-facing copy of your webpages when they ‘crawl’ your site every 10 days but also the meta attributes are viewed as well. These are contained in the coding of your pages and should include -

Title Tag: This is the introduction to the Search Engines of what each page is specifically about.

Meta Description: This description further expands on the Title Tag. This description is also what is presented in search results under the company header name.

Image Names: Each image should be named with a keyword phrase but that also describes the image.

Image Alt Text: Images have an added opportunity to include a 4-5 word description.

Header Tag: The header tag indicates to the Search Engines the phrasing is important and is starting a new section of informative text.

Anchor Links: Text on a page that has a link to another page within the site signifies to the Search Engines this is an important group of words about your products and services.

These, and other attributes, are what your SEO Manager will update as part of the SEO program. Of note, in a website redesign, it is important to have a seasoned SEO Content Editor review and edit all forward-facing page copy as well as the meta content. It is seldom a website development firm will have this skillset.

The Importance Of SEO Keyword Selection

The keyword selection process is core to the success of the SEO program. The keyword phrases, or search terms, you optimize the forward-facing copy of your webpages, the meta content and Blog (News) posts determines when your site will be presented to End Users when they perform a search. Choosing the ‘longtail’ search terms (3-5 word strings) that most closely match the search terms your target audience uses will generate higher rankings and prequalify who clicks through to your site.

If you use generic or vague one or two word phrases, you may generate an increase in site traffic but many of these visitors will ‘bounce’, not staying on the site or clicking to interior pages because the Search Engines will presenting your site in search results that are not really related to your products or services.

Your keyword optimization list should contain 40-60 keyword phrases that are assembled from researching your competitors’ websites, using Google’s Keyword tool and spending time really understanding how your targeted audience conducts their online searches.

A studied and quality list will prequalify the End User who clicks on your SERP. Example, if you optimize your site for ‘stainless steel’ but you actually service, repair and sell ‘stainless steel food refrigeration motors’, you will receive many erroneous click throughs from visitors searching for ‘stainless steel _________’ fill in the blank searches.

Do You Need To Post Blog (News) Articles

Content is the most important aspect of an effective SEO program. Meaning, if you have a 25 page website that is search optimized with keyword phrases but your next competitor has a 50 page site nicely optimized, most likely they will outrank you in keyword searches due to their site has more keyword ‘weight’ and ‘density’.

This is why having an active Blog (News) writing campaign is significant as each article posted, creates another search optimized page on your website. In our Search Marketing programs, each month, we write 2-4 keyword ‘heavy’ articles about topics being proprietary to your products and services. Each post adds a new webpage to our client’s website, including all meta content. So, at the end of a year, we have created up to 50 new pages to the site, which all will be crawled and indexed by the Search Engines.

Secondly, you want to add an ‘opt-in’ form field so all End Users can submit their email address to receive an alert each time a new Blog post is added. You can then build a newsletter list from these opt-ins to use in your email marketing campaigns.

Why Is Social Media Important

Google, Yahoo and Bing promote websites in search rankings that are active in their industries. Your Social Media venues should be routinely promoted (Twitter, Google My Business, Facebook, Yelp, LinkedIn) with new posts added each week or monthly.

The content needs to contain similar messaging and keyword phrases as found on your webpages. Each post should have ‘links’ (backlinks) referring viewers back to the appropriate content pages of your site. Also, every site, including Press Release syndications and Social Media pages that refer to your pages transmits a degree of link ‘authority’. Link authority can be considered as a kind of vote for quality of your page and the entire website. Generally, the more links you generate, the higher your website will rank.

And, now that the Search Engines are using reviews as part of the ranking level in search results, having active Social Medial venues will promote engagement form your followers and customers. Occasionally, Social Media posts are presented in search results as well, so you will generate ‘referred’ website traffic as well.

How To Publish Optimized Press Releases For SEO

In our SEO programs, we routinely write and publish optimized Press Releases that are submitted through Newswires having an extensive syndication network. Before writing the PR, your SEO Manager works with your team to determine the topic of the PR.

Once the subject of the Press Release is determined, an initial proof is written, typically five to six paragraphs in length. SEO Manager may include images or videos in the content as well. The draft is submitted to you for review and final approval. The copy will contain keyword phrases focused on in the SEO program but will maintain a balance between Search Engine optimization and engaging copy for End Users.

Once approved, the press release will be submitted to our online news partner and distributed to 100’s of syndications. Included in the Release are company contact details including the website URL, logo, phone number and address.

Press Releases are very effective in creating backlinks from websites where the Search Engines have accredited with having ‘authority’, generating further validation of your NAP (name, address, phone) details and generating site traffic from the embedded return links in the PR copy.

Why Are Backlinks Important & How To Create Them

Google, and other Search Engines, want to be sure the companies they promote in search results are 100% existing entities. Because there is much fraud online, the Search Engines use various algorithms to quantify if your website is of an actual company doing business. The main validators are –

  • - Business Directory accuracy
  • - Backlinks (your website URL) in copy found on other sites
  • - Reviews/Replies on Social Media sites

By adding links (URL’s) in any copy you post on other venues such as Newswire Press Releases, LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook, you continue to add to your backlink count. If the links are found by the Search Engines on what are deemed ‘qualified’ or reputable websites, then your website is granted higher ‘authority’ or validated as a business to be trusted as real, which equates to higher rankings.

And, as End Users share Blog posts or other articles on venues they visit, this will also generate more backlinks on sites that their contacts and friends are active on and sharing.

Importance Of Business Directories & NAP Details

The Search Engines look to many sources to crosscheck the NAP (name, address, phone) details of your business. Hundreds of ‘authority’ sites like Yelp, GMB, Manta, Yellow Pages, Chamber of Commerce and many others are indexed by Google and the business information is compared to the contact information presented on your website.

If the NAP information is inconsistent or missing, the Search Engines will be less inclined to return your website in a search query as compared to a business whose information is correct and verified. This will not only negatively affect typical Google, Yahoo or Bing searches but also voice search with Siri, Cortana and Alexa. And will impact if your company is displayed on GPS devices as well.

In our SEO programs, we update all authority Business Directory listings websites, so your NAP details are consistent in each listing.

Improve Local Search Rankings - Over 75% of people who use local search visit a business whose services were queried within 2 days. Your address needs to be 100% accurate to appear in the right location on the different online maps.

Generate More Business Inquiries - Directories allow users to search for services and filter by location, category and reviews. If your listing is current, it will be searchable in the directories most end users access.

Strengthen Your Business Reputation - Consumers search for information about the businesses they intend to purchase from. Having your company appear in a multitude of listings increases your opportunity of being selected and contacted.

Increased Brand Awareness - Every encounter a person has with your business increases their awareness with your brand. Being active in directories and Social Media can provide a significant advantage ahead of your competition.

Increase Your SEO Visibility - The Search Engines need to be trusted by its users, so Google, Yahoo and Bing will only provide top search rankings for those businesses they can 100% confirm are ‘real’. The more accurate and consistent your online information, the more the Search Engines will promote your business ahead of your competition.

Tracking The Success Of Your SEO Program

There are many metrics used to measure how successful a Search Marketing program is. Prior to the launch of a SEO campaign, baseline studies should be completed for future comparison of increases in keyword search rankings, organic search traffic and backlinks created.

During the first 60 days to 6 months of the program is when the highest percentage of rankings increases will be generated, then the numbers will slow to an ongoing month by month improvement. A successful campaign, once a keyword phrase has been moved to the 1st page of Google, then the continued SEO efforts will maintain this ranking position against competitors.

In our SEO programs, we deliver a weekly report of all activity experienced compared to a previous timeline or the from the start of the SEO services. The information is also available 24/7 in a SEO Performance dashboard. The metrics tracked include –

  • Keyword Phrase Search Rankings
  • Website Traffic
    • - Direct
    • - Referred
    • - Organic
  • Competitor Site Performance
  • Full Website Error Audit
  • Social Media Activity
    • - Facebook
    • - LinkedIn
    • - Twitter
    • - Google My Business
  • Backlinks Created

The SEO Manager for the program will typically schedule a call to discuss the performance of the campaign to date and provide an overview of the action items planned for that week and month.

Why You Need A Search Marketing Company & SEO Manager

An effective Search Marketing program is comprised of many ongoing efforts including all site copy updated, SEO page attributes added, blog posts, managing Social Media venues (posts & reviews), Press Releases, Business Directory listings and then continually monitor the various analytics to understand what action items need changed or added to SEO mix.

For most small to medium sized business, they do not have the internal resources, or someone trained in Search Engine Optimization ‘best practices’. Retaining the services of an acknowledged Search Marketing firm who can demonstrate real world successful SEO programs and client sites as references will deliver a SEO program that generates an ongoing R.O.I. with the increase of keyword rankings, website traffic, emails and phone inquiries.

With our Search Marketing campaigns, a tenured SEO Manager is assigned to your team and works directly with you month after month to achieve the best results in the shortest amount of time possible. A weekly recap of all SEO services completed is provided and then reviewed to understand what efforts are performing well and where any adjustments may be needed.

How To Qualify Your Website Traffic – Higher Conversion Rates

For a SEO program to be successful, a chain of events needs to occur –

  1. Significantly increase your keyword search rankings
  2. Generate more ‘click throughs’ (organic traffic) to your site as a result of higher-level search rankings
  3. The site visitors ‘convert’ meaning they complete the contact form on your site or call

All 3 events need to happen for your Search Marketing program to deliver a ROI (Return on Investment). Number 3 is the most important as of course this activity equates to new revenue. However, this requires that the increased site visitors have through based on your website copy being optimized with specific, long tail keyword phrases (3-5 words in length), that prequalify the end user.

Many SEO companies will add vague or generic keywords to your site content and these phrases may increase your search rankings and site traffic, but your conversions will be low, and the Bounce Rate will increase. An example would be a company that manufactures ‘industrial stainless steel electric food processing motors’. This is a great long tail keyword phrase. But, what if the site is optimized for keyword phrases like ‘stainless steel’ or ‘electric motors’ or ‘industrial manufacturer’, Google rankings may increase for these search terms but they are far to generic and the end user will most likely bounce from the site as the products or services they are looking for are not represented.

A much better approach is to optimize the page copy and meta data with keyword phrases that are very specific to the products and services the company offers. The site traffic may be less than when using generic search terms, but the conversions will be much higher as the website is being presented in search queries that are 100% aligned with the site copy and the end users interests.

Measuring The Business Leads Generated By Your Website

Redesigning your website to be more Search Engine friendly or launching a SEO program are significant steps to generating new business opportunities and increasing your online visibility. However, how do you know the amount of activity is being generated by these new marketing efforts. What percentage of the daily phone calls and emails you receive are generated from your website, Social Media posts or Business Directories.

After spending the time and money to update your site, manage your Social Media accounts and maintaining an ongoing Search Marketing campaign, you should know what the results are, not just to continue grouping all sales activity together.

  1. Website Traffic. With a redesign and the Search Engine optimization of your website, your site traffic should increase by 30% or more within the first 90 days of the SEO program. Knowing the traffic counts of your site before the redesign or SEO campaign was launched is helpful to understanding how effective this work has been. An example would be if your site averages 2,000 visits per month and this equates to 10 phones calls and 20 contact form inquiries, then with 600 new visits (30% more), you should have a corresponding increase in new leads. Using Google analytics, you can view the percentage of increase in site traffic as compared to previous time frames. This helps you calculate the R.O.I of your online marketing spend divided by the new business generated.
  2. Website Conversions. Beyond the increase in website traffic, it is important to track and count the number of conversions being generated, meaning calls and emails from your site separating the leads from any other marketing you are doing and normal business calls. A couple of recommendations:

- Click-to-Call services. This is a low-cost way to track calls to your company that are from your website only so at the end of the week or month, you know that 25% of your business calls were generated from website visits. The same can be applied to your Social Media pages.

- Website Contact forms. These email inquiries should be counted separately from other emails received asking about your products and services. Again, tracking these as unique to inbound marketing leads, allows you to determine how well your online marketing plan is performing.

The bottom line, if your monthly SEO program spend is $700.00 per month and your site is generating 30 new business inquiries, and your close ratio is 40%, you can do the math. Without tracking the activity your website is generating, you may be overlooking how important your site is to the overall growth of your company.

Is Your Website Search Engine Optimized – Free Analysis!

The Search Marketing Resource team will review your website and deliver a report that provides both a graded review on how well your site has been Search Engine optimized for the keywords or phrases you are targeting but also direct action items that if followed will help to increase our keyword search rankings.

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