In this meeting, we had some great insights as we answered fewer questions, but did some deeper dives into the questions we are given. If you want to listen in or want to join us, please download the Clubhouse app and send me a note so I can get you an invite.
Please note this not a complete transcript and most of what is here are my responses to the questions.
Questions for this Week:
How do you determine ROI for SEO?
Rob suggested you work backward, start with KPI's and then work towards establishing goals.
I think the key is to determine what success looks like for your SEO efforts. If it's more people to the site, more clients, or being found for a specific phrase, that will drive your efforts. These goals are not mutually exclusive but there are some tradeoffs you make when persuing one goal over another.
How do you deal with Seasonality?
Basically, you work from the data points you have then plan accordingly. I have a client that does waste consulting work, and a lot of their content encompasses waste and environmental concerns for businesses. Earth day is a big thing here in the US so just around Earth day, they get a ton of organic traffic for specific terms. Unfortunately, this traffic doesn't lead to direct sales but does raise the profile of my client amongst the people that come to the site.
For any business with seasonal ebbs and flows, you want to work a few weeks and months ahead of the uptick, to build out content to connect with people looking for specific things at specific times. Think of putting out fishing lines on the side of the boat that will have fish swimming by at a future date.
You also want to make sure your pages that will be gaining an influx of people have elements that entice the right target audience to move further into your site, aligning them with the sales funnel you have on your site. This could be a simple call to action or content that asks a question that leads to the "right part" of your website for that target client.
How do you rank against more competitive phrases against your competitors?
for more competitive words, you need to do more research and use a strategy where you tier up content to the main word you want to rank. You should also write content that uses words that are "one over" from the target word.
Think of the main word, then consider variations or action words and see what the competition is for those words.
Also, look into a long tail strategy that uses the main word you want to rank for and build out the content for that phrase. You will also need to generate some interest for this page.
All of this is strongly advised that you build out content that fits with your broader marketing strategy. Creating a bunch of "fluff pages" can just cost you time and energy for no benefit.
How long does it take to get SEO results? Are there any guarantees a client can be given?
Generally, results can be expected in 3 - 6 months. This is heavily based on the idea that you know what the site is doing, what factors are working, and you are actively fixing or optimizing the site. Generally, websites have room for improvement and could see results quicker if they had some factors that were holding them back, while other factors can move them forward.
As for guarantees, that is a tough one. You have to show a baseline of what is happening than create expectations on what can be done. There are some casual chains that you should be able to speak to if you are looking at the right information. Example: If you rank higher up on the first page, you should be able to pick up traffic equal to a fraction of the search volume for a term.
So if you are going after a word that has a search volume of 1,000, then ranking #1 for the word, you could expect to see about 300 visits to the site. Again this assumes that the keyword is a phrase that entices people to visit the site. If you rank lower on the first page, you would see less than 300 visits.
A strong caution for anyone hiring an SEO, the stronger and detailed the guarantee the more I would question their methods and ask for proof. There are so many factors and changes hourly, that a solid guarantee is tough unless it's a guarantee of effort and some benchmarks you all agree upon.
Is schema Important or needed?
This is a question we get often. The short answer, "Depends." If your site ranking well and there is little to no competition, then-No. If you are competing against several competitors in overlaying markets, then every inch you can claim is important.
For me, Schema is dependent on your markets and what product or service you are selling. I think it falls more into "What's the best practice for your industry?" If you have the time and ability to add schema you should.
Is site speed important now? How and when is it important?
Again this is one factor of several that impacts User Experience. If everything else is working and you have the rankings you want, then it's a nice addition to your website. If you look at your analytics and see a high bounce rate, low time on page, or low pages per session, then your site speed could be impacting your SEO value.
Site speed is a newer emphasis for web development. Before this, it was responsive design (mobile and tablet ready site) and before this, it was designed intense. All that said, you should consider the world is getting faster. Your website should follow suit.
As for Google, they kicked the can down the road for implementing site speed as a critical competency for ranking. They were supposed to implement in May/June but have decided to wait. Since they have asked for it and it fits the broader expectations of web users, it's something you should pay attention to now.
Best tip of the day:
Use a program called "Hotjar" to identify hot spots/heavily used elements on your website.
We had some new folks on stage and a few folks that had been missing for a bit.