Is SEO worth the money?
This is a question many business owners ask themselves when they are deciding what to do with their website. Is SEO worth the money? If you want to make more money, then it’s worth the investment. This blog post will go over what SEO entails and how it can help boost your conversion rate on your website. There are a couple of tips along the journey to get you started now.
What does SEO mean?
Let’s say you’re on vacation in Paris and you have a craving for coffee. You pull out your phone and type into a search engine “coffee places near me.” When those results come up on the web, Google ranks those based on several factors. If you were like any other user, you will probably select one of the first three results.
If we are going to optimize your business for search engines, it means you will show at the top of the search results.
Search engine optimization has nothing to do with paid ads called PPC (pay per click). Paid ads can be a strategy that gets you to the top, but you are trying to get to the top for free. So using our coffee shop example, if you thought I wouldn’t go to the web browser but you said “I would go to Google maps,” you are right. Maps are part of the strategy as well, but we will focus this article on search engine optimization and since the entire world runs on Google, we are only focusing on Google. In case you were wondering, according to Hubspot, Google has 70% and Bing (Microsoft) has about 30%, meaning we really are talking about 2 companies in the US.
Being #1 is Being #1
Remember the Yellow Pages
Some of you may have never seen the yellow pages and others of you know well the good all days of the Yellow Pages are over. The salesman would come by and tell you how exceptional your business would be if you paid a fortune to put your ad in the Yellow Pages. I think the most I ever paid was $250 a month, which is small compared to many paid which could be thousands per month.
The salesman always said…the biggest ad gets the most views. Add color or add red lettering or even a picture if you were going to spend even more money and business with a flood in and pay for your ad. Certainly, it probably worked for some businesses. However, my suspicion is the yellow pages company came out ahead on the deal.
What if the salesman said, “I will give you a full-page ad in the Yellow Pages for free?” That is exactly what being ranked number one in search is all about. The search engine optimization salesman may not be coming to your door but if you’re not showing up at the top of Google (or Bing for that matter), you are missing out on a lot of potential business.
The number 1 search result gets 32.8% of the ad clicks (MOZ). Meaning you get 4.5 x more traffic from the search results than #2! Again remember we’re talking about search not paid ads so being at the top for free means you’re getting free traffic.
Tip: Find out if you are number 1
Interestingly, you cannot simply open up a browser window and check your ranking. Because you, like most others, are signed into Google and Google will show you results based on your past searches.
Go to an incognito window (under the file menu of most browsers)
Do your search from there
Where do you rank?
It may even be best to do it off of your home Wi-Fi. This indicates your search ranking. Keep in mind your physical geography will be used to serve search results.
What it means to be #1 in search – credibility
Consider for a moment what it means to be at the top. If you ask a friend for a recommendation and they give you one, you assume the recommendation is credible. Basically, you’re asking your friend Google about the best coffee shop in Paris and your friend Google is giving you their best answer first. So regardless of what level of service you provide, being first makes you seem more credible no matter what the reality is. Your competitor might have an edge on you, but you seem better if you are in first place in search.
Being First – Does everyone get a trophy?
Of course, everyone does not get to be at the top of the search engine. This is where looking at the market you are in will let you set your expectations. If you want to be the number one coffee shop in a small town in the Midwest it is easier than being the first plumber listed in New York City. You can certainly get there, but the time and effort it takes may be more.
But you can be number one for something. In the first illustration, I asked for “coffee shops near me.” This was my search term. What if I wasn’t first in this example but if you searched for “best coffee in Paris” and now you come up #1? You actually rank for specific search terms.
Let’s have a discussion on numbers.
Stay with us. This can get detailed, but knowing numbers is about knowing your business.
Getting to the top is about knowing your numbers
Let’s talk business numbers first
Set search aside for a moment. The better you know your business numbers, the better off you’ll be.
What is your average ticket?
What is your lead conversion percentage?
What is your cost per lead?
How much is a page view of your website worth?
Don’t panic if you don’t know these numbers, but over time you will need to get numbers that matter to your business down. When we’re trying to determine whether SEO is worth the money, we have to figure out how to measure it and if we just look for clicks to our website, then measurement can be very difficult.
Here is an example of knowing your numbers.
A landscape business knows they receive 1000 visits to their website a month from Google search. Ten percent ask for information or call and 1% convert to a client (10 clients per month). If they can increase their visits by 30%, then they will gain 3 new clients – they could get these customers just by being #1 in search. If they know each client results in $3000 in net revenue in the first year, then they know this results in $9000 each month of increased sales.
Numbers add up fast.
If you don’t know all your numbers, it is OK. The best time to plant a tree was 35 years ago and the second-best time is today. Start small and figure out more and more numbers so you can be on your way to business success.
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I have a resource on how to get google reviews from ONLY your best customers. I used to sell this but I offer it now for free here. One person said I was paying a company $500 a month to do this for me.
PS He owes me a LOT of coffees 😁
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Where does your business come from?
You can’t say word of mouth.
Ask every single business owner how the vast majority will say “word of mouth.” The only way this can be accurate is if we ask every client “how did you hear about us” and they say “I heard about you from…” and name a specific person. We like to imagine everybody is out there talking about us, but in reality, life is so busy and chaotic, very few people are probably talking about us.
Word of mouth is valuable, but it is my opinion word of mouth needs to be guided. You could, in some industries, ask people when you complete a sale…” who else do you know who might need my services.” Contractors often help things along but putting signs in yards and the neighbors ask each other about their renovation and this leads to more business. But this was not just “word of mouth.” The referral needed a push.
If you are not asking where people are hearing about you, you are missing out on super important information. Some advertising is highly trackable, such as a coupon placed somewhere. You know how many are responding based on the number of coupons. But other marketing is harder to track such as billboards, radio spots, etc.
But if you haven’t asked – start with your first customer today.
Dig a little when you can by asking…
…what made you pick us over others?
…what about the ad/website got your attention?
…what questions did you still have when you called?
Would you benefit from SEO – being ranked #1?
Who benefits the most? If your business relies on waiting for a lead to come from a website or from direct online sales, obviously SEO is a cornerstone of your business. Businesses like this often have a strategy in place to stay at the top. This would include a mixture of search engine optimization as well as paid ads. If you are reading this, you might likely benefit from getting leads from a website, but it is probably not the entire focus of your marketing. When you search for a product on Google and the first search result is Amazon – Amazon is not thankful to be first – they are intentional.
Who gets little benefit from SEO?
The cornerstone of our business here at marketing caffeine is working on search engine optimization. So it seems odd to talk about those who would not benefit. However, some simply do not need it. Some businesses have a process of cold calling or are a lot of handshakings or elbow bumping. For example, if you made components to be used in an advanced tactical fighter jet, getting government contracts probably does not involve a lot of search engine optimization.
There is also a possibility that no one is searching for the product online. Not common, but it is possible. This differs from searching for the wrong thing. When people don’t know what to search for or enter search terms that are not correct for the business, you take that into account. Photographers often fancy themselves as portrait artists. But no one is searching for that when people want someone to take their family picture, they search for “family pictures” or a “family photographer near me.” So you might have to rank for the wrong thing to get the right client.
What if you aren’t selling parts to fighter jets and you are not an e-commerce business?
You were probably like most small businesses. People find out about your work in a variety of ways. One of those ways is that they search online and that search starts a curiosity about your company and as they look at your website and perhaps contact you by calling you or filling out a contact form – you will benefit from being high in search. The higher you are ranked in search engines, the more people will click and look at your website. The better you get at collecting those visits and turning them into leads, the better off you are.
Consider even this article you are reading here. I offered my “How to get reviews from only your best clients” video for your email. And at the end, you can fill out a “Learn more” form and get a complimentary SEO evaluation on your website – something we usually charge $197 for. These are called lead magnets. Your business might benefit from something like this.
Website Design Tip
“Don’t make me think.” A book you don’t have to read past the title. The goal of your website should be to not make visitors think about what to do next. How do they get in contact with you? What is the first step to getting started? How much are your services?
You need to have a strategy for your business that makes sense for your business and then execute on this plan.
Is SEO worth the money?
For most businesses, it is a definite yes.
What do we do?
We do what you need. Some will need some guidance to be a success others are so busy they let us take care of all the details and report back on progress. SEO is complex, but working with us is not.
If you would like the complimentary SEO Checkup, just enter your information and we will send it to you in a couple of days (it takes some time and some work.). This isn’t a push-button report.