6. "Are you just regurgitating Google Analytics in my monthly reports, or will you be providing insight, analysis and solutions?"
We will be looking at different aspects of Google Analytics to analyze information and find out how users are engaging with your site, ultimately determining which optimizations and changes can be made based on the findings. Google Analytics is just a tool to gauge success and measure engagements. We try to pick the information that will be most meaningful to you and your organization.
We look at top site content to find out which pages are receiving the most traffic. This includes reviewing the time spent on those pages and their bounce rate. If the engagement is not as expected, we would recommend changes or updates. To see if our optimization efforts have increased traffic from search engines, we also look at organic search traffic results. Additionally, we look at internal site search terms to see what people are searching for on your site.
Google Analytics allows us to set up Goals and Events to track actions users are taking on your site. We will look at these various goals, including visitor guide requests, newsletter sign ups, etc. If those numbers are lower than expected, we would research how to increase those engagements. A good amount of the monthly report is pulled from Google Analytics, but we try to present it in a way that is meaningful to you and to best measure the success of your SEO campaign.
7. You need more than a year for SEO? Why can't I just do one year and stop?
The first year of an SEO contract is spent correcting technical barriers and optimizing page after page of your current site, then consulting with you on goals and best practices. But as you know, websites change - pages are added, deleted, new widgets and functionality are added, new modules, etc. You don't stop taking your car to get serviced because you got your first oil change. Websites are the same way - they need constant attention and maintenance to maintain their rankings with the search engines (especially with the hundreds of algorithm changes every year!), and to improve those rankings over time.
8. "What is ‘paperclip' advertising?"
While SEO is a great way to get traffic to your website over time, Pay-Per-Click (PPC) advertising is a great way to get immediate traffic from the search engines. This advertising appears in the search engine results pages (SERPs) when someone runs a search for a keyword that you've bid on.
PPC and SEO work well together, but they are an especially excellent pairing after launching a new website or microsite, changing your domain or when highlighting your promotions/special offers. PPC is an also a great method for "filling in the gap" while you are building up your organic traffic for particular keyword phrases. If you build out a Restaurant Week page, it will not rank first in the organic search results overnight. If that event is coming up soon and you have little time to launch a promotional campaign, PPC traffic may be the only way to send people to the site via search. If you put the page up four months before the event, we can optimize the page and it should be appearing in the search results by the time the event takes place.
9. "My neighbor just said he can do this for $900 a year - why are you so expensive?"
To put it simply, you get what you pay for.
We've compared our prices to other professional SEO agencies, and in my opinion, we are not expensive in comparison. However, you can't compare us to your neighbor who would work for $900 a year. Would you compare the reliability of a 1988 Toyota Camry to a 2014 Toyota Camry? You pay more for the reliability you'll get from a company of our size and the overall experience in the DMO space that we bring to the table. We're a team of 14 people who do nothing but SEO all day long - analysts, specialists and programmers. That knowledge and research we're doing on a constant basis is of value.
Our team has had clients come to us after using a neighbor, friend, brother-in-law, etc. for SEO, and the first thing we do is a Barrier Analysis where we point out all of the major technical barriers that exist on the site. Those barriers are corrected in the first month of an SEO engagement with us. Some of these people have been "doing SEO" for years and these major roadblocks have not been corrected until we step in.
10. I thought SEO was included in the initial site build? Why do I have to pay for more? Don't you just do it right in the first place?
There are hundreds of factors that go into building an SEO-friendly website. If we built your website 100% SEO-friendly at launch, not only would it take ten times as long to build, there is still a need for ongoing maintenance to keep your site relevant for current searches and visitor trends. Websites are living and breathing things. The world of SEO changes and evolves all the time. Therefore, it is important to have an ongoing contract to make those adjustments and keep your website in the best shape as possible. What worked two months ago in the world of SEO might not work as well today, so launching your site SEO friendly works for a short bit, but we need to make adjustments to our strategy based on the changes in the space.
Also, as I mentioned in Q&A Time: Top 10 Frequently Asked SEO Questions - Part 1, throughout the month we're conducting a lot of various tasks - monitoring your website via Google Analytics and Webmaster Tools, adding additional Event and Goal tracking, performing on-page optimization, answering questions, tracking campaigns, making SEO and usability recommendations, all while correcting crawl errors, broken links and spelling errors. We're also analyzing the information coming through and making adjustments, while staying on top of current research in the SEO field - reading blogs and newsletters, attending conferences, following the major SEO players, performing trial and error on our sites, etc.
Erin Lair is a Search Engine Marketing Analyst for Simpleview. For questions regarding this post, visit our 'What We Do' page to learn more about our SEM services.