SEO is at least half of your digital pie, some say more.
Building your web presence is like building a house. A house is just a house. How are you going to make your house really attractive to others? You need curb appeal, or what we might call content in the SEO world.
Some potted plants on your front stoop just aren’t enough.
As I’ve mentioned before, I had a colleague once tell me, “Oh, I don’t need SEO. I’m counting on organic listings.” I told him that SEO is about organic listings. Without a little SEO grease, your web site may or may not appear well in the search engine listings. (FYI, search engine marketing or SEM means buying traffic through paid search listings, or ads.)
I’m not sure my friend followed. And I understand why. Search engine optimization is much more complex today than it was 10 years ago or so, in its infancy. Then, SEO was all about key words. There weren’t paid listings per se. In fact, few really understood how to “score well” in search engine rankings.
How important is SEO today?
Today, keywords are still important. However, some search engines (and I’m referring to the 400-pound gorilla in the room, Google) are able to understand key words contextually and have been since July 2014 (Hummingbird update, for those in the know).
What this means is that, if you’re a florist, you may also score well for “buying flowers takoma park, md” even though you didn’t use “buying flowers” as a keyword. Google just knows.
Also important today are these strategies:
- internal links (to other information on your web site)
- external links (to credible sources)
- links to your web site (from credible sources; we call these citations)
- Google local search (putting your web site on the map, quite literally)
Whether you’re a large or a small business, SEO is essential.
Does that mean that you can’t do well on your own, without any attention to SEO? Absolutely not. I have one client who has done very well — but he’s in a specialty industry selling to people who “must have” his products. In other words, his is a personal products industry.
If you’re a small business, you’re wondering how much SEO will cost. If you’re trying to rank well in a small city or town, it may take hundreds to a few thousand dollars a year for you to feel your money’s well spent.
If you’re a large business (i.e., with a large web site), or if you want to reach a regional or national audience, you can easily expect to pay an outside firm $10,000 to $20,000 and up per year, depending on the strategies you already have in place and which ones you need to implement or improve.
The good news about SEO
A web site, no matter how high the integrity of the person who built it, is nothing without traffic. Today’s SEO is concerned with whether your traffic is qualified and converts to sales.
With today’s metrics, you can measure ROI in a way not possible five years ago. These tools and their reporting can only improve.
If you have questions, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. 410.404.5559.
And now a little bedtime reading: