Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
SEO is a service within internet marketing. The DDM team has found that business owners believe there is value in search engine optimization but they struggle to see the measurable return on investment from SEO.
Let’s first define what SEO means, and then we will explain the correct way to measure its effectiveness.
What is SEO?
SEO involves making changes to a website (design, layout, code, content, etc.) to improve website ranking performance on search engines. The intention of SEO tactics is to increase the result position that your website appears in search engines thus increasing the amount of users that see a result for your business.
SEO keywords and organic search
SEO becomes more complex during the optimization of keywords for your website to rank in the top search engine results. As a refresher, a keyword is a general word or phrase that is used to match a query a user types into a search engine (Google or Bing) looking for a specific result.
SEO strictly affects organic search results meaning these tactics are of no benefit for Paid Search advertising. Organic search results are typically shown below the ads, but there are also other types of results like rich snippets and map listings.
In this example, when searching "new hyundai for sale" the Paid Search result is the Ad (red arrow). The Organic Search result is the website directly beneath (green arrow).
SEO vs. SEM
When compared to its counterpart SEM (Search Engine Marketing), SEO can be more elusive because results are not immediate. Paid search and other forms of internet advertising show immediate results while SEO is designed to increase organic rankings over time. The reason search engine optimization results are not immediate is because search engine rankings are not an exact science and change significantly over time. This does not diminish the effectiveness of SEO strategies nor does it portray its lack of significance. A properly implemented SEO strategy can be the difference between your website at the top of search results versus being non existent.
SEO strategy is broken up into 3 branches: Onsite, Offsite, and Technical SEO depicted below.
Onsite SEO has to do with how a website is built and configured (layout, keywords, content, site quality, etc.). This has everything to do with how your website looks and functions.
The more streamlined and easier it is for a user, or person, to find, navigate and make sense of your website, the better and more relevant the search engine ranks your website. Onsite performance is measured across devices (desktop, mobile, and tablet) as well as across internet browsers.
Offsite SEO has to do with how other sites interact and treat your website (external links, mentions, references, etc.). It’s a strategy to improve how individuals and other websites judge and interact with your website.
Technical SEO is the behind the scenes adjustments made to your website to increase its search engine crawlability and efficiency. Terms like: schema, SSL certificates, mobile optimization and site speed are examples of technical search engine optimization topics.
How is our strategy different?
Although there are differences between SEO and other forms of internet advertising, the DDM team uses a similar approach when measuring the effectiveness of our SEO strategies. A proper analysis is shown below in 3 steps.
Audit & Research
First, understanding your business model and customer base is key in order to target your ideal audience. Once this audience or audience combinations are identified, several layers of research and keyword analysis is performed. This will help uncover how your audience interacts not only with your products but also your industry and competitors.
This analysis provides details on customer’s search behavior which uncovers unique details about how to connect with them and how to best showcase your business’s value. Once you provide your customers with what they need and when they need it, you will have built trust and credibility thus having an outstanding chance of earning their business.
Planning & Implementation
This phase is all about execution. SEO plans typically consist of an Onsite, Offsite, Technical or combination strategy. Keywords and targeting are solidified, performance metrics are established to keep track of goal progress, and all items are based on the original plan.
SEO strategies generally are in the increments of: 1, 3, 6, or 12 months and are regularly reviewed at each established checkpoint to verify actions are on track with the original goal or if or a pivot strategy is needed.
Reporting & Adjusting
Reporting is extremely important for search engine optimization strategies because it allows your team to track progress. DDM promotes standard reporting which is modified for each client to include the original key performance indicators established in the beginning of the previous phases. Custom reporting dashboards should also be available to view real-time results.
Reports are generally reviewed in the following date ranges: biweekly, monthly, bi-monthly, quarterly, or yearly. The review checkpoints are custom to you, your time constraints, and your business model. Any report is best served complemented by an agile customer success team member, so you receive a full understanding of what’s going on for your business whether your availability is 5 hours or 5 minutes.
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