At the onset of this article, I would like to mention that this is from a business owner’s perspective, not a digital marketer’s. And yes, it is brutally honest!
When we started our company, we started off as a technology company providing services to an eCommerce company in North America. Slowly as we grew our offerings, Dhawal insisted that we add SEO as one of our services. For the uninitiated, SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization, a digital marketing vertical that aims to rank your websites on the top of organic search results for relevant keywords.
SEO targets intent-based customers – most people search for a service, a product, or an offering on the internet for something they are looking for and check a service provider/product’s presence online before initiating contact for business. This makes it extremely important to get SEO right.
So, my thought was that we will just get someone good with content and make them write good things about our company on our website and across different channels on the internet. It seemed like a labor-intensive, manual job.
As we began these initiatives for ourselves and for our clients, I realized how wrong I was in making such assumptions.
Let me explain why by illustrating what is important for a successful SEO effort.
1. It is not just a manual and labor-intensive job
You need a strategy. Just dumping money and time is not going to cut it. I still see so many companies hiring people from the developing part of the world and think that churning out content with keywords is the best way to reach the top of the search result pages.
It might give you some advantage initially, but what will happen when the competition also uses the same method? There is hardly going to be any differentiating factor in such a case and your rankings will become volatile having a negative impact on your business.
2. There is a lot of research required for good SEO
Yes, just like a proposal is created for a technology project, a well-researched report is prepared for pitching, as well as monthly/weekly updates.
You need to understand the business, keep a set of keywords, analyze them, create projections, look at competitors, check technology capabilities, and so much more. A lot of these tools are now very specialized and you need to know what you are doing.
Here are the keyword research tips for SEO that you can follow.
3. SEO is specialized
We currently provide SEO to pharma companies, law firms, theatres, mobility companies, personal trainers, massage studios, marketing agencies, and software development companies. You need to understand your industry well, and in the above-mentioned cases, you need to become a subject matter expert.
These industries have very specific requirements and their individual compliance issues and challenges. Any random content creator cannot churn out material as per their requirements, nor can any outsourced team or freelancer in Vietnam or the Philippines can do a nuanced job.
Check out one of our SEO Case Studies for a global pharma company here.
4. You need to be personally involved in your website’s SEO
When I say you, I mean the brand owner. You need to be involved in the strategy as well as execution. If you get your SEO wrong, it is going to be a struggle to recover from that. Here I coin the term “SEO Debt”, i.e., the cost of getting your SEO wrong (essentially how much money will you have to spend to neutralize any effects of poor SEO, forget the first-page ranking for a long time).
Unlike Technical debt which can be calculated with at least some accuracy, your SEO debt calculation is complicated. Hence, you need to take care of your ship before it loses track and ends up going in the wrong direction.
5. SEO is not a sprint, it’s a marathon
Do not expect to see results in a few weeks. You will need 3-6 months to start seeing tangible results of your efforts. These months are very crucial for you as you would be stressed as
- you are spending money
- you are not seeing results
- you may or may not know where your ship is heading
The initial monthly reports may look useless to you as you are not getting the desired result, but it will be the most critical document that you would have to understand what is going on.
It will be better to set up some rough expectations with the team that you are working with, like setting up certain tangible interim benchmarks that work as lighthouses on the open seas.
6. Use technology to your advantage
On-page SEO is not only your syntax/meta tags etc. Your website structure and the symbiotic relationship between your On-Page SEO and Off-Page SEO can multiply your efforts manifold. As an example, check out the website of Zapier or Clutch. If you search for the Best of anything (say CRM), you will end up on their website.
7. Be honest
You put in your best efforts, get a great team, make creative content, optimize your website architecture to spread vertically and horizontally, and in 6 months you are getting right up there. But here, you need to be careful that you are providing what you are promising.
If you are overpromising and underdelivering, then this victory will be short-lived as SEO and reputation management take considerable effort to maintain.
As a rule of thumb, your SEO efforts are supposed to be balanced as you go along, if you are having to invest a lot after reaching the top results, then you are doing something wrong.
8. Be holistic
$X per keyword? Off late, we have reworked our strategy and have tried to take a more holistic approach. As this space is ever-evolving and we find new things every day (including keywords that we could not actually have imagined before), we cannot be rigid with respect to keywords.
Here. a better way is to align with the goal of the client. If it is lead generation, then that should be the way to measure success, not the success of each keyword. Also, certain keywords perform better than others for reasons known and unknown. And remember, you rank for many more keywords than the ones you just focus on.
Here’s a list of the most important SEO Metrics and KPIs you should be monitoring for your campaign.
9. SEO is ever-evolving
Google, Bing, and DuckDuckGo keep tweaking their search algorithms. Voice search has slowly started being a part of everyday life (SEO’d voice search is still in the works). Your clients are getting more competitive and new community-based platforms are replacing generic platforms.
10. Quality is more important than quantity
Like most things in life, quality is more important than quantity. And quality comes at a higher price as it involves more effort. A single backlink on a site with a domain authority of 60+ is more beneficial than 5 backlinks on websites with low domain authority.
Now, after 10 years in this space, I have found respect for this space and think of this as a combination of data, content, science, technology, art, and imagination, and clearly, it is not a trivial task. If you want to maintain that edge online, you need to have a very clear SEO roadmap in place.
Dignitas Digital is an award-winning SEO company headquartered in Philadelphia, offering services to clients across the world.
Want to outrank your competition? Get in touch with Dignitas Digital to see how we can help your business!