After speaking with several high ranking executives throughout several large corporations we realized that the majority of these CEOs simply don’t really understand SEO in terms of the big picture. When they hear SEO they think keyword rankings — they don’t understand how SEO really works and what kind of effort is truly required to create a successful search engine optimization campaign.
When it comes down to it a CEO should be concerned with the operation of his or her company and not every little detail of a successful SEO strategy. In an effort to help decision makers and CEOs understand SEO we have put together a list of five key points that are important to understand. If you understand these points it will help you reach digital marketing success.
1. SEO is Not Cheap
Let’s get this one out of the way first. SEO is not free and search engine optimization isn’t something that is going to cost your company a couple hundred dollars a month if you want sustainable results — so ignore those SEO companies that are advertising service for the special price of only $199 per month (or some other ridiculously low monthly fee). The only thing you are going to get with that is a bunch of headaches.
CEOs and decision makers are constantly focusing on money and ways to save it. This is normal business practices, but it is important to understand that quality SEO is going to cost money. Some of the expenses related to search engine optimization for a large brand include:
SEO Agencies: Many companies hire an SEO agency to handle their campaign. Avoid agencies that try to sell you with a “package” that includes pre-defined quantities and types of links. No successful SEO strategy starts with a package, as a cookie cutter approach is a recipe for major disaster. Reputable SEO agencies work on a monthly retainer and develop a custom campaign for each client.
Link Building: This doesn’t involve firing up automated software and blasting links all over. Creating content, doing industry outreach, establishing relationships, and publishing guest content are all ways to earn links. This takes time and money.
Analytics & Conversion Tracking: It is important that every segment of the SEO campaign is analyzed and measured. This allows weak points to be identified and eliminated as well as strong points to be identified and amplified. SEO is a numbers game and tracking the results (as well as understanding them) is essential.
Onsite SEOs: Some larger companies will hire an in-house SEO to oversee the entire operation. This doesn’t mean that they are actually doing the work, but they coordinate with the SEO agency and other marketing vendors they are contracting with to produce content, acquire links, etc.
Many CEOs associate SEO with organic (free) website traffic, and while organic traffic is great it does cost money. While there is a difference between pay per click advertising (paid traffic) and SEO (organic) it is important to understand that one thing is the same — both cost money.
2. SEO is Not an Overnight Process
If you want instant traffic then you need to look into PPC advertising. Search engine optimization takes months of hard work and strategy development before noticeable results are seen. There are some fly by night companies that pop up and make ridiculous claims such as “results in 30 days” or “first page rankings guaranteed” and this is simply a sleazy marketing tactic to lure in the unsuspecting business owner.
Any technique used to quickly game the search engines and position your website on top is dangerous and can completely ruin your website, eliminating it from the search results entirely. Creating a solid foundation gives a solid base to build from as well as insures long-term rankings and results.
When you see SEO as a long-term strategy you will see the true value in doing it the right way. Is the juice worth the squeeze? It sure is!
3. SEO is Part of Your Entire Marketing Strategy
SEO is something that all of your marketing needs to be tailored around. Let’s take a quick look at areas that are directly related to SEO:
- Content produced for your website and blog need to be tailored around the SEO campaign.
- Social media marketing is directly related to SEO.
- Press releases and media outreach should be created around the SEO campaign.
- SEO needs to be taken into consideration when creating website layout and usability features.
Smart CEOs have all of their marketing departments align with the SEO agency handling their campaign and allow the agency to provide best-practices guidelines and suggestions to make sure that everything that the company does impacts the SEO campaign in a positive way.
4. SEO is Content Marketing
Many people believe SEO involves unknown tricks and top secret methods in order to rank high in the search results. Sure, things like making sure the search engines can properly identify elements of web pages and access the website require technical knowledge — but the technical aspect is just a small percentage of the overall SEO effort.
SEO is about creating compelling content and promoting it. Companies that are serious about their SEO need to be ready, able and willing to invest in content marketing. When we develop a custom SEO strategy for a client we map out a content plan months in advance. It is something that needs to be well thought out, as moving forward without a clearly defined plan is reckless.
5. SEO is Always Evolving
While no SEO agency can make performance guarantees one thing is certain, and that is SEO is constantly evolving and will continue to do so. The search results change daily and it requires constant studying, research and testing to stay ahead of the curve.
Google’s algorithm changes daily and there are constantly new updates and refreshes performed. SEOs don’t have any control over what changes are implemented to the algorithm, but smart SEOs are constantly developing new strategies and are quick to adapt in the event that a new update turns the search world upside down.
If you are serious about your business then you need SEO. In the digital age we currently live in it simply cannot be ignored, so make sure you understand how SEO really works and what it involves.