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To Hire an Ethical White Hat SEO Agency
What SEO questions should you ask when looking for an online marketing agency? If you’re looking for an SEO partner, it’s important to find one that is knowledgeable about the technical aspects of getting online visibility. It’s equally important to uncover business values as well as their ability to understand how your online marketing fits into your revenue model and business objectives. In this post are eight common SEO questions and our answers.
Eight SEO Questions
1. Should we put a keyword in our domain name?
This was a hot practice many years ago. Search engines caught on (as it was abused by SEOs) so it doesn’t have the visibility lift it once had. Choosing a domain name requires research to strike a balance between search phrases, something easy for your clients and prospects to remember, and relevant to your business name. Keep in mind that most people don’t bookmark URLs like they used to. They’ll search for your business name and expect you to show in the top results on a Search Engine Results Page (SERP).
2. How much SEO to reach 1,000 – 5,000 unique visitors per day?
Every industry and website is different. Bringing qualified traffic to your website is both an art and science. There’s no magic formula. SEO must be tailored to each business. We counsel our clients on having realistic expectations about SEO, especially if they are in a crowded marketplace with competitors who have already heavily invested in SEO. White Hat SEO can take 3-5 years if you’re competing against a mature SEO player. Localization is one way to target keywords with less competition. That said, in-depth keyword research can help provide the necessary data about qualified traffic and what’s a realistic target.
3. What are the ideal lengths for blog posts?
Again, there is no magic formula. We do know, however, that Google rewards in-depth and relevant content. A page or post should answer a question. The focus should be on readable, quality content that’s ultimately worthy of sharing (also called an inbound or earned link). Yoast, the SEO Plugin creator, recommends a minimum post length of 300 words but depending upon the subject matter, 1,000 words may be too little. For example, this post is over twelve hundred words. Is it enough? Did I answer your SEO questions?
4. What is the optimal keyword density?
Google quality guidelines are all about a positive user experience. If an article or page is keyword stuffed, your human audience is going to be turned off. Google’s search algorithm now includes artificial intelligence. 15-20% of daily searches in Google are brand new, meaning it’s a word combination never seen before. Search engines are striving to understand search intent so they can deliver the best results and meet a searcher’s expectations. That means synonyms of keywords are also factored into online visibility. For example, the keyword for this post could be “SEO Questions.” Appropriate synonyms could be: SEO considerations, SEO factors, search engine optimization advice.
If you use WordPress, we recommend the WordPress SEO by Yoast plugin. It can help you optimize your content. Note: that’s only one piece of the optimization puzzle. Yoast is guessing on Google’s preferences. We use another paid tool to help optimize content. By the way, access to this paid tool is a perk for our clients.
5. How much SEO is needed for us to appear on page one of Google?
If any SEO firm promises you specific rankings within a specific period of time, run away. Fast.
First, it’s unethical because there are so many factors out of your control. Second, rankings are not necessarily the right success measurement. Third, are you talking about ranking for your site, or just some pages? Getting visibility without clicks won’t help your business grow. Getting clicks without conversions also doesn’t make business sense. For new websites in a competitive marketplace, choosing longer tail search phrases with localization (e.g., WordPress website design in Silicon Valley, AdWords management Cupertino) may have less competition while driving qualified traffic to your website. It just takes more strategic focus and content-creation effort. TLDR: What do you want from being on the first page of Google?
6. How can we link our site to another service or company? Should we add links to these companies in our blog articles?
In your content, you can easily add links to other websites. Link Building — where other websites point to your content — is a powerful, complex and long-term SEO strategy. Guest blogging was a tactic to gain inbound links; this practice was abused and therefore Google devalued it. Inbound links need to be natural and related to your business and industry. Otherwise, you aren’t following Google quality guidelines. Adding quality inbound links to your website are like votes of confidence. Links from respected sources in your industry are a signal to Google that you are a credible and relevant source of information.
7. Is it possible to get 10th page rank on Google? If yes, then what is your price?
Any SEO firm that quotes you a price based upon specific rankings is not following White Hat SEO protocols. Pricing really depends upon the services you need from ramp-up (e.g., keyword research, overhaul of metadata) through maintenance (e.g., content creation and optimization). SEO tactics vary depending upon a client’s online ecosystem, which centers around a website that converts. By the way, we approach pricing in two ways: project-based or via a retainer. We customize our quotes based upon need and budget. And, as a certified Google Partner, our agency exclusively uses White Hat SEO techniques.
8. Are there any other SEO questions I should ask?
Yes, there are several more SEO questions we recommend asking. They are:
- Does your website platform have the necessary metadata set-up? All too often we find that businesses forget about metadata. This is the information that shows up in a Search Engine Results Page (SERP). Using defaults, even WordPress’ defaults, it a wasted opportunity. Good SEO factors in content as well as the elements that get a visitor to your site.
- Should I invest in SEO or Paid Search? There is a strong relationship between SEO and SEM (Search Engine Marketing, aka PPC and AdWords). By coordinating the two, you can get a 30% lift on your organic click-through rate. Translation: visitors who see your domain via both a paid and non-paid listing are more likely to click on your non-paid listing.
- What Analytics support is included? Setting up Google Analytics and Search Console (formerlyWebmaster Tools) will provide priceless information once your website is up and running. Make sure you set up appropriate goals (e.g., contact forms, phone calls) to measure performance. WMT also provides a wealth of info about your site’s health and how Google evaluates it. For example, website speed is an important SEO factor.
- How frequently are you prepared to add new, relevant and original content to the website? For SEO content marketing is king. Content frequency and relevancy is SEO currency. We highly recommend establishing a publishing schedule (and editorial calendar) and sticking to it.
- What needs to be in place to convert website visitors? We recommend an examination of your sales funnel and the appropriate calls to action for each navigation level. For some businesses, the sales cycle is short. The decision to buy a product is relatively easy with little risk (e.g., buying a book online). Other businesses have a longer sales cycle. Your content and call to action should woo your prospect to converting.
- Who owns the SEO data/accounts? The answer should be YOU. You, the client, should always control your accounts; that includes Web Analytics, Google Webmaster Tools and any SEO tool (like Moz). We believe that holding a client as a technology hostage is not the basis for a long-term and collaborative relationship. We routinely help our clients set things up (if they need technical assistance) so they own the account while granting us access.
Ok, there are the answers to many SEO questions. Do you have a must-ask question to add to our list?
How can we help?
Need to attract more visitors to your website? Need to improve website performance (aka contact form conversions)?
We are the spectrum group online, and we offer strategic and tactical consulting so you can monetize your online presence. Call us for a complimentary 30-minute consultation to discuss your website’s user experience and translate that into sales.