You’re probably wondering how on earth a lack of understanding for SEO could possibly benefit you. I appreciate that it’s quite a bizarre proposition, though if you bare with me, all will become clear. First of all, if you don’t understand SEO, you should know that you are certainly not alone. In fact, whilst 78% of small business owners claim to understand SEO, their preferred methodology says otherwise. But before we get into common SEO mistakes, we’ll outline how a lack of understanding can be turned to your advantage.
What you can take away from this article
- How to get ahead of your competitors
- SEO essentials
- Finding the right digital marketing agency for you
- Common SEO mistakes
How is your lack of understanding an advantage?
Nobody understands SEO—not entirely. Even the most established digital marketing agencies are forever learning and improving their craft. The thing is, SEO is vastly different today from when it originated back in 1997. The practice largely revolves around Google and the goal posts are always on the move. This means that unless you work in the industry or make a point of staying up-to-date with current trends and news, then you don’t fully understand SEO. But neither do your competitors!
That’s why you should hire a digital marketing agency with a quality search engine optimisation service; because very few of your competitors are doing it! Many people that we speak to believe that SEO is a scam, and the rest claim they don’t have a budget for it. But of course, if they did fully understand SEO, they’d find the money—because those with an effective SEO strategy in place are sitting pretty at the top of Google, seeing a hefty return on their investment.
The point is, if you know little about SEO, assume that most of your competitors have a very similar understanding. That is how it can be turned to your advantage; by taking the initiative!
You’re not going to be the first to take action
Of course, you’re not going to be the only business owner to work on their SEO. Some of your competitors will have already been working with a digital marketing agency. If you want to know who they are, a simple Google search will reveal them are as they’ll be sat at the top of Google for the most popular search phrases in your industry.
Now, if you want to catch up and to get your piece of the pie, then you’ve got a lot of work to do. You won’t be able to knock them off the top spots overnight; it’s going to require patience, persistence, and a whole lot of strategy—which is where we come in!
We understand SEO so you don’t have to
At Feel Content, we like to educate our clients as best we can so that they can have a relative grasp of SEO. When strategising a campaign, we guide our clients through our methodology and explain why each aspect is important and what influence it will have.
That said, you don’t need to know the in’s and out’s of SEO to benefit from it. The whole purpose of hiring a digital marketing agency is for them to take care of the time-consuming technicalities so that you can focus on other important aspects of your business (such as preparing for an influx of new customers). In that respect, we’re not so dissimilar to an accountant or lawyer—but rather than come at you with fancy words and technical jargon, we’ll let our results do the talking instead.
How to get ahead of your competitors
OK, so if you want to get ahead of your competitors then it’s time to get serious about your digital marketing. You must do your research and ask the right questions.
- SEO for small business owners – do I need it?
- Am I ready to take my business to the next level?
- Does having a blog improve my SEO?
- Is my website optimised correctly?
- What is a DA rating and why should I care?
- What are the most commonly searched phrases in my industry?
- Which phrases are most relevant to my products / services?
- How strong is my social media game?
- Do I have the infrastructure in place to handle more business?
- Am I allocating my marketing budget as effectively as I could be?
These are just a few questions that you should ask yourself in this early ‘exploration’ stage. If you really do want to take your business to the next level, then digital marketing is an effective way to go about it. But are you prepared to make some changes? Are you ready to evolve?
Step 1: Understand SEO
Again, you don’t need to know everything, but you should try to understand the basics. Once you have that, you’ll be able to see the monetary value in pursuing it. Give this a read: Search Engine Optimisation: A Simple Explanation.
Step 2: Find the right digital marketing agency for you
There are hundreds of thousands of digital marketing agencies worldwide, so it’s fair to say that you won’t have much trouble finding one. It’s the finding one you feel comfortable with that’s the issue.
The fact is, it’s always going to feel like you’re taking a risk when working with somebody new. So, all you can do is your due diligence! Review their website, look at their testimonials, check out their social media feedback. Then reach out to them if you’re interested. Shortlist a few hot candidates and start building a rapport with them.
- Don’t be sucked in by “guarantees” -Any reputable agency will tell you that there are too many variables to guarantee specific results (it may take a long time to reach position one for a certain phrase, but that doesn’t mean you can’t dominate in other areas).
- Be weary of long, binding contracts – This is a bit of a double edged sword as you should allow at least 6 months to let the results take hold. Too many people make the mistake of jumping ship after 3 months because they expect an instant return. However, a quality digital marketing firm will secure your loyalty without a binding contract.
- Seek out flexible pricing – If you can’t afford to fork out thousands each month, it doesn’t mean that you can’t achieve great results. A decent SEO company will tailor a campaign to your budget, but understand that it will take longer to get to where you need to be. That said, it’s better to take baby steps as opposed to waiting to be in a better financial position. Working on your SEO will help you to steadily grow your business so that you can invest more as things begin to snowball (which they invariably will).
Step 3: Get in the race
As you explore SEO in greater depth, you’ll hear it being compared to a marathon. A) Because you’ve got to be in it to win it, and—B) Because it’s a loooooooong and tiresome process. The only real difference (because there’ll be plenty of blood, sweat, and tears) is that in SEO, there is no finish line. Hypothetically speaking, as you start to secure top tier rankings you’ll have ‘reached your destination’. However, if you then choose to stop investing in your SEO, those competitors of yours who are ‘still in the race,’ will sure enough overtake you. But don’t worry, the only actual running you’ll need to do is to the bank when you’re making fat stacks—Cha-ching!
Joking aside, SEO can indeed bring you a significant return on your investment—but it does take time! We cannot stress that enough! All you need to ask yourself is, ‘how many additional products / services do I need to sell to justify that initial investment? After that, the rest is pure profit.
To give you a clearer idea about the ‘monetary’ potential of SEO: Organic traffic gained through SEO can account for more than 40% of your companies’ revue (i.e., if your annual revenue was £300,000, then £120,000 of that will have come from organic traffic). Naturally, that percentage will vary depending on your industry and the products / services that you sell. However, for the most part that statistic is a realistic ball-park reference point.
Common SEO mistakes
Early on in this article I stated that: “whilst 78% of small business owners claim to understand SEO, their preferred methodology says otherwise.” I’m going to expand on that with further statistics and some of the most common mistakes in SEO.
63% of small business owners prioritise social media marketing
Understand that social media marketing is indeed a vital component of your digital marketing strategy. However, prioritising it over key SEO activities (e.g., onsite optimisation & local search), is not going to directly effect your rankings. Yes, it’s important—invaluable even—to have a strong social media presence; but SEO should be your main focus if your aim is to improve your standing on a Google SERP (search engine results page).
Being a full-service digital marketing agency, we like to take care of all aspects of our clients’ online strategy. Thus, we offer a social media management service. That said, if you’d like to focus your budget on SEO and handle your own social media, here are some handy social media marketing tips.
45% of small business owners prioritise their local SEO
When starting an SEO campaign, you should always start local, especially when you’re working with a limited budget. We cannot overstate the value of local SEO, engaging local audiences and earning prime search rankings in a Google 3-Pack. As you begin to dominate locally, you can then start expanding your campaign to the more competitive ‘global’ search phrases.
54% of small business owners depend on in-house staff for their SEO
As opposed to the 28% that outsource their requirements to dedicated digital marketing agencies.
If you handle your SEO in-house, are you getting the best value for your money? Is the person in charge of that aspect of your business well-versed in the art of SEO, and do they have access to strong and reliable resources when it comes to link-building? Consider how much in-house SEO costs on a monthly basis (taking into consideration wages/salary, holiday pay, sick days, and all other benefits). Outsourcing your SEO is almost certainly the most viable option.
12% believe that it’s OK to copy & paste content from other websites
Not to mention those with zero understanding of SEO at all! In any case, this is really not OK at all. Stealing other people’s content can seriously hinder your website’s performance, and in some cases it can reflect poorly on them as well. If you come across something that you really like, re-purpose it into an original piece and reference your inspiration.
Again, this could certainly work to your advantage. If you invest in quality content writing services, you can share only the finest and most authentic content with your audience—while others get penalised for forgery.
38% believe that keyword stuffing is good
This is a frightening statistic, as the importance of careful keyword placement is ‘SEO 101’. You must be careful with your keywords and let them flow through your content as naturally as possible. In fact, you must build your content around those keywords so that they end up precisely where they need to be. Again, this goes back to quality content writing which you will receive when working with a reputable digital marketing company. You can’t skimp on the very essence of an online marketing campaign!
29% of business owners believe that a website should start ranking on its own
This statistic is the source of much of my frustration. There’s nothing worse than building a beautiful website for someone, only for them to ignore you when you state the importance of SEO when attracting ‘ready to spend’ customers—then, when they’re not making any money because nobody can find them, it’s ‘our fault’.
Don’t fall into that narrow way of thinking. As of January 2019 there were 1,518,207,412 websites on the internet—over 1.5 billion! So, if you think that simply building a user-friendly website with a few fancy pictures is going to cut it, then you’re mistaken. You must demonstrate to Google why YOU deserve to be sat at the top, and that takes work.
Think of it this way: You want to lose weight, so you buy some fancy new sportswear and a premium gym membership; only you sit on your arse for 6 months then wonder why you’re still fat. That’s exactly the same as paying for a website but doing nothing in the way of marketing it.
Best practices: Understand SEO
If you’d like more information on best practices for SEO in 2019, follow the link. There’s an in-depth analysis from The Manifest that you might find particularly useful.
If you really want to understand SEO, never make assumptions. As you know, no two business are the same. Thus, every SEO campaign should be tailored accordingly to your unique business. So, find yourself a reputable agency that you can rely on, and then work with them to put together a strategy. And remember, very few people truly understand SEO, so use that to your advantage! Get in the race and become a clear leader in your industry.
We hope that this article was useful for you, and that it’s helped you to realise the true value and potential that SEO can bring to your business. If you have any questions, or you’d like to explore our services further, then please do not hesitate to contact us today!