Last updated on 1 August, 2020
Does your business have a website? No? In 2020, that means you’re already losing potential clients.
Don’t worry, you can easily catch up.
The simple answer is through SEO and finding a good SEO partner.
The long answer is in this blog and the easy-to-navigate guide below.
Must-know Statistics About The Industry - Click to Check Them Out
Living in the 21st century and the digital era we do business in, you already know a thing or two about online marketing. The online marketplace never stops growing and is, therefore, an ever-expanding pool of new client opportunities. Opportunities your business should take advantage of.
What do these opportunities look like?
Glad you asked.
For starters, the right SEO partnership will get you up here.
You will be the first thing people interested in your service will see. All these thousands of searches seem more valuable now, don’t they?
After reading this guide, you will know the answers to questions like:
- What is SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and why do I need it?
- How SEO works?
- Can I DIY my SEO?
- Why do I need a professional SEO partner?
- How much time and money will I be saving if I hire a digital marketing company instead?
- Do I have to be on board with my SEO campaign or leave it all to the partner?
- Can I cancel the partnership once I have the results I want? Will it be a good decision?
- How can I contribute to my SEO success?
SEO in a Nutshell
Before we talk about SEO, we must talk about websites. You can’t appear in SERPs (search engine page results (result pages)) if you don’t have a website or a profile in a business directory in the first place. Bear in mind, having a website is much better for your business than only being listed in a directory somewhere!
Once you have a website, optimization comes into play.
Short for Search Engine Optimization, SEO is the practice of increasing the number of people and, therefore, potential clients that visit your website. SEO is a process that is all about exposing your business to as many leads as possible by showing up at the top of organic (non-paid) search engine results.
Search engines are answer machines.
You type in your question, and it is through optimization that you get relevant answers. Therefore, your website should be more than pictures of your finished projects. It should contain valuable and unique content, too. Content that search bots will crawl (“read and evaluate”) and rank in search results based on its relevance and the information it provides to the end user.
If you have a landscaping business in San Ysidro, CA, for example, you should be the relevant answer to people looking for your service in the area.
Speaking of area, this brings us to:
Say we take the example business from above. It is easy to see you will only be interested in getting clients you can serve, a.k.a., ones in your service area. What is the point of people all the way over in Denver, CO being able to find you?
This is why you need to optimize your business primarily for searches made by local people. This happens through online business listings where you literally list your business on the local map together with your basic information — your NAP (Business Name, Address, Phone number), website, hours of operation, etc.
SERPs are displayed in local packs and look like this.
One Last Thing
The queries (words typed in the Google search box) people make to find your business are called keywords. You can’t just optimize your website for all keywords clients are using to find you. You should pick the most beneficial ones given their search volume and your specific services.
The Pitfalls of DIY SEO (Why DIY SEO Can Fail)
Now that you know what SEO is, you are probably wondering if you can do it yourself. That is a perfectly credible question. So…
Can You DIY It?
For starters, SEO is not what it used to be. Back in the day, you would type in a question and get a list of blue links.
Today, we have a much more crowded first page.
Before you see any organic results (which is the part you can actually DIY), you have paid ads at the top, followed by SERP features or local packs. Local packs used to show the top 6 results, but they are now reduced to just 3. Talk about increased competition!
The good news is, with time and skills, you can DIY your organic SEO. To do that, you have to work on your website, make it user-friendly, choose the right keywords, keep track of their performance, create only relevant and unique content that you update frequently, and so on.
Do you think you can DIY it?
That’s great, but what about the pitfalls?
- Time-consuming — If you are running a business that is all-hands-on-deck, having to split yourself between managing everything and your SEO, the 24 hours of the day might suddenly seem too little to you.
- Skill-demanding — Although it’s not a labor-intensive task, SEO still requires sufficient technical knowledge. You need to know all about web design, web hosting, content marketing, data analysis, programming languages, and more.
- Wasted Efforts — You may have mastered multitasking and have the necessary skill set, but if you choose the wrong keywords to optimize your site, all of this effort can go to waste. You risk attracting the wrong clients or misleading them into thinking you provide a particular service when you don’t.
- The Wrong Plan — When you first started your business, you had a clear goal. With your goal, came your business strategy. Same thing with SEO! To make it efficient, you need to have a short-, mid-, and long-term plan which you can easily mess up without an SEO partner by your side.
- Less Time for What Really Matters — If you decide to invest a big portion of your time and resources in learning the intricacies of SEO and digital marketing, in general, you will have less time to spend with your family and loved ones, let alone time to enjoy your hobbies and develop other talents.
Let’s say you are tempted to try and learn the intricacies of the digital marketing trade, incorporating SEO. We decided to put that perspective into real-life metrics of time and money. Here are some of the efficient courses you will need to pass to acquire the skills and knowledge our team has.
The Blueprint SEO Training Program:
Each module is available for individual purchase with prices ranging from $0 to $499 (1-time cost). The FULL Blueprint is available for $2,999/yearly access (or $399/month).
Digital Marketing Nanodegree by Udacity:
$1077 for 3 months or $399 per month for the duration of the course.
Digital Marketing Institute — Digital Marketing Training:
€1700 price of the course.
Duration: Part-Time (30 Lecture Hours).
What Does That Mean?
For a course that is worth your money, on average, you will have to pay around $1925, and it will take months of your time to learn, practice, and hopefully master the vitally important skills of managing your digital marketing strategy.
However, there are no guarantees you will succeed at learning.
To get to the level of our professionals, you need to pass such a course. Of course, there are more affordable options, but they guarantee no results and are usually a waste of resources even if it costs you just $30. That is a waste of $30 with no ROI. It’s like those cheap yet “magical” weight loss pills that we all know don’t work.
Then, there is also the aspect of experience. Sure, you can pass a course, but there is a specific kind of learning that comes with years of practice, trial and error, and acquiring best practices. It will take you a long time to get to that point, while our team is already at that level.
With us and our pricing options that a small business can afford, you get to tap into a pool of talent (and experience) for less cost, effort, and time. Those are resources you can invest in other more important things for you.
You need professional help managing the optimization process.
No One Knows Your Business Better Than You (Even SEO Agencies)
Rome was not built in a day, and neither was your business.
To you, having a steady flow of customers that either refer you after a service or continue to seek your assistance on an ongoing basis or both is a top priority. Success is measured in the number of calls you get, your sales, and your bottom line. There’s no second opinion on that.
You were there to pick up the phone for your first client; you stayed up late strategizing your next business decision; you were there way before your employees.
No one knows the nitty-gritties of your business like you do.
And that insight is vitally important in drafting a winning SEO strategy for you.
Increase Your Leads?
1+1=3 a.k.a. The Benefits of Having an SEO Partner
Timeless vs. Timely
The best thing about SEO is that, unlike you, it doesn’t have business hours. It is up 24/7. This means your efforts and those of your local SEO agency will be paying off even when you’re sleeping.
Brand Building & Awareness
It’s true, not every business aims to create a brand people obsess over and essentially be like Nike.
But one thing is for sure — you want to make your business recognizable. Recognition means more calls. The best way to get them is by making your business more visible both off- and online. Local SEO ensures the latter.
When your site is properly optimized, the more people search for your service, the more your company name shows up first, the more it sets in their minds. That way, next time, they will not be searching for “landscaping services in San Ysidro, CA” but for “your company name, CA.”
Builds Brand Credibility
Everyone trusts Google. That’s a proven fact. If you come up after a search query and your business is at the top, people will believe and respect you.
If you are never online, that will never happen.
Sustainable & Measurable Success
Numbers, numbers, numbers.
The best thing about SEO is that you don’t just throw in time and energy only to hope things turn out well in the end. You have real-time, trackable data to work with.
This covers the number of people that come to your website both through your organic placement and your paid ads, as well as how high up you appear when people search for the keywords you are optimized for, and so on.
SEO Is Mobile — People Anywhere Can Find You
The Internet is no longer a place we can only access through desktop computers. Gone are the days we needed phone books to find service providers. Everyone has a smartphone these days, 257.3 million Americans and counting, to be exact.
Do you really want to miss out on an opportunity like that?
Tap Into a Pool of New Clients
Millennials practically live online.
No matter if you are a landscaper or a lawyer, there is an entire demographic that will only look for your services by doing an online search. Milennials, Gen-X, Gen-Y, and other youngsters all need their lawns mowed and affairs in order, but if they can’t find you, they will go to your competitors.
This brings us to the next benefit —
Keep Up with Your Competition
Regardless of your industry, chances are, your competitors are already doing SEO in one way or another.
Do you want to fall behind?
Even if you ignore the fact your competition is already “stealing away” your potential clients, you can’t overlook the fact that if your customers are online, you should also be online.
What is more, imagine if you are the first local landscaper to have an optimized website. You could be the only shark in a sea full of fish, a.k.a., clients searching for landscapers online. You could be the first to ‘steal’ all these clients.
Gain Customer Insights
Advertising efforts allow you to get to know your clients better. Through the way they search for information, you know what are they looking for, what language they are using, how frequently they need your service, at what times of the day or night, and so on.
This is important not only in cutting the distance between you and your target clients but also in how you can best sell your service.
Influence Buying Cycles
The buying cycle is the process your clients go through from the moment they want your service to the time they pay for it. If you think that doesn’t pertain to you, think again.
Imagine the following scenario —
It’s springtime, and you dread having to mow the lawn one more time. You go to Google and start searching for professional landscapers in your area. You will probably call the first one you see (which, with proper optimization, can be you). Easy as that.
Now, imagine you actually love mowing the lawn, but other commitments don’t leave you much free time to do it. You are not as eager to find a landscaper in this case. What will prompt you to call one, however, would be a good-looking website with content that excites you.
This is how you can influence buyer cycles:
- Invest in SEO.
- Have a website that is enticing and backed by quality content.
Waste No Internal Resources
An SEO partnership spares you the trouble of burdening your staff that may or may not have the technical skills to handle your SEO, and it allows them to focus on where their expertise actually lies.
Let’s face it, why search for an in-house SEO expert, wasting time and resources to find that person, only to have questionable results in the end? And what if that person suddenly decides to quit?
It is easy to see this is not a sustainable solution nor a cost-efficient one. With an SEO agency by your side, you do not have to gamble on a single person and hope they manage all the work. Your partner agency has experts in each field of SEO — link building, web design, content marketing, R&D, PPC (Pay-Per-Click) advertising, and more.
SEO Is the Center, Not the Periphery
Many people who are new to SEO think it is just an addition to what they are already doing to advertise their business. Given how many new calls SEO can bring you and how central it is for your overall advertising, you can’t view it as something you have “on the side.”
Do you see your most regular customers as a side benefit or your main source of income?
Same thing with SEO.
That’s Not Everything
If you are running an eCommerce business or are thinking of starting one, getting an SEO partner will not be enough. You need help strategizing and developing your business concept, otherwise you might end up losing time and money on a non-profitable online store. There are specialized eCommerce development companies that deal specifically with helping such businesses succeed.
Can I Cancel the Partnership Once I Get the Results I Want?
Yes you can.
The more important question, however, is should you.
Optimization is an ongoing process, and the way search engines rank you, a.k.a., the search algorithm changes constantly. Unless you are dedicated to investing as much time and resources as your SEO agency would, the general rule is not to cancel the partnership.
What is the worst that can happen?
You will lose your steady flow of clients. It is up to you to decide whether that is something worth risking.
If you want to get more calls, you need to get online because that’s where your clients are.
Of course, you can try and DIY your web design and basic optimization, but unless you are a pro, you need an SEO partner to take care of the daily upkeep of your optimization strategy.
To maximize the outcome, you need to actively participate in this partnership. After all, no one knows your business better than you.
In 2020 and beyond, Google will continue to evaluate the online reputation of a business based on the E-A-T method. It stands for Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness of a particular company. That extends to the people that this business is associated with, their expertise, authority, and credibility. Partnering with a reputable SEO agency will be a great start to boost your E-A-T and get ahead of your competitors faster.