The number #1 problem most businesses face is getting quality and interested leads to their business. This article explains how you should and shouldn’t approach leveraging the worlds biggest lead generation network: Google.
Written by Quin Barber – Head Campaign Strategist
This post is going to save you money and untangle your approach to SEO.
Ignoring Google is ignoring more than 80% of your potential business.
If you do one thing to make you smarter today:
The world of SEO and internet marketing can be chaotic.
It is fast paced and sales oriented.
Saturated markets and conflicting information mixed in with the fact that Google keeps its search algorithm hidden makes solving the rubix cube of search results “unpredictable” at best.
Trust me, I do this for a living.
There is almost never a single correct answer to one problem – just more efficient ones.
The scariest mistake is the one you don’t even know you are making.
Today I am going to help clear up some anxieties and make sense of SEO from a Non-SEO’ers perspective.
The clients I consult come from a variety of different verticals:
- National E-Commerce Brands
- Real Estate Agents
- Financial Advisers
- And many more
The one thing they all have in common:
People find them on Google.
I have noticed over time there are 3 common SEO mistakes you can make across all different industries which negatively effect your bottom line.
The three mistakes are:
1. Doing Nothing
It is a fact that 50% of new businesses fail within 5 years.
One thing I am quite confident about: None of those businesses had highly successful SEO campaigns.
92% of clicks from Google are on the first page of results.
Let’s say you offer Chiropractic services in Vancouver.
Open up Google and search “Chiropractor Vancouver”
You will recognize all of the businesses on the first page.
If you aren’t a Chiropractor:
Try this out with your industry.
Search “Service + City” – ex: “Roofer Surrey”
Unless you offer some sort of obscure service that nobody has heard of you can be certain that all the businesses on the front page are utilizing SEO.
Some of them may not be actively running campaigns (which is great for you, ill explain that later) but due to their long time presence on the web they simply have gathered enough links and clicks over time to rank higher in Google.
Realistically most of them are probably actively running SEO campaigns, especially for something like “Chiropractor Vancouver” which currently gets around ~4000 searches a month according to the tool Keywords Everywhere (highly recommend).
Do you need to run a campaign to rank?
Absolutely not. But there is a caveat to that. You absolutely must set up your on page SEO.
This is the way your website is structured and the way it appears to Google.
Here is an example of this:
Which one would you click?
it is a little flashy.
But people click it. And our competitors utilize similar tactics.
Bearing in mind that between 20%-25% of organic clicks turn into leads it doesn’t take a statistician to start to see why if you plan on having your business last longer than 5 years then it is absolutely imperative that you at least do the basics of on-page SEO to make sure that you aren’t sinking but rather floating in place.
The effect of not properly setting your website and online presence up with a Technical SEO analysis can literally mean sink or swim.
2. Doing it yourself without training
SEO is a broad term.
Its the crossroads between:
- Web Development
- Data Analysis
- Web Design
- Project Management
- And more recently: Machine Learning / AI
And probably a lot of other things but you get the picture…
If you are doing SEO yourself you must have a solid grasp on most of these disciplines.
There are infinite “gurus” on the internet trying to sell the quick way to understanding SEO as if it a sort of standalone practice.
This mistake can literally cost you your entire business if you’re not careful.
Google is doesn’t care about your website.
It cares about you, when you are a user. Not you, when you are a website owner.
Here is an example of a problem I have seen before:
A client read online that Google now prefers websites with a secure certificate (SSL/Https).
This is that little lock in the search bar beside the web address:
Simple enough, right?
The client added the certificate to their website which pushed his regular site: http:// to https:// but improperly executed the 301 redirect causing a 60% drop in monthly traffic which he only noticed after 5 months when wondering why his traffic slowed down.
In Google’s eyes he had 2 different websites.
And one of them no longer worked properly:
http://website.ca <– Majority of link juice, doesn’t load.
https://website.ca <– Little link juice, does load.
If that doesn’t make sense don’t worry, but please: Don’t break your website to save money.
There is no appeals process. You make a mistake you pay for it. And some mistakes I have seen can be pricey.
Google giveth and Google taketh.
3. Hiring the wrong team
Okay so you feel like delegating so you can focus your efforts elsewhere.
How do you pick the right people to manage your SEO?
This is one of the most underestimated parts of SEO and it can lead to some horror stories about wasted capital with nothing to show for.
The world of Search Engine Optimization is based on asymmetric information.
What do I mean by this?
I mean that it quickly becomes easy for you to not know what your hired SEO team is doing and in some painful cases, it can become quickly clear that they don’t either.
If you have your own website you undoubtedly have been contacted by poorly written emails providing no value to you simply asking you to pay a monthly fee with insane promises like “1 Month Page #1 Rank”
Another great resource about common mistakes can be found here: https://www.bluecorona.com/blog/how-to-choose-a-reliable-SEO-company/
You, like most, probably ignored that email. Good call.
There are 3 major checks for hiring the right team in my mind and if you can pass them you are most likely in good hands:
3 Point Hiring Checklist:
1. They are a real company
2. They have proof of success
3. They are willing to do a preliminary audit
All three of these seem fairly straight forward but you would be surprised how easy it is to miss these critical points when presented with an overwhelming amount of options and needing to make a quick decision.
I have taken on multiple clients that had been sinking thousands of dollars into a campaign with people they have never met or even spoke on the phone with.
Well, I only get the bad stories so I am a bit biased in this sense but generally speaking if the company doesn’t have a physical location you should be avoiding them. That is not to say that there aren’t highly successfully freelance consultants who will do a killer job for you.
If they are freelance, make sure they are willing to meet you in person. Or at the very least cover the second point in this list extremely well.
The summary of this point is:
Pushy sales calls from people in another country or even just an “online subscription” will certainly end up costing you more in lost time and usually money as well.
Results speak for themselves.
If the team you are hiring can’t provide any proof of work that is not a good sign.
When starting out I spent months learning how to rank the sites I developed myself to the front page for certain keywords.
And trust me when I say this:
I made a lot of mistakes. Don’t let someone practice on your business.
Even results can be a bit confusing when presenting in a seductive manner
Screenshots are easy to manipulate:
You should be able to see the results yourself through Google. End of story.
Some SEO teams hide their clients to the general public. I have always been in favor of this.
The reason is that unfortunately instead of focusing on growing their own business, particularly unsavory competitors can attempt what is called:
Negative SEO is exactly what is sounds like:
Make your site rank worse.
The algorithms Google has in place are not perfect. Manipulation of ranking can go both ways.
This happens often in highly competitive niches and the results can be quite devastating if done correctly.
Audits take a lot of time.
I personally do about 5-10 a week and they take a lot of effort and care.
My personal belief is that SEO is all about a business relationship between client and agency.
As a client, you will be trusting a group of people to grow your business and will have to wait 3-6 months (generally, sometimes it can be quicker) before seeing any major improvements in your ranking.
This is due in part to the delay of Google
They don’t want to rank spammy sites so it takes time to rank
It is not instant.
So I have found that the best way to alleviate client stress is to make a clean video audit explaining who their competitors are, how they are ranking above them on the first page, and how we plan to beat them.
I even go so far as to outline and explain every problem on their site currently as it relates to technical SEO.
Sure, some prospective clients take the video and audit file and run off with free advice. But the ones who go forward in the process have never been let down by me and our business relationship is always great.
An audit will take an expert one day to complete.
A campaign will take 3-6 months before you can comfortably expect results.
Who is really putting their trust in who?
That is exactly why we offer the free audit upfront with no strings attached.
Try and find a team who is willing to do work upfront with you without dangling a contract in your face before they outline exactly how they are planning to complete your work.
The one exception to this would be a highly sought after 7 figure consultant who maybe just doesn’t have the time.
Any local digital marketing agency who does SEO and can’t complete an upfront audit is a red flag.
1. Not doing anything:
Time is your greatest asset. With a small upfront investment in SEO you can reap the benefits of easy leads from Google for a long time.
2. Doing it yourself, without training:
Unless you have a background in computer science / web development it can quickly become a nightmare for you if you make one small mistake.
3. Hiring the wrong team:
Internet Marketing with the wrong team can be a devastating experience. Vet your team before you hire them. (Use our 3 part check list to do this).
I hope this article has clarified your approach to ranking your business on Google. It’s no secret that SEO can be one of the single best investments a company can make on itself that pays off 4-5x in the long run. If you are looking to get an example of what a professional audit looks like from an experienced SEO then feel free to click the button below and get an audit from the person who wrote this article: