You have come across it. In fact, you have been told this is the only way out for your website to rake in a high return on investment (ROI). Yes, that is how important search engine optimization (SEO) has become in online marketing.
But there is a catch; most website owners and administrators have not yet grasped the art of SEO. It is no wonder then that while millions of sites exist, only a few make a mark in their particular niche. Indeed, there is a good reason why most SEO consultants don’t provide solid case studies. They have nothing concrete to show potential clients.
Like any other business practice that will up your ROI, you need to appreciate the place of relevant case studies when looking for SEO strategists. Moreover, you need to have more insight on what strategies will be used to increase your site’s visibility and the duration of the campaign.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) in Brief
You might have basics on SEO but why is your website not ranking on the first page of search engine result pages (SERPs)? As a website admin, it behooves on you to appreciate what your SEO expert will be doing for you. Not only will you work more seamlessly as a team, you will be guaranteed better results.
But first things first, when you think about search engine optimization, you need to wipe away the idea that you can use shortcuts. About 7 years back, paid SEO was all the rage but with Yahoo, Google and Bing tightening the noose, you must be ready to invest in organic search engine results.
SEO marketing is a discipline driven by professionals who work towards improving your site’s visibility organically. These are experts who have the technical and creative expertise to revolutionize your website by drawing quality traffic thus increasing sales conversion. With more relevant traffic you are bound to witness better sales and your ranking on search engines results will also improve.
What SEO is not
Whatever your consultant tells you, remember there are no two ways about increasing visibility for your website. In fact, you need to remember that SEO is not:
- Social media: Most consultants will help you gain numbers on social media but if these followers are not acquired naturally, they will fall off the radar and you will be left fighting once more to gain visibility. Social media integration is just one technique for optimizing your website for search engines.
- Multiple links to your website: This is the pitfall most site administrators fall into. If your SEO expert insists that any link is a good link, then you are risking your investment. Google and other search engines are now more aware of paid links than ever before. You will lose your ranking and it will take a lot of time to get back on your feet.
- A one-off investment: The best search engine optimization campaign should not be an end in itself. Your SEO specialists must emphasize that this is an ongoing project because content must be updated, broken links must be deleted or repaired, and keyword optimization must continue as competition becomes stiffer.
- DIY project: You might have some IT skills but these are not enough to run a comprehensive SEO campaign. A lot of time and expertise is needed and only a specialist in SEO can help you achieve better ranking.
What Happens Behind the Scenes in SEO?
According to Internet Live Stats, there are 3.275 billion internet users. This highlights the latent potential for search engines. These search engines serve as the traditional directories and if your website doesn’t appear on the first page for the keyword you are targeting, you are in for a hard time.
An SEO expert works comprehensively on your site though you might not have the chance to watch what is happening. Nevertheless, you will get regular reports on what is happening especially when it comes to analytical data showing progress being made through the project.
Some of the specific tasks carried out by these experts include:
- Site content and architecture review to detect all weak areas.
- Strategizing on the SEO campaign including giving recommendations on web development and techniques to raise your site’s ranking.
- Keyword research and optimization to ensure you use the best keywords and phrases for your target niche market.
- On-page and off-page optimization depending on the evaluation results of your site.
Why You Need to Look for SEO Case Studies
There is a lot more these professionals can offer your website but you need to be wary if they are just providing ranking reports. A good example of a case study that focuses on organic search result was one carried out by Nike Golf during the 2012 season. The goal was to increase visibility but there is a catch here; visibility without sales would not make any sense.
To ensure more sales for the golfing brand, the SEO campaign focused on a keyword strategy by optimizing Meta descriptions, page titles and internal links from blogs. By leveraging on data, testing, and analysis, it became possible to find a keyword that would actually increase conversion.
The importance of research-driven content optimization proved effective in achieving business goals of Nike Golf. With 250% gain in visitors from non-branded searches, the company was guaranteed more sales.
The lesson? Most SEO campaigns which target branded keywords actually fail though you will find impressive data in the ranking report. These numbers, however, don’t translate into high sales conversion. What’s more, the high ranking you might be looking for might take months to achieve and this might only happen when the top page gets penalized.
These rankings also don’t indicate whether there is money being made in the SEO campaign. In essence, when looking for search engine optimization strategists, make sure you ask for case studies that actually prove these professionals can help your website make money.
Well, 2016 is here and if you want to make a mark using your website, then start looking for solid case studies to prove that your consultant can achieve the results you want.
Lalit Sharma is an SEO consultant who runs an SEO house called Ranking By SEO. He is specialized in link building and other SEO related activities. You can also find him on Twitter, Google+ and his personal blog.