SEO for Digital Marketeers

Can You Help with My SEO? — Are you really asking the right question?

“My business is down significantly from last year. Can you help with my SEO?”

As a consultant, I hear this question a lot from small or medium sized business (SMB) owners. In the past, without doing anything, they used to have excellent listings on page 1 of Google Search. And could count on a certain percentage of sales coming from that traffic. But now it’s not happening. “Can you fix my SEO?” is a request I often get in various ways.

Here are some other variants of the same question.

  1. Can you get my business to be on Page 1 of Google?
  2. I need more business online. Can you help?
  3. Just get me more users coming from Google.
  4. My friends say I need better Search Engine Marketing.

There is often a misunderstanding of linking SEO to your entire business. That fact is, SEO is only 1 part of equation of how your business is represented online. There are many other factors to consider.

As a business owner who needs help with SEO, here is a partial list of questions you should be REALLY asking yourself about your business. I break this list into 11 categories:

  1. Customer Demographics
    1. What types of customers are showing interest in my business?
    2. Where do my customers hang out online?
    3. Where are they from geographically?
  2. Online Presence
    1. How are customers finding my business online?
    2. Am I meeting their expectations?
    3. Are online Reviews about my business mostly positive?
    4. Am I responding to all reviews?
    5. Is my business listed correctly & uniformly across all directory services?
  3. Lead Generation Techniques
    1. What is the best way to generate leads?
    2. Do I have nice path to turn cold leads into warm leads?
  4. Landing Page Optimization
    1. If a cold lead visits my site, how to I warm them up to the point of purchasing my product?
    2. Do I do everything possible to capture a lead on my website?
    3. Do I have a separate landing page for each major product in my business?
    4. Does my landing page have a clear title? Does it have a clear call to action (CTA)?
  5. List Building
    1. Am I doing everything possible to build an email list?
    2. For people on my email list, am I doing enough to keep them engaged?
  6. Upsells
    1. Do I have a nice upsell path for existing customers?
  7. Referrals
    1. Are my customers recommending me to their friends?
    2. Do I make it ridiculously easy to recommend my business to a friend?
  8. Social Presence
    1. What Social Networks do my customers hang out?
    2. Do I do enough to keep them happy?
    3. Can users of each social network easily find my business?
  9. Online Advertising
    1. Do I need to be advertising Online?
    2. Should I do search or display advertising?
    3. Should I advertise on Social Networks?
    4. Should I do Retargeting/Remarketing?
  10. Competition
    1. How to do I stack up against my competitors online?
  11. And finally SEO
    1. Does my website target the right keyword phrases?
    2. How high is my domain authority?
    3. Do I have links to my website from high authority domains in my space?
    4. If no, how to I get links to point to my site?
    5. Am I building the right content to get noticed on Search Engines?

As you can see from the list of about 20 questions or so, SEO is only 1 factor you should be thinking about.

In the past, your listings on Google was the only thing you needed to worry about to get customer online. There was no other way to find a business other than to search for it on Google Search. Today, that is no longer the case. Besides, Google, and Bing, Baidu, there are many others services that are really search engines in disguise. There are directory listings such as Yelp & GuruNavi. There are marketplaces such as Amazon and Etsy. There online resources such as Redit and Quora are others. Need graphic content for your website, you are likely to search on iStockPhoto or some other services. Whatever your niche is, there may be a more personalized search engine you need to optimize for besides just Google.

Also, in the past, it was way easy to improve your SEO with. Google’s algorithms were strongly weighted toward the number of links pointing your website. This gave rise to low cost “Link Farms”, were people could literally buy thousands of links from private blog networks. But with Google’s Penguin and Panda updates around 2012, the days of buying cheap links to get better SEO are gone. These days, once you get past the minimum viable SEO, it becomes much more work to rank above your competitors.

Also, search engines are now taking into account online reviews. Your reviews on Yelp, Trip Advisor, Google+ and other review sites are now given strong weighting in search results. So you may have really good SEO to get you in the “3-Pack” of Google search results. But if your business has only 2 out of 5 stars for reviews, you are unlikely to get the clicks.

And search engines are very “context sensitive” these days. So even if you did all right things SEO-wise, your business still may not show up due to the user’s previous history and search patterns.

And let’s say you have good SEO, and are ranking high for your favorite keyword search phrases, but still you may discover you are not getting a whole lot of business. Many businesses don’t carefully consider the online experience once a users get’s on to their site. This field is known as Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO).

You see, to be a successful business online, it goes way beyond just what’s on your web site. You need to take into account your entire “Online Presence”, as well as your online sales “Funnel” for bringing in your customers.

Your Online Presence includes the following factors:

  1. Your Web Site, including Landing Pages
  2. Your Advertising Strategy
  3. Your Social Presence
  4. Your Sales Funnels
  5. Your Email List Building
  6. Your Local Presence (Local Businesses)
  7. Your Local Reviews
  8. And finally — Your SEO

In future blog articles, I’ll be talking more about your Online Presence, as well as your Conversion Funnels. But for today, the key takeaway you should have here is this, if your just asking for “help with my SEO”, you are probably not asking the right set of questions. SEO is just one part of your Complete Online Presence. There are many other important factors as well that make up your complete “online presence”.


About the Author Jeff Crawford

Jeff Crawford is a Digital Marketing expert, technologist and Manager. He has worked for technology companies in Silicon Valley such as Apple, WebTV and Microsoft. He has lived in Tokyo Japan since 2004, working for companies such as Microsoft KK and Adobe Systems Japan. Jeff is founder of Zo Digital Japan, an SEO and Digital Marketing agency based in Tokyo. Jeff started the Tokyo Digital Marketers Meetup in 2016, which now has over 2000 members. He has also presented about Digital Marketing at such events as Ad-Tech Tokyo, WordCamp Tokyo, Japan Market Expansion Competition (JMEC), and the Japan Association of Translators (JAT).

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