Successful marketing comes from strategy, dedication, and investing in what works. When it comes to helping businesses get found online, SEO is what works; it also requires a solid long-term strategy and analysis to ensure your website is following Google’s best practices and getting results.
In the first of our Home Care Marketing Expert Series, we’re going to be picking the brain of corecubed’s resident SEO expert, Beth Jackson, to help give you a better understanding of the importance of and the strategy behind SEO.
Leigh-Ann: Thanks for taking the time to answer some questions about SEO for us, Beth. How long have you been doing SEO and what do you love about SEO work?
Beth: I have been utilizing SEO techniques to help websites rank higher and gain
more of an online presence for over 9 years now. SEO has developed over time and is consistently changing! This is one element that makes me love doing SEO work. Although things change frequently, it is very valuable to keep up with Google’s changes and learn new things over time.
L: Why is an SEO strategy an important part of a marketing plan?
B: Most consumers are now searching online for information about businesses prior to actually engaging with them. Or, if the consumer does not know of a business that can help them, they are seeking out information online to find a business that will fulfill their needs. SEO is very important because it will allow a business’ target audience to find their website and information. Sometimes, a business that is very relevant to a consumer’s search will not appear in the search index or on the first few pages. This is not because Google doesn’t “like” the business, but it may be because the business’ website does not relay enough information to Google that will allow Google to see they should rank for that specific search. If a website is not telling Google or other search crawlers the right information, this is limiting how many people visit that website, or how many targeted visitors are coming to the site. Without SEO, a website may get traffic, but the traffic may also be unrelated to visits that may produce actual leads.
L: That’s a really good breakdown of why SEO is important in today’s digital world. Google really is king when it comes to online searches, which brings me to my next question: We hear a lot about Google’s ever-changing search algorithms. What is a search algorithm and why does it matter?
B: A search algorithm is the formula search engines use to order websites on a search index. The algorithms are comprised of different variables that certain websites must fulfill in order to “rank” higher on the search index result. The algorithm will look at relevancy to a specific keyword set, it will look at the overall authority of the website online – how many links are incoming or outgoing, review the relevancy of the content on the website and more. The algorithm is always changing. This is because search engines, like Google, want to provide web searchers with the best search result possible, and provide a result very closely related to their actual search.
L: Awesome. So, if someone were to say, “I want my business to rank for a specific keyword, like ‘home care’,” can you do that?
B: Yes, we can target our strategies to rank for specific keywords, along with
their keyword variants.
L: A lot of businesses want that coveted #1 rank on the first page of a Google search. How long will it take for a business to rank #1 on a Google search?
B: When we look at ranking a business, we do not want to only aim for the #1 spot. We want the website to be visible throughout the search index and in as many places as possible. This will help the site take up more “real estate” online in various searches that will bring quality web visitors. Ranking #1 in a particular city and state, or target area, will vary from business to business, based upon the competition online and the website’s current SEO status.
L: Keywords are a big part of SEO. How can a business know what keywords it should be using on its site?
B: That is something that we can help aging care businesses determine. Because we understand the home care industry and have been working with similar businesses for many years, we know how people search for home care and other aging care services. Our experts can help guide businesses towards what keywords should be used throughout the website, and what keywords would be the best to rank for in order to bring lead-producing traffic.
L: There are many rumors out there that link building is dead. Is that true?
B: Link building tactics have changed over the years. We always stay up to date with Google’s guidelines so that all SEO work is done in a natural and ethical manner. Links will always be a part of how Google determines a website’s authority. Building links that provide no value to a website – such as using automated programs to mass produce links – or spamming unrelated blogs, is the type of link building that is dead. The type of link creation that is valuable would relate to links that are other authority and related websites, or local websites that will help prove to Google of a business’ location area.
L: How long does it take to see results from SEO?
B: It will take at minimum 3 to 4 months to begin to see the results from our SEO efforts. This is due to the fact that it will take Google (and other search engine crawlers) at least 30 to 45 days to begin to index and “see” the work that we are doing. This causes a delay in seeing results because you will not “see” rank changes until the SEO work we are doing is recognized. At the 3 to 4 month mark, this is where you will begin to see fluctuations with the rankings and measurable results that we can show based upon traffic tracking, keyword rank tracking and reporting.
L: For those business that use social media, do social media channels affect a website’s SEO?
B: Yes. Google wants to make sure that a business is active on social media and is giving online users a way to reach that business. Utilizing social media also allows Google to verify that that the business is real and established. And regular updates on social media shows Google that a business cares about its clientele, which will in turn improve the website’s overall ranking score.
L: What about review sites? Do reviews of a business on review sites affect SEO?
B: Yes. Every review site will benefit overall SEO. The review sites are thought of more so as an online directory to search engines. The more times a website shows up with the right business listing information, on different directory websites, the more “citations” that business will have. These citations help to prove to Google and other search engines that the business is real. The number of reviews on the business’ Google+ page specifically affects the way that Google+ page will stand out on the Google Maps section. More reviews will also help the Google+ page rank higher in the map search results, although that is not the only factor that Google looks at for ranking there.
L: Thanks so much for your time today, Beth. One last question: What is an important aspect of SEO that you, as an expert, wish more people knew about?
B: I personally wish that more people understood how Google indexes a website and how often. If the website is not updated frequently, then Google’s search crawlers will not visit it often. This hurts the overall rank of a website. If the search crawlers are not coming back to rerank the website’s content, then the business will see no rank changes. If SEO is being performed on-site and off-site, Google will have many opportunities to come back to the website, reindex and recrawl for a new ranking. As new links are created that point to the business website, or as new content is added to the website, Google will learn to come back more often to see these
changes, which will result in a faster reranking and indexing.
Big thanks to our SEO expert Beth for taking some time to answer some of frequently asked questions about SEO. Have more questions you’d like to ask our SEO guru? Leave them in the comments below or contact the corecubed team to learn more about our SEO services and how we can help improve your agency’s online presence!