Search Engine Optimization (SEO) without the confusion

by Monte Clark

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a term you are probably aware of and know it’s something you need. Odds are, though, unless you’re an online marketer, the concept is confusing.

SEO consists of two components:

1. Technical search engine optimization

– This is a programming exercise to help search engines quickly review your website and determine its content and structure.

2. Content search engine optimization

– This is a production exercise which includes the production of content through articles, blogs, white papers, videos, social posts, and infographics.

And, in my opinion, there is a third:

3. Channel search engine optimization

– This is the exercise of determining and setting up the channels your content should engage. Channel SEO includes social channels like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and LinkedIn, as well as listing channels like Google My Business, Yelp, and Travelocity. Also, it’s important to make sure all of your contact and business information is correct across all search engine channels including, but not limited to, Google.

By definition, it’s that simple. In execution, unfortunately, it’s not.

If you’re paying for SEO, you should get SEO.

Recently, I was meeting with a new client who was explaining to me that they were paying $100 per month for SEO services to the company who developed their website. They shared an email they received from that company regarding their SEO status.
(email correspondence from website company):

Hope you had a great Christmas and New Years! December was a great month for your site visibility!

A few highlights:

  • The number of site visitors up from 96 to 118.
  • Search impressions (the number of times the site comes up in a search result) jumped from 1.9k to 3.7k!
  • About a third of your search impressions are from mobile devices.

I’m still working on improving your search rankings so that the site will appear closer to the top of a search. Let me know if you have any questions/concerns etc.

If you believe you have been paying for SEO services and receiving emails like the one above, you should stop. Let’s briefly walk through the analytics and explain why.

The number of site visitors up from 96 to 118.

As you can see, in the analytics graphic, there is an 18% increase in users. Notice the bounce rate (bounce rate = Visitors that hit your website and immediately left) was increased by 18.1%. An 18% increase in site traffic with an equivalent 18.1% increased bounce rate means the improved traffic increase is based on spam traffic and is not an improvement.

Search impressions (the number of times the site comes up in a search result) jumped from 1.9k to 3.7k!

Search impressions have more than doubled, yet they only received 24 new visits (which we have just determined to be false traffic by the increase in bounce rate). Site impressions mean nothing if site traffic does not increase as well.

About a third of your search impressions are from mobile devices.

Whether visitors come through mobile or desktop is of no value to this company in regard to SEO. All websites should be optimized for mobile devices. If your site is not optimized for mobile, then this should be your first step in your SEO action plan.

Additional take-away’s from the analytics screenshot:

  • This is a local service-based company with their highest density of visitors coming from the Kansas City metro area. By looking at the map where additional visits are coming from, you can see clearly the traffic outside the Kansas City metro area is “bounce” traffic.?
  • Since this website was only four months old when the client received this analytics report, it’s likely that the traffic was predominately from the site developer, the client themselves, and the “Google My Business” web listing.

If you want to know how well your site performs from a technical SEO standpoint, there are many free online analysis tools available. One of my favorites is from Neil Patel. Simply type in your URL and receive a free, and easy to understand SEO site analysis.

SEO tips:

  1. Make sure you give your SEO strategy time to develop. Like farming, if you plant a seed, you can’t dig it up the next day and expect growth.
  2. Develop and monitor key performance indicators for your content.
  3. Produce content in the areas you are comfortable. If you don’t like being on camera, write blogs.
  4. Set goals for your content production. Schedule time in your week to research and develop.
  5. Work with an SEO professional who is proficient in the three components of SEO. Together, you should be able to set goals, develop strategic content, and begin reaping a harvest within 6-12 months.