Search Engine Optimization – Realistic Expectations

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Search Engine Optimization

Realistic Expectations

3 minute read

1. SEO - What You Should and Should Not Expect

Ranking for Broad terms – This means a very generalized search term such as “dogs”, “insurance” or “computers”. Why should you not expect to rank for these terms?

If you were to go to Google right now and type in “computers”, what would you expect to find? What would be the purpose of your search? Are you looking to buy a computer, learn to use a computer, learn to operate one, program one? Are you looking for the definition of a computer? Are you looking for a repair shop? With such a vague search term, it is hard for the search engine to know what you are looking for and where in the world you might be specifically be trying to find a result.

At the time this article was written, 3,700,000,000 results appeared by searching the word computer on Google. Google will do it’s best to give you the most accurate results that most closely match what it thinks you are looking for. That being said, out of all those results and such a vague search term, that leaves Google a lot of guess work and a very large margin for error in providing you the results you are looking for. Google is going to go to its most reliable sources such as Wikipedia, Amazon or any of the other most well known sites to give itself the best shot at providing you with the search results you desire. graphs and charts

Now, let’s apply that to your website. Is it an insurance agency, a coffee shop a mechanic shop? You cannot realistically expect to appear in the search results by typing in insurance, coffee or mechanic. What will Google will do to try to make those terms more relevant is add your location in to the search behind the scenes and pull up a map of your local area and show you what is nearby that somewhat matches your search query. You will never be the number one result of anything if Google does not see you as a weightier authority. Unless you are planning to become the next Wikipedia or Amazon, you will never out rank those sites as they have an extremely high domain authority. That means Google views their content as gospel.

What you can expect is to rank for what is called “long tail” search terms. This means that you can target very specific and location based search terms which are much easier to rank for. For example, “homeowners insurance agency near me”. With this search, Google knows to weed out any agencies, not in your vicinity. It also knows to weed out health insurance, life insurance, auto insurance, etc. from the search results. These more specific terms are what we will target and devise a strategy to rank your business on more localized, less competitive search results as opposed to global results. With time, the more authority your website gains by establishing its trustworthiness and demand, thereby, expanding your realm of influence, it will be easier to out rank your competitors when more broad search terms are entered.

2. SEO – Demand & Interest in Your Product or Service

This has a factor as well. If you service a very specific industry, of which, you have a narrow, specific group of companies or individuals who can benefit from it, this can be a two-edged sword. business man presentation Since there may not be a lot of competition due to the exclusivity of the demand, it may be easier to rank quicker as it may be a lower competition niche. However, the fact is, if there is less demand you can only expect to drive so much traffic to your site, as fewer people will be searching for it. SEOs can do all we can to give you the best technical advantage to rank and drive traffic but be aware that demand and interest in your product and service plays a vital role in your success just as with any other form of marketing. 

3. SEO – How Long Does it Take to Out Rank My Competitors?

This depends on so many factors but think of it this way. Imagine SEO to be like a race track. In order to hold first place, you have to have run more laps than the other runners. How many laps have your competitors run, 10, 20, 50? Now you step onto the track and start running. How many laps do you need to run to not only catch up, but also pass your competitors? This all depends on what their current position is. Does that mean you can’t overtake them? Absolutely not! The only thing you can know for sure is that it will take time and hard work to overtake your competitors. The amount of time it times depends on how hard you run to catch up. Just as your business takes time to grow, so do your search engine rankings. Investing in content and building or even repairing (if need be) your company’s reputation will be essential.

runners in marathonNow take a moment and look at things from Google’s perspective. A new runner enters the race. You might have nice running gear and look fit, but aside from that, what does anyone know about you as a runner? If you don’t know anything about a person’s skill level, would you risk your own reputation by recommending them to someone? Probably not. You would expect them to prove themselves first and Google is no different. You have to prove that you are who you make yourself appear to be. Prove you are a legit, reputable business and that you are an authority in your industry.

Now once you take the first place, do you just stop running? That wouldn’t be wise. Would your competitors be ok with you passing them up and sit back and do nothing about it? Would you? Oh yeah, we forgot to mention, this race has no finish line, only laps. To ensure your success, you need to run as many laps as you can to make it as hard as possible for anyone else to pass you up.

4. SEO – Is it Worth it?

While ads do have their place and benefits, they can be very costly. The high demand search terms are very expensive to pay for and anyone, including bots crawling the web, can click on your ad and you lose money. Plus, once you stop paying for those ads, that’s it. You are left to rely on your ranking. The cost of SEO is significantly lower than ads as traffic volume grows. Let’s say you pay $1000 per month for SEO and you get 1000 visitors as a result. Now let’s say Google Ads is charging you $20 per click for all 1000 human visitors, plus whatever bots have clicked on your ads while crawling the web. If you do the math, that’s quite a savings.

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