SEO Philosophy Overview
When you start the process of interviewing potential SEOs for your business, I highly recommend that you inquire about their individual philosophies early in the process. If you are not on the same page as to what you are trying to accomplish and how you are going to accomplish it, you are simply spinning your wheels and wasting your time. Time is money so in essence you are wasting your money. At Northern Colorado SEO we understand that time is your most valuable resource and will do everything we can to make your time more valuable.
SEO is really more of an art than a science, so if anyone tries to sell you SEO services without finding out about your very specific business niche and philosophy, I urge you to turn and run. These people either do not understand SEO or, more likely, they are trying to take your money without providing you a return on your investment. In many cases, these people will actually do damage to your web presence, as opposed to enhancing it, and you will wind up paying them for it. That’s just wrong.
At Northern Colorado SEO we always aim to provide a value to the client that is well above what they are paying us. This philosophy we hold in our awareness from the start of the process to the end. We are local people in Northern Colorado who serve other local people in the same geographic area. As a result, we are very involved in the community and our reputation means everything to us. We want our clients to tell all of their friends and colleagues about what a tremendous job we did for them. This is a sustainable model that springs from the creation of new business for local, small business owners in Northern Colorado.
The SEO Cycle
Ask ten different SEOs what the process of search engine optimization consists of and you are likely to get ten different answers. Much of this is based on the fact that modern SEO is based to a large extent on speculation. The search engines are not going to reveal to the general public what criteria they are presently using to rank web pages. If they did, the consequences for them would be abysmal. As a result, it is the SEO’s job to use anecdotal evidence when it comes to best practices. We know that certain techniques work because web pages that have implemented them have risen up and by contrast we know that other techniques do NOT work because web pages that have used them in the past have dropped down. This is the basis for the SEO cycle that Northern Colorado SEO currently uses, as diagramed below.
The approach that we follow at Northern Colorado SEO has four stages: planning, applying, assessing, and refining.
Before you can start to implement, you need a plan. Knowing what you are trying to accomplish is first on the list of planning. Make a list of goals that you would like to achieve in the next year, six months, and one month. Actually recording these goals and revisiting them from time to time can really help to solidify them and help us focus on what needs to be done. Most of this is done during the first month of service with Northern Colorado SEO. We always want to look before we leap by building a customized, comprehensive SEO strategy.
Based on what you are trying to accomplish, Northern Colorado SEO will write a proposal, including multiple pricing plans with corresponding levels of action to be taken. Clients who are just getting started, either having an already existing web site that has never been search engine optimized or no web site at all, are usually encouraged to start with a relatively aggressive service plan. Once goals have either been reached or are close to being reached, service plans and corresponding fees being paid can be brought down to a maintenance level, thus giving the small business owner an even higher return on investment.
There is an old adage that says, “There is no such thing as a free lunch.” This could not be more true than it is in relation to search engine optimization. Good, effective SEO takes time and most certainly does not happen overnight. It takes intelligent thought and hard work. Anyone who approaches you and says that they can get your site to the top of the first page in very short order should be feared. He is either a fool or a liar. SEO just doesn’t work that way. And if such an approach does manage to work, the positive results will be short-lived due to the fact that the rules have been broken and once discovered your site will be penalized or potentially banned from the search engines.
Now that your goals are set, we can concentrate on the heavy lifting – finding and implementing actionable objectives to bring your goals (determined in the planning phase) into reality. This starts with an audit of your current web site, if you have one, and on-page SEO. Part of the application process is making sure that you are set up for web metrics analysis and reporting. We will ensure that your current metrics are recorded so that we can begin tracking the effectiveness of the future SEO we will be doing. This comes in the form of establishing a baseline.
Once a baseline has been established and we have a good idea of where your small business marketing campaign needs to focus, we can begin making changes to your web site. This typically starts to happen in the second month of service with Northern Colorado SEO.
After your first two months of service we can begin assessing the progress of the actions that we took in the application phase. Web metrics will again be utilized to compare where you were when you first came to us and where you are now. What are the effects of the changes that we made to your web site? Are things progressing as we had planned and expected? Where are we over-performing? In what areas are we lacking? These are questions that will be answered in the assessment phase of your service plan.
Based on the answers to the questions we asked and the web metrics comparison that we made in the assessment phase, we will now refine the service plan. We will continue doing what worked and try new ways of accomplishing the goals that we fell short on. From here the whole process starts over. It is a never-ending loop of planning, applying, assessing, and refining.