SEO - Search Engine Optmization FAQs (36)

Questions about Online Marketing and SEO (Search Engine Optimization).

Why is SEO a separate charge from Website Design?

SEO (Search Engine Optimization), and Website Design are 2 completely different things; though they are closely related.

Website design involves developing a website, which includes designing the buttons, images, and overall layout of the website. This is done when the website is new, but often times there are maintenance updates, as well as content updates. Maintenance updates, such as the latest security updates from Joomla, or Wordpress, involve updating the software to ensure that the website is secure, and likely to protect your website from being hacked. Content updates involve your content being updated as needed, such as adding an event or latest news to the website, adding a new employee, adjusting the hours, etc.

SEO on the other hand involves some of the above, but there is more to optimizing a website for search engines than just the initial design, and content updates. For example, as an SEO agency that deals with dozens of customers ever year, there are many tasks that are ongoing. There are many back end tasks, some simple, some more complex, that help ensure you are not only up to date, but also that your content doesn't affect your rankings. Everything from missing content (a deleted page), to a slow server can impact your rankings, thus hurting your search engine optimization efforts. Search Engine Optimization involves a process of doing all the right things, to achieve the right results. There is no single thing to master SEO. Ultimately, it involves learning a process; a process that everyone does differently, with some more successful than others. Our process has been proven repeatedly, which is why we have such a high customer retention rate.

Does SEO guarantee I will sell my product or service?

There are never guarantees that more visitors means more customers. There are lots of things at play, the landing page, how you drive customers to your product, whether it is online, or at your business location. Generally speaking, more visitors to your website often correlates with more customers, and in my experience, it is closely related. However, there are cases when someone is selling a product or service, that could be above market value, poor name recognition, etc. and they are not seeing the same success.

I have seen one client go from being nowhere on search engines such as Google, to being 4th place, consistently, on all key terms, within 2 months of us working with them. However, this individual in particular was promoting something available at a later time, and some might assume that just because they are so high on search results, they should have customers immediately. Think of it as getting a new retail location; it can look great, you can even post ads to get customers in, but it's up to you, your website, and your branding to actually sell the products.

What causes my search engine ranking to drop?

Unfortunately, there are so many individual causes of you to lose rank or drop in place on search engines, there is no one single cause. Sometimes you simply have more competition under certain search terms. You could have been penalized by circumventing systems. You may have outdated content, while other websites offer more refreshing updated content. Your website might not be search engine friendly... There are so many reasons, the most important thing is that you have an online marketing agency like Make it Active, LLC, helping ensure you get on top (or as close to the top as possible), and stay there.


How does SEO for my website help my business?

SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is a marketing term which involves optimizing your website for search engines to increase your place online. This helps users find your website when doing searches online, is cost effective, and offers the opportunity to turn leads leads into customers by utilizing commonly used terms or specific terms or nomenclature that can guide potential clients to your website.


Doesn't SEO level off at some point and become ineffective?

SEO does "level off" at some point, occasionally, but it is never ineffective. I have worked with companies to bring them up to number one on key terms. In one example, a company I worked with became number 1 on all main product categories after I had worked with them for over a year. So I started noticing their traffic leveling off slightly, remaining almost the same, though still showing a slight increase that I would usually attribute to being an insignificant increase (a few percent). It was at that point, I spent my time keeping them in place, and learned very quickly that it wasn't the time to become complacent. Just reducing my efforts for 2 weeks, saw a decrease to third place for several keywords.

Complacency is never an option with SEO, and while promoting the concept of a permanent budget for SEO may seem like an attempt at simply trying to keep the Online Marketing industry alive, it is in fact a legitimate point, because there will always be someone ready to unseat you, whether you are a 5th place, or 1st place.


Are website traffic decreases always a bad SEO indicator?

Sometimes (just sometimes), decreases are good. Also, sometimes (just sometimes), decreases are not bad. For example, if your website is currently linked on a bunch of bad backlink websites and directories (an SEO scam from yesteryear that some SEO companies still use), it may show increases, but these increases almost always make for poor leads, and random traffic. So, if you hire a professional, that is focused on improving the quality of your website traffic, which is far more important than quantity, you may in fact see a decrease in traffic, but an increase in sales. Also, long term growth is what you're looking for, not just short term bursts in traffic. As long as the long term results are consistent, it might mean you found "one of the good ones."

SEO is long term, so sometimes you will find around a 5% variance in traffic up or down, it's never a reason to get concerned unless it continues month after month. Think of it this way, if your website analytics show 500 new visitors, and you see an increase in sales, but the following month, there is a decrease by 25 visitors; you are still seeing an increase by 475 visitors over the previous months before the increase. The point is, variance is normal, and expected. If that carries on for a few month, now it's something to be concerned about. Sometimes professional SEO's get lazy, and may do things the right way, but eventually focus less on specific "safe" clients, whose rank has been consistent. The problem with this is, it gives a competitor an "in" to bump you out of place. Remember, for every dollar you are spending on SEO or Online Marketing, one of your competitors is also spending that same money (or more).

We never get complacent here at Make it Active, LLC. Instead, we have specific hours dedicated to specific clients every week. No client get's left behind with Make it Active!


How can we tell if we are getting good SEO results?

So if everything is being done the "white hat" way, how can you tell if the analytics results you are getting are accurately reflecting website growth? Simple: watch the numbers. Are your numbers increasing, consistently, overtime? Do your sales show a pattern similar to the increases in website traffic? For example, if you are a small retail store, and have seen a 50% increase in website traffic, and also notice a 27% increase in store sales, it's a pretty strong correlation, especially if the increases in traffic were prior to the increase in sales.Though temporary increases show a great deal, they don't always tell the whole story.


How can we tell if we are using a good SEO agency?

A good SEO agency will give you the good news, bad news, and everything up front. They will explain what it is they are doing (not necessarily proprietary information), and will always do things the "white hat" way. What that means is, they follow the rules, and do things that help, and avoid doing "tricks of the trade," which help temporarily, but in the long term can get you booted. I have worked with a company that had been booted due to the efforts of their previous Marketing company, and let me tell you, it's not an easy task to come back from. You could see your website traffic drop over 95%, as well as your sales, overnight. So while your SEO agency might think these tricks are great because they make their clients happy, in the long run, you, the business owner loses, and you'll have an uphill battle that could take years to restore your previous rank.


Does Google Analytics Always Show SEO Growth?

Yes, and in our experience, though often complicated for many viewers, Google Analytics provides some of the best analysis of website rank and SEO results. We have used many over the years, and once Google came along, it was clear the attempt was to give more relevant details. That being said, the most important thing to understand is, there is more to understand than just traffic increases.

If a business has a website that wasn't optimized, it's likely that when a little minor optimization takes place, there will be some increases. That doesn't mean that the SEO company is doing great (they could be), it simply means that things were so bad before, you are now starting to get traffic because you are actually doing some SEO. This is why, like it or not, SEO should be a regular part of any company marketing budget. The main differences between simply optimizing a website, and a good SEO agency has more to do with consistent results, and long term growth.