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It is deceptively appealing to oversimplify Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Many believe it is fast, free and easy while some marketers take it to the other extreme making it out to some dark magic that only they understand. The reality is that good SEO  consists of practical efforts to help Google better understand your business and technical efforts to appeal to what Google prefers.   To help you better understand SEO, we have classified the different types of actions you can take into 4 important Pillars:

SEO Structure:

These are how you use the Title, Meta Description, Image Description Tags (ALT Tags), Headlines (H1, H2, etc.) and blog categorization that you use on your website.  As you write content on each page, each article (and if you have eCommerce) each product has several fields and valuable data points that inform Google what your content is all about.  The better you do at including keywords throughout your structure, the stronger the message you give Google about the main topic or idea of your specific page.  is not uncommon to visit a website where the word "Home" is in the title of the homepage. I have yet to see a site where the most important word you want to give to Google is 'Home". Please, as you build your site pay attention to the Title, Headlines and Image Description tags you use on each page.

SEO Content:

New content on your site gives Google a reason to come back to your site.  We recommend at least 2 new blog articles per month and these new articles should maintain the SEO structure that you are already implementing. The BEST performing blog articles are written by you - the voice of your company. They are authentic, not canned, and have a feel of authenticity. However it is not uncommon for Business owners to be too busy to write their own, so we offer a service to write them but only after an in depth  interview so that we can write them in the voice of the business owner. 

SEO Backlinks:

You want QUALITY Backlinks not Quantity. Quality backlinks are from websites of authority and trust like Wikipedia, New York Times, and Local News Outlets and trade organizations. These are links that only a business owner and highly networked professional create, not an SEO company. SEO companies at best provide lower value links (like business listings) and depending on the ethics of some marketing companies that attempt to impress by selling hundreds if not 1,000s of backlinks each month.  These are really just trash and create internet noise. If you get a 30 page SEO report from your SEO company, they are probably listing all the backlinks they created - these are most likely LOW quality.

SEO Technology:

This gets complicated and these include services that are a blend of things from your IT Guy and your website developer or Website Host. In addition to what you say on your website, Google takes into account key metrics such as Website speed, reading your Sitemap (submitted to Google Search Console), looking for Structured Data, mobile friendliness, and an HTTPS secure certificate.  Other SEO Technologies not directly related to the Google Search website is Voice Search - this is most relevant for the Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa and Apple Siri.

Common Questions about SEO: How many backlinks should an SEO Service provide?

It should not include ANY backlinks. The only good backlinks are the ones a PR company would do - you want to be mentioned in news articles, Wikipedia, other company websites that you partner with. You are the best person to create these backlinks since they are built with relationships.

How many blogs should I write per month?

At least 2 per month - but remember, the BEST performing blog articles are written by the company voice not purchased and not copied from somewhere else.  Note: AFTER a blog article is written, please have it optimized by an SEO expert. Not all blog writers are good at SEO.

What About Pictures?

Pictures are always good, they add to the personal and/or professional feel. Every blog articles should have a picture - PLEASE STAY AWAY FROM STOCK PHOTOS and make sure you have SEO appropriate Alt Tags on all pictures.

How often should I update my Social Media?

Google begins to nag you if your last post in Google My Business is over 2 weeks. But Social Media posting shouldn't be limited to just Google - consider Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.  The best network is the network where you get the best response.  Use hashtags and stay away from stock photos. Your posts should also  have variety:

  • Mentions of blog articles- Awards, Reviews, and Accolades - employee of the month, company award, best of, etc
  • Humor - As the expert, you should notice funny things in your industry
  • WOW - with your knowledge - teach people something
  • Stories - people love stories - tell it short or perhaps write a case study and then talk about it from different points of view
  • Products/Promotions/Services - it is OK to talk about what you do/sell. Just not all the time
  • Community Involvement
  • Current Events

How much does SEO Cost?

Hourly rates vary but expect to pay somewhere between $100/hr to $200 / hr. Monthly rates range  anywhere from $500 to $3000 per month - all depending on how aggressive your growth and SEO strategies are . Usually the one-time projects include: $1000 in onboarding fees and probably $2k-$3k in one-time SEO Structure work.

How do I measure SEO performance?

Your SEO company should monitor their progress - This is not activity (the volume of changes and improvements) but the metrics that matter:

  • Page Rank of keywords
  • Trends in Organic Traffic
  • Increase in Backlinks (the ones that matter - See #1)
  • AVG Time on Site (should go up)
  • Repeat Visitors (should go up)

How long does it take to see SEO take effect?

SEO moves SLOW. If you need converting traffic now do SEO in parallel to Digital/Pay Per Click Advertising (PPC). SEO improvements are measured in months, not weeks or days.

About the Author(s)

Josh Erdman Digital Marketing

Josh never leaves behind an opportunity to learn something new. He is a true ‘Jack of all trades’ and always on the lookout for new ways to merge technology with the customer experience. As CEO of a national Digital Marketing Agency, he is pursuing his passion – helping businesses connect to customers at the intersection where lifestyle and technology meet.

4 Pillars Of SEO