15 Advanced (but easy) SEO Tips and Strategies

Advanced SEO Strategies

The below is chapter 2 in my new book “The Ultimate, No Fluff, Take You by the Hand, Step by Step Guide to Dominate With SEO” which you can download here: https://yeah-local.com/seo-book/

Based on WordPress data, there are 1.59 million blogs published every day.

That’s only WordPress. 

It’s estimated there are 2.5 – 3 million articles published every day.

Whether you’re a business owner looking to rank on the first page of Google, we’ve got you covered.

1. Mobile Friendliness is Paramount

Mobile internet usage surpassed desktop usage for the first time in history in 2017 and the trend is only going to get stronger.

Google understands how important the mobile experience is to its users and harshly penalizes websites which offer an underwhelming mobile performance.

When creating your website, be sure to optimize for mobile, removing items which might slow a mobile load time down and also updating your web page’s design and layout so that it offers a smooth and speedy mobile experience.

Mobile SEO Actionable Tip

Run your website through a Google Speed test and learn two things – your site’s speed and mobile score. Both numbers range 0 – 100, with higher scores being better.

2. Write About One Topic First

For many industries/businesses, writing about one specific topic will showcase your company as an authoritative, professional voice in your industry, and Google loves authority.

When starting a blog, we suggest focusing on one niche topic and making 80% of your initial posts about that specific subject.

For example, say you are a home restoration company.

Instead of making your first handful of blogs about all different topics like one post about drywall, one post about patio restoration, one post about flood damage repair, and one post about home painting choose just one.

Write everything on “home painting” and make almost all of your initial blogs about that topic.

Posts might include: How to Paint the Interior of Your Home, What Are the Best Brands of Paint for the Exterior of My Home, How to Correctly Mix Paint, etc..

Focusing on one specific topic will help present you as an expert in that particular niche.

You will be more likely to begin ranking for a multitude of keywords regarding your niche topic and invite an audience of users looking for more in-depth expertise on your subject of choice.

3. Learn Important Keyword Metrics

  • Search volume – Average number searches each month
  • Clicks per search – How many average clicks per search
  • Keyword difficulty – A score of 0 to 100 with higher scores being harder to rank for.

Try to find out what these metrics mean for your business.

4. Inbound Link Anchor Cloud

Within Ahrefs and Google Search Console you are given access to your Inbound Link Anchor Cloud. It shows the popularity of different anchor text phrases based on the number of backlinks pointing to your site.

Here’s an anchor cloud for one of the properties which reviews headphones:

Based on this example, you can recognize 9% of their backlinks contain the anchor text “headphones better than beats”.

This makes sense because they have a popular post on Headphone Charts literally called Headphones Better than Beats.

A post they put a fair amount of time into and some effort link building for it.

When you view your anchor cloud and notice a lot of your anchor keywords are irrelevant or not the types of keywords you want from prospective customers, you will need to make updates to your website link portfolio to rectify it.

Including creating content containing the keywords you want to rank for and then be sure to build strong relevant backlinks by sharing your new content on other high authority websites.

5. Focus on White-Hat SEO

An outdated and short-sighted black-hat link building technique focuses on spending money to buy backlinks from shady websites trying to sell “easy SEO” solutions.

These are companies who would rather just spend money in exchange for improved Google rankings than spend the time and energy to utilize REAL SEO solutions.

The problem with this strategy is Google is getting very adept at knowing the difference between high quality relevant organic backlinks and low-quality irrelevant ones.

This makes paid-for links not only useless, but they can absolutely get your site penalized by Google and cause your site to sink like a stone within Google search results.

6. Use SEO Software Starting Day 1

If you’re going to put in all of the hard work needed to create a high-quality website, it is mission critical you begin monitoring your site with advanced analytics starting on Day 1.

Free SEO Tools:

  • Google Analytics
  • Google Webmaster Tools
  • Google Optimize – A/B Testing (just released last year)
  • Screaming Frog – Ugly interface, but great on-page SEO audit tool

Paid SEO Tools:

  • Ahrefs (our most used tool at YEAH! Local)
  • SEM Rush
  • Moz
  • Majestic
  • Screaming Frog (Paid account allows you to crawl more than 500 pages)

7. Diagnose and Eliminate Technical On-Site Issues

Most webmasters are often ignorant of the many issues their website has in regard to how effectively they can be crawled by Google’s spiders.

Designing and coding your website without an emphasis on SEO can leave your site in a vulnerable position, as there is plenty of competition within your industry that has an SEO understanding and has already eliminated the majority of their on-page web issues.

This makes them appear more authoritative in the eyes of Google.

NEW BOOK: The Ultimate, No Fluff, Take You by the Hand, Step by Step  Guide to Dominate with SEO  >> Download it FREE

A few examples of issues your site might have (and often can be easily fixed)

  • Pages with missing meta titles/descriptions
  • Images missing an alt-text attribute
  • Pages with broken links (both internal and external)
  • Pages with titles which are too long
  • Multiple pages with duplicate meta information
  • Pages missing language declarations

8. SEO is Constantly Evolving, Keep Up

Our lives as SEOs would be much easier if we believed we could continually offer the exact same services to our clients all the time, forever.

However, this is incredibly naive and short-sighted of us to assume we can continue to always do the exact same things and expect the exact same results.

As we touched on in our introduction, Google regularly updates their internal algorithms to create better experiences for their users.

It is up to SEO experts to learn about and understand these changes and know how to implement new services and techniques in compliance.

9. Build Links from Websites with Relevant Content

One of the best ways to bolster your site’s credibility is to focus your link building efforts on sites which produce high-quality content relevant to your site’s industry.

We cannot stress enough that this process is not easy, and sadly, there is no magic technique which will automate it.

You have to sit down and do the hard work of finding backlink opportunities and physically reach out to the site’s administrators in hopes of creating relationships which might yield future backlinks.

10. Optimize Your Page Titles

When you enter a search into Google you will see each search result shows a title for the link (in blue text) and a short description of the page directly beneath it.

The blue title text is officially known as your Meta Title and it is vitally important you do a good job of optimizing these titles.

Titles over 70 characters will not be fully shown in search results, and it comes off as quite unprofessional to users who can’t view the whole title.

11. Create Easy to Read/Understand URLs

One mistake we see many companies/people make unwittingly is creating pages with really long URLs.

This is often an issue we see on WordPress sites (though they are certainly not limited to WP sites) because many websites offer a default setting where the URL slug is automatically generated by duplicating the page’s title.

Google likes and suggests a simple URL structure. From Google’s content guidelines: “Whenever possible, shorten URLs by trimming unnecessary parameters.” – Google content considerations

12. Become an Early Adopter

This isn’t just an SEO tip. This is a LIFE TIP for anyone in business.

Always immerse yourself in the latest news regarding your industry and be on the lookout for anything new.

This can be new products, new techniques, new technologies, and write about them as soon as you feel confident you have something valuable to add to the conversation.

Early Adopter SEO Actionable Tip

Use Google Trends to see what and when people search for keywords. You can even look at keywords over a 5 year period to see growth or negative search trends.

It’s not only great for keywords you are interested in but also showing you what trends the world cares about in real time. Great way to find topics in your market which are trending.

13. Focus on Referring Domains, Not Just Links

When creating backlinks, it is not only important to build as many as you can from high-quality sources, it is also important to show Google your website is well-balanced with regard to its backlink profile.

Remember, there are many other link types than simply dot-coms – there’s .com, .org, .net, .gov, .edu, and many more.

These are the main ones and are referred to as generic top-level domains (TLDs). Your TLD profile is taken into consideration by Google as they score your website and sites that are well balanced are generally well-received.

For example, a website which features 5 .com backlinks, 5 .org, 5 .gov, and 5 .edu within its backlink profile will look authoritative to Google.

This website will probably rank higher than a similar website that has 20 .com backlinks.

The second website in the example may have the same overall backlink total, but they are not nearly as well balanced as the first website.

50 links from one domain have less SEO value than 3 links from 10 different referring domains (total 30 links from 10 referring domains). This is a super overlooked SEO tip!

14. Don’t Forget About Geo-targeting

Geo-targeting is a useful tactic if you own (or represent) a local business, particularly one with a real storefront.

In today’s mobile age, people are constantly searching for businesses on their smartphones near where they are at that given moment.

Websites which clearly state their geographic location have an advantage of being listed in local searches over those which do not.

Including your business’ location clearly and consistently formatted within your web content will help Google understand where you are located.

15. Structured Data aka Schema Markup

Schema Markup is a powerful tactic to make your Google search results appear more professional and eye-catching than your competition.

Schema Markup is code you can add to your site which helps search engines return more informative results.

Check out this example…When you search for “Stonewood Grill Menu”, you are presented with this as your first result:

The benefit is when Stonewood Grill updates the menu on their website the changes will also be displayed in the above SERP (The image above).

This is cost effective since the menu is maintained in one place online.

It is also a better experience for the user who wants to just dive into the menu.

Conclusion:

Ultimately, SEO is rapidly changing from one year to the next-even from one month to the next.

Business owners and marketers have to adapt quickly, but it’s still possible to give your business website the edge on your competition.

Just remember to focus on solid content creation and copywriting fundamentals, engage your viewers deeply, and stay aware of technical trends like backlinks, SEO health, site speed, and schema.

NEW BOOK: The Ultimate, No Fluff, Take You by the Hand, Step by Step  Guide to Dominate with SEO  >> Download it FREE

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The Truth About Local SEO (and why you need it)

The Truth About Local SEO (and why you need it)

Remember back when life was simpler and all the advertising you needed to do was purchasing ad space in the local phone book?

Well, things have definitely changed since then.

Now there are 100’s of important online places to promote your business on.

Local search is booming right now and is becoming a critical part of any small business marketing strategy.

Below are several compelling reasons why your business needs local SEO:

The Truth About Local SEO

Local Consumers Rely on the Internet:

  • 97% of consumers use the internet when researching local products/services (BIA/Kelsey)
  • 54% of Americans have substituted the Internet and local search instead of phone books

More Users = More Searchers = More Customers!

  • At least 140 billion local searches (on desktop & mobile) performed in 2017.
  • 95% of smartphone users have looked for local business information

Having a Website Is Essential, But It’s Just a Start

  • 36% of respondents say that a clear & smart website gives a local business more credibility
  • 32% of consumers are more likely to contact a local business if they have a website

It’s Crucial To Be Visible & Prominent On The Web

  •  98% of searchers choose a business that is on page 1 of the results they get

Your Reputation Matters!

  • 88% of consumers consult online reviews before they purchase local services   

Consumers Trust What They Read Online

  • 88% of consumers trust an online review as much as personal recommendations

Consumers Make Quick Decisions On Who To Use

  • 77% of smartphone users contact a business after looking for local information
  • 59% of mobile users who look for local information visit the business on the same day

Your Existing Customers Are Looking Online

  • No. 1 reason for doing an online search is to find the location for a ‘known’ business

Your Customers & Competitors Are Social

  • 72% of SMBs are using social media to promote their businesses
  • Seven out of ten consumers are more likely to use a local business if it has information available on a social media site

And Consider This!

  • 88% of consumers who search for a type of local business on a mobile device call or go to that business within 24 hours.
  • 54% of Americans have substituted local search for the phone book
  • SEO LEADs have 15% close rate, on par with the close rate for direct traffic, and ahead of referrals (9%), paid search (7%), social media (4%), and outbound leads (2%)
  • Over 2.6 Billion local searches are performed monthly and that number grows more than 50% each year
  • 61% of searchers consider local results to be more relevant and useful than standard search results

Local SEO is the Smarter Way To Go

When you compare Local SEO with PPC, you’ll find that 40% of SEO campaigns tracking ROI achieved a 500% or better return on investment compared with just 22% of PPC campaigns achieving the same level success.

Would you like a local SEO assessment?

We can help with that!

Download “The Ultimate, No Fluff, Take You By the Hand, Step By Step Guide to Dominate with SEO” Instantly!

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Yelp vs Google Reviews: Who Reigns as the Review King?

Yelp vs Google Reviews: Who Reigns as the Review King?

Yelp or Google Reviews?

Who reigns as the review king?

Which one should you focus on?

Both Google Reviews and Yelp are powerhouses with a long history in the business.

Both of them are influential.

But which one is the better choice?

How Does Your Business Compare to Competitors on Review Sites?

Use our Free Review Scanner to generate an Instant Reputation Report and see how your business appears on local review sites.

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Check out the infographic below for the pros and cons of both Yelp and Google Reviews:

 

Yelp VS Google Reviews

Yelp VS Google Reviews

Who reigns as the review king?

Both Google Reviews, and Yelp are powerhouses with a long history in the business.

Both of them are influential.

But which one is the better choice?

Yelp Pros

1) Established as a trusted review authority for 10 years

2) Yelp backlinks provide a lot of SEO value

3) #1 place users go to search for reviews

4) 100’s of millions of views per month

5) Free for business owners

Yelp Cons

1) Accused of pressuring businesses to pay for better reviews to be displayed

2) Review algorithm can be unpredictable, not all reviews will be displayed

3) Yelp reserves the right to terminate your listing at any time for any reason

Google Reviews Pros

1) Being listed in Google My Business helps with your Google Rankings

2) Google Reviews are normally displayed higher on the page results than Yelp

3) Free for business owners.

4) Better review algorithm  – and no pressure to pay for better reviews to be displayed!

Google Reviews Cons

1) Fewer views than Yelp per month

2) Not as easy to navigate and find a particular business listing on Google Reviews

3) Not as easy to dispute inaccurate reviews

Which one should you focus on?

For now, the answer is both and depends on your type of business.

While Google is slowly winning over the public with its seemingly unbiased treatment of reviews.

It’s not fast enough.

Some people still consider Yelp the king of review websites and for good reason.

Yelp only focuses on reviews, while Google Reviews is just a small part of Google empire.

I usually tell clients to focus on Google and then move to Yelp or do both at the same time. 

By monitoring both, you’ll gain valuable insight into how your customers, clients, or patients feel about their experience with you.

Good or bad, honest feedback is the best way you can maintain your reputation and grow your business.

What review site do YOU use more? Yelp or Google?

How Does Your Business Compare to Competitors on Review Sites?

Use our Free Review Scanner to generate an Instant Reputation Report and see how your business appears on local review sites.

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Content Marketing Sells Your Services Without Actually Selling

Content Mаrkеtіng іѕ thе рrасtісе оf writing аnd рublіѕhіng vаluаblе content оnlіnе wіth thе ultіmаtе gоаl оf acquiring new lеаdѕ аnd сuѕtоmеrѕ.

The process іѕ fосuѕеd on targeting a сlеаrlу-dеfіnеd аudіеnсе that hаѕ еxрrеѕѕеd ѕоmе tуре оf іntеrеѕt in уоur particular tуре of рrоduсt, ѕеrvісе, оr business.

By publishing уоur оwn engaging аnd uѕеful content оnlіnе, Cоntеnt Marketing hеlрѕ уоu sell уоur рrоduсtѕ аnd services wіthоut асtuаllу “ѕеllіng.”

Inѕtеаd of hаrd-ѕеllіng, іt аllоwѕ уоu tо deliver great information tо уоur target mаrkеt thаt naturally рrоgrеѕѕеѕ іntо thеm bесоmіng a рауіng сuѕtоmеr.

How Pay Per Click Complements Organic SEO (and Vice Versa)

How Pay Per Click Complements Organic SEO

They look very similar.

Only a tiny symbol separates them.

But they’re vastly different.

Pay per click (PPC) ads have been around as long as SEO, and SEO has been around as long as PPC.

They live in the same ecosystem, yet behind the scenes, their world’s are quite different.

One involves calculation, monetary investment, and near instant returns (or losses).

The other involves consistent effort over a long period of time with minimal returns, but immense returns once that coveted first page spot is gained.

Despite their differences, PPC and SEO complement each other in a beautiful way.

Most marketers and business owners, unfortunately, do not see this symbiotic relationship.

Rather, they see it as “one or the other.”

These people are missing out on a one-two marketing punch which could increase their bottom line even further.

In this article, I’m going to break down the benefits of both disciplines.

Then we’ll see how these benefits coincide and how you can use PPC and SEO together to grow your business.

Let’s get started:

Why Google PPC Ads Have Value

The ultimate goal of a PPC ad is to get noticed and clicked on.

As of February 2016, Google stopped placing ads in the sidebar.

They now exclusively feature ads either directly above or below the search results.

Google PPC Ads

This makes their ads a lot more visible.

Sidebar ads can be easily ignored by searchers.

Ads in the same column where they are naturally looking are tough to ignore.

To put the icing on the cake, they also changed the “Ad” symbol from a standout yellow to a more camouflaged green.

The green is the same color as each URL in the search results:

PPC Ad

This makes it slightly harder to immediately notice the top or bottom results are ads.

This increases click through rates and reduces an ad buyer’s cost per click.

The Benefits of SEO

On the other hand, SEO allows you to get that same traffic but at zero monetary cost. (Other than paying for an agency to get those rankings for you.)

It’s free organic traffic once those rankings come in.

This makes it a great option for small to medium-sized businesses.

To top it off, search engine traffic is some of the highest quality traffic you can get, no matter what stage of the funnel your buyers are in.

Once those rankings are in, they typically stay there (with continued work) and keep generating leads and sales for months or years.

How to Complement SEO With Pay Per Click

Although small business SEO and PPC are different, they can complement each other nicely to achieve your business results.

1. Bid for branded keywords to increase click through rate

First, you can pay for branded keywords (keywords with your brand in them) to increase your overall click through rate (CTR) for those keywords.

Most likely, you already rank #1 for your branded keywords, so you’re already getting most of the traffic.

Google Adwords for Brands

Paying for ad space for those keywords allows you to take up more space above the fold before people scroll down.

The suggested bid will likely be low as well, minimizing costs.

This will also mitigate competitors buying your branded keywords to piggyback off of your brand.

People searching your branded keywords already know about you, so you might as well try to convert as many of them as possible, especially because the relative cost will be lower than other keywords you can target.

2. Run PPC ads to find profitable keywords for your SEO campaigns

PPC ads are a quick and easy way to test whether or not a keyword will convert well for you.

However, most people only use this information to enhance their pay per click campaigns.

They figure out which keywords convert best and simply allocate more budget for those terms.

 

You can also make this a double whammy:

Find which keywords are performing well in your PPC campaigns, then target them with your SEO campaigns as well.

This will allow you to grab some of the free organic traffic for those keywords and increase your overall click through rate.

You will also start your SEO campaigns already knowing those keywords will convert well for your business, rather than making educated guesses (and sometimes far less than educated guesses) about which keywords are best.

How SEO Complements PPC

SEO can also help you run more effective pay per click campaigns.

1. Use your current rankings to find PPC keywords to target

If you’re struggling to find good PPC keywords to target, you can use your current rankings as a starting point.

Grab all of the keywords you are already performing well for you.

This way, you know you’re not wasting your money when you pay for them.

Then target those same keywords with PPC ads.

You will increase your overall CTR, and since you know they’re high-converting keywords, you will also increase your top line revenue.

2. Use remarketing to further target and segment your search engine visitors

Remarketing involves pixeling (tagging) people who land on your website and using another platform to display ads to them again.

You can use remarketing on social media platforms, like Facebook, or on any website that offers display advertising.

Google Remarketing Ads

When your search engine visitors land on a certain page, pixel and segment them based on the topic of that page.

This breaks your audience down into targeted interests, rather than the cumulative number of people who visit your site.

Then deliver remarketing ads based on those interests.

This will bring them back to your site, increase conversions (since they’re already familiar with you), and it will increase brand awareness.

This brand awareness will lead to more branded searches, and thus, more trust and ranking power in the eyes of Google.

Over to You

SEO and PPC are just different positions playing on the same team.

They can do well independently, but they can do even better if they work together with one another.

Have you used PPC and SEO together to reach your business results?

Let me know in the comments below.

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Don’t Get Duped: Key Questions to Ask Before Hiring an SEO Company

Hiring an SEO Company

How your business chooses an SEO agency is important.

But it can be pretty tricky.

Modern business demands a credible online presence.  

Yet, shysters seem to lurk behind every web page, just waiting to pounce.

This post is for any business owner that knows they need SEO but is wary of getting scammed.

The truth is:

Entrepreneurs are smart to be skeptical.

If you don’t understand our industry, your local “SEO expert” might just take you for a ride.  

Or worse yet, some shady overseas “SEO agency” may just reel you in with an irrefutable offer and then ruin your domain name forever.

Avoid SEO Scams

That’s not to say that all one-man SEOs or foreign agencies lack search optimization skills and need to get over on people.

However, plenty of them do.

If you aren’t careful, your website, brand, and business may be forfeit.

At the end of the day, you have to talk to your SEO agency, ask questions, and hash out a customized plan that makes sense.

But before you start throwing questions their way, make sure you’re actually prepared for the answers you might receive.

Make sure you start with a little introspection.

Set Marketing GoalsQuestions For Yourself

Few business owners actually understand how search engine optimization works.

So even if you’re looking for an SEO agency, the technicalities are not where you should focus.

Instead, entrepreneurs should concentrate on running their business and completing goals.

To this end, their several questions any business owner should answer about their own business before they even consider selecting a digital marketing company.

What is our value proposition?

A strong value proposition sends important signals about your business.  

It’s crucial that any online marketing you do is centered by a value proposition that sets you apart.

What does the ideal online sales cycle look like for us?

Your focal point might be an online store, generating phone calls, growing an email list, or something else.  

Your particular combination will be based on your brand and industry.

How much is each new customer worth to us over their lifetime?

Customer acquisition is the name of the game in Internet marketing.  

A real understanding of what new customers are worth helps you answer related questions regarding the budget.

What level of success have we had with online marketing so far?

Your brand’s online history is an important part of the SEO equation.  

Age is a big deal to the search engines as well as users.  

That’s why this question helps establish perspective.

What are our (short and long-term) goals?

Never forget that good SEO is a long-term strategy.  

Balance your goal timeline and always keep perspective on what is most important.  

Quick hit SEO is not the way to go.

The power in understanding these aspects of your business is two-fold:

First, any good SEO consultant or company is going to ask these questions, so be prepared to provide answers.  

Indeed, the presence of a well-designed Discovery Page indicates that a company designs custom campaigns for their clients.

Second, knowing these answers will give context to the questions you’ll be asking during the interview process.

phone interview

But before we get around to putting these questions to prospective agencies, let’s go ahead and eliminate as many unfit candidates as possible.

Prescreening SEO Services

There’s no reason to talk to an SEO who you don’t trust or already know isn’t the right fit.

So, doing research up front will save you time (and headache) down the road.

If you’re researching Internet marketing companies, it only makes sense to use the Web to screen them.  

Luckily, the modern Net is quick to volunteer information on businesses and brands.

We say your first three filters should be Rankings, Reviews, and Reaction.

Not every good SEO company will focus on all three, but if they can’t do any of these right for themselves, it’s hard to imagine they could get them right for your brand.

The place to start though is quite logical.

Rankings: Search Engine Results

It’s all about proof.

The most obvious way to prove that you can help a business rank for their keywords is to rank for your own.  

If you’re looking for local results,  you can search by your industry, ie. “dental marketing Atlanta”, “SEO for lawyers Atlanta”, etc. and see who turns up on the first page.

These “showcase keywords” are one of the primary ways search marketing companies jockey for position in front of potential clients.

However, this requires ample resources.  

Many SEO choose not to fight that battle.

And they don’t have to when their client’s rankings are enough.

Reviews: Online Reputation

For the last few years, Internet reviews have had the power to make or break businesses.

But now, online reviews are even factored into search algorithms.  

Which means that online reputation management now falls into the realm of SEO.

So when you’re looking through reviews of potential agencies, you’re also performing a basic component of the modern web presence audit.

Realize that great testimonials are the ultimate marketing tool.

For SEO, look for them on Google My Business, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

Atlanta SEO Reviews

But be on the lookout for fake ones.  

Many companies see the value and pay for reviews from places like fiverr.com.  

It can be hard to pick out the genuine article unless you know what to look for.

That’s partly where the next filter comes in.

Reaction: The “Gut Check”

One of the main things you want to do when you seek out SEO companies is to analyze their marketing at an emotional level.

good vibes good marketingHow does it make you feel?

Emotion plays a big role in marketing.

Remember that the company you choose will be creating marketing campaigns that represent your brand.  

If you don’t feel they’ll help you connect with your audience, you’ll want to choose someone else.

Many of the best SEO agencies create authoritative content designed to inform their audience and establish trust in their industry.

For example This post.

In theory, they’ll be responsible for doing the same thing for your brand.

This filter is all about trust.  

It’s no guarantee, but it is a good start.  

You still have to get the marketing consultant on the phone and:

Ask the Right Questions

The questions you should ask should have less to do with SEO strategy and more to do with legitimacy and fit.

You could almost say we’re still screening here.

Look for Red Flags

looking for seo red flagsSome questions you’ll ask to weed out shady companies and don’t listen to SEO myths.

Many of these are tests.  

You’re looking for specific answers and if you don’t get them, you know that the company you’re interviewing doesn’t practice top-tier search engine optimization.

This is where you separate the real SEO from the SEO salesmen.

Are your services cheap?

Start here because there is no such thing as “good, cheap SEO” anymore.

Today, this is the first tell-tale sign that an agency doesn’t prioritize sustainability.  

Turn tail and run.

Can you guarantee we get to the number one spot for our best keyword?

Guarantees in SEO are sketchy.  

The fact is, no one knows exactly how Google’s algorithms work on any given day.  

So promising the top spot is always risky business.

How fast will you get us ranked?

Mentioning “easy wins” is one thing.  

But legit SEO timetables are a really difficult thing to come by.  

Predictability in SEO is at an all-time low.  

Beware those that say otherwise.

How many backlinks are you going to build me?

In this case, you’re looking for shysters to betray themselves with answers like “100s” or “1000s”.  

That type of answer reflects an outdated and limited understanding of SEO.

How do you handle communication and reporting?

It’s important that you know your contact person within the company you’ll be working with.  

On top of that, legitimate agencies provide periodic reporting on rankings and other info.

Do you always follow Google’s best practices?

This is huge.  

If you encounter an SEO with blatant disregard for what the search giant has to say, run the other way.  

They are begging for penalties.  

And so are their clients.

Why should we hire you?

With this one, you’re looking for unrealistic claims not otherwise listed.  

Here, the SEO salesmen hit you with unrefusable offers.  

Open the door and see their true colors.

If they can make it through this batch of questions without raising any alarms, it’s time to move on to the real interview.

The Right FitFind the Fit

Just because they are legit doesn’t mean their business is a match for yours.

You want to make sure that they can represent your brand the way it should be.  

So you need to ask questions that pertain to your business.

 But the conversation should be open on both ends.

This is where you can expect those questions you answered about your own business to come up.  

And if they don’t, you should consider that the last “red flag”.

As you’ll notice, this last set of questions requires they know a bit about your business.

What kind of SEO work do you do?

Modern SEO is an expansive topic.  

Effective optimization plans are based on the business they are designed for.  

Some agencies specialize in one area of SEO, others do it all.

Can we see samples of work for similar clients?

If you’ve properly prescreened your list of potential SEO, you might already have all the examples you need.  

Either way, try to find someone with experience in your industry.

How will your work tie into our other marketing efforts/industry?

Any SEO firm that you choose to work with will need to mold their tactics and strategies to fit your business.  

Focus on how well the consultant integrates your vision into the answer.

How do you typically determine success?

Your marketing consultant should be looking to build on the ideas you have for your brand online.  

So when it comes to goals, you want an SEO that lines theirs up with yours.

Depending on your business and the plan your chosen expert has in mind, there may be more specific questions you should ask.

Dont fall down the SEO rabbit holeDon’t be afraid to be creative with your inquiry.  

Just try not to journey too deep down the rabbit hole of search ranking theory.

Final Takeaway

If you use this post as a blueprint, you’ll be able to select an SEO with confidence.

What you want is a tough decision between several great agencies.  

If you’ve gone through the entire process and can’t decide, return to the “Reaction” phase of the prescreening process and go with your gut.

As long as you’ve focused on finding legitimate digital consultants whose marketing strategies and expertise are compatible with your brand, you’ve done your due diligence.

If you feel that YEAH! Local might fit the bill for your business, please get the conversation started today via our Discovery Page.

Also, if you’ve found this post helpful, please share it on your social media network to help others make smart digital marketing decisions.  Or, if you have a question or another excellent question to ask prospective agencies, please comment below!

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How Long Does Modern SEO Take to Work?

How long does modern SEO take to work

One of the most common questions we get at YEAH! Local is:

“How long will it take to rank my business for this keyword and that keyword.” In fact, you probably found this post by searching “How long does it take SEO to work” or something similar.

It’s not surprising that this is a common line of questioning.  

But truth be told, it might not be that helpful a question to ask in the beginning-except maybe as a test.

Allow me to explain:

Any trustworthy estimate is based on in-depth research.

The more research, the more reliable the estimate will be.

So, if you ask your local SEO “expert” how long it will take to see results with them and they respond with something like “6 months minimum”-or higher-from the beginning, proceed with caution.

Indeed, a much better answer might be “There’s no telling, but…

“We Can Begin with an Assessment”

SEO Assessment in AtlantaThere’s really no way around it.

If anyone in SEO tries to give you a timeline without looking at your website first, be on guard.

Either they are a rookie or a shyster.

In the world of search engine optimization, every site is different.

Ranking for a specific keyword may take anywhere from 24 hours to 2 years depending on your site’s history, your location, and the industry.  

Plus, Google may let another animal out of its zoo at any given moment.

Before top-notch SEO consultants quote anything, they do keyword research, site audits, competitor analysis, etc.

And if they truly know what they are doing, they should be able to find a few areas to tweak your digital marketing campaigns that bring an immediate effect.

The Easy Wins

Undoubtedly, SEO is a long-term strategy.

But SEOs that are really worth their salt know how to look at the full scope of a brand’s online presence and find every possible place for improvement.

Often, the smallest things can have a HUGEimmediate impact.

Short-term and Long-term SEO work Synergistically in Atlanta

Short-term and Long-term SEO work Synergistically

Sometimes it might be a small edit to the text on a page.  Or perhaps the meta-data just needs to be cleaned up.  

There are even times when a subtle change on social media can gain your website several spots on the Google results page.

Finding these subtle solutions takes both creativity and genuine SEO expertise.

The list of tasks associated with search engine optimization grows every month.

In a major way, our industry helps to keep businesses abreast of all sorts of trends in the digital world.

Often, a website is just behind the times and needs to be brought to date, so to speak.

Just make sure you always have your sights set on your brand’s long-term goals.

Here is a great infographic walking through the details:

Courtesy of: The Website Group

Taking Search Traffic Seriously

SEO is not for jokers

If You Don’t Take Search Seriously, Expect to get KO’d in the Search Results

The Internet generates the majority of leads in most industries.

That’s why SEO brings such a high ROI.

But the fact is that there is often some waiting involved-especially if your goals are as lofty as they should be.

In many industries, the difference between the first and second page equates to a 5, 6, or 7-figure difference in revenue.

Most business owners would gladly wait a year or more for those types of results…

…if only they were guaranteed.

Most clients are unwilling to sign a 6-month, 4 or 5-figure contract if they aren’t extremely sure about the results they will get.

And we see why.  A lot of these contracts have SCAM written all over them in big, bold letters.

Shady companies can use them to rope you in with no real intention of ranking your website.

But this isn’t always the case.

Contract Signing in Atlanta GAWhile YEAH! Local never make our clients sign contracts, we know that a 6 to 12-month contract isn’t always a bad idea.

There are two reasons for this:

First, your site (or entire online presence) may need a complete overhaul in order for you to truly compete in your field.  

This invariably takes time and resources; more accurately, this takes ongoing resources over time.

Second, all SEO effort should continually build on itself.  The climate in your industry may require months or years of consistent effort to begin ranking. That’s just the nature of the beast.

Remember though, it takes a full-scale assessment to see the whole picture.

Legitimate agencies might use 6 to 12-month contracts to ensure that clients don’t get out too early.

Spending months paying service charges to never reach intended goals sucks.

Both sides of our industry want to avoid that.

Realistic Expectations

One of the most important things to have in the marketing world is perspective.

Realistic Expectations for SEO

It plays so many parts.

As an Atlanta SEO agency, it’s essential that YEAH! Local understand the perspective of both users and the search engines.

For an SEO client, keeping perspective is what is most important.

However, the responsibility falls on the agency to set realistic expectations for their prospective clients.  That’s why so many leading SEO companies have some sort of “Discovery” page or form.

“In many industries, the difference between the first and second page equates to a 5, 6, or 7-figure difference in revenue.”

By gathering a business’s relevant info beforehand, the quality and value of the initial consultation are increased dramatically.

This sets a foundation for the digital campaigns themselves as well as communication about those campaigns down the road.

An agency needs to know everything about the brands they represent.  

But business owners really only need a basic understanding of the steps involved.

Generally, any SEO campaign has several overlapping phases to it.

At YEAH! Local, we break it down like this:

  1. Research – We are “Information Architects”, so knowledge is the foundation of everything we do.  Website history, keywords, competition, industry, and more.
  2. Marketing Strategy – Based on our research and expertise, we formulate a plan specific to your brand.  We understand when it’s appropriate to shift your image, or simply bolster it.
  3. Optimization – Living up the search engines’ high standards is crucial. Optimizing all on-page factors is the first step.  This includes code, text, media, and everything else.
  4. Link Building and Content Marketing – Modern online reputation management is a multi-faceted process that takes real ingenuity.  You want to create a digital profile that establishes you as an authority.
  5. Testing – We monitor every facet of your campaigns.  Not just rankings but user experience and conversion rates.  
  6. Rinse and Repeat – As we continue to build your brand’s SEO profile, we rinse and repeat these processes on an ongoing basis.  This is the only way to stay on the cutting edge.

Modern digital marketing agencies that don’t constantly monitor, plan and test are destined to falter in their actions one way or another.

SEOs are tasked with building online trust with search engines and users.

As a matter of course, you should look for these types of trust signals when you looking for a company to help represent your business online.

Trust Signals

Before you trust any SEO company’s timeline, take a look at their own marketing.

Does it invoke trust?

trust in your SEO company

Remember, they are going to help you represent your brand online.  

If they don’t invoke trust in themselves, how are they going to do that for you?

It’s important that you understand some of the basic principles of SEO.  

But if you own a business in an unrelated industry, you’re best off not forming too many opinions.  

Internet marketing changes too rapidly for any but devoted search optimizers to keep up.

But it’s easy to think of it in terms of “The 3 R’s”:

Rankings: Do they actually have first-page rankings?

Reviews: Do they have reviews or testimonials for their services?

Reaction: How do their own branding, design, sales process, etc. make you feel?

Of course, having all three is always nice.  But truth be told, if an agency you’re interested in has any one of these three in spades, you can probably trust them enough to take a look.

If you’ve been doing your own SEO for years and have had some decent results, feel free to ask a few questions to vet out your consultant.

Otherwise, you’re best off with just a basic understanding and a healthy bit of skepticism.

Once you feel that you can trust them, give them your information.  Only then should you consider their timeline.

Realistic Rankings for SEO

At this point, it serves as a final check:

When you ask, “How long does it take to get results with SEO?” expect a reply that sets forth realistic expectations tapered nicely with an early win or two.

Want More Local Customers to Find You Online? Download Our Local SEO Checklist Instantly!

Atlanta Local SEO Checklist

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