Choosing SEO service for your business
Understanding the 3 basic types of SEO services
1. Code and server optimization (On-page SEO)
Also known as “Technical SEO” I usually prefer to avoid this term because it is such a fundamental part of SEO that I cannot place it in a separate category, however it does require specific skills and a more than basic knowledge mostly in front-end development (HTML, CSS, JS, Ajax etc) and even some cases server-side knowledge (server-side rendering, SQL, PHP, regex, OOP etc).
For the non-coder two websites can seem the same and also for some coders 2 websites could look the same, but for the trained SEO professional (and also for search engines) two websites that seems from the outside identical could look very different and rank accordingly.
The technical part of SEO has many objectives such as making sure that the website is faster, more secure (because it’s very hard to rank a website that was hacked), minimal downtime issues, Search engine crawlability & availability etc.
2. Content optimization (On-page SEO)
A very general rule of thumb is that more “quality content” that you publish, the more rankings and traffic your website can receive. The term “quality content” is not a trivial term and needs a deeper understanding of the types of content, the types of user queries and query intent.
3. Link building (Off-page SEO)
If you’d stick a gun to my head and tell me to define SEO in two words I would have to say “Content and links”, obviously it is much more complicated than that, however, these are the two top ranking factors that can make a difference for ranking any website. Think of a link as a recommendation and a website that has many links from external websites means (and again this is very generally speaking) that it has more recommendations, hence higher page rank.
As part of the SEO strategy SEO’s try to gain links to improve rankings. It is important to mention that unnatural links are contradicting to Google’s SEO guidelines and technically considered as “Black Hat” SEO. However, in most competitive niches, it is nearly impossible to get top rankings without influencing link generation in some sort of way.
Additional SEO services:
ORM (Online reputation management)
This service usually requires advanced SEO understanding and capabilities, the aim is to outrank or remove negative results when searching a name of a person or a business
Social media optimization for Google SERP
This service usually happens only with reasonable SMM campaign management, but sometimes there are some discrepancies between the accounts and websites and Google sometimes is having “hard time” to recognize the brand and all its social profiles.
Negative SEO is a “Blackhat” technic and the only reason I mention this is because it exists, I do not recommend this method, not at the business level and not at the personal level, but I do believe it is important to be aware of it even if just to be able to detect if SEO competitor is trying to engage a negative SEO campaign on your websites.
The general idea in Negative SEO is that massive amount of exact anchor links from low-quality domains and “bad neighborhood” websites will eventually harm or penalize the competitor’s website and its SERP rankings will drop accordingly.
Local SEO could easily become the main traffic source in the marketing channel of Search engines, this is true since Google has launched “Google places” and “Google Business”. The basic concept of Local SEO is regarded to the part of Google’s algorithm which is attempting to detect queries that their search result value will change dramatically according to the user’s location, for example, a query like “Bars near me” should have dramatically different results if you’re located in America or in Africa. When doing local SEO it is taken under consideration that a high number of the relevant queries have high geo-location value and the SEO strategy is tailored accordingly.
How to decide the correct SEO budget for your business
Figure out the ROI on the SEO efforts
ROI (Return On Investment) is the SEO industry is a real pain, also evaluating a monthly or a yearly budget for online marketing is a bit tricky, specifically for SEO is even trickier because there is a lot of uncertainty & unknown factors in the ROI equation (mostly the fact that Google’s algorithm is hidden and the improvement in the rankings is only an estimation.
A useful approach for SEO ROI is calling it “Potential ROI”, that is a much more realistic approach that gives the business owner a broader understanding of the SEO strategy and possibilities.
The equation for calculation “Potential ROI” is a simple one:
Total search volume: find out the total number or the search volume for relevant keyword groups your business would like to rank for (Tip: usually less is better, most businesses tend to jump over the top and try ranking on keywords which are too general for their specific business).
*Estimated CTR: estimating how much traffic from the total search volume could your website rank for and get actually Click Through Rate. For example: if TSV is 10M per month and CTR is 0.1% then “Organic search traffic” is 10k visits per month.
Now that you have the “Organic search traffic” number we need to calculate the conversion rate and the revenue per sale, If you still don’t know your average conversion rate (for the specific marketing channel) we can set a realistic range for the conversion rate (somewhere between 0.5%-7%), let’s set 4% conversion rate for this example, the conversion rate could change dramatically even on the same website depending on landing pages, traffic source, user geolocation, specific query etc. And let’s also set revenue per sale as 10$, so now we can see that:
“Organic search traffic” x “Conversion rate” x “revenue per sale”
10K x 4% x 10$ x 12 months = 48K$
Total revenue from search traffic — SEO costs = SEO ROI
So we know that the yearly SEO costs could be up too 48K$ in the first year to still generate positive ROI (and that’s even before we considered the 2nd year).
In-house SEO Vs SEO agency
As if things are not complicated enough at this point we still have another critical issue to determine when choosing our SEO strategy and it’s using an in-house SEO specialist or choosing an external SEO agency.
Both have their advantages and disadvantages and there are few factors that will help you to determine which suits you best:
The Organic search potential
If your business is in a tiny niche that has a very low search volume and a low revenue potential (usually small and local businesses) then hiring a full-time in-house SEO would probably be not resulting in a positive ROI, also there are other factors to consider such as if there are skilled enough managers that can manage, hire and evaluate properly an SEO expert. In that case, maybe hiring an SEO agency would make more sense.
The type of SEO service needed
as mentioned before there are 3 main types of SEO services, if you can identify which type you need you can find a professional or an agency that can provide specifically these services, for example, finding an agency that specializes in off page SEO and PR.
As you can see the this is a more complicated situation than it seems, choosing the correct SEO service is not a simple task and it also entails a great potential for business growth. If you have no technical understanding of this online marketing channel you could probably use an SEO and Online marketing experts to build the optimal SEO strategy for your business.
You can also read the original post in Hebrew