We’ve heard it before – “we can get SEO cheaper.” And it’s correct. SEO services can be found for a smaller price tag, but do you know what you’re getting for that price?
We know we’re not the cheapest, but we also know what we’re worth. More importantly, we’ve been around long enough to know why other SEO firms charge less and what that means to their clients…
We believe that our know-how, combined with our client’s industry knowledge, make a powerful duo. We regard our clients as partners and work with them to make sure they understand what we are doing and why we are doing it.
Don’t be fooled by an agency’s client base; knowing how to rank “the little guys” is more relevant than big brands. It takes a lot more talent to go up against the big companies with their already-established brand recognition and get outcomes that help businesses grow, regardless of their size.
Most of our employees have more than a decade of SEO experience, which means you get the best right from the start. Our staff doesn’t learn how to do SEO while working on a project. Plus, our staff consists of native USA English writers and speakers, which translates to great copy and fast, clear communication.
We focus on the bigger picture – how your brand is perceived in the digital world. According to a recent study, 83% of consumers say online reviews influence their perceptions about companies and 80% report that negative online comments changed their purchasing decision. We don’t believe in hiding data from consumers, but there are ethical ways to convert poor reviews into marketing opportunities as well as make poor reviews harder to find. By controlling your brand’s perception online, we help keep your brand trustworthy so you earn customers without having to undercut your competition or your prices.
#1 rankings, for example, are one measure that is still used by SEO firms to quantify “success.” However, anyone can “rank” obscure keywords that no one searches for, but if those rankings aren’t driving quality traffic to the website, it defeats the purpose of SEO. Rankings also don’t give us actionable data to adjust the campaign for better traffic and conversions. We use measures such as domain strength, trust, mentions/shares, and SEO visibility to help us translate our activities into real-world prospect and customer interactions with your brand. This means that you learn how to better target your audience, identify where they are in the buying cycle, cut lead acquisition costs, shorten sales cycles, and increase revenue.
Both black hat and gray hat SEO methods violate or skirt search engine guidelines by using tactics that trick the search engines. Unethical tactics like submitting a site to a multitude of low-quality directories, keyword stuffing (overloading keywords onto a webpage), cloaking (showing one page to the search engines and another to humans), and page swapping (changing the webpage entirely after it has been ranked by search engines) put your site at risk. They can damage your brand reputation, make your site vulnerable to search engine penalties, and could even get your site banned altogether from the search engines.
With Google cracking down on the quality of backlinks, failing to know who is linking to a site puts the client at risk of being hit with a penalty – either algorithmic or manual. We’ll look for troublesome links, clean them up, and replace them with quality links so your visibility isn’t impacted. We’ll also ensure that your link reputation is rock-solid, drives referral traffic, and improves SEO visibility.
Many of the budget SEO firms require clients to move their sites to the SEO firm’s server and/or build out pages that are never reviewed for quality and human readability. This means that if the SEO company goes away (or a contract dispute erupts), so does all of the work. We believe that everything we do is owned by the client – every word of written content, contacts, followers/fans and subscribers – and hosted on a server of the client’s choice.
If an agency is “certified,” that means that they have completed Google training for Adwords and/or Google Analytics. If they state that they are a “Google Partner,” they are a partner for paid Google advertising only. There is no such thing as a Google SEO partner, nor is there a Google SEO certification program.
We believe we have to be as invested as you are in your success. We don’t settle for “good enough” and are always looking for better and better results. That’s why clients have been working with us for 10 years or more – because we deliver when other SEO firms typically fail.
Content marketing involves creating and distributing content that is valuable and relevant to the audience, gets that audience to engage with your company or brand, and has a bigger objective of driving profitable customers to your business. It is very customer-centric (vs. product-centric) and addresses their pain points or identifies opportunities rather than positioning products or services.
We like to think about content marketing as gasoline and all other marketing methods as a vehicle – if you don’t have the fuel to move the vehicle, it won’t go far. It’s a method that reaches your best prospects before they even recognize they have a need, entices them to dig deeper into your website, builds a loyal fan base, and nurtures them by building trust and rapport until they are ready to buy.
- Increases your visibility online to ensure that more people find or stumble upon your website
- Improves the quality of visitor traffic to your website to ensure that each visitor adds value to your business
- Strengthens your brand recognition and reputation online
- Establishes your company/brand as an industry leader or thought-leader among your target audience
- Maximizes word of mouth referrals
- Develops relationships with real people
- Aligns messages based upon your audience’s interests, preferences, role, as well as where they are within the buying cycle
Absolutely! In fact here are a few:
- Florist targeting newly engaged couples
- Product marketing: flowers, floral arrangements, weddings, etc.
- Content marketing: examples of creative wedding invitations, party ideas, unusual items (such as shells and driftwood) that can be used in floral arrangements, what’s new in wedding decorations, fashion week and bridal items, unique bridal bouquets, wedding photography ideas
- Bank targeting small business owners
- Product marketing: financing options, free checking, banking online, time-saving banking options
- Content marketing: how to be paid on time all the time, how to screen vendors before doing business with them, how to prevent seasonal highs and lows in the business cycle, what the new tax law(s) mean for small businesses, how to balance personal and business time
- Software company targeting engineers
- Product marketing: product comparisons, product specifications, virtual tour of the product, warranty and support information
- Content marketing: how to future-proof design, incredible (and new) engineering feats, new tools that help them do their jobs better/easier, how new standards impact engineering design, how to test more accurately
- Daycare center targeting parents with very young children
- Product marketing: hours of operation, classroom structure, philosophy, meet the staff, activities
- Content marketing: child rearing tips and ideas, vacation ideas for young families, holiday activities for young children, arts and crafts for toddlers, DIY nursery ideas, top gift ideas for children under 5, kindergarten preparation checklist
Given that the 40% of the world population is online these days, and over 3.2 billion people use the Internet, there’s likely a big chance that your audience is online. This is where content strategy comes into play. If we understand where to find your audience online and we know what content will be most valuable/resonating/engaging to them, we can make content marketing a very effective strategy for your business growth.
Content marketing is measured in a variety of ways, but the four most important are:
- Consumption – how many people read, viewed or watched your content? For example: Google analytics page views, YouTube watches, Slideshare downloads, etc.
- Sharing – how many people have shared your content? How many people have mentioned it?
- Leads generated – how many content visitors converted into leads?
- Sales made – how many content visitors converted into customers?
Content marketing and strategy is not something that can occur overnight. A lot of foundation building must first take place to ensure that we’re building a program that can last over the long term. It can take many months before the full impact of content marketing becomes apparent. Typically engaged clients who are able to turn around content quickly start to see small gains within the first 3-4 months, and bigger gains around the 7-9 month mark.
No. Here’s why: There’s a big difference between writing for the sake of producing something versus writing for the sake of attracting the best buying customers to your website. The objective of content marketing isn’t about volume, it’s about quality. It’s not about the writing, it’s about making sure that the messages connect with the audience in such a way that it develops a one-on-one rapport that translates into real-world interaction.
Excellent question! Absolutely you can. Sometimes a fresh set of eyes on existing content can help leverage existing content to improve consumption, sharing, lead generation, and sales. We’ve worked with a number of clients who have had volumes of content and some restructuring was all that was needed to launch a lead and sales machine. With our help, one such client now consistently generates 30% of its revenue from those efforts. Learn more by reading their case study.
The core concepts of content marketing are not that difficult. What is challenging, however, is keeping up with all the audience needs/wants and adapting the strategy accordingly. Based on recent studies, the most common reasons why content marketing is not handled in-house are:
- Lack of time to write and market content (69%)
- Can’t produce enough content to make an impact (55%)
- Don’t know how to produce content that engages the desired audience (47%)
However, many of our clients do have internal teams who work in conjunction with us in the development of the content strategy and content marketing program. Where we come in is to help with the learning curve, to augment their staff by creating content that hits the mark with the audience, and by helping them setup and maintain analytics so that they can make smarter decisions about their overall digital marketing strategy.
Yes. Content, as they say, is the kingdom or lifeline of the Internet and absolutely should be part of any bigger marketing program, especially if that program involves being found online, improving customer experiences, expanding globally, and tapping new markets.
If you’re on the fence here are some numbers that might influence your decision:
- 78% of chief marketing officers believe that content marketing is the future of marketing
- 67% of B2B companies will use content marketing as a top 3 marketing strategy
- 41% of marketers confirm that content marketing generates a positive ROI
- 61% of consumers feel better about buying from a company that delivers custom content
- 70% of consumers prefer to get to know a company through content rather than ads
- Content marketing doubles website conversion rates
- Content marketing increases lead generation by 54%
- Brands that post 15 posts or more per month see an average increase of 1,200 new leads per month
- Content marketing saves, on average, $14 for every new customer acquired
Search engine optimization is a process of ensuring that the coding, architecture, content, linking structure, and reputation of your website comply with search engine best practices so that they can index your website properly.
- Increases your visibility in search engines to ensure that more people find or stumble upon your website
- Improves the quality of visitor traffic to your website so that each visitor adds value to your business
- Strengthens your brand recognition and reputation online so that you earn more business through trust
- Generates more leads, more customers, more sales, and more repeat business
Back in the 1990s and even into the very early 2000s, SEO was measured by rankings – how high your website appeared in the search results after a search query was performed. But, search engines have changed considerably over the years making the “ranking” measure obsolete. Factors such as personalized search (e.g. someone who has visited your site previously, someone in a different geographic location, someone using a mobile vs. desktop device, etc.) impact the order in which websites are displayed in search results.
Today, we use metrics that track the progress of the SEO efforts in a way that is not influenced by factors such as personalized search or algorithmic changes. Specifically, we use the following measures:
- Search engine visibility – based upon all the keywords in your keyword portfolio, how visible is your website
- Domain strength (or domain authority) – how strong is your website perceived by the search engines based on the quality of third party websites that link to it
- Mentions/shares – how frequently is your brand mentioned or your content shared in social media
- Trust – how well is your site (and brand) trusted online
- Click through rate (CTR) – when your website does appear in the search engines, how often is your listing clicked on
- Conversions – where closed loop reporting is available (such as with an ecommerce site) conversions indicate whether someone has made a purchase or has entered into a marketing funnel
Absolutely not. We use only “white hat,” best practices methodology to optimize websites. We never risk the reputation of our clients for short-term gains.
Additionally, we spend thousands of dollars each year to ensure that we keep up to date with what’s happening to keep sites we optimize compliant with best practices. As a result, we have clients who have been able to establish and maintain their search presence for well over 10 years.
Think back to the days of the early westerns where the good guys wore white hats and the bad guys wore black hats. This is how the term “black hat” vs. “white hat” SEO came to be named.
Black hat SEO is performed by companies who can guarantee #1 rankings. They employ questionable and risky tactics that trick the search engines into ranking a page of your website, which is a violation of SEO best practices and most search engines’ webmaster guidelines. These kinds of tactics are dangerous and can get a website slapped with a manual penalty or even banned from the search engines all together.
Examples of black hat (and even gray hat) tactics include, but are not limited to:
- Page jacking – copying (exactly) everything on a high-ranking page and then redirecting traffic to another site
- Cloaking – using one version of the website for search engines to index but serving another page to the general public
- Keyword stuffing – overusing keywords within content in an attempt to increase keyword density on a web page so that it can rank higher
- Link and directory farming – building high volumes of links (whether paid or free) from directories or link farms with the intent to trick the search engines into believing that your site has high domain authority
- Comment spamming – using the comments area on websites to add irrelevant comments which include a link to the website being optimized
We never use the above tactics and have long been advocates of playing by the rules, even though it may mean it takes a bit longer for our clients to see significant results.
SEO, unlike advertising, does not always produce an instant result. There is a lot of foundation building that takes place first to ensure that we’re building a program that can last over the long term. It can take many months before the full impact of SEO becomes apparent. Typically engaged clients will start to see small gains within the first 3-4 months, and bigger gains around the 7-9 month mark.
Yes it is. In fact, we’d add that SEO doesn’t exist without content. Today’s SEO is all about earning visibility through great content that interests your audience and that focuses on a theme or subject area that is relevant to what your business makes/sells/does.
Meta tags (such as the meta description and keyword tags) as well as the title tag are used as the first “scoring” mechanism used by the search engines. While they are still relevant, they are no longer at the heart of SEO. Think about their merit in terms of writing your name on a test you must take – putting your name on the test ensures you get credit for that test.
SEO today consists of the following:
- Quality of the content – longer, valuable, and unique content tends to perform better in search engines than shorter, generalized content
- Quality of the links your site has earned coming from third party websites – the more credible the website, the more “strength” they pass on to your website
- Keywords used within the content of your web page
- Whether the content has been shared in social media and how often
- How fast the website loads
- Quality of the coding – is it mobile friendly? Does it pass usability and compatibility testing?
- Plus a number of other factors that are too numerous to list here
Excellent question! We measure great content based upon its ability to meet three criteria.
Great SEO content must be:
- Linkable – other sites want to link to it
- Baitable – search engines see the value of the content
- Sharable – real people want to share it with others online
It’s an added plus when content is also trustable (people believe and trust the source).
This is a tough question to answer. Factors like industry, competition, budget, and even client involvement can all impact the ROI. On average we see an ROI around 1:10. Meaning, for every $1 in budget spend, the return on the investment is $10. Of course every SEO program and client are unique so you could expect to see more or less than that.
Unfortunately no, unless all you need is help with your meta data copywriting. Most of the programs we have seen in this price range cover only the basics such as writing the meta data and title tags for you. You have to pay extra for content to be written, social media marketing to be performed, link building efforts, etc.
This really depends on how aggressive you want your campaign to be and how much time you are able to invest in ensuring the campaign is given a priority in your marketing mix.
With enough training, certainly. The core concepts of SEO are not that difficult. What is challenging, however, is keeping up with all the changes and learning to adapt the strategy.
Many of our clients do have internal teams who do the day-to-day SEO work. Where we come in is to help with the learning curve, to augment their staff by creating content that is already SEO friendly, and by helping them setup and maintain analytics so that they can make smarter decisions about their digital marketing strategy.
Unfortunately, no. While these are great plugins (we use them with many of our clients) they don’t do the SEO work for you. They help ensure that the basic on-page attributes such as your title tag, description tag, body copy, and URL structure contain a target keyword. However, this isn’t the same as actually running an SEO program. See “adding meta data” above.
Every business that desires action by a visitor (buy, donate, enroll, etc.) should be implementing a SEO program. If you’re on the fence, here are some numbers that might influence your decision:
- 93% of all online experiences begin with a search in the search engines
- 81% of B2B buying cycles start with the search engines; 90% of buyers state that when they are ready to buy they will “find you” online
- 70% of the links users click on in the search engines are organic (SEO) links
- 70-80% of users completely ignore paid ads online
- 79% of users state that they only click on natural (SEO) links
- 54% of marketers indicate that there will be an increase of SEO marketing in 2015 and beyond
- SEO is the most popular marketing method
- 57% of B2B marketers state that SEO has the biggest (and best) impact on lead generation
- SEO leads have a 14.6% closing rate vs. other marketing methods, which have a 1.6% closing rate
- On average, conversions by users arriving via a natural search result convert 10-15 times higher than other methods
- The biggest spenders will use organic/natural search to find what they want to buy