By Jack Turner
When it comes search engine optimization (SEO) services, it can be helpful to understand what goes into a balanced, well thought out campaign before deciding how much to spend on it. Gauging how much to invest in SEO is not quite as cut and dry as calculating your PPC spend. There are several factors that you should think about when determining your SEO investment.
There is a notion out there that Organic traffic is “free” (aka not paid for through an ad), so many people ask exactly where their SEO fee they are paying monthly for is going. Although you are not paying for traffic directly, there are costs that go into making sure your site shows up on the first page of Google. It takes time, tools and content.
When deciding how much you should be paying for SEO. Ask yourself, and your digital marketing company, the following questions:
Market competition has two factors: your business’s target keywords and what city are you in. Going for the #1 spot as a snow cone shop in Fargo, ND is going to have much less competition than attempting to rank for “personal injury lawyer” in Los Angeles. More competition = higher spend.
Analyzing competitors’ sites is a great way to quickly check the market competition. Simply search your top keywords and get the URLs of the sites that are consistently showing up for these keywords. There are dozens of free online tools to check their backlink profiles, and also just clicking through their sites will give you a good idea of how much money they are pouring into their online presence.
If your competition is strong, you need to be stronger.
Different businesses have different timelines. As an SEO professional, I always tell my clients to be patient, as changes on your site can take months to get picked up by search engines. However, you can move up the rankings quicker if you invest more time/money into the site.
A company that is more seasonal like a landscaper might have a set timeline to get up in the rankings. If it is November and they want to be on the first page for their main keywords by May, they will want to spend more aggressively in the months of November-February to make sure the effects of the SEO boost their website’s rankings in time for the busy season.
SEO involves a mix of several strategies to build your site’s authority and standing in Google’s eyes (I will go into these later). An agency can “speed up” your climb on Google with a higher budget because it allows for two things:
A knowledgeable SEO agency will be able to tell you exactly what they will analyze on your website and will have a robust plan for improving your site’s important SEO metrics.
If a site is already built for SEO, or the site has a healthy backlink profile already, you may have an easier time climbing up the rankings. There are several tools that will give you a quick indication of your site’s SEO health. Website Grader is one of my favorites, especially to show SEO beginners. Of course, an SEO professional is better suited to analyze and explain your site’s health to you, as it is not always so black and white.
When auditing a new client’s site, an SEO professional might simply recommend that the business build a new site. This can be for several reasons:
If your site is suffering from SEO problems, our team can help you determine their cause and take action to fix the issues.
Your current rankings can also play a big factor in deciding how much budget to allocate to SEO. If you are not ranking in the top 50 for any of your major terms, this is a sign that extensive SEO work needs to be done to get to the first page.
The amount of effort and time to get up the rankings raises exponentially as the site climbs up the rankings. Going from position 50 to position 12 can be as difficult as going from position 12 to 7. This is because as you go up the rankings, your surrounding competition is getting tougher, so it requires more work to outrank them. Think of a sports team going through the playoffs and each round getting more and more difficult to win.
So you are spending more money on SEO to see expedited results, but what exactly are you paying for? Many people associate SEO with the service that provides you with “free” organic traffic. While you may not be paying per click, there are a lot of costs associated with SEO to ensure you are in a position to get these clicks. These SEO expenses include:
It can be hard to quantify how much doing all of this on your own would cost you. An SEO agency, however, understands what is needed to plan an effective SEO strategy and put it into place. We can help you determine how much all of this would cost for your business.
Many of the big online SEO services and even some smaller SEO agencies will give you a menu of services and their prices and you pick and choose what you want. This system works fine and makes their job easier, however, it is more beneficial for you to speak with an agency that will give you a custom quote on services. This allows them to build you an SEO package that fits your needs and leaves out items that you may not. This means you are only paying for what benefits you.
Contact The Search Engine Guys today if you are interested in receiving a custom quote on SEO or a website build. We can walk you through the SEO process and explain exactly what you should be paying for. Call us at (512) 394-7234 or reach out to us online.
It’s no secret that everyone is confused about the new algorithm change that Instagram decided to move forward with. In March of this year, Instagram changed the way posts are shown on the platform – no more chronological order. This month, Instagram decided to change the algorithm again. Now, posts show up in terms of engagement. This change could be perceived as positive or negative. From a business standpoint, this change makes it a lot harder for someone to see your branded posts, but it gives you the urge to work harder for your recognition. Here are four ways you can stay relevant on Instagram after its algorithm adjustment.
If you want people to interact with your posts, you have to be sure you’re interacting with them as well. If someone comments on your picture, try responding as quickly as possible to keep your engagement rates high. By engaging with your audience, Instagram rewards you by pushing your post to the top of your audience’s feed. Keep comments as personal as possible. The smartest way to go about this is by not responding with generic comments like “Thanks!” or “Good image.” If you respond generically, your audience will think you use an automated platform that pushes those comments out and they might unfollow you. Also, “like” the posts that you know are relevant to your brand because this will create a better relationship between you and your audience.
Running an ad on Instagram is a great way to increase your brand awareness, because you are in full control. Not only does it help with awareness, it might increase brand engagement by gaining more followers. When you create an Instagram ad, you have the option to pick what goal you are after. If your goal for an Instagram ad is to increase traffic to your website, you have the option to link your website to the ad so the user can easily visit your site. The best part of running Instagram ads is that you can create specific target audiences. You can choose between demographics, age, location, and interests. For example, you can configure your ad to only appear for males within the age range of 18-24 who are in Miami, FL. By creating a specific target audience, it is more likely that the user seeing your ad will want to engage with your account.
It is important to check when your followers are most active on Instagram. If you registered your Instagram for business purposes, you can view multiple insights on your followers. Post your content during these times and try to increase engagement from the second you post. A lot of engagement in a short amount of time lets Instagram know that the content you posted is of quality and will rank higher in the algorithm (more people will see your post).
Why are Instagram stories more important than ever? Instagram cares about all engagement, not just a post or comment/like. Try posting a story on your account using a poll. You can accomplish this by creating a new story, taking a picture or video, and clicking on the square faced icon at the top right of the screen. Once you’ve clicked on that icon, you have the option to “create a poll.” Creating a poll is a great way to make people engage with your account. The more your users interact with your stories, the more likely your posts will show up in their feed. Use calls to action including action words like “Comment below” or “Swipe Up” because it influences the user to want to engage with your account.
Just because Instagram changed their algorithm to favor engagement, you shouldn’t neglect the other factors of running an Instagram account. Remember, an Instagram account is more likely to get a follow if the brand stays consistent. Try using the same filters and similar content to keep your account authentic. Lastly, use as many trending hashtags as possible. By keeping up with trending hashtags, your post is more likely to show up in the explore section and increase your chance of engagement. Instagram has been constantly evolving with the increase of users and it is important to follow their footsteps!
Follow us on Instagram to see how we use each of these strategies to keep our followers engaged.
Starting November of 2017, The Search Engine Guys is saying “adios” to Yahoo’s search engine. After years of collecting data from Yahoo, we’ve decided to let go of our old friend to redouble our efforts into Google and Bing.
In recent years, the world of SEO has seen a decline in search volume coming from Yahoo. As of October 2017, Yahoo’s search engine market share has dropped to 4.51% as reported by NetMarketShare.com.
On top of dropping below 5%, The Search Engine Guys‘s clientele has expressed less and less interest with search rankings in Yahoo in comparison to both Bing and Google. As a result, we will no longer report rankings on Yahoo.
Additionally, Yahoo offers less in terms of access to search data and statistics. This is a major factor considering Google’s Search Console and Bing’s Webmaster Tools do just that: provide us with all the insights and diagnostics about our websites that we need. While Yahoo doesn’t have its own webmaster tool, Bing’s Webmaster Tools can serve some, but not all, functions for both search engines.
Since 2009, Yahoo has been a part of the Bing network. The partnership originally focused on paid listings in the SERPs. Search pages on Yahoo had to display advertisements from Microsoft (Bing) on all desktop searches. The organic listings in Yahoo were also powered by Bing’s search engine. Part of the deal included Yahoo giving up it’s search engine tech to be replaced by Bing’s.
Yahoo gained more control of the ads displayed on their search pages in 2015 in a new deal with Microsoft that limited Bing’s ads to only display on 51% of searches done on Yahoo. This part of the deal only covered desktop searches – Yahoo had complete control of the ads displayed on searches conducted through mobile devices.
Ultimately, Yahoo is a mask for Bing when looking at organic search results. The TSEG team believes that abandoning Yahoo to monitor the rankings more closely on Bing while continuing to focus on Google will provide us with richer insights for the future of SEO strategies without compromising the 4.51% of total searches done in Yahoo.
If you would like to learn more about how SEO can help your website, contact us at (512) 394-7234. We’d be happy to walk you through the benefits of optimizing your website for Google.
We are excited to announce the launch of a new website design for Hart McLaughlin & Eldridge!
Overall, the site’s new style reflects the efficiency and the professionalism of this experienced Chicago legal team. Our designers focused on sharp lines with minimal clutter on each page, conveying a formal sense of simplicity and directness. The clean presentation of information, coupled with the crisp lines and the lack of distracting features, should inspire site visitors with confidence. We have found that frustrating or confusing website designs can discourage potential clients from ever contacting the business in question. Our goal with this site’s structure was to create a simple, easy online experience that can flow smoothly into a call or an email to this skilled legal team.
The homepage of the new design features rotating images of Chicago in the background. Our attorney’s targeted clientele will most likely recognize Millennium Park and the Buckingham Fountain. The first thing site visitors will see on the homepage is the assertive, reassuring directive “Start with the end game.” Scrolling down the page reveals what the end game is: “Results.” New site visitors will be heartened by the sense that this legal team already has a history of favorable outcomes for their clients.
The other main pages on the site—”Legal Team,” “Practice Areas,” “Accomplishments,” and “Contact Us,” are all tidy and structured. The Legal Team page presents uniform black-and-white photos of the firm’s employees. The consistency of the photos conveys a sense of respectability and attention to detail.
When it comes to simple ease of access, our “Practice Areas” page presents the legal firm’s various fields in neat, direct rectangular boxes. A quick scan can familiarize a viewer with many of their practice areas. The fact that the attorneys handle such a wide variety of cases should impart the idea that this is an experienced team with a wide array of skills.
We are certainly proud of this new design and excited to offer it to a respected client! If you are interested in learning more about how we fit our website design to our customers’ business needs, feel free to contact us at (512) 394-7234.
Accelerated Mobile Pages, or AMP, have recently been gaining a lot of attention, even though they were first announced in 2015 and were implemented in 2016. We’ve been receiving lots of questions about the value of AMP, especially when it comes to the search results. So far, we have been able to identify some positive features and a few drawbacks to these pages.
For those of you are interested in, here’s what we’ve gathered so far.
The standard was first announced in 2015, began appearing in mobile search results last February, and was rolled out onto Google’s global mobile search results last September. Because AMP is a mobile standard, it only appears on smartphones, tablets, and other smaller-scale devices. It has no bearing on search results on PCs and laptops.
The goal of AMP is to provide speed to mobile webpages, and that’s where it shines. Page speed is a very minor factor in Google’s ranking algorithm, but it’s incredibly important to mobile web users. As more people are searching via mobile platforms, the value of page speed becomes clear. If a webpage takes more than a few moments to load, many people simply hit their back button and go to the next one, which may load faster.
AMP pages have been receiving favorable treatment on search results pages, and even get a nifty lightning bolt icon next to their listings that indicates their AMP status, as shown below.
As a result of their zippy load times, which are essentially instantaneous, visitors may be less likely to bounce off of AMP pages, which can have an indirect effect on rankings as well.
For all of these benefits, it’s hard to imagine why we may be hesitant to add AMP to sites.
AMP pages are also stored on Google’s servers rather than your site. Any AMP page that appears in a search result is essentially a copy of that page that exists on Google’s servers rather than your web host’s. While this isn’t a problem per se, it does transfer a lot of control to Google, since it makes your visitors Google’s visitors. This also has the added problem of making it difficult to share AMP links, because the URLs for the links are obscured.
AMP can be a great option if your website delivers only text and images, or if you want to keep things relatively simple. With that in mind, sites like that would load quickly anyway, though the boost AMP’s framework provides is welcome. A simple plugin for those using WordPress sites (like we do) makes creating AMP pages even simpler. The issue is that if you want to create a rich experience on your site, AMP’s restrictions and limitations can make delivering that kind of content impossible.
To discuss whether including AMP on your site would be worthwhile, contact The Search Engine Guys at (512) 394-7234.
Reviews from your clients on Google play an important role in your marketing efforts. Good reviews have been correlated with better local rankings and higher click-through rates (CTR). People read reviews before selecting an attorney, so reviews help legitimize your firm to prospective clients. If they see that you’ve helped other people in their area, you are humanized and become more than words and pictures on a screen. You stand out from the herd. Reviews are essential to building a strong online presence and capturing as many positive reviews as you can should be a part of your marketing strategy.
With that in mind, it must be said that your reviews have to be positive for them to have the impact you want on your firm. Negative reviews can end up hurting your efforts. Take, for example, the case of Donald Tobias, a lawyer who received a mysterious one-star Google review that simply said “It was horrible.” Tobias had never met or worked with the person who left the review, and it seems as though the reviewer mistakenly left a review on his page under the assumption they were commenting on the death of another man named Donald Tobias who was hit by a train. Google refused to take down the review, despite Tobias’s objections. This can obviously have negative consequences on his business.
There are ways for firms to respond to reviews on Google, so there is some form of recourse from misleading or toxic reviews, and Google has been known to remove some reviews, such as those from competitors. However, another way to combat a negative review is to simply outnumber it with positive reviews. A person reading reviews of your firm will question the one review that claims to have had a bad experience when faced with numerous people who were happy with your service.
Getting clients to leave positive reviews of your firm can be a challenge. Typically, people aren’t moved to go out of their way to leave a review unless they’ve had a bad experience. For the most part, clients who receive service they are satisfied with don’t feel the need to go online to leave a review. However, when they are prompted to leave a review, these positive interactions can be captured and added to your online profile. Adding positive reviews to your firm’s Google profile can help you get more clients. Getting more clients can net you more opportunities to deliver great service and therefore get more reviews.
We have software that helps streamline how law firms get Google reviews. It enables your firm to obtain reviews from happy clients with a simple text message. They can complete their review right on their mobile phone in a matter of seconds. You can see a demonstration of the software below.
To learn more about The Search Engine Guys‘s reviews platform, contact us at (512) 394-7234.
This new web design features a stunning video at the top of the landing page, showing the attorneys hard at work and highlighting the professionalism with which they carry themselves. The firm’s total settlements of over a billion dollars is prominently overlayed on top of the video, sending a powerful message of success.
This site’s use of video and parallax effects is compelling and draws visitors in to see more. This is of incredible importance in web marketing, as most people leave a website within seconds of getting to it. If you are looking for a website design for your law firm that can help you retain visitors, call The Search Engine Guys at (512) 394-7234 and speak with our knowledgeable web development experts.
The Search Engine Guys has launched a new website for the Columbia DUI defense attorneys of Truslow & Truslow.
The new website design puts the information searchers need at the forefront and showcases the experienced and approachable attorneys of Truslow & Truslow. By putting the attorney’s photos at the forefront of the design, we allow potential clients to get to know who they are going to put their faith and trust in through the criminal defense process.
Building websites for client conversion and SEO requires a specific attention to detail. Additionally, achieving desirable rankings don’t usually happen by chance. At The Search Engine Guys, we’ve been handling SEO for lawyers since 2007. To learn more about our web marketing services, give us a call at (512) 394-7234.
We’ve recently launched a new website for Therapy Hair Studio, a Houston-based hair salon. The new design implements a sleek, smooth parallax scroll, enabling it to deliver a lot of information in a way that looks great and is easy to digest. We’re really proud of the result:
If you’re looking for a new web design for your site, get in touch with us at (512) 394-7234. Our philosophy of designing websites for conversion helps keep our clients’ phones ringing.
Here are the two main reasons you should make sure your website is mobile friendly:
To test if Google considers your website to be “mobile friendly” click here.
Keep in mind that if you have a great website and don’t want to go through the process of re-designing it from scratch, we are able to convert your website into a responsive theme. Depending on your design, some or many elements may need to change… but we can often maintain the overall look and feel of your design.
If you would like to explore a new responsive website, or converting your existing website to a responsive theme – call us at 800.267.1704 and one of our account managers will help you determine your options.