SEO or Search Engine Optimization is the art of ranking your website at the top of the search engines for your targeted keywords.
But that’s a lot easier said than done.
- Why should I care about ranking #1?
- How are people searching for what I offer?
- Is keyword research important?
- Why is my competitor ranking better than me?
- How can I rank better?
- Audit my site & my competitors for free
We are an SEO company in Indianapolis, IN that specializes in search engine optimization, local SEO, social media, conversion optimization, content strategies and really all things digital. While we have a huge focus on inbound marketing, we are also design responsive websites and highly optimized WordPress sites.
While we work with many clients in our local area, we work with companies all across the world to help them improve their exposure online.
Why should I care about SEO and ranking #1?
As you can see in this chart from an Advanced Web Rankings 2014 study, the majority of web searchers click on the #1 organic results.
That may sound like common sense, but this data is important to keep in mind whenever an SEO company promises you “First Page Results”.
Is it the first page that we should be shooting for – or the first spot?
Let’s say 200 people per day are searching for “Florists in Carmel, Indiana” – Let’s also say that you’re a florist.
If you rank #1 for that search term, you’ll get about 62 people (31%) who made a highly targeted keyword search landing on your website.
If you rank #8, you only get about 6.
So when looking for an agency to help with your organic search leads, don’t settle for first page rankings. Make sure your SEO strategy has an end goal of #1 rankings.
How are people searching for what I offer?
Understanding how important top search results are for competitive keywords, we must also understand how people are searching in order to be at the right place at the right time.
Shown by this ComScore study, mobile search surpassed desktop search in January of 2014.
This is not new information, yet many companies still have an online marketing strategy that is not mobile-first.
And that doesn’t just mean having a website that is mobile responsive. It means understanding the consumer behavior of mobile search.
Because people have access to information 24/7 within an arms reach, the way that they search has changed and can be categorized into different stages of micro-moments.
Instead of sitting down at a computer and conducting research on a particular brand, product or service, we are reaching for our phones multiple times for quick searches on a particular piece of information. These are categorized by Google into I want-to-know, I want-to-go, I want-to-do, and I want-to-buy moments.
Here’s an example:
My roof is about 15 years old. I see it every day when I come home and I can tell that it’s getting old.
So when I walk inside one day, I pull out my phone and Google, “how to tell when I need a new roof”.
I read some info about it for a minute or 2 and then I put my phone away and start cooking dinner.
A couple of weeks later, I remember that I really should start planning for this new roof, so I Google “types of shingles” and start picking out certain types of shingles. Then, I put my phone away and watch Netflix for a while.
A month later, it’s raining hard and water starts pouring into my kitchen through the attic from the roof.
I’m now on Google typing, “Emergency 24 hour roofing company in Carmel.”
These are 3 different scenarios from the top of the funnel, I want-to-know moments to the bottom of the funnel, I want-to-buy moments.
The way I search, my expectations and my intentions are all different. But if you are a roofing company in Carmel, you need to have a content marketing strategy that puts your brand in front of my eyes throughout that decision making and buying process.
Is keyword research important?
Many companies, even some SEO companies, will make the mistake of not taking the time to do proper keyword research.
You think, “I’m a dentist in Indianapolis, so I should try to rank #1 for “dentist in Indianapolis.”
Or, even worse, “I sell shoes so I want to try to rank #1 for shoes.”
In order to know which keywords to target, it’s essential to not only understand the demand for a given term or phrase, but also the work required to achieve high rankings.
If you Google “dentist in Indianapolis,” you’ll see there are 10,600,000 results.
I’m not saying you can’t rank #1 for that search term. But it’s probably going to cost you a lot of time and money. Time and money that may not even be worth it.
The ticket is in the long-tail.
It’s wonderful to deal with keywords that have 5,000 searches a day, or even 500 searches a day, but in reality, these popular search terms actually make up less than 30% of the searches performed on the web. The remaining 70% lie in what’s called the “long tail” of search. The long tail contains hundreds of millions of unique searches that might be conducted a few times in any given day, but, when taken together, comprise the majority of the world’s search volume.
Another lesson search marketers have learned is that long tail keywords often convert better, because they catch people later in the buying/conversion cycle. A person searching for “shoes” is probably browsing, and not ready to buy. On the other hand, someone searching for “best price on Air Jordan size 12” practically has their wallet out!
So, while a search for “dentist near the Children’s museum downtown” or “best dentist for kids who hate to get their teeth cleaned” may yield significantly less search volume (which can be identified using Google’s Keyword Planner Tool), those long-tail keyword searches combined actually make up for more volume than the shorter version, and convert at a higher percentage.
To save time and money – and to convert at higher rates with better ROI, it’s absolutely essential that you put in the time and effort to do your keyword research and create a laser-focused strategy to accomplish your goals.
Why is my competitor ranking better than me?
Just as it’s important to do your keyword research, doing your competitor research is important as well.
There are a couple of tools out there which will help you figure out all kinds of information about your competitors.
Our favorite, and one that we use here at Rank Brain Media, is Ahrefs.
This tool allows you to see where you are ranking for specific keywords, what content is popular in your niche, where your competitors are ranking, what sites are linking to your competitors (their backlinks), what keywords they are targeting in their Adwords, how much they are bidding for those keywords, and much more.
Side note: When you hire us, you get access to all of this data for no additional cost.
One of the many benefits of doing this, is that you can identify which sites are outranking you for your targeted keywords, extract all of their backlinks, and then replicate and improve on those backlinks to help you outrank them.
A great free tool is Moz’s Open Site Explorer.
While this tool won’t allow you to see the content of each backlink, it will allow you to do a side-by-side comparison with your competitors on the number of inbound links, as well as your Domain Authority.
Your Domain Authority (DA) is basically an overall scoring of your website based on many different factors. In theory, the higher your DA, the higher your ranking.
We’ll talk more about what goes into that scoring in the next section.
How can I rank better?
There are about 200 different factors that go into the Google search algorithm, and it changes and evolves daily. In fact, the algorithm is updated about 500 times per year.
Usually, the updates are small and unnoticeable, but sometimes they are major updates that affect a large portion of the web. Usually, the big updates are to combat people who are manipulating the algorithm for undeserved rankings.
At Rank Brain Media, we only provide and support white hat (ethical) SEO meaning you never have to worry about losing rank when a major update comes out.
Of those 200 factors that go into determining where you should rank for a particular keyword, it includes things like:
- Age of your domain name
- Social signals
- Internal links
- Outbound links
- Inbound links
- Keyword relevancy
- Proper technical tags
- Good content
- Page load speeds
- User experience
- Bounce rates
- And about 188+ other things
To stay on top of these things, it really does take the full-time attention of an agency and not something you can typically handle while also trying to run your business – nor should SEO be left up to your tech-wiz nephew just because he’s “really good at computers”.
This chart shows a fairly accurate representation of the importance of local SEO ranking factors by category.
Link signals and on-page signals carry the most weight in determining your rank. All other things equal, a site with more links pointing towards it and with proper on-site technical and content-related attributes, you can earn a fairly high DA and rank well.
With that said, SEO is very comprehensive.
You may see Content, Social Media, Reputation, etc. as separate marketing strategies, but it all ties back into SEO and your ranking in organic search.
Good content, strong social signals, and good reviews all work together with your inbound links, technical application and overall user-experience to create a strong SEO strategy.
Audit my site & my competitors for free
Rather than just shove a bunch of information down your throat or send you some generic SEO proposal, we’d love the opportunity to show you specifics related to your business and your competitors.
We do not employ a single sales person at Rank Brain Media, so this is not a sales tactic, nor will our follow-up be pushy or high-pressure.
We truly believe there is a lot of bad information out there about local and global SEO and many SEO companies will just tell you what you want to hear in order to earn your business.
If you could just give us a few minutes of your time either by email or phone, we’d love to learn about your business, your competitors and your current SEO struggles or accomplishments.
We’ll then take that information and put it into a fancy document with charts, pictures and data specific to your business, your website, and your rankings.
This will detail what you’re doing right, what you’re doing wrong, and what you need to do to reach your goals effectively.
You can hire us to put it into action, or take it and run with it. Either way, the information is free.