Compare SEO to planting bulbs in the Fall so you can have Spring flowers. If you’ve ever planted bulbs, this might sound familiar:
- Purchase bulbs
Note: If you want 8-10 flowers, buy 20 bulbs.
- Squirrels, moles, rodents & deer will steal/eat bulbs, unless you toss in a little red or cayenne pepper.
- Follow planting instructions about depth, spacing & zone hardiness
- Wait 4-6 months, monitor growth, results, follow instructions after flowers bloom
- Lessons Learned after 1st Year: If you want a field of flowers, you need to invest in a lot more bulbs. You really should have listened to your friends about the cayenne pepper thing.
How does this compare to SEO?
The first time I optimized a website for first page rankings (we did not call it SEO yet, and Google wasn’t even on anyone’s radar) was in May of 1998. I received $2,000: $1,000 up-front and another $1,000 two weeks later after I got client’s website into Altavista, Lycos, Excite, Hotbot and Northern Light.
Admission? SEO in 1998-2001 was easy as planting basil – 5-10 days before you see sprouts. No waiting around for six months like you have to for cayenne pepper-coated bulbs. I had figured out the perfect algorithm as of November, 1997. What resulted were years of optimizing websites for major brands, including Pier 1 Imports, Levenger, Collin Street, SpaFinder Magazine, Discovery Channel, TOMS, Burt’s Bees. I spoke at over 45 SES & SMX conferences worldwide as a paid speaker. I taught at Ohio State’s Fisher College of Business so 30 students could learn how to do search marketing and analytics. As our agency grew, we charged upwards of $20k a month for SEO strategy, implementation and analytics for long-term contracts. We grew Bizresearch to nearly $750k in annual sales. We also learned that SEO was getting 10% of the budget that PPC was getting in 2005-06. Thus, we grew our service portfolio to including Google Adwords & Pay-Per-Click (PPC) Management in 2007.
But SEO is more like planting bulbs in the fall and waiting for Spring flowers. You have to commit to a long-term seed planting plan, growth monitoring & re-investment strategy, and like planting bulbs, not everyone’s cut out for the job.
Here is an Excerpt to 2014 SEO (Bulb Planting) Guide:
- Audit & benchmark your website’s current SEO visibility
- Audit your traffic – if Google Analytics is not set up, get the code installed on every page
- Audit your goal conversions in Google Analytics to ensure they are working correctly. Goal 1 should be set to capture contact or ecommerce confirmation pages.
- Audit Google Webmaster account – if you don’t have it set up yet, then do it, and get someone to review the data who knows what it all means.
- Perform extensive keyword research (utilize Wordtracker, Bizwatch, Google Analytics, Google Adwords, client input, competitor review)
- Write updated page title, meta description, keywords, URL, page heading, content, footer links, page links.
- Hire content editors &/or marketers
- You have to blog, and it has to be good enough so others will share it. Don’t have time to blog? Watch out, as of 3/2014, you might get in trouble if you hire a guest blogger to do it for you. Make sure you hire the right content marketing agency.
- You have to create, manage and maintain Facebook, Twitter, and Google +.
- Depending on what you sell, and which demographic you target, you might even need to have an Instagram or Pinterest account to encourage people to share your content.
- You might need to have a YouTube video channel and create educational videos.
- You might have to invest in offering something for free.
- You will have to monitor trend reports and determine why some keywords are not causing a site to show up yet in the search engines, even though you’ve done all the things you were supposed to do.
- You have to analyze why something works quickly for some keywords, and in other areas no matter what you do, it fails to work. You will fail to get top 5 organic rankings for a given keyword phrase. Some of your bulbs will fail to grow, some will be stolen by pesky squirrels, and some will seemingly disappear. Or, if you’re lucky, nothing will fail and all will succeed (probably not gonna happen).
- You have to hire people to manage SEO, analyze results, and handle coordination with a webmaster’s team is amazing. There is no less than 3 people on an SEO team. A business owner or manager, a webmaster or IT person in charge of the website, and the search marketer. None of these people’s salaries are cheap. If they are, you’ve got the wrong people on your team.
- Everyone want’s the sexiest tools, just like we all want our tulip fields to look like Holland’s fields of ten million tulips, different colors, shapes and sizes. So, invest in a variety of tools. Each one will offer something different for your SEO planting program.
The most experienced & successful SEO managers buy into all of the above, if not more. You wonder why a major brand site has a top 3 organic ranking? Major brands pay for the knowledge, expertise, and long-term strategy of experienced search marketers who have proven experience for all websites, large and small. They invest in content development & marketing for their entire website. They build social media into their SEO strategy. They invest in pay-per-click. They build analytics tools into their SEO, PPC & Social media budget so they can monitor what’s working, what’s not. They even build into their budget an experienced digital marketing analyst who is wired to dive deep into the data, trend what’s working, what’s not, and report back to the SEO manager what needs to change.
Need a better SEO strategy? Need an experienced SEO consulting approach? Get a Free SEO Audit & then invest in a Long-Term SEO Strategy & Implementation Plan. Monitor improvements & drops every two weeks, and revise strategy accordingly.