Podcast Episode 45: Should You Invest in an SEO Company?

Feb 16, 2020 8:00:00 AM

SEO companies are everywhere. They promise huge gains in website traffic, social media followers, and increased revenue. Are they worth your money? We’ll give you some insights on today’s episode.


 


Episode Transcript

 

Jeff Lambert:                SEO companies are everywhere. They promise huge gains in website traffic, social media followers, and increased revenue. But are they worth your money? We'll give you some insights on today's episode. Hello everybody and welcome to Inbound Academy brought to you by Rizen. I'm your host, Jeff Lambert.

Jeff Lambert:                SEO is an important part of any company's marketing strategy. So should you hire a company just to handle SEO by themselves? It's a complicated question. So we're going to try and bring some clarity to it. So I've invited Will Avila who is the COO of Rizen and he's an SEO veteran. He's going to talk about best practices when approaching this part of your marketing strategy. Will, how are you?

William Avila:                Great and yourself?

Jeff Lambert:                I'm doing well, thank you. I know you've been handling SEO for a long time and I know the rules have changed over the years.

William Avila:                Oh yeah.

Jeff Lambert:                I think that's important for our listeners to understand too, because your approach to SEO in 2013 is not the same as it's going to be in 2020 right?

William Avila:                Correct.

Jeff Lambert:                So why don't we jump into that a little bit and I want to kind of define terms before we start. Because we may have some small business owners, entrepreneurs, people that may not be really familiar with SEO. So let's just define our terms to start. Can you provide a really quick overview of what SEO is and how it impacts somebody's business?

William Avila:                Sure. So SEO stands for search engine optimization and it refers to your digital presidence in the search engines like Google, Yahoo, Bing or DuckDuckGo go for example.

Jeff Lambert:                So, my searching [inaudible 00:03:48]. How highly I show up?

William Avila:                Yes. How your business or your website shows in these engines, correct.

Jeff Lambert:                Got it, okay. Why is it important to pay attention to SEO?

William Avila:                Well, the large majority of customers begin their journey by typing something in the internet, right? And really only a small internet ... percentage of these users go past page one, right? So if you're not in the first page, you're probably not getting much business. And it's harming your business if you're not there. So that's when people start doing Google adverts because they have to pay to be in the front.

Jeff Lambert:                Got it.

William Avila:                Being in the front ... being in the search engines is like, having a billboard or a sign on your business.

Jeff Lambert:                Right. Your digital advertising.

William Avila:                Right, exactly.

Jeff Lambert:                Got it, okay. So let's just talk a little bit about ... now that we've landed on SEO and I just want to go back and talk about it real quick. SEO has changed in the past I mean even one year, let alone five years. But there has been an evolution.

William Avila:                Yes.

Jeff Lambert:                To optimizing your website, right?

William Avila:                Absolutely.

Jeff Lambert:                Okay. Can you talk a little bit about maybe Google's approach to doing something like that?

William Avila:                Yeah. So how well your site ranks in the search results really depends on a wide range of factors. And some of them are, for example, your content; if it's mobile friendly, if it's not mobile friendly. The use of keywords. How many incoming links do you have? How many reviews you have, the proximity of your company to the person, how Google's rank brain algorithm perceives the query to be and what is the best result for the user based on its machine learning mechanisms. There's factors like snippets and it really is ... there's really a lot to this in general.

Jeff Lambert:                Sure.

William Avila:                Your tags, et cetera, all play a factor in this. And then how good your content is.

Jeff Lambert:                Yeah. So you know, it's certainly something that you have to pay attention to. So enter these SEO companies. What would an SEO company do if I were to hire one?

William Avila:                That's an interesting question. Search engine optimization ... having come from search engine optimization as my initial focus where we would focus solely on ranking keywords, has really evolved. And what they do is ... I mean there's some basic things that every company should do. They should analyze your content, they should analyze your tags, they should analyze your website, they should analyze the speed, for example. They should analyze the keywords that are important to you, they should review the snippets. But really you have to think of search engine optimization now from I'd say a bigger level marketing. So how marketing ... how your site is structured for your business and how your content is going to explain what you offer, what you do, or what you sell. In the context of your keywords and your SEO.

Jeff Lambert:                Yeah, okay. So SEO companies, I mean they manage a lot. Does SEO optimization work?

William Avila:                You have to have some kind of optimization, absolutely. You have to have keywords in there. You have to have topics that are related. You have to link all these different topics. For example, if you are a marketing agency for example. You want to probably talk about design, pay-per-click advertising, content creation, social media. And within that marketing framework there are certainly the things that you want to optimize for the search engines. Even those search engines can in many cases, understand ... most cases understand what your site is about. Being proactive and structuring it in a way so that it makes it easier for the search engines to place you higher because you are a better result for the users-

Jeff Lambert:                Sure.

William Avila:                Is a goal to have.

Jeff Lambert:                So, it really sounds like you're saying search engine optimization now it's a very ... it's a multi step ... lots of factors involved it's not just having the right keyword anymore.

William Avila:                Correct. It's a component of an overall marketing plan.

Jeff Lambert:                Yeah, okay.

William Avila:                An important component.

Jeff Lambert:                Sure.

William Avila:                But it's just one piece.

Jeff Lambert:                Right, okay. And that's what I kind of want to talk about. So, if you're hiring an SEO agency ... and it depends on agency of course, you have to look at what their services are. But if they're just doing SEO, isn't that just like only putting gas in the car and not worrying about the motor oil and the air in the tires and everything else?

William Avila:                Yeah, that's a good analogy. Like I said, you really have to think about [inaudible 00:09:10] marketing from a full, I guess 360 view, right? And just doing a few activities, not to say that they're not important, but it's not taking into account other important factors. For example, the quality of your content, if there's any technical issues with your website, how conversions are occurring. Are people actually ... just because you have an optimized site, are people filling out the forms or calling you?

Jeff Lambert:                Yeah.

William Avila:                So you really got to think about it from a more holistic, full approach.

Jeff Lambert:                And if I want to get that holistic approach to marketing my product or my service and I want to improve my search engine visibility, what would you recommend I do if I'm a small business, if I'm an entrepreneur? What is the correct or I say the recommended approach that you would share?

William Avila:                Yeah, I think we need to go backward and backwards and look at it from the perspective of the consumer, right? So what are their challenges, what are their goals? And whatever these people are looking to solve, right? Whatever challenges or whatever goals are you trying to attain, you want to tailor your content to answer those questions, right? And within that content, for example, you'll have keywords in there. Or you'll have a series of many different questions. And you can really have a whole comprehensive topic or blog post or pillar or site page that you want to optimize to address for those concerns. But you're really number one, addressing the consumer's goals and challenges-

Jeff Lambert:                Yep.

William Avila:                And then optimize everything around that. [crosstalk 00:11:02] First.

Jeff Lambert:                And that's going to overall be the answer to ranking high in search engine.

William Avila:                Right as you've compiled this content and information, you're going to optimize the tags, create snippets, you're going to link between your different posts. You may choose ... you may be featured on an external website talking about your experience and you link from that site to your very informative posts or page about the topic. So that's a signal as well.

Jeff Lambert:                Yep.

William Avila:                So, really it's about the consumer and then all the little technical steps that you want to implement. Which is search engine optimization because you're optimizing to help rank to help solve the consumer's concerns.

Jeff Lambert:                Sure. So if I'm looking for some help and I'm looking to bring in a company to be able to help me. We're saying that if they're just doing SEO, it needs to be more than that? So, could you maybe provide some advice to our listeners of when they're looking at different companies to bring in to help? What are some services that they should look for to make sure that they offer in addition to SEO that's going to give them that marketing punch that they're looking for?

William Avila:                Yeah, you want an organization that is going to look at that ... first and foremost the needs of your buyer, the consumer, right? So you want somebody who's going to survey your target market, right? You want somebody who's going to perform qualitative, quantitative analysis, right? And then from there, you understand the consumer. And then you can, for example, start pay-per-click marketing because you have a ... you can test different keywords out and see how well they perform before you start investing heavily in content, right?

Jeff Lambert:                Okay.

William Avila:                You want to have a content strategy. So if the consumer has 15 common questions that you would learn. And usually sales would answer those questions or have those questions that they most commonly get asked. Build content on those questions, right?

Jeff Lambert:                Okay, so we have PPC content creation?

William Avila:                Correct.

Jeff Lambert:                What else?

William Avila:                You have reputation management. So, how many reviews do you have for your organization? Because reviews are part of a ranking algorithm, right? For the local results especially.

Jeff Lambert:                And you're talking about reviews on Yelp or Google, user reviews?

William Avila:                Right, yeah it could be on any site. Could be Avvo for lawyers, whatever portal it is. It could be Home Advisor of your contractor, et cetera.

Jeff Lambert:                Okay.

William Avila:                So you want to have your social media optimized because you would engage your consumers through social media and they may ask you questions through social media.

Jeff Lambert:                Right.

William Avila:                You also want to think about link-building. And I use that term loosely because it has a lot of a negative connotation to it. But reaching out to the sites that are relevant to what you do. It could be respected papers, newspapers. It could be-

Jeff Lambert:                Blogs maybe-

William Avila:                Blogs, powerful directories.

Jeff Lambert:                Yeah.

William Avila:                Best of the Web, for example. And really build those external sites and have them link back to your main site as well. And I want to use the word inbound marketing even though that's really covered by understanding your buyer by like I said, using surveys. But an organization that takes into account the steps that a buyer goes through, where he goes through the awareness stage, "Oh, I have this problem, I have this broken pipe, what do I do?" You have content for that. "Oh, I have this ... I can fix this myself or I can hire somebody". So it's ... okay, so the pros and cons of hiring somebody versus doing it yourself.

William Avila:                And then there's the decision stage. Choosing a big company, well you look for good reviews, they need to be licensed, insured, et cetera. So those are the different steps that a buyer has. And you should formulate your entire marketing strategy around that. And marketing has search engine optimization, has pay-per-click.

Jeff Lambert:                Right.

William Avila:                And it has other things. There's testing, there's AB testing, there's [inaudible 00:15:31] testing. There's web design, right? There's landing pages. I said snippets before.

Jeff Lambert:                Yeah.

William Avila:                You know, there's really a lot to the strategy.

Jeff Lambert:                Sure. I think overall what I'm hearing from you is SEO is a part of a larger strategy you need to pay attention to.

William Avila:                Correct.

Jeff Lambert:                Don't pigeonhole yourself in just one area.

William Avila:                Correct.

Jeff Lambert:                You want the full approach.

William Avila:                Yes you definitely want to look at it from a larger perspective. The days of spamming the search engines ... there's so much spam, are really over. And Google is getting smarter. I always say don't try and outsmart 20, 30,000 of the brightest engineers in the world.

Jeff Lambert:                Yeah.

William Avila:                You're not going to do it. So kind of stick to that.

Jeff Lambert:                That is, that is very good advice and that's true. And we have to keep in mind too, and you bring up a great point. These companies aren't going to stop. Their money is in, well ad revenue, but it's also providing a useful service. We use Google because the results are better tailored to what we're looking for. And we're not using [inaudible 00:16:38] stack at the beginning of the 2000's.

William Avila:                Right.

Jeff Lambert:                We've seen a lot of search engines go the way of the dinosaur because they weren't able to provide those targeted results maybe that we were looking for as consumers.

William Avila:                Right, exactly.

Jeff Lambert:                Okay.

William Avila:                And Google, their results product is a free product. Anyone can use it. I mean, they have ... they monetizing using different methods.

Jeff Lambert:                Right.

William Avila:                But they ... it's in their best interest to provide the best results. So that people could keep coming back and searching for more information. So your job as a business owner, selling a service, a product, is to create that experience. And understand that your people are coming to you now informed and ready to go versus you telling them what is the ... they have to do. [crosstalk 00:17:28] There's enough information out there for them to make an educated decision and you should be one of the sources. And out of appreciation for your information they ... and after seeing your reviews and how active you are, how professional you are, making sure your license, et cetera, they'll come to you. So attracting people more to you.

Jeff Lambert:                Got it. That makes a lot of sense. And hopefully for our listeners, that helps them get into the right mindset of what they should be looking for when it comes to improving their marketing strategy.

William Avila:                Absolutely, yeah. And like I said, search engine optimization, there's so many factors. I just touched the surface. Some are more important than others, but if you really just follow that overall holistic approach with some technical elements, you will rank.

Jeff Lambert:                Well thank you for coming by and sharing some of your insights on this topic.

William Avila:                My pleasure Jeff, thank you for having me.

Jeff Lambert:                Absolutely, yeah anytime. And to our listeners, thank you for tuning into today's episode. It's a pleasure to have you back. And remember, we put out new episodes every week. And they're always going to be focused on providing you with advice that's going to help you grow your business. Remember, if you're looking for a company that can provide experienced and friendly and results driven ... results really, for your organization, Rizen is a great option to take a look at. And you can go and check out what they offer and how they can be a good fit for your business by going to www.gorizen.com that's Rizen with a Z. You can also follow them on social media. They're available on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn by searching for the username Rizeninbound, that's one word Rizeninbound.

Jeff Lambert:                And remember for our regular listeners or if you really enjoyed this episode, you can help us out by just taking a moment, going into the podcast app of your choice and leaving a review. Even if you just leave a couple of stars, well hopefully four to five, but just leaving us a quick review. It helps us get in front of new people and we want to help as many people as we can be able to achieve success when it comes to marketing and sales. So, thank you for tuning in and thank you for your support and we'll see you on the next episode. Good.

William Avila:                How was that? I kind of just went off your script a little bit.

Jeff Lambert:                That's okay.

 

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