Don’t Close That Deal With A New SEO Provider Just Yet!
You’re looking for a new SEO provider. You are not entirely sure what SEO and Social Media are or how they work, but you know you need them. How do you decide who to choose as your SEO provider? Many people still feel there is a certain amount of snake oil and mysticism behind this inexact science, and for good reason. There are plenty of unscrupulous SEO providers offering SEO packages that are nothing more than a merge document with a predetermined list of keywords mixed with your primary metro and a list of your products. They then plug this cookie cutter document into your website and consider it optimized with no further work necessary. This “set and forget” method might give you the basics to get you started, but by no means is this a long term SEO strategy.
The merged document will assemble generic keyword phrases for your title tags, headlines and metadata like “Los Angeles Chevrolet Cruze Dealer,” for example. This is fine, but puts no thought into tailoring it for your specific business. Your business may share similarities with other businesses in your industry, but you didn’t go into business to be like the other guys, did you? Of course not! You have a unique mission statement, a principle or method of doing business that sets you apart from others in your field. Your SEO provider should highlight those differences in your SEO and set you apart from the rest, especially your competitors.
The trouble with a generic term like “Los Angeles Chevrolet Cruze Dealer” is that with mobile search on the rise, and people using mobile devices prone to using abbreviations, the odds are they are going to type “LA Chevy Dealer” before they type out the full city name and complete manufacturer. After all, who types “laughing at loud?” LOL! That lazy SEO provider’s template doesn’t compensate for variants and abbreviations like that.
Even though mobile search is becoming more and more prevalent, you can’t go the other way and ignore the fully spelled out term either. You need to be sure to rank for both. And if your city has a geographic nickname like “South Bay,” “Windy City,” or “Tri City,” and data shows there is relevant search traffic for those terms, you better be ranking for that as well. That so called web provider’s SEO bundle most likely isn’t addressing these variants either. That template also won’t accommodate geographic variants in vocabulary. It may be “Used Car Dealer” in many cities, but in your town it may be “Used Car Lot.” “Soda” in one city might be “Pop” in another and “Soda Pop” in a third. That template your provider is using is a decent starting point, but by no means is the SEO work for your site done. So here are a few things to look for when deciding who should be providing your SEO services.
Does Your SEO Provider Assign An SEO Analyst To Your Account?
SEO is an ever-evolving field. Google constantly updates the search algorithm. Your competitors are trying to rank for many of the same terms you are so you have to be ever vigilant make sure you don’t slip in rankings to them. What keywords are important change as what people input into search engines tends to change. Instantaneous results shorten what people type in. People speaking into their devices instead of typing create a whole different set of search strings. As abbreviations become more common, Google adjusts to accommodate them. Your SEO needs to be continually adapting to these changes. Ask your prospective SEO provider who is going to manage your SEO. They should assign an SEO analyst to your account to be truly effective—someone who is going to become familiar with your business, your metro, your competitors and how search is trending in your market. Your SEO analyst should be adjusting your SEO regularly to compensate for changes in the algorithm. There should be regular meetings to go over results and discuss opportunities for gains. These meetings will also give you a chance to provide any updates to your business that should be addressed in your SEO—new products, change in contact info, or an upcoming promotional campaign for example. Maintenance is the key to good SEO. Your SEO should never be “set and forget.”
Did Your SEO Provider Ask Who Your Compteitors Are?
If they didn’t, this is a sure sign of a fill in the blank strategy as opposed to a custom SEO installation tailored to your market and business. If your competitor is ranking for keywords with good search volume and strong Adwords competition, you better be targeting and winning those terms as well. Some of the most effective gains in search you can make, may not be rising to the number one search position, but rising in rank ahead of your competitors.
What’s Your SEO Provider’s Content Strategy?
Content alone is no longer enough. Social Media is an ever increasing component of SEO and should be part of any SEO package an SEO provider is offering. They go hand in hand. We’re not talking about a link to your Facebook, Twitter and YouTube accounts either. While those links are important, they are irrelevant without an engagement strategy. This means more than updating your status with what’s on sale, posting a picture of your new product, or sharing a cat video. Actually, believe it or not, that last one is probably the best thing you could do of the three. While it probably won’t help you, it certainly won’t hurt you as much as the first two can. The point of employing social media is to gain social status, and nothing turns off people quicker than spammy messages, which will degrade your status quicker than a Miley Cyrus performance. You need to provide sharable, authoritative content that has value for consumers. It needs to be sticky, it needs to provide value, it needs to be relevant, and it needs to be genuine—a selfless act to benefit those you engage, placed ahead of trying to better your bottom line. Your SEO provider should help you strategize and plan for content that meets these goals, incorporating keywords you are trying to win so you earn links and gain authority by having that content shared. Google takes user response into account as part of its results finding. If you make a positive impression with the public, it will go a long ways toward improving your rankings as users validate your authority and elevate your social status by sharing your content and hanging out on your pages to view it.
If You Want To Be Found, Find A Good SEO Provider.
Your business is unique and offers a service or product in a way that no one else does, so your SEO plan should do the same. Don’t settle for a cookie cutter template. Create a content strategy that is going to work with your business to engage your client base and community. And most importantly, review your strategy and make course adjustments regularly. Heading in the wrong direction may only get you more lost in the search results pages than if you had just stayed put in the first place. If the SEO provider you are considering can’t provide these things, keep looking.