SEO 101

We often have clients come to us bewildered at search engine optimization (SEO). It’s a buzzword with little understanding to those outside of the digital marketing ecosystem. The first thing you must understand about SEO is it is not “blackhat magic”. It is a project that can be tuned, refined, and deployed to help propel your web traffic and exposure. At the risk of sounding trite, a proper SEO strategy is absolutely essential in the digital landscape of today. That’s why MCQUEEN is here to help.

Today, our digital director, David, will help break down some of the macro essentials of SEO strategy. This will serve as a departure point for later posts, which will examine the micro strategies and tactics that industry leaders use to climb the search ranks.

SEO can essentially be broken into two key components:

  1. Onsite
  2. Offsite

Onsite SEO is the practice of optimizing elements on a website to rank higher and funnel relevant traffic from search engines like Google. This is done by including keywords that correlate the search phrase within the website’s content such as blog posts, or website pages. Onsite SEO also includes optimizing the HTML source code of a page – a key component in ensuring relevant traffic.

Offsite SEO encompasses the rest of the internet. It includes external signals which “back-link” to your website. For example, guest blogging and affiliate marketing are fantastic ways to strengthen your offsite presence, as both will use hyperlinks to backlink your website.

Onsite SEO is absolutely essential for any website. It ensures that relevant searches are being directed at your website. Offsite SEO serves to push you higher in the ranks. If you want to be within the top 3-5 search results, offsite SEO is the nuanced answer to your problem.

You can liken the difference of these two components to archery. Onsite ensures that you are at the very least hitting the target. Offsite slowly pushes you closer and more consistently to the bullseye.

So how do you know which keywords or phrases are the right ones to use? Two words: Google Analytics. An SEO professional like David can extrapolate an incredible amount of data from Google Analytics. You must remain cognizant of what the data is saying – it would be detrimental to your website to not have this plug-in. Back your assumptions up with evidence. Otherwise you’re searching for a needle in a haystack.

Yet, it’s not that simple. Only using keywords does not guarantee high conversion or click-through rates. This will take A/B testing, and some skill, but phrases that attract high volume and fail to convert customers aren’t a win.

Low volume, high conversion > high volume, low conversion

Read that again.

Would you rather find 100 die-hard fans, or 100,000 who feel agnostic to you? Choose carefully. The die-hards drive your business, they are repeat customers.

How is this priced? Proper SEO is typically a separate product from web development. Rudimentary onsite work is included when creating the initial product, but a truly effective SEO strategy requires monthly maintenance.

How much maintenance will be required? That entirely depends on the industry you fall in.

Depending on the competitive landscape of your industry, some SEO projects can yield results in days with only a few hours of work, others take months and countless hours more. This is due to the saturation of websites with respective search phrases.

You want to be the highest ranked Edmonton Realtor? That will cost you. If you’re not willing to allocate a large budget to an SEO expert, you need to temper your expectations. That doesn’t mean you won’t be found – you simply need to consider other options. For example, “Edmonton Real Estate” is incredibly ambiguous and saturated. Your name, on the other hand, is unique. This is a big incentive for using traditional advertising methods like bus stops and billboards. If you can get the consumer to remember your name, and add real estate to that, your website traffic is bound to increase.

The best way to find out how much it’s going to cost? Send us an email. David will give you a fair quote – he knows a thing or two about this stuff.

We hope this post gives you a general breakdown of SEO, the services required, and some ideas to consider.



Image credit