Why Should I Be Doing SEO?
Just how search engines have continuously adapted with the times, SEO has also evolved to be more competitive than ever. The role of SEOs has expanded beyond just choosing keywords to try and rank for but has extended to a wide array of technical knowledge around code, design, data analysis, sitemaps, endless tools, and staying on top of algorithm updates, betas, site security issues, manual penalties, and much more. The frontend, backend, and offpage efforts are what help keep your website at the top of page one. For rankings below that, we’ve seen organic CTR lower by 4%-7% per position, meaning a drop from position 1 to 3 could lower organic CTR by 4%-14%. With so many important items needing attention, there’s no questioning whether you should be doing SEO or not, but if you are investing in enough time and resources.
What Types of SEO Are There?
There are many types of SEO, but for simplicity, a couple of common categories that can alter an SEO strategy are geography and ethics.
Geographical SEO will focus on gaining presence locally, regionally, or even nationally, depending on the nature of a website. As one can imagine, the setup and relationship between websites can greatly steer which strategy is needed and the research involved, not just for the websites being optimized but also for the competition they face.
Local SEO is usually meant to help smaller businesses that offer their products and services in a small town or city. A single dealership is an excellent example of a local business.
Regional SEO would be more appropriate for a website offering products and services across a larger area such as a state or the entire southeast of the United States. An example would be a website representing a chain of dealerships under one family name.
National SEO would be strategies that are meant to capture organic visitors from anywhere in the nation. Some examples of these are direct OEM automotive sites such as ford.com or nissanusa.com.
Keep in mind something like a collection of local SEO strategies across multiple related websites could very well be a regional strategy too. An example of this is a chain of used car dealerships under the same name with several individual locations spread out across a large area, each with its own website.
Ethical SEO looks at what is called white hat and black hat tactics. SEO gives a lot of room for creative approaches, each carrying its own level of risk.
When conducting white hat tactics, the SEO strategy is based on search engine best practices and is the safest and recommended SEO approach. This often addresses items from popular algorithm updates, such as Panda and Penguin from Google. This helps ensure everything being implemented on and off a website is within guidelines, from the quality of copy, to the quality of backlinks.
On the other hand, black hat tactics are riskier because they seek ways to game the system. An example of this is artificially making a large quantity of low-quality websites and linking them back to your main website in an attempt to fool search engines in thinking you have more backlinks. If caught, this can result in lowered rankings or even manual penalties, which can lead to the deindexation of specific pages or an entire website. Another example of a black hat SEO tactic is doing the same example mentioned prior, but instead of pointing the backlinks to your website, point them to a competitor in hopes search engines assume they were attempting to break guidelines and get penalized. Sabotaging someone is pretty unethical and if caught can lead to more than online-related penalties, but lawsuits, ruined reputation, and financial loss.
What Should I Look for When Hiring Expert SEO Services?
Keeping up with SEO takes a lot of time and effort, so a popular option is to hire experts to handle this need for you. When vetting out your options, there are some things to consider:
One of the first things to watch for is unrealistic expectations being set or sold. Since SEO strategies deal with organic trends and demand, it can be challenging to try and manipulate those types of users. Also, SEO is a long game. It can take 3-6 months to see a noticeable impact, sometimes even longer depending on the situation. If a company or person claims guaranteed results in a month, they might be either overselling or performing black hat tactics.
Another item to consider is the array of specified offerings in an SEO package. SEO has many components involved, so everyone may have their own take on what will actually be delivered. Be sure the company or person being vetted offers services that align with your current needs. Common offerings include written content, tag optimization, and backlinks, but for example, if you have your own in-house SEO copywriter, you may want someone to focus more on the latter two. Also, be sure to understand the extent of specific services. For example, just because someone mentions they’ll take care of your website, there are oftentimes limitations because an SEO provider and website provider have related but different roles.
Even if you don’t quite understand the specific SEO services you may need, when communicating your goals to your SEO provider, they should provide you an optimal strategy in return. In doing so, they should be able to educate and explain in an easy-to-understand way how their strategy supplements your goals. Also, be prepared to hear both, good and bad news. If everything were perfect, there’d be no need for SEO providers and no opportunities to address. This means transparent communication, so you’re always on the same page as to what it is they’re doing and why.
It’s hard to measure trustworthiness, but pay attention to your gut feeling. If all considerations above are genuinely understood and being met you should feel good about the relationship established with your SEO provider. If something feels missing, reconnect with your SEO provider to get on the same page. Afterward, if you’re still feeling uneasy about the services being delivered, it may be time to explore new options.
Force Marketing is a multi-award-winning agency focused on omnichannel marketing strategies for automotive clients. SEO is just one of many services we offer and excel in, so if you’re looking for expertise and innovation to move your business forward, contact one of our awesome representatives from our client success team.