SEO services—part of Rogue’s site optimization portfolio—give you the longest value for the lowest amount of money in marketing. It’s next “rival” for the highest return on marketing investment is email marketing and marketing automation.
So what makes SEO so valuable? And is there a time when you should prioritize other strategies over SEO? Let’s dive in.
What Makes Search Engine Optimization So Valuable
Every time someone performs a search and clicks on your link, you’re getting one of the most qualified visitors you’ll ever see. They are mentally prepared to hear what you have to say. And you need search engine optimization to help you be there when they need you!
You know the power of search. You use it every day. Asking your phone a question has become so automatic, it’s nearly instinctual. And many of those questions involve a solution (product or service) that you will eventually buy.
Obviously not every search you perform ends with you entering your credit card number. You’re looking for information; you’re working your way through a customer journey. And you usually end up buying from the source you trust most, more so than the source with the lower price.
Search engine optimization lets you put the steps leading up to purchase in front of the audience looking for a solution that you provide. You create the path so that by the time someone is ready to buy, you’re the obvious choice.
What Makes Search Engine Optimization So Hard
SEO is not just for brands with extra budget—it’s the first investment you should make in your digital strategy. Organic search may be free each time a visitor clicks your link from the search engine results page (SERP), but it requires an investment to maintain that position.
Here’s the thing about investments: they take time, input, and consistency.
Many organizations struggle with committing to the time, input, and consistency that SEO requires in order to be successful. And that’s where your opportunity is waiting: Their lack of commitment is why you can step in and succeed. Yes, there are other brands who have been working at SEO long before you have; but the same reasons that you don’t want to invest in SEO are the reasons that others haven’t. And that leaves a gap for you to step in and fill.
In other words, it’s your opportunity to lose.
How to Do Search Engine Optimization
What is the day in, day out work of SEO? The simplest way to look at it breaks down into 2 categories: onsite SEO, and offsite SEO.
Onsite SEO: What to Think About, How to Do It
Your website is made up of thousands of elements—quite a lot of it is what you see, but there’s an entire backend that your visitors will never interact with. But search engines interact almost exclusively with what’s happening under the hood, and for most sites out there, it ain’t pretty.
Image Meta Data
Every site uses images. But how is a search engine supposed to know what that image is? That’s where alt tags come in. Alt tags are where search engines (and also visually impaired individuals) know if the imagery on a page contributes to the page’s relevance to a search user’s query.
Every page has a title—not just the headline you use, but the words that show up at the top of a tab. Users find that fairly helpful, but search engine systems find it critical. Those page titles are what show up as the clickable link on any search engine. Picking the right page title makes all the difference.
But there’s another set of codes that you can provide to search engines called schema markup. These lines of information are messages directly to search engines. The more clarity you can provide a search engine about your page, the more it is able to recommend your site to searchers. And that’s not all—you know how you can find pieces of content right on a Google search these days? Those paragraphs that answer your question right at the top of the SERP are called “Knowledge Graphs.” A key element for search engines to pull information from your pages to plaster right in the #1 spot is…you guessed it…schema markup.
Keyword Density vs. Topic Relevance
Keyword density as a function of ranking has had a rollercoaster history. Many organizations abused this element and started putting keyword phrases in until the copy on the page sounded weirdly robotic. Search engines are now smart enough to know the topic of your page, and can rank your content in the top 10, even if the exact keyword match isn’t anywhere in your copy. That’s fantastic news, because it allows you to write copy that is relevant, intelligent and to the point, without having to “trick” a search engine into ranking you.
Content length is somewhat of a debated aspect of SEO. Should every page have over 300 words? Are 2,000-word articles “better” than 800-word blog posts?
On a page by page basis, there is no answer. But from a site-wide perspective, the answer is, “Spread it out.” Not every page needs to be a peer-reviewed publication; but some pages need to be more than high-level value propositions and boilerplate statements. The short pages keep visitors clicking throughout your site; the longer articles keep them there longer. Both should be geared to help visitors accomplish their goals.
You may have heard that “links are the currency of SEO.” Remember why we call it “the Internet”: Everything is connected! The more connected one thing is to everything around it, the better it can be accessed and contribute to the “net” part of the Internet.
Internal links tell users and search engines alike how one page on your site relates to the other pages. Consider having at least 2 links within the body section of your page content to other pages on your site.
Offsite SEO Practices: Where to Put Your Energy
Remember how the Internet is all about the network effect? The more places that connect to you, the more you contribute to what the internet is.
That’s why offsite SEO is largely about expanding the number of places that refer traffic back to your site. Some sites have more clout, which makes their referrals more valuable. You’ll hear about Domain Authority, but don’t lean too much on it. There’s still quite a lot that goes into rank algorithms. The bottom line is always this: Make users’ experience better. If your SEO strategy isn’t founded in that principle, then you might get knocked down by the next algorithm update.
Inbound links help your site get spread throughout the internet, and point traffic back to your site. Link text (what the blue hyperlink actually says) has floated in and out of relevance in the search engine algorithms, but one thing has remained the same: How relevant the topic is to what someone is searching for. Inbound links, with topic-relevant text, says to users and search engines, “We recommend this site (yours) to learn more about this topic.”
Guest posts double down on the relevance factor and gives you another opportunity to build inbound links to your site. They are time intensive, which is why many organizations don’t commit the time to execute on them. Rogue has the means to deliver cost-effective inbound guest post links within the budget you have available.
Business directories have a high Domain Authority, and they are intersections of the Internet. Your business benefits from being listed in more places—especially on directories relevant to your industry, if there are any.
Every business is different, and not every listing is relevant to you. From Google My Business to Yelp, and Doctor Grades to Angie’s List, the more places your business can be found, listed and rated, the more routes you create back to your website.
SEO…Plus Patience…Yields Major Results
Rogue’s clients that maintain their commitment to growing their search engine optimization have seen major growth.
You don’t have to do everything. When you do something, you’re still doing more than other players in your niche.
The road is long, and it’s not always easy. Changes in your business force you to reconsider budget priorities all the time. SEO is like any investment account…though it does pay off much sooner. The longer you commit even a modest amount every month toward it, the bigger the investment pays off in 6 months, a year, two years, and five years.
Reach out to Rogue to discuss your search engine optimization needs.