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Private Lead Generation

You are probably familiar with some of the major lead generation websites that are out there.  If you are a lawyer, you might use AVVO or lawyers dot com.  If you are a home contractor, then both Angie’s List and Home Advisor are on your radar.

These types of lead generation programs charge a fee to “belong” to their network and then a “per lead” fee every time they refer a potential client/customer to your phone.  (Email contact information is also used.)

Organic rankings in the search engines all across the country are how these mega-sites harvest potential leads.  A person does a search for say, a divorce lawyer, and one of the mega-sites shows up in a top organic spot.  The individual clicks on the site listing and is directed to a page where there is a list of lawyers who have paid to get listed on that page.  There may be two lawyers on that page or more.  A similar scenario plays out with customers that are looking for roofers on Home Advisor.  There are a few to choose from; all ostensibly vetted by the editors at Home Advisor for their workmanship and solid business practices.

Works fairly well if you are a consumer.  Not as well if you are a business needing a steady flow of leads.  First, you will probably share those leads with one or two other providers.  You still pay for the lead, but you do share it which reduces your chances by one-half or one-third of securing the business for your company.  Another issue is that, in the case of Home Advisor, the homeowner decides what they need and therefore determines your lead cost.  So if they select “replace roof” and what they really need is “repair roof”, then you have paid quite a bit more for a roof replacement lead that really needs a quote for repair, which costs much less per lead.

The answer to these problems is private lead generation.  Private lead generation is a service we provide that harvests leads from search that are delivered directly to you.  We build the online infrastructure to do this completely independent from your online assets.  All leads go direct to your phone.  You don’t share them with anyone else and they can be for any and all services you would like to promote.  If your sales funnel can stand an influx of qualified leads, then this is a service you should look into.  To find out more, just give us a call.

DIY SEO? Think again….

Chicago SEO Pros blog post graphicOctober 3, 2016

Most people reading this blog don’t have a full-time marketing staff that spends a good part of their day just keeping up with what is going on in the wide world of SEO.  It is not  the business you are in; it is not the way you make money and take care of your customers, patients or clients.  Quite simply, there is no way you can possibly know as much as we do about SEO just as there is no way we can know all the latest advances in your industry or specialty.

Most people reading this blog don’t have a full-time marketing staff that spends a good part of their day just keeping up with what is going on in the wide world of SEO.  It is not  the business you are in; it is not the way you make money and take care of your customers, patients or clients.  Quite simply, there is no way you can possibly know as much as we do about SEO just as there is no way we can know all the latest advances in your industry or specialty.

We can usually spend a little time with each of our clients and give them the thirty-five thousand foot view of what is happening with the search engines – at least enough to get them to understand why we are doing the things we are doing for their website without their eyes glazing over after ninety seconds.  Since we take the long term view of everything we do, we don’t concentrate on the flavor-of-the-month when it comes to site optimization.  Our updates are more to keep current with best practices and set the foundation for more success in the future.

The news we want to communicate in this blog is that we view SEO as part of a whole strategy of marketing your business online.  We endeavor to keep our clients apprised of things we have tested and are working (we test on our own properties).  If we see something on the web that might increase conversions, we communicate that to clients so they can decide if that is something they want to participate in.  It is a collaborative effort to be sure.  The takeaway is that there are things that are working out there that 99.99% of companies would have no clue about unless we told them.  That is our job.  To be their partner and share what we know so that we can both prosper together.

Not all SEO is done with links and listings off site.  Some of what we recommend are strategies to improve the quality of the experience your visitors have when they get to your site.  Recently we proposed a quick tweak to the onsite experience of one of our clients that practically overnight doubled the number of requests for quotes.

If you want your company’s site to benefit from the experience and knowledge we spend 24/7 acquiring for our customers, just give us a call or send us a message from our contact us form.  We’ll get right back with you.

 

What is SEO Anyway?

The simple definition of SEO or search engine optimization is the process and procedures used to gain the most visibility for a web page by being found on the first page of search engine results.  We won’t go into all the details about what these processes and procedures entail as these details are covered elsewhere on this site.

What you should be aware of is why this is important.  For that, we start at the reason for being for search engines in the first place.

The Web is made up of billions of pages on billions of websites covering every subject from A to Z.  The function of a search engine is to find and categorize each of these pages.  The best pages are rewarded with the most visibility.  The most visibility is found on the first page of results as statistics show that only a small percentage of people actually click through to the second page of results.  Each search engine results page has 10 web pages that the search engine found by crawling (that is visiting) a website and then categorizing that web page based on the words and images found on that page.  Those words and images are then indexed by Google and are served to a searcher if they are searching for that information.

As of today, there are three major search engines:  Google, Bing and Yahoo.  Each of these engines has its own way of selecting which pages are the best pages to deliver to a searcher for a particular query (typed in the search box).  Since computers do all the work, this methodology for picking the best pages and putting them in order of quality is left to a computer algorithm.

The reason you want your pages to be chosen as the “best” pages for search queries is that the “best” pages, as determined by the algorithm, get placed at the top of search results where the most people see them and have an opportunity to click on them and read about your product, buy your service or learn about your business, explore your point of view, or your get an answer to their question.

If you have a business or a goal, your goals will be more easily met if you rank higher.  It is a statistical fact.  Being number 1 or number 10 on page one can mean the difference between selling 100 widgets or 3 each month.

The reason you need search optimization for your site is because every other competing website wants those first 10 spots.  They are actively improving and optimizing their site in order to earn one of those spots.  Those sites are the best real estate in the world for whatever you are selling or whatever idea you want to communicate.  They are that valuable, that coveted, and that important to the success of your endeavor.

 

 

 

It Depends

It Depends…

The question we get most often from prospective clients is ‘how long does it take to see some results?’ This is understandable as we all know that the sooner the return, the higher the ROI for that marketing activity. And, to be perfectly honest, ‘it depends’ is the only honest and correct answer.

You want your site ranking in the shortest amount of time possible. But in order for that to happen, the timeline to ranking is affected by authority, what your competition is doing and what the search engine algorithms are dictating at this exact moment in time.

In very competitive markets, you will need to be patient. Certain social posts that have gone viral and breaking news stories are the only things that happen in real time. Some changes can be seen in as little as a week; others take weeks or months to show up. Unfortunately, as search engine optimization experts, we can only put the right tools into play; we cannot control when those tools are taken off the bench.

For your reference, we have included below a typical timeline for a keyword that we would consider medium competition. The size of market also affects results; this example is from a medium-sized city.

Weeks 1 through 4

To start your online campaign, we begin by performing a discovery audit which includes market research and competition analysis. We will do a website audit, keyword preparation, plan the ongoing processes and implementation timetable, and schedule content creation. Since this time period is principally for planning and preparation for success, you will typically not see any changes.

Weeks 5 through 8

You should start to see some small indications that site rankings are improving or more traffic is being sent to your site. However, these movements are typically small at this stage and although expectations are typically high, not enough time has passed for anything significant to have occurred. New websites will see pages indexed in the search engine results pages. Existing websites may show slight ranking improvements. Local business websites will notice that we have built local citations to help boost the local authority of websites as well as more online presence for your brand. We make sure the new content that has been created for your website can be found in as many places on the web as possible to increase your internet presence. During this time, we make minor revisions to your site and your content to extract the most value out of your assets.

Weeks 8 through 12

Improvements in rankings usually begin to bear fruit at this stage with more emails, form submissions and phone calls being logged. These results come directly from improvements in organic rankings leading to more traffic from the work done during the previous two months. This is when clients typically get excited about the opportunities that lie ahead as they begin to see an ROI on their investment in our services.

Weeks 13 through 16

Our efforts to build site authority and trust in the eyes of the search engine algorithm continues as we find and build more links to your site. These efforts typically show up as more traffic from higher rankings and a boost in leads to your business. These results are proof positive that our SEO efforts on your behalf are working. This is typical for a medium competition niche in a middle-market. High competition terms and large market businesses will start to see noticeable improvements.

Weeks 17 through 20

This is the time period where we do further optimization in order to squeeze even more traffic from our efforts. Adding new keywords, and doing more of what is working on the website will accelerate traffic and leads even further. For terms that have reached the second and first pages of search results, you will see ranking improvements slow down as there is a lot more friction to overcome from the stronger sites that rank ahead of yours.

Weeks 21 through 24

Further refinement of optimization takes place during this time as well as the addition of other traffic sources such as promoting social media, press releases and ads. Other market opportunities related to your business (which have become apparent in the previous months) are included in your SEO campaign.

From this timeline, you can see that it takes a while to see the results that your investment has produced. You should budget a minimum of four to six months to see a return on your investment. We see so many companies that expect results in the first weeks, only to quit and lose the monies spent. SEO is an investment that pays dividends over a long period of time. The activities may not be as intense after six months, but the competition never sleeps, and to protect your SEO investment, you may need to maintain your results over time albeit at a lesser level of effort.

Your company, your niche and your competition are different from any other. Getting to the top of search results requires time, an investment and the skills of people who know what they are doing and what is working now.

Amazon Consulting

So you have an Amazon store that could be doing better? Or perhaps you are a manufacturer and you are tired of seeing your customers ring the cash register on Amazon and you’d like to get in on this opportunity.

Don’t worry. You are not alone. Many businesses are scratching their heads trying to figure out how to ramp up an Amazon business. Amazon has built a cult-loyal following of buyers who would prefer to buy from Amazon than any Mom and Pop store out there. You will even find the country’s biggest brick-and-mortar retailers plying their goods on Amazon – it is that big, that powerful and that well-visited by consumers with money to spend.

It is getting more and more difficult for local retailers to succeed with traditional physical stores. Unless they have a product that is urgent, or perishable, or requires a lot of shopping – they just can’t survive. Consumers know that they can get the product cheaper and in some cases, faster than they can by driving to a retailer and finding (or not finding) what they need.

If your business is not selling on Amazon, what is stopping you? Amazon has more than 200 million credit cards in their file. All people who have the inclination to buy things and pay for them. Are you worried about losing your brand identity? You need not worry, you can protect your brand with Amazon’s brand registry program. Afraid of Amazon’s fees? You should be spending 15% of your top line to promote your store or products anyway, just think of Amazon fees as promotion. They are sending you customers by the millions.

If the reason you are delaying moving your business onto Amazon is that you don’t know how, that is a very easy problem to solve. Let us do it for you. We already have our own Amazon stores and consult with companies who want to grow their top lines. Give us a call without delay. We will explain it to you in terms that you will easily understand. It’s an “aha” moment for sure.

Accelerated Mobile Pages

As the calendar changes, so do the nuances of search engine optimization for our clients.  There are many variables which enter into the ranking algorithms of the three major search engines (Google, Yahoo and Bing) and these seem to increase and decrease in importance with each passing day.

One aspect of optimization that is pretty new and that web site owners should take particular note of is accelerated mobile pages.  This is a project spearheaded by Google and Twitter to allow for quicker downloads of your pages on mobile devices.  In plain speak, this means that your site pages won’t take forever to open and will deliver your content to users without he usual wait for pictures and other rich media to load before the page appears.

Why is this important?  As you may know,  more than 50% of all searches (some say 60%+) happen on a mobile device.  Those users want their answers quickly or they will click away and find another site that delivers content faster.  It is about user experience; and mobile users want fast.  An AMP page is lightweight streamlines your CSS.  It is designed so that Google can cache your site so that it doesn’t actually need to fetch it from your host anymore.

Faster is better in the world of mobile browsing.  Your site will be less favored if it loads slower than other pages that rank for the same terms.  Less favored means less desirable and we all know what that means in terms of ranking, user experience and clicks.  Give us a call to help your site get Amp’d up!

Accelerated Mobile Pages Video

Google explains the importance of AMP pages

How important is website structure?

A website has to serve many masters. The most important is its visitors or its customers. If visitors don’t like your site or are not “engaged” by it and leave it quickly, it speaks volume for the usefulness of the material on a site and its appeal.

A website also has to serve search engines by which we mean it must be understandable for a search engine bot to be able to tell what the site is about and the quality of the site in mere nanoseconds. One way to accomplish this is through a good site structure. Can a poorly structured site rank well? Of course. But why make the job harder than it needs to be for the bots and your visitors?

Many businesses contract with a web designer to create an attractive site without regard to the functionality of the site and how it works. That is really putting the cart before the horse. You need to have your list of keywords, of topic themes and important concepts before you even begin to explore the options for look and feel. You need to know the tone you want to set with the words you have chosen and very importantly, ‘why is this post or this picture important and necessary’ to the site. Posting content for the sake of posting content is never a very good strategy. It wastes your time and that of the visitors and bots. If there is a good reason for the content, if it adds to the overall experience and body of knowledge that your site provides, then, by all means, post it. If you are writing drivel in order to get a few words into the lexicon of your site; don’t bother.

Having a proper structure helps your visitors navigate to the information that will answer their questions. Having a proper structure helps search engines decide which of your many pages will best answer their searchers’ queries. And, as a bonus, you will need less effort to rank a properly structured website than one that is not. You have made the search engines’ jobs easier; and you are thusly rewarded with better rankings overall.

April 21 Update

Word is out that this is going to be bigger than Panda…we shall see…but it doesn’t pay to ignore warnings. Check out this video and see what you think about the updates that have happened in the first quarter of 2015 and will happen next month.

Mobile-friendly

Perhaps you have heard elsewhere, or on this blog, about the upcoming Google update that will affect websites that are not mobile friendly. This update should be taken seriously by any company that values their current rankings for lead generation or sales. Google is looking at every site, no matter how big or small.

We have been testing our clients’ sites for few months now and have made adjustments to old programming where needed. There are things we can do to help your business’ site become mobile friendly even if you have had it for many years and don’t want to pay for a whole new redesign. Google’s warning is that rankings will suffer (although they couched that warning in Google-speak) is a warning that we are acting upon while there is still time.

We work primarily in the Chicago area, but are ready to assist you no matter where your company is located. We will do a mobile friendly analysis and give you recommendations as to what can be done to satisfy this new requirement. Not all solutions are time-consuming or expensive. But if your site doesn’t pass the “test”, it will need work before you lose clients and revenue.

And, should you be looking for a forward-thinking marketing company to help your business stay ahead of the game, then we hope you will consider our services at the top of your list. The mobile friendly update is one of the ways that we’ve kept our customers’ sites compliant before the twelfth hour. Your business deserves the same kind of attention. Give us a call at 847-867-0198 or drop me an email at chicagoseopros@gmail.com.

For further explanation of what friendliness in mobile devices means, then here’s a video for programmers that explains the processes:

What you should expect from a SEO Service

As with most consulting services, it is hard to provide a “standard” service that will fit all businesses. When it comes to SEO, one size definitely does not fit all.

Each website is different. There are no identical websites anywhere on the Internet. Because each site is different, and the goals that each website owner wants to achieve are different, then the tactics or practices that a SEO service firm must take in order to gain the most visibility are necessarily different.

The types of services that you might see promoted are on-page optimization, off-page optimization, link building, social promotion, penalty recovery services, image optimization and countless others. Each of these services has its own particular set of skills that must be mastered in order to achieve the optimal result for a client. Some people are good at link building, others are better at content optimization. Still others are good at website structure which contributes to user experience which is also a ranking factor.

When you are looking for a SEO firm to improve your web traffic and rankings, make sure you understand what you are paying for, i.e. what services are you getting? If you are only interested in the result, then you are leaving it to the SEO firm to choose which tools in their tool belt they will employ to achieve your desired ranking. If you are paying for one service, then understand that that particular service may improve your rankings, but may not get you to the top of rankings because there are other things that are going on with your site that may prevent an optimal outcome.

We always advise our potential clients to have a site audit performed before they, or their chosen SEO consultant, do anything. A site audit will indicate where there is room for improvement and where there are problems. This will inform which services are needed to get the desired result. Just buying “SEO consulting services” without a plan for success will surely result in disappointment on both sides of the transaction.

Google Penalty Recovery Service

It is a pretty bad morning when you wake up to find that your site rankings have dropped…not just a few spots but pages, or worse, off the search results entirely. What might be even worse is that helpless feeling – you just don’t know what to do or who to call or turn to. Not many people in Chicago, or the country for that matter, are experts at site recovery. Most agencies you call won’t have a clue because they mostly outsource their SEO work. But they will “help” you by giving you a quote to fix the problem and then having one of their account assistants find someone to outsource the issue to.

The first task is to determine what penalty caused your problem. Is it a Panda penalty, maybe a Penguin penalty, or is it something else (such as the mobile friendly update we’ve been warning about)? Each of these penalties is initiated by something different and you need an expert to be able to determine exactly which one is causing the issue. There are also manual penalties for things like web spam that can enter into play. Again, the first step is diagnosis.

Once we know what the problem is, we can begin to fix it, that is unless your site is so far gone that it would just be better to start from scratch. Usually, this is not a surprise as there have been warnings from the search engines that something is wrong somewhere… whereas penalties usually present themselves quickly as when a search engine has an algorithm update.

We performed a Google penalty recovery a few months ago that illustrates this point. We had a suspicion that something was going on for months, but since this was a new client of ours, we didn’t have the benefit of a history of what their previous SEO agency had done to their site. But we knew something was wrong because we could push rankings only to a certain point. Then an algorithm update hit, and their rankings dropped by pages. At that point, they remembered that they had used an automated service to get links to their site – and these foreign links were depressing their rankings. We performed an extensive analysis, found the culprits, and eliminated them from their Google index of links and the rankings not only bounced back within days, but actually surpassed the level we achieved before.

Penalty recovery is not for amateurs. But if your site is experiencing a penalty, then there are steps we can take to restore your traffic and revenues.

Google Penalty Recovery Video

Mobile Search Advisory

Our customers already know this so this post is directed at those of you have not heard as of yet, your rankings may be in for a drubbing.

Beginning next month, Google will take into consideration how mobile friendly your site is.  If it is not mobile friendly, then Google has advised that it will be “taken into consideration” for rankings.  So in plain terms this means that sites that are mobile-friendly will take precedence over those that are not.

The reason for this change is obvious when you consider that mobile searches, that is those done from a cell phone or tablet, now account for more than 60% of all searches done.  A majority of people are using these devices an not their laptops or desktops, so results need to be clear for them, too.

Google’s mission to provide the best information the fastest also goes for mobile.  If you are concerned that your site cannot pass Google’s scrutiny, then please call.  We can help.

 

Mobile-friendly Information Video


 

Light-hearted

OK, so today is Wednesday and it’s the middle of the week and as we sit here waiting for the next Penguin or Panda update from Google the following video just popped up in our YouTube feed. Now, we know that this isn’t the type of Penguin we usually deal with (those Penguins are usually full of problems for our potential clients; our clients needn’t worry about any Penguins at all), but this struck us as pretty funny. It reminds us of the days when Penguins were funny birds that lived in the colder climates and not algorithm changes that wreak havoc all over the Web. Enjoy!

Do What Works Tomorrow

We couldn’t have said it better ourselves. This video from Moz highlights not only the importance of link building, but what are good and bad practices. Another important takeaway from this is that you want your SEO firm to concentrate on what not only works today, but what will work tomorrow! Things are changing all the time in the world of the search engine algorithms…you need to be able to see what is coming around the bend so that you can prepare today. One of the things we do here at Chicago SEO Pros is stay on top of the algorithm changes (we have our ways) so that nothing surprises us when an update occurs.

What’s Next?

If you are following the burgeoning social media phenomenon, then the following video will hold your attention for more than 7 seconds. The most poignant observation is that word of mouth is morphing into world of mouth. Are you ready?

Social Media Image Trick

We don’t usually go in for a lot of shortcuts or tricks, but we happen to like the results from this little trick when making Facebook posts….really can help engagement. Enjoy!

Importance of Mobile Search

It is predicted that more than 60% of all searches that will be done next year will be from mobile devices including phones, PDAs and tablets. This video from Google Webmasters will help you get your site ready for this challenge.

Social Media Marketing Update

Keeping track of all the marketing strategies that can help your business engage more potential customers online is something we do every day here at ChicagoSEOPros.  This video will highlight some of the trends we are keeping our eye on in the coming year.

 

 

More Penguin 3.0

Just a quick update from Mike Pearse, a guy who really knows what he is doing in the world of IM. If this is all Greek to you, then give us a call and we will translate.

Penguin 3.0 – Quality and Sense

Over this past weekend, Google rolled out a Penguin update…the first major update in over a year. Rumors to the contrary, the sky is not falling. However, if your site has been playing fast and loose with Google’s guidelines, then your rankings are definitely falling.

We belong to a pretty tightly knit guru group and the first indications of this update came from the other side of the International Date Line, Australia to be exact. As we all compared notes over the weekend, a few things stood out as targets of this particular update.

As with all Penguin updates, this one concerns itself with links. Sites that got hit badly (none of ours or our clients’ I might add) had low quality links. These links came from blog spam, blog profiles and any other source where one can get a lot of links fast and easily. In general, the more low quality links a site has, the greater the chance that achieved rankings would be lost. In many cases, rankings disappeared altogether below the 50th page. In other words, quality rules the day once again in Big G’s eyes.

Secondly, let’s talk about sense, as in what makes sense to Google. Does it make sense that a site that gets no traffic has 500 links coming into it? Absolutely not. Somehow, this metric has found its way into the Google algorithm and sites that have no traffic, or for searches with very little demand, Google is slapping links that just don’t make sense. Everything in proportion as proportion is a metric that is easily quantified.

So here’s our shameless plug. If you are tired of riding the roller coaster of animal updates from Google because you have had bad SEO done to your site in the past or are just looking to stay out of trouble, you can always give us a call. We’re here to steer you in the right, and most profitable, direction.

SEO Expert or Employee?

We are often asked about whether a company should hire someone full time or outsource their internet marketing to a firm such as ours. It reminds us of the lease or buy conundrum that companies face almost every day. Which is in the best interests of the company?

We prepared a video (below) that sums up our feelings on the subject. We don’t think it is possible to get the kind of cutting edge talent in a SEO employee that you can get when you hire our firm. You can go out and find a very competent employee around Chicago for $50K per year, plus benefits, etc. For less, you can get three experts that can be fired if they don’t perform at a moment’s notice without unemployment issues, risk of a lawsuit, etc. We ask the question whether you want to pay for performance, or someone’s time. This is a question worth giving serious consideration to – and it begs the question, are you after results or are you after another body to keep a chair warm and not get top notch talent. The answer is something only you can decide.

Leveraging subdomains

If you’ve spent years building up the authority on your website’s domain, you know how powerful this authority can be when ranking for competitive terms.  The more trust and authority, the easier it will be for your SEO to rank your website if you decide to get into new areas of business or launch a new product.  The usual way of attacking this challenge is to build new category pages or subdirectories.  So if your website is abc.com, then your new product might show up in a new catagory page names abc.com/newproduct/.  This works very well and you are probably using some variations of this approach on your website right now.

The other option, that is using a subdomain, is something that national franchises have been doing for years to give a boost to their local franchisee sites.  Using the example from above, let’s say you are opening an ABC franchise in Boise, ID.  Your franchisee would have a URL like this:  boise.abc.com.  The letters in front of the first period is the name of the subdomain.  You can see how powerful this particular approach might be for ranking locally for a particular product.  Further, the mother ship can give control of the subdomain to the franchisee with no ill effects on the root domain should something go awry or get screwed up by the franchisee.  Taking this example even further, a company could add a subdomain for all their products or services, giving them a lot of power to get search terms within the url.  This can be especially helpful if you wanted to use a different theme or design on subdomains than on the root domain.

The power of subdomains and the flexibility they offer should not be underestimated.  Even Matt Cutts has weighed in on the subject as you can view in the video below.

Subdomainsas explained by Wikipedia can be accessed through the link.

Meta what?

Perhaps you’ve heard of meta tags. These can take the form of a meta title and a meta description most often seen as your entry on the results of a search page. You don’t have to take pot luck when it comes to these meta tags. You can, and should, make sure that what you want displayed is actually what is displayed by the search engines.

Have you come across a search engine result that seems to have been pulled from the middle of an article or a page of copy? It has some relevance to what you are looking for but isn’t compelling in any way — at least enough to click on it to see what the site has to offer.

The search engines are giving you free exposure for your site and your brand. Use it. Your meta title should have to do with the search term you want to rank for…it doesn’t have to be an exact match. Use this space to provide information like your phone number so that people can call you without clicking on your site to find out contact information. That’s what we do as often as we can…it saves people time and makes your site stand out from the crowd.

As for the meta description, all 156 characters of it, make sure you are using every character to tell people that you not only have the answer to their search query, but that you are the best at what you do. Don’t be afraid to sell your USP or something irresistible like an offer that will get the click.

Taking pot luck means you are leaving your message to an algorithm to pick what shows up. Take the time to give the search engines what you want them to display.

How long does it take to….

Chicago SEOThere isn’t a day that goes by when someone needs to know the answer to the question “how long does it take to get rankings once SEO has begun?”  This question is part curiosity and managing expectations and part holding feet to the fire.  And, unfortunately, the answer which is usually “it depends” doesn’t satisfy any of those queries.

A recent study by BrightLocal has compiled these answers gleaned from dozens of SEO types to put some credence into the “it depends” answer.  They queried pros as to how long it would take to rank for a brand new site, a site that had some SEO done to it in the past, whether the site was in a competitive niche or locale or not, whether there were penalties, and sites that had no SEO done.  The answers are, as you would expect, all different.  The link to the entire article is below and you can delve into the minutia of the data, but generally, expect to see some movement after a couple of months.  The chart above is illustrative of the types of responses you will see in the article.

For our clients, we can usually give them a pretty good idea of what will happen after we do our preliminary site audit.  Our focus is always on a positive ROI for our clients, so no matter how long it takes, we make sure that no money spent has been wasted while their site is moving up the ranks.  SEO is a long term investment and earns a long term return that can be seen in the bottom line every single month.

To read the full article, click here.

 

 

 

 

 

Linking Unnaturally

Perhaps you’ve heard of something called a manual penalty from Google. You will find this notice in your site’s Google Webmaster Tools if you have signed up for WT for your site. (If you haven’t signed up, give us a call and we will walk you through the signup process.) Somewhere in the thousands of lines of code that Google’s algorithm entails is a string that can detect unnatural links. These might be spammy links that you might have bought from a lesser SEO, or something you might have seen online and thought you would like to try.

The problem with these cheap, automated services is that they leave something called a footprint, which is a pattern that is detectable by algorithms. When the flag goes up that there is something fishy with your site, a real person goes through your links to determine if there is a pattern that is unnatural. Hundreds of humans doing things one at a time don’t have a pattern. They use words in different ways. They use different key terms. Their spelling isn’t perfect.

Automated services will use the same keyword terms over and over again in the same ways and that is something that Google will eventually find and penalize. When that happens, you will either need to reverse the offending links by hand, disavow those links, or start over with a new site.