Should You Hire an SEO Expert in 2022?

People often ask us if it pays to hire a Search Engine Optimization (SEO) company to help drive more traffic to their website. Our answer is often the same: “If they promise to guarantee that your site will be on the first page of Google, then an emphatic ‘NO.’” Only an unethical SEO pro would say that, and any spammy technique that violates search engine policies will result in a permanent ban.

Frankly, the most important SEO ranking factor is content. Social signals, backlinks, HTML code, responsive design, and finally a high ranking domain name support strong content. 

WORDS! The words used on all pages, the photos that enhance those words; your headers and sub-headers, article title and descriptions, lists, blogs and even how a form is labeled all contribute to SEO strength.

This is why every website that ActiveCanvas builds begins with a content strategy. Before one pixel is spent on design and color palettes, we spend considerable time building knowledge and writing content that we know is strong and that will rank high at Google. (There are other fine search engines, but Google sets the standards, so we pay attention to their algorithms).

Google is and always has been very clear about this. Their search algorithm prioritizes high-quality content that genuinely helps consumers understand your brand and interact with it. In fact, if your website uses any “click-bait” (content whose main purpose is to get a get a click regardless of relevance) or that uses too many misleading keywords, your site will be demoted, not promoted, and could be banned or ignored by Google, Facebook and others.

We recommend an SEO audit every year or so just to be sure that the online conversation you are having with potential and current customers is still compelling content that meets all the Google SEO standards. When we focus on your audience instead of “clicks” you have an SEO-friendly website that people actually want to read. And that’s good for your bottom line!

Do You Really Need SEO?

SEO water glassWe have a client with a product so unique, only a handful of markets use it. The site serves companies that play in that market with product updates and industry news. No one other than the businesses who need their product subscribe to their newsletter or product update notices. This client does not need SEO. They have, but they don’t need it.

However, we believe that most companies benefit from the basic building blocks of SEO—The Five C’s: Code, Content, Connections, Communications, and Capture.

Let’s take look at each building block:

Code

Every website should have underlying code that Google, Bing, and Yahoo can use in order to rank the site on a search engine results page (SERP). These are often referred to as meta tags. How to write certain meta tags is a science in itself and usually requires identifying the keywords used by direct competitors.

Content

The content on your site (and content about you elsewhere on the web) is your single most important SEO ingredient. SEO-friendly content satisfies the search engines and delights and amazes your prospects. Keyword phrases done well are subtle, relevant, and read like we speak. If you’re overaggressive with SEO keywords, a site can actually be “punished” with a lower rank or no rank at all. Writing SEO-friendly content is an art.

Connections

It’s called link-building, and it’s the most difficult to do well because it requires engagement. Not the proposal-leading-to-marriage kind of engagement, but link exchanges with “influencers” in your market. So if your site boasts the world’s first electric tractor, you want Farm Industry News writing about you and linking to your website. Don’t pay anyone to find broken links on other sites with the offer to replace the broken link with yours. Google wants high quality SERPs and will punish those who abuse their algorithm.

Communications

Social media is not SEO. But using social media to engage with customers and influencers is one of the best ways to create the connections that lead to SEO-helpful links. Don’t get me wrong, we all belong at the Social Media Marketing Table. So when you post, keep in mind who you are posting for—your customer and a potential industry influencer.

Capture

As Alice said to the Cheshire cat, “if you don’t know where you’re going, any road will get you there.” When looking at website traffic, we can’t know how well we are doing today unless we know how well we did yesterday. Google Analytics embedded in a website is just the beginning. Knowing how to analyze the data, then change, alter, add to or get rid of certain content on your website is critical to a site’s success.

What if No One is Picking Up What You’re Putting Down?

Let’s say you have invented a new product that has proven immensely popular with the friends and family whom you persuaded to try it. It could be the next top-seller gadget for 2018, but no one is searching for it because no one knows it exists. Running keyword research is a waste of time—keywords won’t exist yet. You have to create them! In these cases, the best SEO tactic is paid search in an awareness campaign. The good news is that the cost of paid search is affordable—there’s no competition in this case. Once there’s demand, return to an SEO strategy and drop or scale back any AdWords campaign.

Want to check out your website’s SEO potential? Email us and we’ll send you our SEO Best Practices Guide. Or just call (772) 932-7969. Do it now!

SEO in the Age of Siri and Alexa

SEO Trends for 2018: How to Get on the First Page of Google

After being in the digital marketing space for almost a quarter century, we consider it an honor to share our knowledge and know-how with peers and fellow business owners. Recently, we presented an educational “mini-seminar” that touched on meeting the new challenges for website SEO in light of trends toward image-intense responsive websites and the rising popularity of Google Voice, Echo Alexa, and Apple Siri voice-activated search queries and long-tail-plus SEO keywords.

Our Coffee Talk presentation to the Hobe Sound Chamber of Commerce was on Tuesday morning, March 13, 2018. Coffee Talks are small group educational events hosted by Hobe Sound Chamber member organizations four times a year in the John H. Filer Memorial Boardroom, an adaptable meeting and event space adjoining the Chamber’s offices on Bridge Road.

Presentation Outline:

  • SEO Keywords Trends in 2018
  • Text, long-tail & long-tail+ keywords defined
  • Good keywords vs bad keywords
  • Influence of voice search on keywords
  • Importance of mobile first design and content
  • How to build outbound links and backlinks
  • Important of image SEO
  • SEO for the User Experience in 2018 and beyond
  • What do to now to be ready for 2019

We believe that when we work together with other business owners in our community, as a community, we help spread the story of Hobe Sound—and that collectively we
become a better town because of it.

Feel free to download our presentation on SlideShare, and if you want to learn the backstory about SEO trends for 2018, or if your company might benefit from a personal no-obligation one-on-one conversation about your current SEO issues, give us a call at (772) 932-7969 or contact us via email ac@activecanvas.com