6 SITUATIONS IN WHICH YOU REALLY NEED SEO
We could agree that any business needs SEO and some business’s need SEO more than others.
The reality is, that not every business has an ongoing SEO service. There are different reasons for that: not being aware of what SEO is and what benefits does it bring or is it a scam of some kind.
SEO by itself isn't a scam, however in some situations you might not see the results that you were hoping for. That depends on many factors such as the skills of the SEO person, your company's PR and reputation and what kind of SEO optimisation do you have currently. Chances are that your SEO is outdated if you paid for SEO four or more years ago.
Some businesses choose a “once off SEO service” and some go for an ongoing SEO service that is done every month and year. Between those 2 options I would advise to go for an ongoing SEO service, because of a few reasons: your website will grow – more pages will be added, more errors will show over time on your website, SEO is an industry that is always changing and you can test what is working or not.
WHEN STARTING A NEW BUSINESS
"Having a good SEO strategist from the start is huge, because he/she can teach you what is valued in SEO and then incorporate SEO suggestions into business activities. "
This is a very delicate SEO situation because you would need an SEO strategy to bring you extra traffic in the coming years. History and the reputation of your business are extremely important in SEO. The longer your domain is active and the popular you are the better your SEO will be. That's why it's hardest to start from scratch, because Google has no evidence or history of your domain/business producing value.
Do not expect results from SEO, since your business is new, and it has no history. I would suggest an advanced/expert SEO strategist for this stage because you need a broad strategy to get traffic when starting a business. Having a good SEO strategist from the start is huge, because he can teach you what is valued in SEO and the business manager should incorporate SEO suggestions into his business activities. Example: when you are starting up, PR will be big for SEO and getting articles linking to your new business. A business owner perhaps wouldn't think he needs to invest as much in that area if it wasn't for the SEO consultant. SEO experience needed - expert (you need an SEO strategy).
WHEN YOUR WEBSITE DOESN'T RANK FOR THE KEYWORDS YOU WISH
"Each business has a different ranking situation, it's a combination of your brand and the quality of your SEO setup. Sometimes you need SEO optimisation for that extra push"
This is probably the most common situation. Go to your browser, choose to browse “in cognito” and search for a key phrase you would like to rank for. Check which websites are ranking in top 10 results and top 20 results, do you believe you should be ranking there? Every business has a couple of most important key phrases that would bring them most revenue. My advice: be realistic, ranking for general key phrases like “x products,services in … (country)” is usually very competitive as it covers a broad area.
Each business has something that I call "ranking potential". How high is your potential to rank well for a keyword. As Google is getting better at mimicking reality, it is getting harder to make websites rank well for products/services for which they aren't known for. The level of competition play a big part of your ranking potential. On the other hand I often find business that are relatively well known and don't rank as high for offer services/products in their area. The reason is they have an outdated or very little SEO done. Those are easy wins that can bring you extra traffic that is very relevant and traffic that converts well.
Choose a key phrase that mentions your local area and some niche keywords related to your business or services. SEO experience needed – medium to expert (it depends on how competitive the market and the targeted keywords are).
WHEN HAVING A NEW DOMAIN NAME
"A new domain is a big game changer in SEO. Similar to starting your business, it will have difficulty ranking because it has no history. If switching domains make sure all pages are redirected and none left our."
Similar to the situation of starting a new business, deciding to choose a new domain for your website will require a SEO strategy. This is a once off process where a SEO person should gather all the pages on your old domain and carefully redirect to the matching pages in the new domain. The person should also compare all the pages on old and new domain, making sure none are left out and the old pages are being redirected to the same pages on the new domain name.
I have seen this being ignored so many times, even in agencies that do SEO. If you ignore redirecting old page, you will get less traffic to your site on the new domain. There are other technical things that need to be done like a new search console setup and a detailed backlink check. Get a list of all backlinks from your old domain and try to update the domain on as many sites that link to you as you can. Social media sites will be easy to update but links from other sites, articles will depend on your contact with those sites. From my experience about 50% or more requests to update the domain will be ignored.
You can skit this step if it is too expensive because the old domain will redirect to the new one. The reason to do this is to reduce the need for redirects as they decrease the SEO "link juice" to your new domain. The SEO experience needed for this task I would qualify as "medium".
WHEN YOUR SITE GETS PENALIZED BY A SEARCH ENGINE
"Penalisation can happen, from loosing rankings to pages being removed from Google. IT's tough situation that is always better to avoid by not cheating Google's algorithm."
Getting penalised – e.g. significant decrease in rankings, organic traffic or being completely removed from Google/Bing search results (yep, when one day your website isn’t showing in the search results) can be a nightmare. A lot of business owners who usually don’t do SEO, quickly type in what to do and hire an SEO. There are different reasons why penalisation would happen (sometimes for unknown reasons) and it is usually very difficult to fix. This is another reason as to why to do ongoing SEO service: to keep your site healthy (look for “white hat” only SEO techniques). Here is a video directly form Google about What to look at when hiring an SEO person - basically white hat SEO.
Sometimes cheap SEO services go for link building techniques by buying links (an old SEO tactic that can be detrimental to your site). Make sure to check your webmaster tools under manual actions tab. (that's why it is important to have webmaster tools for your website in the first place) Keep in mind that some sites never managed to get out of Google penalisation. SEO experience needed – expert. (previous experience in penalisation)
GETTING A NEW WEBSITE
"A new website means changes and someone must make sure that all changes are not going to affect your SEO in a negative way. Consult an SEO person while the new site is in build."
Similar to the new domain example, a new website means change and any changes on a website affect SEO. An SEO person should check everything on the new website, especially the new web design (that the text content is displayed on the new website, the pages load fast, that the metadata is carried across etc.). This is a once off work and make sure that the SEO person is involved in the web design process. A lot of web designers say their sites are SEO friendly.
Check if the company (their site or Linkedin) has an experienced SEO person there, involved in the process or hire one. You really don’t want to pay for a new website and then have a hired SEO person saying it needs a lot of changes. That would cost too much. The SEO person’s versatility and experience will be important here as the best SEO’s combine great user experience, traditional SEO elements and great attention to detail when a website is being built. SEO experience needed – advanced/expert.
HAVING A WEBSITE WITH A LOT OF PAGES
"Bigger sites have more need for SEO because of the SEO will have a better impact on your number of visitors and conversion if you already have a lot of pages and visitors."
Bigger sites (500 plus pages) that have been around for years and are rankings with different pages are the best place for an SEO to operate.
There is a bigger chance a bigger and older the site has more potential to improve, because of all the SEO mistakes done over the years. E.g. old pages that used to rank go deleted or replaced. These sites have the best potential for improving their website visitors and bookings. A lot of business that have bigger websites employ full time SEO staff. There is a lot of work to be done here for an SEO person and it takes time for them to know your site. Best SEO person is one that loves your business, communicates well and has great attention to detail. SEO experience- advanced or preferably expert.
If you get have a website with a lot of pages, if you get penalised, start a new business, website or a new domain or you wish to rank for certain key phrases, you need an SEO specialist.
Investments in SEO and other digital marketing services continue to increase globally, that means that online competition is growing. If your competitors invest in SEO and you do now, well there is a good chance they will out rank you. If you rank ok and didn't invest in SEO, then by all means invest because it will give you a nice boost in relevant traffic and conversions!
Many web design agencies or individuals also give SEO services. I suggest that you go on their online site and Linkedin profile and check for an SEO specialist. Be careful, as a lot of people online say that they do SEO, but there can be a significant difference between an experience SEO strategist and a casual SEO person. Be careful of scammers or cheap SEO because it's not a regulated industry. Some business owners assume a Google Partner badge on a digital agency means something. No it means that the agency spends a lot of money on PPC ads. Google provides a nice guide how to hire and SEO person.
Remember that to get most out of SEO, it should be tied to your overall business strategy – e.g. SEO is closely linked to PR, the more exposure you get the more traffic and positions increase or if less people search for your brand the more it will negatively affect your SEO.