Google Traffic Guide for Austin Small Businesses
Probably the most often repeated sales pitch, that small businesses hear from an SEO company is “We will put you on the first page of Google“. Since a large number of SEO companies in Austin that use this sales pitch to get customers, it is apparently working for some marketers. But the real question is – how can hundreds of companies guarantee results when there are only 10 spots on the first page of Google for a keyword? Great question! Let’s dive in.
As in most cases, a sales pitch is just that – a sales pitch. There is a couple of problems with this statement. First of all, what keywords will your website show up on the first page for? If very few businesses are competing for these keywords, it is not going to take much effort to “get the website on the first page of Google”.
Even if your website shows up, low competition usually means a very low (or no) volume of searches. Your website will be coming up on the first page with no people to click on the link to your website.
Let’s look at the situation where the keyword is somewhat competitive, and there are enough people searching for this keyword, that you are promised to show up on the first page of Google for. Consider this: the very first 3 results are sponsored (or pay per click). If it is a search for a local business there will be about 3 local results with a physical address, and then about 10 results of websites competing nationwide.
Being on the very bottom of the page puts you (physically) at about number 20, and even for the keywords with decent monthly search volume, you are very unlikely to get any traffic at all. In most cases, to get the benefit of SEO, your site would need to be in the top 3 results, at least for some competitive keywords.
Looking past the sales pitch you can see that paying any kind of money, for something that is not likely to make you any money, may not be a very good deal for your business.
Useful information you can get from researching your competition.
When deciding on the keywords for your website, it is a wise idea to perform research on your competitors. One of the reasons to research your competition is to find out, if the keywords you are planning to compete for, are an achievable goal. Some of the keywords have such a high competition, that you may make a fortune if your website shows up on the first spot, but it will also make you a fortune to get there. Unless you are prepared to spend hundreds of thousands, maybe even millions of dollars, your website may never be found for some of the very competitive keyword phrases.
If during the research you came to the conclusion that the keywords you plan on targeting fit your budget, there are a few things you can learn from your competitors. Some of the things to pay attention to include on-page optimization; your competitor’s pages titles, meta tags, h1, h2 tags, keyword density; as well as off-page optimization – all the inbound links, where they are coming from, and what is the quality of those links. As with anything else in SEO, it is important not to overdo it.
There is no need to try to replicate every single trick your competitor is doing, or try to get a backlink from every web page your competitor has. If you following someone’s ideas, you most likely will always be behind. To be number one you have to come up with fresh ideas of your own.
It is also possible that during an SEO campaign your competitor has done a lot of mistakes in his own research, and not targeting the best keywords. Going for the high volume, but not a very high relevancy keywords, is one of the common mistakes.
The best tips regarding researching your local competitors would be the following:
- Find out what your competitors are doing, not to replicate the strategy, but just to find out.
- Do not underestimate your competition.
- Just because your SEO expert is telling you that your competitors are weak and he can do better, that may not be the case.
Things to consider when choosing a local Austin SEO company.
There are hundreds of companies in Austin offering “SEO services”. It can be hard to choose the one that will make you money, as most of the companies promise just about the same thing: put you on the first page of Google — and sometimes even with some sort of guarantee.
Below are a few things to consider when selecting an SEO Company:
Did anyone from an SEO company ask what your goals are?
If a salesman just tried to sell you one of their packages, without asking one single question about what are you trying to accomplish, you may end up buying what the company is selling, not necessarily what your website needs at the moment. It will be more profitable to do business with a company that is going to tailor their SEO campaign around your goals, instead of buying very often a useless SEO package that is unlikely to make you any money.
Is the offer to optimize your site for dozens of keywords?
If your website shows up in the top 3 results for just one competitive keyword, it has the potential to bring you more customers than the rest of your keywords combined, if your site takes the position at the bottom of the page for dozens of less competitive ones. It is always about the quality, never the quantity.
Can an SEO representative explain what they do?
It is not always easy to explain the customer, not familiar with SEO what he is paying for, especially if a customer never hired an SEO company before. However, if an SEO expert can not explain at least the basics of SEO in a language that a 15-year-old could understand, he may not understand SEO himself.
If you were assured that SEO is to make you the most money without any risk it is not always the case. SEO does have a higher return on investment compared to other forms of marketing, but as an investment, it by no means is risk-free: major search engine algorithm changes, way too aggressive link building campaign – there always is a risk to lose your money. An SEO specialist who is willing to explain the risks will be easier to work with, than someone giving you a non-stop sales pitch about how experienced they are and how their SEO company never caused the ranking of the website to go down.
Is the SEO easy to communicate with?
SEO is not a one-time transaction. You may be working with the same person for months or even years. If at the very beginning you have communication problems, it may not be any easier to wok with the person down the road.
Why there is a difference in cost for SEO services?
When you compare the pricing of different SEO companies the difference between the lowest price quote you will get, and the highest one most likely is going to be very substantial. The reason for that is many different ways SEO companies run their business. Someone who has an office in Austin with employees on the payroll will have to charge more because the cost of operating a business for this company can be pretty high.
An SEO company that outsources some of their work, or most of it, to some third world country, where for the cost of having one US-based employee, you can hire 10, is going to be able to offer you a better price. Not every single task however can be successfully outsourced to a third-world country, and having to pay some of the employees in the US is sometimes necessary for a successful operation of an SEO company. Outsourcing some of the simpler tasks can definitely cut down on the cost of running a business, and fees charged to a customer.
Another aspect of the cost involved in promoting a website online is related to performance. If the SEO company has good ethics and for the money that you pay, the company makes a genuine effort to bring your website to the top of the search results, their price is not going to be very low. For the keywords with moderate to high competition, it can be pretty expensive to market a website. There are some companies that advertise their local SEO services for about $100 a month. SEO firm just as any company needs to make a profit to operate a business. How much of this $100 is going to be a profit, and how much is going to be spent on promoting your website: $10? $20? $50?
Even online there is not a whole lot you can do with your monthly budget being $50. And that is just speaking about the company providing local SEO services. If you are trying to compete on a national level, for any keywords at all, a hundred, or sometimes even a few hundred dollars a month will not make a tiny difference in your website ranking.
The price does not always reflect the results. If it is too high, it may be because an SEO company has a high overhead, and not because they are very good. If the price is too low it may be because the SEO company will not worry about the results. Their business model could be the following: sign as many customers as possible, charge the credit card for as many months as possible, and when the customer gets upset and stops paying – sign up 100 more customers.
Using common sense and following your instincts, can help you make a better choice in selecting an SEO company than just comparing prices.
Some of the reasons your website traffic does not convert.
If your website shows up for the popular keywords, you get visitors, but you do not get a lot of phone calls, SEO may not be the cause of that. Some of the things to keep in mind when trying to improve conversion rates:
Content is one of the most important parts of your website. Do you have enough information about your product or service you are offering to people? There are a lot of people who thoroughly read the information that you put on your website, and if you rely on a few lines that sound similar to this “we have the best product/service and our prices beat the competition” to get you a new customer, you are unlikely to get many phone calls. If you are not a good writer yourself, it always pays off to hire a good copywriter, that will turn your ideas into engaging content.
About page is likely to be your second most viewed page, after your home page. Yet some of the “about” pages have nothing but generic content with generic statements about the great customer service the company provides. A few genuinely written lines about the company and how it get started can help motivate your potential customers to give you a call.
If you have the contact information in the footer of every page, no matter what page of your website your prospective customer finds, they can take action immediately and give you a call. Some of your potential customers are old and grew up when the Internet did not exist. Contact information that is not easy to find may cost you a sale.
Your website does not have to be flashy, fancy, or have any special effects in order to make money. Some of the most popular websites are simple-looking designs: ebay.com, apple.com, amazon.com. However, if your website is hard to navigate, has unpleasant-to-the-eye background and drastic colors, untidy, or looks like it has been put together overnight by a twelve-year-old, there is a good chance this website is costing you some money in lost opportunities.
These are very basic but often overlooked things, that could be affecting your conversion rates.