Each company needs a set of clearly-defined goals and the tools necessary to achieve them if they wish to grow their business and become successful leaders of their respective fields. This is true not only for the company’s overarching goals — be they monthly, quarterly, or annual — but also for each campaign they implement, such as search engine optimization (SEO) campaigns.
But how do businesses achieve this when their business model is centered around operating as an SEO company?
To put it simply, those organizations do this much in the same way other companies select and set their other goals and metrics. To help elaborate, we asked Steve Wiideman, the CEO and Founder of the award-winning Wiideman Consulting Group, to offer his insight into how his own company creates and meets their own goals and expectations as an SEO-centric company.
Invest in an SEO Specialist
If you were to look at your web analytics, it’s likely that most of your traffic comes from search engines. People generally go to Google or Bing and punch words into a search box to find information. Those who already know your website generally just go straight to your website. Some, however, will still open up their browser and use a search engine like Google and see your website usually right at the top by itself, since Google already knows what the brands or an entity based on your query.
“Every company needs to invest in somebody who knows how to help increase the number of relevant search terms that they appear for, and how high they rank in the search results for those search terms,” says Wiideman, “An SEO specialist makes sure that the company appears not just for the webpage that corresponds to the query, but the media on that page as well by optimizing the images and the videos to appear in the image carousel and video carousels in search results. If our company has news, we can publish news updates and stay in conversations and get into the newsfeeds and into the news carousel within search results.”
An SEO specialist, according to Wiideman, has to be well versed in research and analytics. They have to have a fundamental understanding of basic HTML, cascading style sheets, and web design. They need to understand the psychology of user buying behavior so that when they are trying to rank for a certain search term, they know based on the search term whether it should be informational or transactional.
“There’s nothing more frustrating to a user who’s searching for a product and they get an article,” Wiideman adds, “or someone who’s looking for an article and they get a page is trying to sell them a product.”
Routinely conduct SEO audits
Search engines like Google work in patterns. They look at how content is becoming more or less helpful over time. The goal in tracking these patterns is to make sure that they’re continuing to improve a company’s SEO rankings over time, rather than demoting rankings as a company’s search queries become stale.
“This is what makes routine SEO audits so important,” Wiideman tells us. “They keep us paying attention to how well our content is serving the people who are seeing our listing in their search results, getting them to click on those listings, and getting the visitor to convert. What’s the point of ranking a webpage if when they get to that page, they can’t become a customer because they don’t know what to do, they don’t know what button to click on, or they’re discouraged by something that they see on the webpage that turns them off and makes them go back to the search results?”
As Wiideman explains, there are four primary factors to a winning SEO audit, including:
1. A technical SEO audit
This involves reviewing everything having to do with security, privacy, accessibility, mobile-optimized layouts, and user experience. It’s about trust signals that search engines and users look to make sure that they can trust the brand or company in question.
2. Metrics that can be measured in a future Delta report
“We have over 72 attributes that we currently look at in our technical audit,” Wiideman says. “For an SEO specialist, there’s nothing more discouraging than bragging about how great the traffic is only to have your boss ask, ‘where were we when we started with all these metrics?’ and then have to tell them that you forgot to record all of those different metrics when you started.”
3. A link audit and strategy
This process involves analyzing how a company links to content on its own website. For example, are you confusing search engines and using the same text to point them to two different pages, or are you keeping it simple with every version of a link pointing to the same page, so that Google knows which page they should rank for that particular term? Each SEO company should ensure that they possess a healthy link profile coming to their website, and then formulate a strategy to improve the quality of those links to their website.
4. Content strategy
“Start by mapping out all of the keywords you’ve already received traffic from in the past, and that your competitors have,” Wiideman explains. “From there, create a well-organized and well-structured content roadmap that aligns with the goals and objectives of your SEO audit.”
Set transparent and realistic goals and KPIs
When looking at how to improve your SEO company’s online presence, it’s important to have full transparency about what the business has been doing in the past. Ask what prior internal SEO teams have done in the past regarding their strategies and completed objectives, as well as how those strategies and objectives were tracked and measured.
“Examples of some real realistic SEO goals a company can set would be getting perfect scores on things like accessibility, security, and privacy,” Wiideman continues, “and includes improving your page speed—the ability to load your site faster and faster over time. A realistic goal for some of our enterprise accounts is a 10% year-over-year growth in the number of visitors they’re getting from organic searches, and — potentially — from the number of dollars they’re bringing in from people who came in from an organic search result.”
According to Wiideman, there are numerous objectives an SEO company can set realistic goals for. Setting some of these goals every quarter will also allow your company to include them in your next SEO audit and improve your SEO performance through tasks like consolidating the multiple scripts you have on the website, reduce the file size of images, and converting images from JPEG format to WebP format for faster loading times.
“A lot of businesses don’t set the right KPIs with their SEO teams out the gate,” says Wiideman. “I think once you’ve created that baseline and you know where you stand right now, what your organic traffic is, you know where your technical issues are, you know exactly where you stand with all the different common SEO metrics.”