Search Engine Optimization
SEO connects your business with potential customers. Let us put your company in front of the very people who are looking for you.
SEO Brings Targeted Traffic To Your Digital Front Door
Your business provides solutions to specific problems. Since everyone turns to Google to find the answers to all their questions, it just makes sense that the companies listed on page one have the best chance of not only getting the clicks but getting the business.
Marketing is a numbers game. The more you can put your business in front of potential customers, the more likely you are to get the business and make more money. Search engine optimization puts your website in front of people who are actively searching for what you do. This is marketing that brings you targeted traffic. Who wouldn’t want to get their business in front of people who need you the most?
What Is Search Engine Optimization?
For many years, digital marketing experts would toss around the term “SEO” and expect people to understand what they meant. Over time, many business owners have become wiser about the term, but most still don’t understand much about what it is exactly.
Our definition of SEO is that it is the process of making your website more attractive to your potential customers. This confuses most people because they think that SEO is more about making the site more attractive to Google. The truth is that the meaning of SEO is really making your website attractive to both.
The people at Google would tell you that making your site more attractive to your customers is exactly what makes it more attractive to the search engines. If you think about it, Google says they want to provide the best results of any search engine, so why wouldn’t they want to present the best websites for their browsers.
What Is A Search Engine?
Most of us use Google every day- because it’s simple and easy. The truth is, as simple as Google looks, it’s actually one of the most complicated instruments ever created. In fact, it’s generally true that the more simple a website looks, the more complex it is.
A search engine is a tool that helps the user gather information for whatever query that is entered but, remember, you don’t pay for the privilege of using a search engine. The reason is simple- by using this valuable tool, you are subjecting yourself to various forms of advertising.
We’re not sure who said, “If you’re not paying for the product, you ARE the product”. This is certainly true for search engines and social media sites.
There are a variety of different search engines available on the Internet such as Google, Bing, Ask.com, DuckDuckGo, etc.
How Does Google Work?
Since Google is the search engine that owns the lion’s share of search, that’s the one we will focus on the most. It’s not that we ignore the others, but more often than not, what you do to make Google happy helps with the other search engines.
To rank a website well in the search results, it’s important to first think about a search engine like Google interacts with websites. To understand this, it’s helpful to use an analogy. We explain it like this:
“Remember the movie ‘Despicable Me’? Think of those little yellow minions but imagine them with little cameras around their neck. Google sends the minions to check out your website and compare what’s there with a list of over 400 different elements.
The minions check to see what your website has and what it lacks and bring this information back to Google. This information is used to compare your site with thousands of others in the geographic area that best match the intention of the keyword or phrase that was typed into the search bar. “
There are other factors at work here, but this is a simplified version of how Google visits your site and considers what to do with it.
How Does SEO Work?
It’s Google’s desire to take the search terms or keywords that are typed into the search bar and match these terms or phrases with websites that best match the intention of the search. Think of search engines as nothing more than a matchmaking service between what you type into the search box and what Google thinks you want.
People often say that SEO is like a 10,000 piece puzzle. The problem is that no one knows all the elements in the Google algorithm, so you can’t even see what all the puzzle pieces are, but the business that effectively puts the most pieces together earns a spot on page one of the search results.
A reputable SEO company, like ours, understands enough about what Google wants to see in a website to be able to get it ranked well. With more than a decade of experience getting websites to page one, we understand enough about what it takes to get your business the visibility you need.
Believe it or not, there are web design companies that hold you hostage. They tell you that it’s your website, but you can’t make changes, you can’t edit anything yourself, and if you stop paying them, the website goes away.
We don’t believe in renting your business website. Since we started the company, we’ve always encouraged business owners to own their business domain and get a website that you have not only full ownership of but full access to.
At Make It Loud, it’s our process to launch your new website and schedule a training session where we teach you how to manage and maintain your own business website. We have an option where we’ll do all that for you, but we are firm believers that it’s your business, so you should have the ability to change whatever you want on your own website.
SEO & Make It Loud
Make It Loud started working with small to mid-sized business owners back when the Yellow Pages was an actual book and people were saying the Internet was a “fad”. In that time, we’ve grown from a small web design firm to a full-blown digital marketing agency.
More than 10 years ago now, we started working with clients to help them get on the first page of Google with SEO. For the first 5 years, we had to explain what search engine optimization was, but now, it’s more of a mainstream term.
These days, we are working with clients all around the country to help them get ranked.
Initial Questions About SEO
Once you have a well-designed website, there are some things you should consider when shopping for a reputable SEO firm.
First, ask how long the person you’re talking to has been doing SEO. It’s never really a good idea to let your website be the one where someone learns how to do SEO. That can lead to really bad results for your company.
Next, a business owner always wants to ask how the pricing works for SEO services. Some agencies charge by the keyword while others may charge by the geographic location. There are some distinct differences between these models.
Keep in mind, when someone says they will charge you by the keyword, not all keywords or phrases are good for your company. For example, if you are a plumber that doesn’t do new construction plumbing, ranking for the term, “new construction plumbing” wouldn’t result in more revenue for your business, but it would count toward the number of keywords you are paying to rank for. This is why you always want to maintain the approval of the keywords that the SEO company will work on ranking your site for. Even then, the keyword strategy can often be a shifting target.
The other model that is common is for agencies to charge you by the geographic locations or cities you want to rank for. It just makes sense that if you want to rank in areas around Atlanta, then you want to have those cities somewhere on your website. Most SEO companies go even farther and build out specific landing pages that target the cities you want to increase your visibility for.
Although there are a wide variety of companies out there doing SEO, the prices can vary wildly. We’ve seen SEO services advertised as low as $99/month all the way up to tens of thousands of dollars a month.
Naturally, the price of SEO depends upon whether you want local SEO, regional SEO or national SEO. Good local SEO costs somewhere in the range of $500-$1000/month depending upon how competitive the industry is. Regional SEO (where you rank in various states across a region) typically costs between $1000-$4000/month and national SEO costs between $1000-$10,000/month.
A good way to think about your budget for SEO is to consider how much your average client is worth. For example, if you are a residential roofer, it’s not uncommon for one roof to generate between $2000-$6000 in revenue. That begins to give you a reasonable metric about how much to pay for SEO. One job from SEO can pay your SEO budget for one to several months. Also, it’s not unusual to spend roughly 10% of your yearly revenue on marketing.
Some say that all marketing is a trip to Las Vegas. It’s all a gamble, but there are definitely some marketing elements that have a much higher chance of a solid return on your investment than others. SEO should never be the only way you market your business. Diversifying your marketing efforts is always a good idea in order to find the right mix for your company and industry.
Just as there are bad players in any industry, there are so-called SEO experts out there that will “Wow” you with jargon but at the end of the day, they don actually do the things that Google wants to see to move your site up the rankings.
Make no mistake, SEO takes a lot of work. Getting your site to the top of the search rankings isn’t like walking over and flipping the light on. Therefore, the SEO firms that say they’ll get you on page one for some unthinkably low rate probably aren’t doing everything your company really needs to rank.
It’s the old adage, “If it looks too good to be true, it probably isn’t”. It’s always best to ask a lot of questions- enough until you feel comfortable about what’s going to happen and have ways to measure the progress.
When you started your business, you had to make a lot of different decisions- what you’re going to do, where and the all-important decision about where you are going to find your customers. That is the beginning of your marketing plan.
Every good marketing plan has different elements to it. Most businesses consider using one or more of the following:
- Digital marketing- general term
- Print Ads
While some of these may be useful, there is no “one size fits all” when it comes to marketing. If we go back to the gambling analogy above, every game in a casino has a chance of returning some money, but it’s smart to think about which ones can return the most.
With your digital marketing, there are different elements that exist under this umbrella as well. They may include:
- Adwords (Pay Per Click or PPC)
- Social Media Marketing (including Facebook Ads)
- Reputation Management
This list is far from all-inclusive, but it gives a general idea about the decisions a business owner has to make.
What Is SEO Marketing?
At Make It Loud, we typically suggest a diverse approach to digital marketing, but for many different businesses, SEO makes sense.
SEO marketing is the process of helping your website interact well with the search engines. When Google sends their spybots (minions) to crawl your site, they are looking for signals from your website that indicate that it is worthy of earning a spot on page one.
SEO marketing is about statistics. The more browsers see your website on page one, the more likely they are to click on it which means you are more likely to get the calls, contact forms or the business.
As simple as that sounds, getting on page one isn’t always so straightforward. There are a lot of plates to balance to make that happen and depending upon how competitive your industry is, the process can take weeks or months before you start seeing results.
How Long Does SEO Really Take?
This is always a question you should ask anyone you are considering hiring for SEO services. The standard answer in the industry is “it takes 3-6 months to see results”, but what are results?
Naturally, how long it’ll take to get your site to page one in the search engines depends upon a lot of factors but the main one is how competitive your industry is. If you are a realtor in Atlanta, the market is so fiercely competitive that it will most likely take a lot longer than 6 months to see good results. Like real estate, other competitive industries include weight loss, residential roofing, divorce attorneys, etc.
Our Service Area For SEO
Through the magic of the internet (which, as it turns out, looks like it’s here to stay), we can provide high-quality SEO services for any business in the country. That being said, most of our business comes from around Atlanta, but we have happy customers throughout Georgia in Augusta, Savannah, Columbus, Macon, and Athens. We work with companies in South Carolina, North Carolina, Florida, Alabama, and Tennessee as well.
If you’re ready to get your business more- more clicks, more leads, and more business call the staff at Make It Loud and let’s talk about how SEO might be right for you.