Charleston SEO Firm: Proper Expectations

charleston seo firm

Charleston SEO Firm: What Should You Expect From An SEO Campaign?

If you are searching for a Charleston SEO firm to help you with your marketing efforts, you will probably see that they all talk about getting onto page 1 of Google. I’ve already covered the value and importance of ranking on page 1, but today I want to look at another factor: setting proper expectations.

charleston seo firmWhen you engage in a SEO campaign, whether you do it yourself or hire someone, one of the ultimate goals is getting your website onto page 1 of Google. Again, that is one of the goals.

But too many SEO firms make this promise, and as a result, they set themselves and their clients up for potential let down. First, getting onto the first page of Google takes time. Anyone that promises a quick turnaround is someone to be wary of.

Any reputable Charleston SEO firm will employ what is known as “white hat” SEO techniques. However, you can use “black hat” techniques to rank quicker–but there is a huge risk.

charleston seo firmcharleston seo firmIn simplest terms, white hat involves basically giving Google what it wants in order to improve your rankings.

If you set up your website yourself or had someone do it for you many years ago, it is likely that there are many important factors on site that are missing or outdated–especially if your website does not currently rank.

Black hat techniques basically circumvent the rules, using questionable methods to basically “game” Google. These methods can be very effective, however there is a big risk. Google is constantly changing their algorithm to keep people from gaming the system, so these SEO “loopholes” are constantly being sought out and eliminated.

charleston seo firm

The Google Slap is actually worse than this!

And if you overdo it and Google catches on, they can literally make your site disappear from the search engines by de-indexing your site. If you get the “Google Slap” it is quite possible that your website will not come up even if someone types in the exact URL.

Fortunately, any reputable Charleston SEO firm will not risk their reputation or their clients trust by engaging in black hat techniques.

Another problem is that some keywords/search terms are easy to rank for, but they are not worth ranking for.

If there is very few to no monthly searches for that term, what is the benefit of ranking on the first page for it? You won’t see much if any traffic and you certainly won’t see any business from it.

There are also what are known as “buying” keywords–these are keywords or search terms that people use when they are close to or ready to take action. Whether that is call you to set up an appointment or ready to buy whatever you are selling, these are the “money” keywords.

If people are just starting the process and aren’t anywhere near ready to buy use different search terms than people ready to buy. If you rank well for the beginning-of-the-process search terms, you will likely see a good amount of traffic to your website, but you won’t see any improvement to your bottom line.

charleston seo firmSo, if you engage in a SEO campaign, but you don’t quite hit page 1, is all lost? Certainly not.

There are many benefits to a good SEO campaign, whether or not you end up on page 1. Here is an article that really explains this in better detail.

So, this all comes back to setting proper expectations at the beginning. And unfortunately, too many SEO firms suck at this.

When you are passionate about SEO, the ultimate goal is getting onto the 1st page of Google. Improving a website’s rankings is the measuring stick many SEOs use to judge their performance.

However, business owners don’t really care about rankings, page 1 and all that other SEO-speak. They simply want results, and to them, results are more sales/customers/clients.

Too many SEO firms will provide businesses with reports showing how the website ranking is coming along–“We started with your site not even ranking, and 2 months in we are at position #136. 2 months later and you are up to #78. So, we are making progress!”

charleston seo firm

“Show Me The Money!”

As a business owner, do you even care?

That is why I approach things differently. At the end of the day, you want to know your bottom line is increasing. But the various reports do serve a purpose.

The majority of people do not understand SEO exactly, or do they really care. However, it takes time to rank a website, along with money and patience.

But it isn’t enough to tell a client that all is well, just sit back and wait. Trust me.

So, the reports–such as showing how your website is improving it’s rank over the course of a campaign–is necessary to show tangible evidence that work is being done. It happens “behind the scenes”, so the reports do show that something is happening, even if it can be a process of getting there (and not simply overnight).

That said, I just think too many companies rely too heavily on their ranking reports. It’s as though they have nothing else.

Having proper expectations from the start is just one thing Carmichael does differently. Sure, we strive to get you on the first page of Google. But, our approach is a little different.

We want you to see why it is important to be there, as well as the value of being there. We also stress the importance of increasing your web visibility. Being seen in more places on the web so that it is easier for potential customers to find you.

While this includes page 1, it includes many other factors that aren’t necessarily tied into being on page 1 (although many of these non-page 1 factors can contribute to your rankings).

At the end of the day, the goal of our SEO campaigns include getting on Google page 1. However, our only concern is the same concern you have: getting more business. It really is as simply as that, and that should be the proper expectation for any SEO campaign.

If you are looking for ways to increase your business, there are many strategies that can help you accomplish that. Online marketing is one of the most effective ways to do that in today’s world.

Contact us today and see why Carmichael Online Marketing is not your typical Charleston SEO firm.

 

 

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Local SEO: Directory Listings

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Two of the services we offer at Carmichael are SEO (Search Engine Optimization) as well as Local SEO. So what exactly is the difference?


Title: google images, google, seo
Owner: Simon
powered by

SEO is a service we partner with SEM (Search Engine Marketing). Many people will simply include both services under the name of SEO, but I like to differentiate between the two. SEO involves work on your website–the structure and behind the scenes things like H1 tags, meta tags, meta descriptions, etc. These items are important because they signal the search engines what your website (and pages) are all about.

SEM is the actual process of getting your website visible and ranked in the search engines. This involves keyword research/targeting, backlinking, social bookmarking as well as many other factors.

To put all that into a simple answer, SEO involves getting your website onto the first page of the search engine results pages (SERPs).

But Local SEO is not simply a localized version of that. Local Optimization has the same goal as SEO, increasing a local business’ visibility on the web, and aiming to land on the first page. So, Local SEO is the same general idea as SEO, but involves different methods.

Local SEO includes Directory Listings/Citations, claiming and optimizing your Google + page, and can include getting online reviews and social media marketing as well.

These items are very important to local businesses and help local companies stand out on the internet over their competition. Local SEO can benefit a regular SEO campaign, and if a business were to choose between the two I would say Local Optimization is more important. However, when you combine both a Local Optimization campaign with a SEO campaign, you can really dominate your local market.

Here is a more detailed explanation of the services:

Directory Listings/Citations: There are literally hundreds of online directories where businesses can add their listing. Some of these sites call the listing a citation, either way, it is somewhere online you can leave your business information. Think of it like you are leaving behind digital business cards.

Title: Phonebooks from the 1970s
Owner: ceefor

How much information you leave varies from one site to the next, but they allow you to at least leave the basics–including your NAP (Name, Address, and Phone Number), and perhaps your website.

Others allow for more information–you can include a brief description about your business, include business hours, offer coupons or upload photos. Many of these sites will allow you to list for free (although you can pay to add more information or have better placement in the search results within their site), others require a payment to get listed.

Why is this so important? Think of it this way. If you had on your desk 20 phone books–all different phone books from your area–which one would you most want to be listed in? Why not all of them? The more places you can be found, the easier it is to find you.

This is what is meant by “web visibility”–making it easier for prospective customers to find you online.

Directory Listings are also important for SEO purposes. The more places online you have your business information listed, the more clear signals are sent to Google that establishes your business as a legitimate company. It is important that your information is consistent from one listing to the next–if not this will confuse Google and could hurt you.

Another benefit is the fact that chances are, your competition isn’t listed in too many places. They likely will wind up in a couple directories by default, but that will probably be it. By getting listed in a bunch of directories, you will be a step ahead of your competitors. Just listing on a dozen or two sites can give you a big boost with the search engines and keep you way ahead of your competitors.

This feeds into Google +. Many businesses do not even realize that they likely have a Google + page waiting for them. Even if you do not have an unclaimed Google+ page, you can still go here to create one.

Why is this important? First, what web properties tend to show up in the results pages better than others? Ones owned by Google. Certainly Google will show a lot of love towards Google+ pages. Don’t think so?

Do a search–in fact, do a search of your specific industry along with the city you are located in. Here is a screenshot for “dry cleaners Goose Creek”:

 

local seo

This is just the top third of the page, above most of the organic results–the first “Tommy’s Cleaners” is the #1 organic result. Just below that is what is known as the Google 7 box, or 7 pack. It has recently been known as the 3 box or pack–but whatever they are calling it today (and yes, that is another topic for another day), this is prime real estate on Google.

These results are from Google Plus–as you can see, I highlighted the links to the Google+ pages for these businesses. To end up within these results purely by accident is extremely rare–I have seen it–but you can bet if you end up in the 7 pack accidentally, you will get bumped from there before too long.

Getting this ranking can be a big boost to your bottom line. The 7 pack typically shows up for popular searches, and searches that lead to a consumer taking an action–calling you to buy.

Just having a Google + page isn’t enough. If you have an unclaimed Google+ page or one that is pretty bare, then you will not appear in the 7 pack. A fully optimized page basically means you have a completely filled out page with your contact info, pictures, and videos. Some key ingredients that really boost your page are reviews, blog posts, targeted keywords and social signals.

Two of those factors are big with Google right now. Have you heard about the Google Pigeon update from last year? Google is constantly changing their search results algorithm. In fact, they change it hundreds of times a year. But every so often they will make big changes, and Pigeon was the most recent one (you can read more about the Pigeon update here).

But the key takeaway is that Pigeon had a lot to do with local search results. Google is now placing more emphasis on social signals and reviews. Social signals can be from social media, such as Facebook likes. But, +1’s from Google+ can carry a lot more weight.

If you have looked at your Google+ site, you will see that they have a tab for reviews. Businesses that have a lot of reviews tend to show up in the 7 pack. But not many businesses have a strategy in place for getting online reviews–if they have reviews they are likely getting them by accident.

The above example is actually a pretty good one–the businesses listed have 24, 7 and 2 reviews. I have seen businesses rank in the 7 pack with only 2 or 3 reviews, and even a few that had none. However, the weaker the ranking factors are for a business, the easier it is to displace them.

Having a Local Optimization strategy and executing it can make a big difference to a local business’ bottom line. So many of your competition is flying blind and have no idea about Directory Listings, Google+ and Reviews. By implementing a Local Optimization strategy you can easily leapfrog over much of your competition and claim some prime real estate in the search engines–top of the first page.

Plus, by fully optimizing your local online presence, you will solidify your ranking and not be vulnerable to someone else coming along and bumping you off the first page. You will reap the benefits of this exposure by watching your business increase–not only today, but into the future as well.

I didn’t talk about SEO to get ranked on the first page of the search results, but when you combine that with a Local Optimization campaign, you can easily dominate your local market.

If you want to look into improving your business and increasing sales, then online marketing can be a powerful way to achieve those goals. Feel free to contact me (or visit my website) and we can discuss what can be done to best benefit your company.

 

 

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Charleston SEO Services: The Value Of Ranking On Google Page 1

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Charleston SEO Services: Why Is Page 1 So Important?

If you are wondering whether or not local SEO services are for you, here is some information to show you the value of ranking on the first page of Google. SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, is a process of getting your website found on Google.

The vast majority of consumers are searching online everyday for goods and services, and if they are not finding you, they are finding your competition. SEO is a way to make sure they find you first.

Charleston SEO services involve an array of many different methods, all with one common goal: increasing your visibility and positioning on the web. The ultimate goal is to get on the first page of Google. However, that is easier said than done.

So, why is the first page of Google such prime real estate? First, the majority of web traffic goes to the websites on the first page. Most users will find what they are looking for and will not bother to scroll through page after page of results. While in some cases web users will go past page 1, there is a big difference in that traffic.

charleston seo services

If someone is just starting the search process, then chances are they are researching a subject to learn more about it. On the other hand, when they are ready to take an action (that is, ready to buy), then they will not likely go past the first page of search results.

For example, let’s say someone is thinking about buying a dog. At first, they don’t know much about dogs–what breed will work best for them, how much does a dog cost, etc. So, they will search the internet using broad terms, such as “dogs” or “German Shepherds”.  These users are more likely to go deeper in the search results, going through multiple pages of results (and past just page 1 results).

Once they have done their research, they will finally be ready to make a purchase. At this point, they will use more specific search terms, such as “Golden Retriever Puppies For Sale In Charleston SC”. These are people that are ready to buy, and buy now. Chances are they will find what they are looking for on the first page of the search results.

If you own a pet store, which first page would it be better to rank on? Obviously the second example, since these are ready-to-buy-now buyers.

Here is a look at the traffic the sites on Page 1 enjoy (broken down by the rank on Page 1, from the website in position 1 down to position 10–positions 11-15 would be on Page 2):

charleston seo services

So, just how valuable is this first page real estate?

Let’s use an example of “Plumbers Charleston SC”. Here is a screenshot of that search:

charleston seo services

You will notice I highlighted 2 sections of the results, and they probably look like search results you have seen before. On the top and right hand side of the page are results from Google Adwords advertisers. This is Pay-Per-Click marketing, that is, these websites paid to appear on the first page of the results. This is one way to get on Google’s first page, but it can be very tricky and costly.

Whenever someone clicks on these sites, the site owners pay Google for that click. The cost varies and depends on the amount of traffic that search term gets, as well as how many sites are competing for these clicks. A click can cost a few cents, or it can cost $20, $40, or even hundreds of dollars.

Competition is fierce, and if you don’t have any experience with keyword research, writing ads, or even know what split testing ads are, then chances are you will throw a lot of money down the drain with no results to show for it. Adwords advertising is an entirely different animal with a steep learning curve. If you don’t have experience with it, then it is something best left to a professional that has Adword marketing experience.

The other highlighted section is the Organic Search Results. These are the websites Google has “selected” as the best sites for that particular search term (of course there is a lot more to it than that, but that is just a simple way to explain it).

These sites are turning up on the first page and enjoying the benefits of page 1 real estate and they aren’t paying a dime to be there. Of course, you don’t just simply show up on the first page–it takes time and money to get there. However, once you rank there, it costs you nothing to stay there. (Again, there is more to it than that, but let’s just leave the details to another post so we don’t go off topic and turn this post into a novel).

Getting back to the Plumbers example, first let’s look at how many people are using this search term to find a local plumber every month:

charleston seo services

Here is a infograph that shows the actual value of the traffic the top sites in the results enjoy (remember the search results page slide):

charleston seo services

One note–the graph shows the top 3 local sites. There are a few Directory sites that came up, and these are national, “authority” sites. They enjoy national exposure and receive a lot more traffic than the local sites, so their numbers would really skew things.

This traffic value is based on two things: how much traffic these sites receive every month as a result of ranking on page 1, and how much it would cost to pay for this traffic via Adwords.

Take a close look at those numbers. I don’t know what a Plumber in Charleston makes on an average service call, but I recently had to call one and it was $250. So, let’s use some low-end, conservative numbers to get an idea.

First, in the graph above we see that the site in position 3 of Page 1 gets over 10% of the traffic. Let’s just say it gets 10%. The search term (“plumbers Charleston SC”) receives 260 searches a month, so 10% of that would be 26.

Let’s assume that this plumber has a bad website and only converts 10% of that traffic–that is 2.6 people, almost 3. So, based on these numbers, this plumber could see an increase of revenue each month of $500-$750. That may not be that impressive, but imagine if they had a good website and could improve the conversion rate?

Chances are, they could convert 50% of that traffic (or better)–that would mean 13 new customers and a income boost of $3250 a month.  (A Charleston SEO services campaign would include an analysis of your current website, and any necessary changes would be made to ensure you can highly convert your newly found traffic)

Now you should be starting to see the real power and value of Page 1 rankings.

If you are a local business owner, you know your numbers, so simply insert them into the formula and you can start to see the value for ranking on Page 1.

Also keep in mind that this is one search term. What if you ranked on the first page for multiple search terms? Now you are starting to understand what “Local Domination” is all about, and how Charleston SEO services can really make a difference to your bottom line.

If you are looking for local SEO services, then don’t hesitate to call me to set up an appointment to learn more. I am about helping local businesses increase their bottom line by creating a custom marketing plan that fits your budget. Carmichael’s Charleston SEO services will help you increase your business and profits.

 

 

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Charleston SEO Firm: Google 7 Pack

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Charleston SEO Firm: Just What Is The Google 7 Pack?

Just what is the Google 7 Pack? When you get search results from Google, there is up to 7 businesses listed from Google Maps that appear above the organic search results. See the image below for clarification.

charleston seo firm


Why is this important? This is prime real estate on Google. Getting your business listed here puts you on top of the first page, where the majority of consumers go. Studies show that the majority of internet searchers (read: potential customers) end up clicking on one of the sites on the first page. Over 90% of searchers click on a website on page 1 of Google.

charleston seo firm


The top sites on page 1 get clicked on a larger percentage of the time. Very few people will go past page 1 of Google. If they do, chances are they are doing a lot of research on something—which means they are not in “buying mode”.

charleston seo firm


So, how can you get inside the Google 7 Pack? It is actually not that hard, but requires precise steps and a little patience. However, to try and get ranked on the first page in the organic results takes money, time and patience. Traditional SEO (Search Engine Optimization) campaigns can be costly—but the ROI is usually worth it.


However, not every local business has the resources for a costly SEO campaign. The Google 7 Pack offers the benefits of a good SEO campaign, but at a fraction of the cost. When coupled with a targeted SEO campaign the results can be enormous—but the 7 Pack listing can be beneficial on its own.


The 7 Pack results are a combination of factors including an optimized Google Plus business listing along with citations and directory listings. Citations and Directory Listings are online listings that help support your online presence.

charleston seo firm

But it is critically important that all contact details (also known as NAP, or Name-Address-Phone Number) are consistent across the internet. If they are not consistent (such as old phone numbers, different addresses, etc.), then this can hurt your rankings.


However, if these listings are consistent, then that sends a clear signal to Google that you are a legitimate business. While this process isn’t rocket science, it may not be something a business owner will want to attempt themselves if they are not that experienced online.


One thing you may notice on the above screenshot—there are only 3 listings in the 7 pack. This means there is untapped potential for that industry—4 spots unclaimed. This would be an easy search to rank for.

Even if all 7 listings are filled, that doesn’t mean you couldn’t take over. It is possible that some businesses rank in the 7 Pack but it is a result of chance, and not a focused internet strategy.

charleston seo firm


Therefore, some of the businesses are at risk of getting pushed off the page. Make sure your business isn’t one of those—if you aren’t in the 7 Pack get listed there, and if you just happen to already be there, it would be advisable to solidify your ranking.

You never know when your competition may employ a marketing strategy that will overtake your rankings.

If you would like to learn more about the 7 Pack and the effects the Google Pigeon update had on local rankings, here is a good article to check out.


Fortunately, we at Carmichael have a package of services that will take the necessary steps to get you ranked in the Google 7 Pack—this is known as our Local SEO Package and it offers business owners a marketing solution that gets you the results you desire at a reasonable price. Contact us today if you are looking for a Charleston SEO firm to discuss your online marketing needs.

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