Nowadays, SEO services are a major component of online marketing. The science of search engine optimization is based on publishing the content created for the targeted audience, by using the exact same phrase searches as they use in Google.
In other words, Google tells us what phrases our customers use to find the services or products we offer, so we can reach them. For this reason, the words we use must be the same as the ones our customers use.
Over 93% of Internet users are searching for products or services online, this is why search engine marketing has become very important for any online business.
Many marketers doubt these services, especially because there are no specialized quality courses that can teach them how to measure the effectiveness of this activity or what the SEO activity really means.
Many digital agencies have noticed the opportunity to provide SEO services, even though they are not specialized in this field. That`s why many companies specialized in creating websites, HTML and PHP programming have self-proclaimed themselves "SEO agencies". Unfortunately, these web design agencies don`t understand that the SEO activity overlaps in 2017 with everything you communicate online, with the presence of the brand on social networks, on specialized sites, on blogs and so on. A lot of people still think that SEO is just an optimization of the website's text, meta tags, or some secret changes made in the website`s code.
To all marketers and to those who need online promotion: SEO services don`t mean a simple on-page optimization of the website. In 2017, SEO services include online marketing, quality content, a strong online presence for the brand on niche sites, on publishing sites, on social networks, on streaming sites (Youtube) and others.
Google's algorithms know how to interpret the online presence of a brand, through the number of online pages where the brand is mentioned, and through the reactions of the users who meet the brand and the content it released (User experience indicators).
There are many things to consider when we create a SEO strategy ... a successful one, of course.
When talking about SEO, you can`t promise a specific result within an exact period of time, this is why many marketers choose PPC campaigns (pay per click, Google Ads, Facebook Ads), that offer accurate figures: campaign cost vs. the number of clicks vs. sales, conversion rate.
What these marketers don`t realize are the weak points of PPC campaigns:
1. The budget is constantly fluctuating, it depends on how many new advertisers will bid on the same phrases as you are. Campaign costs are constantly increasing.
2. The online presence of the brand disappears once the campaign is over.
3. Sponsored ads have less and less credibility among the Internet users.
4. Low profitability for businesses that don`t attract loyal customers. PPC campaigns are particularly cost-effective when there is a high retention rate for customers brought using PPC.
Although there are positive and negative points, every marketing channel is important and must be used according to our strategy and to the results we want. The "Pay-Per-Click" channel is accessible to all. There are a lot of online tutorials that teach you how to start a paid per clickcampaign. Clear cost-to-cost measurement indicators have made PPC the easiest form of online marketing and perhaps the most credible.
Those who have learned economy surely have heard of the "perfect" market concept, just like the stock market (which, in theory, is a perfect market). PPC can be called a perfect market, where all the information is transparent.
SEO services have fewer users than PPC, because of the bad publicity made by many so-called companies/agencies, that deliver inconclusive results to their clients. This doesn`t mean that SEO services are not important or that they have a lower success rate than PPC.
A successful SEO strategy generates more than 50% of the traffic volume and order volume. SEO services generate brand awareness, discussions and opinions, generate interactivity with the client, communication strategies and classic marketing. At the end of the year, you will realize that the average customer acquisition cost (CAC) for SEO is lower compared to the average CAC for PPC.. Investing in SEO must be a constant process, often we compare it to the cost of renting a commercial space.
Why do we compare the cost of SEO services to the cost of renting a commercial space?
1. If the commercial space is located in a popular place, then the rent will be higher. Similarly, in SEO, the more competitive the domain is, the more you have to communicate better than the competition ... so the cost of SEO services also grows. However, like the rent costs, SEO costs don`t have an unpredictable evolution. You can make an annual budget or even a 2-3 years budget, without altering it too much.
2. If you don`t pay the rent anymore, in one month you have to evacuate the space and you have no place where you can invite your clients. Similarly, in SEO, if you stop "communicating online" Google will believe that the store is closed and you will lose your leading positions because the search engine doesn`t want to send users to "closed" stores. However, the presence you built online, your customers' opinions, the articles you've written are still going to generate some sales. The costs of maintaining good SEO results are far lower than the constantly rising costs of Adwords campaigns.
A brand that attracts mostly online clients needs to use all the available ways to promote itself but can direct different budgets to each channel according to the marketing strategy chosen and according to the expected results, in terms of time and cost.
Let's get back to the main SEO evaluation indicators:
1. Visibility SERP Score - is a website/brand visibility indicator for the main search phrases on its domain. For example, Google's first position for a search phrase has 100% visibility. The second position has 97% visibility, the 3rd position has 93% visibility and so on. These percentages may vary depending on the application you used for the ranking analysis. But we are interested to see increases and we can use these indicators to get an average of visibility for all the keywords we target. The upward evolution can show us the positive evolution of our presence in Google Organic.
2. Organic traffic, order value, and conversion rate
The Organic traffic is an easy to follow indicator in Analytics. An increase of the organic traffic shows us if the SEO agency does its job well. After a period of 8-12 months, depending on the field of activity, we can analyze the same indicators as in PPC (Adwords). We will be able to have a monthly report on SEO costs and the results generated by these costs. Statistics show that the cost per acquisition is far inferior in comparison to the same value from sponsored ads (Adwords - PPC).
Of course, we do not have to sit around and wait for 8-12 months to figure out if we're on the right track. Every month, we should have evolutions and we have to keep in mind the periodicity of sales in our field.
3. The number of keywords we were accessed on
Some will say that the organic traffic can`t be interpreted correctly, because, for more than 2 years, Google has been hiding the keywords people used to find your website. Yes, it hides them in Google Analytics, but in Google Search Console we can see both the clicks we recorded and the average positions we had on these keywords, CTR, and other indicators. In Google Search Console (formerly known as WebMaster Tools), we can see many keywords that we didn`t even target directly through the SEO strategy.
4. The number of indexed pages, brand presence on the Internet, through Google
An indicator that Google takes into consideration is the number of online pages where our brand appears. This figure can be seen after entering the following "order" in Google: "sitename.com" or "brandname". Google will show us all the indexed pages of our website or the indexed pages where our brand appears. The higher the number of pages, the better our online presence. We can have an overview of our online presence compared to our competitors` online presence. The SEO activity will permanently increase this indicator.
5. The number of backlinks, domain authority and page authority
We have left these indicators at the end because they are harder to interpret by marketers and they have a longer period of time in which they change. These indicators are among the main indicators that Google measures through its listing algorithms. They are very good when comparing our site with the competition sites or when we look at SEO services result for a longer period of time, such as 1 year or more. Although Google has the true value of these indicators in real time, we can`t see them in real time. There are many applications that provide us with this information but they are not "fresh" and they don`t provide results in real time.
These are the most common and handy indicators used to measure the efficiency of SEO services. Even though we can not accurately state when we will be ranked in the top 3 positions on a particular search phrase, we can see the evolution of the SEO activity each month.
The reports of a SEO agency should contain all the actions taken for a certain period of time and not just some indicators or positions of some key phrases in Google. This way, everybody can see what they spend their money on and whether this investment is likely to be successful. Also, when choosing a SEO agency, every marketer needs to see from the start what results the agency brought for other clients, how they perform an audit and how they report their activity.