This is a simple post about a very big subject…because, simple posts are just easier to have a quick read over a coffee so why not?
We had a recent call from someone looking for some SEO support. This is very common and we always end up having a long chat or a meeting (when we could meet) and usually start working with them when we have a space come up. But this one was different. The business owner was super nice and clearly had a grasp of SEO but his experience was based on a monthly paid for service by a well known online SEO provider. By paid for we mean under £50 a month and included the use of software rather than an SEO professional. The resulting conversation was VERY interesting and not in the way you might think.
The first thing many people say is “I rank really well for xxxxx”. What normally happens is when we check, they actually don’t its just they search for themselves so often that Google thinks they love their own domain and offers it up all the time. But in this case, this small local business actually ranked in the top 5 for a national term with 2900 searches per month!
This is big! this is the sort of thing people can work for months trying to do…even years. The site only had a handful of links, was slow on mobile but was a neat little site and not spammed in any way. So what’s the deal?
The point of this now, less than short post, is that it is not all about rankings for rankings’ sake. After digging into the data a little more turned out this site ranked well for just 2 terms and actually did very poorly locally. SO the business owner wasn’t getting the enquires he wanted. Yes, he ranked 5th nationally but his meta description was all about local so he got very few clicks. In fact, he got less than 150 a month!
So What’s Going On?
Well, the reason I felt the need to post about this is really important. This person had, in good faith, subscribed to a service that offered lots of cool tools. A service that taught him how to do SEO and that got him ranking for 2 big terms. BUT, this service didn’t get him the success he wanted and this is the take-home:
Without understanding why you are doing SEO, the intent of the customer, the nuanced detail of search behaviour and how to choose your target terms…you are just randomly ranking and that won’t work.
Well, in this case, looking at local search volumes and what people REALLY typed in when they wanted this service would have helped a lot. The local terms may not have looked so impressive but ranking for this service in all the local towns would have brought in real enquires. What actually happened was a bit of traffic from a national term and a countywide term that brought very few conversions.
We are certainly not putting any of these services down, but like anything powerful, they often needed to be wielded by someone with experience and skill. What we do can actually be done by most people; writing, creating pages, chatting to bloggers etc but it’s knowing how to do it, when to do it and how much of it to do that is the key. But it’s also critical to understand search behaviour, understand how Google views you and what it wants and do the keyword research!
If you would like to discuss how we can help your business grow and rank for things that actually matter then get in touch! and once again…software is great for certain things, but so is a chainsaw and you wouldn’t give that a go yourself without some consideration about experience and training…or would you?