In March I had the pleasure of facilitating a session at the iMedia conference, an all day event held at the Fantasyland Hotel in West Edmonton Mall. Although the primary focus of the day was social media, my session was a part of the “technical track” and in this I was able to explore practical SEO through my experience with the family food project I co-founded, www.elevenses.ca.
Between my mad babbles, wild hand gestures and my undoubtedly unintelligible accent (I’m sure Canadians struggle to keep up with my thick East Midlands twang) I received one of those questions that you know you should be able to answer, but because of the unexpectedness of it all you get a bit flustered, suffer some kind of performance anxiety and don’t know what to say. It was:
Of course this question refers to those retainer contracts that freelancers, agencies or larger marketing companies may try to sell you on. As a business owner you may need it, you just don’t even know you need it because you have no idea what it is!
What with being in a digital marketing position at SiteVisibility for over a year and almost coming up to a year as a freelance search engine strategist, I can tell you that monthly SEO has been, and I’m sure will continue to be, the bulk of my work load.
At a 10,000 foot view, this mystical “monthly SEO” refers to specialists “doing SEO” on a monthly basis to continue to improve search engine rankings, click through rates and conversions (amongst other things I’m sure). Now, for those that need a little more than this whether it be just to gain further understanding of what exactly it is that your agency is doing for you, or to weigh up whether such a retainer service is needed for your website, please read on.
Let’s get a bit of order up in here shall we? (I’m a stickler for processes). What exactly is the point of monthly SEO? Here are a few more questions to get you thinkin’
- Am I ranking #1?
- Does my website produce enough leads?
- Does my website make as much money as I’d like?
Here’s a tip, if you answered no to 1 or more of the above questions, you need monthly SEO.
Sure, our aim is to work towards the first page of search engine results pages to drive more traffic to your website to produce more leads to increase the amount of money that you make as a business *inhales deeply* BUT what exactly do we search engine wizards do with that $3000 a month? Here’s a few ideas:
- Competitive Link Prospecting and Building
Ever wondered why your competitors are doing better than you are in search engine results pages? You will never know the whole truth and nothing but the truth but this task can shed some light on their link profile.
As part of this task, the SEO will work with you to identify a few key competitors (I usually shoot for 4-5). With this shortlist, they will then use their favourite link library tool (I am betrothed to MajesticSEO) to pull off all of the links currently pointing to your competitors – neat hm? Going through them, said SEO will be able to identify authoritative sources relevant to your market niche that may be likely to link to you, that’s where the link building comes in.
As in traditional link building, the SEO will then contact those linking opportunities identified in the prospecting portion. This process may take a number of weeks, even months to ensure that all prospects have been contacted, any leads have been followed up on and non-responders have been chased an adequate number of times.
- Google+ and Places Setup and Management
Google+ is hilariously revered as the ghost town of all social networks and the setup and management process requires a blog post SERIES just to cover everything. So if this network is a ghost town, why bother using it? I shall answer this question with a question, again… What search engine are you trying to rank on again? Oh yeah, Google. If the search engine you’re trying to rank #1 on releases a social network you use it. End of story.
Unfortunately, it’s not as easy as setting up a twitter or a facebook account. You may get stuck at several points if you were to set it up yourself, such as when you see this many options:
Or when you realise there’s Google+, Google+ for Business AND Google Places for Business?!
How about you worry about running your business and we’ll worry about the difference between these 3 services, those 6 page categories and getting your branded search to look like this, hm?
That’s all done using Google+ services by the way.
- Google AdWords Campaign(s) Setup and Management
I’m not here to explain the inner workings of Google AdWords to you, Google can do that. What I am here to say is that, like the Google+ rubix cube, Google AdWords would require you to spend weeks of dedication to learning an entirely new skill to understand how to use this:
To get this:
Instead of running your business!
The last thing you want to do is shove a monthly budget of $500+ on a paid advertising service and never look at it again, that’s where the monthly work comes in. A PPC professional would, ideally, set up your Google AdWords campaign(s) and monitor closely every other day. A few things they will look at include ad performance, impressions, click through rate, click type on sitelink extensions, average position, auction insights and after a while, streamline the campaign with a negative keyword list to make sure you’re not paying for any unwanted clicks. Does this sound like something you would want to do yourself? If no, yay monthly SEO. If yes, SELL monthly SEO *wink*.