Arguably the most important process in marketing your WordPress website.
Search Engine Optimisation is complicated, time-consuming and goes far beyond using Yoast on your WordPress site.
There are literally 1000s of SEO ‘experts’ out there, eager to take your money and tinker with your site, send you endless lists of meaningless keywords and babble on in jargon about what they are doing for you.
All you seem to get for your spend is a Google Analytics report each month.
I offer absolute no-nonsense, 100% transparent SEO services for WordPress sites.
Like most things I do, SEO starts on paper, with an SEO Strategy.
SEO needs to be planned from the ground up, so this means looking at your business, your product or service, your sales, conversions and profit margins.
In order to provide effective SEO, I need to first understand your business.
Any SEO ‘expert’ that doesn’t want to talk about how SEO ties in with your business as a whole is not worth talking to.
I need to know where your business is today and where it wants to be tomorrow.
This takes in a lot of commercial information and data that many SEO’s don’t even consider.
SEO is advertising, and like any advertising campaign, if you don’t tie it into your businesses bottom-line, there’s very little chance you are going to get any meaningful data or a return.
It’s about return on investment.
That is all it’s about.
Not where you rank, or how many visits you get or your domain rank (although all these things are important) the bottom line with SEO is:
How much you have spent versus how much you have made as a result.
I have generated nearly every new lead for my business via SEO, I’ve been doing it for 20 years and I run a successful, profitable business as a result.
If you are wondering what that has got to do with anything, I am probably not the SEO expert you’re looking for.
As I mentioned above, SEO is not something you can ‘stick on at the end’ or ‘think about later’.
Part of the problem with SEO is that many business owners do not fully understand how integrated it needs to be in commercial planning for their businesses.
Everyone knows they need a website, then they go out and find an SEO freelancer who they pay next-to-nothing to achieve nothing.
You need to invest in SEO.
And the investment you make is going to be determined by several factors:
- Your brand’s reputation
- The state of your current website
- Your marketplace and competitors
- Your ability to produce content (or willingness to have it produced for you)
- Your product or service niche
- Your conversion rates
- Your profit margin per sale or the lifetime value of a new customer
You’ll note that there’s a lot about you in there, and for good reason.
SEO is about your business and its objectives – these all need to be clearly understood and plugged into your SEO plan before anything else starts.
Your brand’s reputation is important. SEO is not PR.
If your business is just starting out, search engine optimisation is going to take time – a lot of time.
You won’t have any brand equity, domain rank or history to tap into. You might be better off looking at PPC to support your SEO.
If you have an established brand, with a good domain rank, existing content and good backlinks, an SEO campaign will hit the ground running.
Most businesses fall somewhere in between the two points above.
Your branding (and I don’t just mean your logo) needs to be spot on before you start any SEO investment.
If it isn’t, you are going to be working hard to deliver traffic to a website that visitors will either not believe in or distrust.
Your website needs to be fully optimised before you start on SEO.
If your website is crap, don’t spend money on SEO.
There’s no magic bullet for a bad website – you can buy or organically attract visitors to then have them bounce immediately.
It’s easy to get an objective audit of your site via an online audit tool, but you need to go deeper than this.
Your site structure, content and everything else needs to be checked an optimised properly.
This is often the first stage of any SEO project.
For many sites I work with, sorting the website forms the first stage of an SEO campaign.
This can take some time, but it’s money well-spent and means that we all know that the website we are working hard to push traffic to is going to convert.
Understanding your competitors and the market place is crucial.
I would not suggest for one minute that I know your market and competitors better than you do.
So we’re going to need to have a chat about this.
Knowing what your competitors are doing (and even better, tracking what they are doing) provides you with incredibly useful data that I can use to improve your SEO.
You can find patterns in your competitors’ keywords that give you insight into what is working for them and what isn’t and make sure you are in that space too.
Know your market and your customers.
In your market or sector, where do people hang-out online?
Are there discussions in LinkedIn, other forums, Reddit, social media or other places where people post and talk about things?
What can you bring to the table – innovation, ideas or thought-leadership?
Do people actually search for problems in your sector that you have answers to?
There are a lot of questions that will need consideration before any SEO starts.
The process of identifying your market place and customer behaviour will give you further insights in where best to start with SEO.
You need to be able to produce quality content on a regular basis.
Content production is often one of the things most businesses struggle with the most.
Mainly down to resource more than anything else – writing content for your website takes time and it’s out of the reach of many SMEs to have a full or part-time copywriter.
Without great content, SEO becomes difficult – there’s only so much you can do to optimise previously optimised pages and posts.
Producing content for your site should fall in line with the overall SEO strategy for your site and if this is done correctly to start with, you should easily be able to produce a list of several months-worth of content.
It’s better to post regularly than sporadically. If you think you are only going to be able to post once a month, it’s best to do that rather than four months of nothing and then four at once.
It’s also important to consider the additional content for your posts, such as images, video, white papers and so on.
The purpose of the new content is three-fold.
Firstly to support your landing pages with internal site links to boost the internal page rank of your top content.
Secondly to rank independently for the focus keyword of the content and;
Thirdly to try and attract organic backlinks.
In order to achieve this, your content needs to be better than good, it needs to be amazing.
Produce a range of content.
In your SEO strategy, you should have identified keywords that you want to rank for.
Not all these keywords will be targetted with blog posts – some may landing pages, some may be other content.
You should aim to create a range of content to support the structure of your site and post regularly across this structure.
Brian Dean over at Backlinko has a post on his site about actually culling content on your website.
Basically, removing lots of generic posts and page content that have been produced for the sake of producing it.
Don’t write content just for the sake of it – make sure everything is part of your SEO and site structure strategy as you don’t want to confuse the search engines.
Keep it on-topic and relevant to the rest of the content on your site.
Be realistic – is SEO the best route for your product or service?
An SEO plan is important for every business, but you have to be realistic.
- Is what you offer your customers a me-too product or service where you compete solely on price?
- Do you have something new, revolutionary or genuinely different?
Your SEO strategy should reflect your offering.
If you sell a me-too product and win a sale by being cheaper than other sellers, organic SEO may not work for you.
It may cost more per-conversion with organic SEO that it might with Facebook Ads or some other PPC.
If you offer a niche service where you compete based on your experience and case studies, then organic SEO is probably the better route as you will be able to produce the content.
I heard from one company owner that sells small personalised products with a profit-per-sale of roughly £2. They got some quotes in for SEO and were told to invest £2000 per month and they’d need to expect 24 months before any identifiable return could be identified.
So that’s a proposal of £48,000 investment over two years on a product that yields a £2 margin.
That’s 24,000 additional sales needed to cover this investment.
I am not saying that this isn’t achievable, I am just saying that you have to be realistic about how SEO will best work for you.
How high are your conversion rates?
The way I see it is that there are two different types of conversion.
The first is when the visitor to your site does something you want them to do such as completing a form or giving you a call.
The second is when they’ve done the first and convert to a customer.
Search Engine Optimisation, content and UX will bring you the first conversion, but it can’t do much about the second.
It’s crucial that you look at your percentage of conversions from the website versus conversion to a sale to make sure your site isn’t delivering leads your sales team (people or person) then don’t convert.
The bottom line. This is what SEO is all about.
I’ve touched on the amount of investment in SEO versus the number of sales required to justify spend earlier on, but you should also consider the lifecycle of your customers.
When you’ve got your SEO sorted, your pages are optimised to convert (the first time) and your final conversions to customers are working, the final thing to factor into any budgets for SEO is the lifetime value of your customers.
Are they a one-time purchaser who you never see again or do they come back for more.
- If the lifetime value of a customer is high it can justify a bigger investment in SEO.
- If it’s low (a single purchase) then you need to consider what you are going to invest.
Ironically, SEO investment is inversely true of both of the above.
If your product or service has a high lifetime value, you might need less of them, which could mean a lower investment is needed in SEO.
If the lifetime spend of your customer is low, you might need a higher investment in SEO as you have to keep converting low-value customers.
This is where SEO ties in again to your business plan and objectives – the two go hand-in-hand.
So what do you want to do about your Search Engine Optimisation for your site?
SEO takes time, costs money and does not always bring an instant return.
Before you start investing in anything, give me a call.
A small investment in working out all the stuff outlined above will save you a large amount of budget in the long-run.
During office hours, you can get me on 01295 266644 or email me on [email protected]
We can have a chat through your current situation and where you want to be.
There’s no charge for this initial conversation, so you’ve nothing to lose.