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Writing An Article
Posted 19 October 2003 - 12:48 PM
I'm writing an article on SEO for a Boston business publication I've done some other writing for (Boston Women's Biz Journal). The audience is people who have never heard of SEO and don't know why they'd want it. I'm trying to get it in the issue that's geared to entrepreneurs. It will cover what it is, why they would want it, how to do it (from a very high level, not a how-to), what to watch out for, and what to expect when working with a professional.
I'd love to get some inputs and reviews to make sure I'm representing a broader understanding of the industry than just my own. My own SEO experience is mainly on the writing side - something I work into projects I'm already doing. I want to set realistic expectations with the audience.
So far in the article, I'm assuming that a business that uses its website as a main selling channel would want to pull out all the stops when optimizing a site. That's a given. But a firm that does not expect to get new business from its website (like a law or accounting firm that deals only with b-to-b and gets referals) can still benefit from SEO but would probably want to take a lower-budget approach. Is it safe to assume that researching keywords and writing the site for SEO is enough for them? Is there a "tier" of SEO for these other kinds of businesses?
What do you do for clients who don't have thousands of $ to spend on SEO? Do the initial optimizing and let them handle submissions and monitoring? Optimize for fewer keywords? Make recommendations and let them handle the writing themselves? Suppose an entrepreneur needs a site with less than 20 pages and wants to be found on SEs (assume a not too competitive search term). What can that person expect to pay and get for the money? (I'm trying to anticipate what my small biz/entrepreneurial audience will want to learn.)
Am I asking the right questions? I'm hoping for some thought-provoking replies.
Posted 19 October 2003 - 08:19 PM
I'm assuming that a business that uses its website as a main selling channel would want to pull out all the stops when optimizing a site. That's a given.
I've not found this to be true at all. There are many considerations to a website, and a huge belief in the powers of branding and the magic of graphics. In addition, there's the serious matter of what the site owner's wanting to say overriding whatever it is that users are interested in reading.
But a firm that does not expect to get new business from its website (like a law or accounting firm that deals only with b-to-b and gets referals) can still benefit from SEO but would probably want to take a lower-budget approach.
My 2nd largest client is B2B and gets most of its business on referrals. SEO is their biggest marketing expense. Even though very few people are doing web searches related to their service, reaching them via SEO is highly profitable for them. Their market is painfully difficult and expensive to target via other media. SEO for them has been a business breakthrough.
Is there a "tier" of SEO for these other kinds of businesses
Absolutely. The factors are:
* value of a customer
* liklihood of converting a site visitor into a customer
* total volume of search traffic
* low level of competition
Look at these as not additive but multiplicative. The bigger the result, the more valuable SEO is.
At the high end comes extensive, careful keyword research and testing, visitor tracking and analysis, high-cost PPC campaigns, link-building programs, construction of copy primarily for SEO purposes, and serious business focus on SEO as a major marketing technique.
At the low end, just some quick and dirty research as to the appropriate search terms and some quick SEO copy-editing. Heck, I've even told some potential clients not to bother.
Small Business Clients
There's just no simple one-size-fits-all answer here. My biggest client has no ful-time employees and operates out of the owner's house. I have one client whose business is primarily a hobby. She gets all her business due to SEO. And she started the business based on my estimate of how many leads per week SEO could deliver.
Posted 19 October 2003 - 10:02 PM
here's a link to an article I wrote on this subject a few months ago. You might find some ideas there:
I think the concept of being in a position to cost-effectively talk to your prospective customers at the exact time when they're open to listening is a decent angle. This definitely applies to B2C and B2B web sites.
BTW, some of the most expensive PPC terms are bid on by lawyers.
Posted 20 October 2003 - 03:29 PM
The only way I know to work with a limited SEO budget is to limit the number of pages that are SEO'd.
So, if the client has 20 pages, maybe optimise the top five pages; if it's just a little 'ol 5 page site, just SEO the home page.
Posted 20 October 2003 - 04:03 PM
Posted 20 October 2003 - 05:25 PM
We look at things in a different light to the average surfer, I was OUT (gulp yes out in the real world) with a customer, and i suggested they did a search for a generic phrase where i knew one of my clients sites would come out top, this was in an associated field, and in fact the customer whos site came top was the customer who had referred me to the new guys. ANYHOW, when he saw that the site was top he said, so their website is the best website for xxx on the web?
A lot of people assume that the site at the top is rated as the best by their search engine, in the same way as yellow pages users assume that a big advert means a bigger and better company. So vanity can play a big part as well, but you are still pitching at fear here, ' now mr customer, if your site is NOT near the top, then your potential customers are going to think you are less important or capable than you really are'.
With regard budget, it is better to have the home page ranking well for limited phrases, than all the pages doing ok, The small business person is going to want results, and IMO would rather see his homepage ranking up there, as this can only have a positive effect on his business and the perception of his business. After a few months he can then look at optimising another page, with another keyphrase, and so on, this should be self funding from increased revenue.
There is a saying in advertising design circles that goes, 'there is only one thing worse than no advertising, and that's bad advertising' I am not sure what its like outside the UK, but there are some horrendous websites being used by business. I had a customer whos site i had built and sorted, he was ranking top 3 for his search phrases, but he wanted it to be flashier, i said no, he said flashier, i said no.
Eventually i suggested he got someone else to do it, as it was my opinion that he was creating webicide by having a non html website. Anyhow he got a guy in who would do what he wanted, and when i bumped into him he told me how the new guy had sorted his site out, how it had flying rocket ships etc etc (everything he wanted) It also had a load of typos in it, links that did not work and basic errors. Now this is a business website, and more importantly it is a sign writing and printing website, (with spelling mistakes) the site has gone from the rankings, it has a flash download file size of 500k, so is useless.
My point now is that he is plugging the website in all his advertising, this means that the first impression potential new customers are having is a slow, badly designed website, BAD ADVERTISING, worse than no advertising.
Posted 21 October 2003 - 07:49 AM
Posted 23 October 2003 - 07:50 AM
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