SEO And Online Marketing – A Visit To The Doctor

Jereme Wong

Client:

‘My site is not ranking well. Can you help me?’

Me:

‘Sure. Do you have a plan in mind?’

Client:

‘Yes. I want 10 top rankings. How much will it cost?’

Me:

Sigh. There we go again. ‘We don’t actually do that.’

Client:

‘Huh? I thought you are a SEO company?’

Me:

‘We do help you with SEO. But essentially, we are an Online Marketing Company.’

Client:

‘What’s the difference?’

#1 Online Marketing Is Not Just SEO

doctorsHave you ever visited a doctor when you were sick? What was it like? If the doctor is any good, he’d probably give you a thorough check-up to diagnose your ailment before prescribing the right medication. Similarly, a SEO practitioner will always analyze your website thoroughly before drafting up a SEO plan for your website. Wanting to get top rankings without a prior to a proper website health-check is like treating symptoms without first understanding the root cause of the problem. Not only is it less effective, but it also stands the risk of backfiring.

In fact, SEO should only be a part, not the whole of your online marketing strategy. One of the common problems when people approach us is that they think we are a SEO company, or a SEM company, or a Social Media Marketing company etc. It’s true that we do incorporate all these into our work, but more importantly, we are an Online Marketing company, and each of these are just tools to help us achieve the ultimate goal of improving your business.

Here’s a good explanation by Dave Child:

Search engine optimization is fairly simple – SEOs will try and improve your site’s performance, usually by trying to leverage their knowledge of how search engines work and tricks they can use to make sites seem more relevant than they actually are to specific keywords.

Marketing online, though, need not have anything to do with search engines. Search engines are irrelevant – good positions and traffic are by-products of effective online marketing.

Client:

‘Thanks for the analysis! That was very detailed. So how are you going to SEO our site next?’

Me:

Well, after analyzing the data, we will provide you with the recommended steps to improve your rankings. For example, we will let you know how to better optimize your site’s contents as well as how to attain more relevant backlinks to your site.’

Client:

‘Will you help us to execute these steps?’

Me:

Certainly, but that’s going to be a separate charge.’

Client:

‘WHAT?!’

Me:

‘Relax. Let’s look at it this way. When you fall sick and visit a doctor for diagnosis, you pay for a consultation fee right?’

Client:

‘Uh-huh.’

Me:

‘When the doctor prescribes some medications for you after that, do you need to pay for them as well?

Client:

‘I suppose so.’

#2 Consultation And Execution Are Separate Events – Both Are Necessary

Having a SEO consultation is much like visiting a doctor. We find out what’s wrong with your site, and then prescribe a set of remedies to help improve the condition.

Of course, you can always visit a doctor without getting the medication, or buy some off-the-shelf remedies without seeking a doctor’s opinion. But are those really good for your health? The former helps you to know your condition, but doesn’t help with improving it. The latter, on the other hand, might not be able to solve the problem correctly, and may even worsen it without a proper diagnosis.

Client:

‘Can’t I do these things myself? Why would I need to pay you for that?’

Me:

‘Well of course you can. It’s all a matter of cost-effectiveness.’

#3 Getting The Right People To Do The Job Saves You Time And Money

A lot of the work that your employees are doing now can actually be done yourself too. But having the right people in the right job helping you out not only saves you valuable time, but makes the work more effective as well. This also allows you to focus on growing your business instead of the intricate details of how things work.

As mentioned above, you can always buy off-the-shelf medication to treat yourself when you are sick. But if you truly wish to have a proper diagnosis and prescription, you still need to visit a doctor. In addition, having the right people doing the job for you will give you the peace of mind to focus on your business without having to worry about your website.

Client:

‘I get it. So how many days do you need for my site to become number 1?’

Me:

‘It’s not going to be that fast.’

Client:

‘Why not?’

Me:

‘Can you take up a sport today, and become an Olympic champion in a few days?’

Client:

‘Of course not. What’s the link?’

#4 SEO Takes Time And Effort

Well, doing SEO is much like picking up a sport. It takes time and hard work to improve your game.

Your doctor can always give you advice on how to keep yourself healthy and injury free. Your sports trainer can even give you the best training routine to keep you at peak performance. But at the end of the day, it still takes diligence and perseverance to eventually excel at your game.

Thankfully, that’s what we are here for, to help you do all the hard and time consuming work so you can the reap the benefits of our efforts.

Client:

‘Ok. So if I pay you $500, how many top rankings can you guarantee?’

Me:

‘As we work together to improve your site, your overall traffic and revenue will inevitably increase. However, we do not promise any specific number of top rankings as what some SEO companies do, simply because it is impractical.’

#5 Top Rankings Are Not Guaranteed – For Good Reasons

Sure we can always set a fixed number of keywords to rank for, and then spend our resources in getting those rankings, but that’s not the main purpose. The aim of our campaigns is to eventually make more revenue for your business through the Internet.

It’s not about how many keywords you are ranking for, but rather, how much returns you are getting through your campaigns.

Moreover, given the many changes that the search engines undergo every year, it is impractical to focus only on a few specific keywords. By focusing on building a solid SEO foundation instead, we can help your site to continue growing even if the search engines suddenly drop one of your pages.

Here’s a simple analogy. When some doctors treat patients, they only target the symptoms. By doing so, they may be able to quickly remove the symptoms, but it may not truly solve the problem, and may even harm the overall health of the patient. On the other hand, good doctors will not only attend to the symptoms, but also help improve the overall health of the patient, such that they do not fall sick easily in the future.

Our approach is the latter. Our goal is to improve the overall health of your site, making it easier for both search engines and your prospective customers to find relevant material on your site. This helps to increase your credibility to the search engines, relevance to the users, and in turn will bring more traffic and sales to your site. Keyword rankings is merely a by-product of your site’s increased SEO performance and is not our primary objective.

In fact, SEO, and online marketing as a whole, should not be simply about getting top rankings. Ranking for irrelevant keywords or phrases that no one searches for does your business no good at all.

You’ll always be able to find companies who’d offer to get you 5, even 10 top rankings for a fee of say, $100. The question is, do these rankings help to increase your sales? Without improving your ROI, getting these ‘top rankings’ will only incur more costs for your business.

Yet people still fall for that, simply because it’s ‘cheap’. But 100 campaigns later, they still don’t see any increase in sales.

Contrast that with a $5,000 investment in a SEO campaign that has the potential of earning you $50, 000 more in revenue. Which do you think is a better investment? In fact, with advanced tracking and analytics, you can even see from day to day how your investment is paying off. From increased traffic to improved conversion rates, all these factors work together to give you the maximum ROI possible.

Client:

‘Ok. So can you guarantee that our site will always be ranked well on the search engines?’

Me:

‘No. It’s true that your site will continue to improve over time, but it’s not practical to say that it’ll be receiving top rankings 24/7.’

#6 Search Engine Results Are Constantly Changing

Continuing with our analogy, doctors can always give you guidelines and best practices to follow in order to help maintain your health. However, no doctor can guarantee that once you visit him, you’ll be in the pink of health for the rest of your life.

There will always be new strains of viruses, changes in weather and other unforeseen circumstances that might cause a person to become sick. What the doctor can do, is to provide ways for you to keep yourself fit and strong (e.g. balanced diet, regular exercise, sufficient sleep etc.). Not only will these help to keep you more resistant to the changes, but also help you to recover faster if ever you are down with a cold.

It’s the same with SEO. As said before, search engines often change their algorithms, thereby affecting search results. By following the best practices provided, you’ll be building a strong foundation for your site. Therefore, when changes happen in the Internet, you’ll be less likely to be affected, and will recover faster if you do get affected. In fact, because your site is better constructed than others, when these ‘tremors’ come, your site may be the few that are left standing while the other spammy sites get filtered off from the search results.

Client:

‘We seem to have gotten the top ranking for our brand name already. I think we don’t need your help anymore.’

Me:

‘That’s great to hear, but is your traffic and sales increasing?’

Client:

‘Well…not really.’

#7 Overall SEO Health Is More Important Than Specific Rankings

When taking anti-biotic pills, you are not supposed to stop the course even if your symptoms disappear. In fact, you should not be contented simply because you are healed of one symptom. It is often more important to improve your overall health and fitness so that not only do you not fall sick easily in the future, you’ll also have more energy to do the things that you enjoy.

Many companies seem to think that it’s enough to rank for their own brand names (which should be relatively easy to achieve). The problem is, most people looking for products and services online do not usually search directly for the brand names. Instead, they usually key in terms related to the product or service they are looking for. (e.g. instead of looking for XYZ Spa Company, users usually search for ‘cheap massage’, ‘good spa in Singapore’, etc.)

Therefore, it is important to first research and collect a list of terms that your perspective customers usually search for. This should then be followed by a strategic plan to slowly rank for each of these high-value keywords.

Client:

‘Wow! Our site is now ranking for several high-value keywords and traffic is coming in quickly. But although sales figures are slowly increasing, it’s not as high as I’d expect with this amount of traffic. Why is that so?’

Me:

‘Well, have you taken a look at your landing page or measured its effectiveness with A/B testing? What about your sales funnel? Have you started optimizing it?’

Client:

‘What are those? I thought if the traffic came, the business would come too?’

#8 Good Traffic Is Not Enough – It Has To Earn You Profits

Just because you are healthy and fit now, it still doesn’t mean you will win the Olympics. You need to know how to make use of your new fitness to maximize the results of your game.

This is yet another misconception that many people have. They think that simply by having large amounts of traffic, they’d have a proportional increase in sales. But this is not true, without a good landing page and sales funnel in place, even the most relevant traffic will only produce a dismal increase in business.

Have you ever visited a crowded shopping mall, where everyone is walking around, but no one seems to be buying anything? Sure, the place looks busy and prosperous, but very few transactions are actually taking place. That’s not what we want for your website.

Therefore, in order to make the most of your visitors, you need to have your site optimized for conversions. From the very moment your visitors arrive on your page, every element on the site should help guide them towards the final goal – conversion.

Client:

‘Thank you so much, with your help, our site is now getting a constant and increasing supply for free targeted traffic. Best of all, sales is growing and my business is blooming! I’d be sure to seek your help again.’

Me:

‘It’s my pleasure working with you. Remember to continue ‘exercising’! 😉 ‘

4 Comments. Leave new

Nice analogy and relates well. However as with many of such reads out there, few or none touches on the area where context is a publisher. Surely as a publisher who produces much content regularly, SEO does play significant role but concepts like page optimization and sales funnels don’t really apply well.

Your view on this?

For merchants, conversions require post-click efforts like landing page and sales funnel optimization. SEO and SEM is the pre-click effort that makes up half of the battle.

For publishers, the goal can be as simple as pageviews/visitors, which SEM/SEO accounts for majority of the effort. Going forward, additional goals like bounce rates and time spent can be considered. This is where page optimization comes in, so the site can continue to provide related content to extend the users’ web experience.

For my opinion, there are a lot of ways to opimize your site – for example by choosing a good keyword tool. I prefer semrush, for my mind it is one of the best existing tools.

Blogs are not just about SEO. They should be about establishing reputation, attracting human beings etc. Humans buy; search engines don’t…….

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