Marketing channels such as social media marketing, pay per click (PPC) and search engine optimization (SEO) require either time or money. You can choose what to invest based on your immediate and long-term needs.
Organic SEO is a long-term investment, while PPC offers immediate results. Once you stop advertising with a PPC model, that traffic will drop off, but investing in SEO offers a greater return on investment.
Both channels require keyword research, but there are tools that make it easy. Use Google autosuggest to choose your long tail keywords and use Google Trends to choose the best related keywords.
All websites should have tracking tools installed, from Google Analytics to Bing Webmaster Tools to Google Search Console. You should be monitoring your website traffic, sources, referrals and popular content and always improve upon your current rankings.
For outreach and local SEO, ensure your Google My Business account is accurate and optimized, and engage with customers on social media. Optimize your Facebook page and ensure you’re posting weekly, sharing content and responding to comments.
What does Organic SEO Cost?
In planning your SEO, most SEO professionals charge a monthly retainer fee of $750, and hourly rates averaging $125. At Master Web Creations, we know that your time and money are valuable and we’re all just trying to make a living – we offer WordPress hosting for local service-based businesses for $250/year, which includes basic organic SEO and monthly backups, updates and support. Our SEO Analysis with Keyword Research is only $375 per project and includes up to 10 keyword phrases with monthly reporting. We offer consulting at $40/hour.
Of course, you can do your SEO yourself with a WordPress website.
Can I do Search Engine Optimization myself?
For Local SEO, manage your Google My Business (GMB) profile along with your organic and technical SEO elements.
- Optimize your GMB listing with photos and posts.
- Choose accurate categories.
- Write an excellent description.
- Get reviews by reaching out to your current customers to encourage their feedback.
Do your keyword research to improve your organic SEO throughout your site.
- Use Google’s Autosuggest by typing in your target keyword into google search and see what google offers as search suggestions.
- Choose something accurate with 3 – 5 words to describe your page content and brainstorm related keyword phrases, or scroll down the end of the page to see more search suggestions from Google.
- Ensure your title and description tags for that page are filled out using the Yoast SEO tool for WordPress and following the prompts and suggestions that Yoast offers to improve the page content or meta tags.
Technical SEO is also easy with WordPress: choose your URL structure wisely and optimize each page URL, title and headings accordingly.
- In WordPress, go to Settings -> Permalinks and choose “Post name”. This ensures your page URL matches your page title.
- When you choose your page title, make sure it is optimized with the target keyword phrase, and remove any stop words from the URL Slug in the Permalink section in the Page settings panel.
- Your modern WordPress theme should automatically make your page title an H1 Heading, so for the remainder of your page content, only use H2 subheadings, bulleted lists and other blocks (quotes, images) to break up and organize content to make it easier to read and scan.
Monitor your search performance regularly with Google Analytics. This is the pulse of your website and allows you to see important and actionable elements.
This Google Analytics view shows you the number of users by source/medium. The source identifies where the user came from, and the medium identifies the type of traffic.
This allows you to see how many users came from a facebook.com / referral vs. a google / organic or Bing / organic. It is especially helpful when you are running advertising on Google or Facebook.
You’ll want to set the timeframe, depending on your types of traffic for certain seasonal periods, to monitor how much traffic you’re getting. When your traffic climbs from certain sources, that’s a good indication that whatever you’re doing to optimize that channel is working, and if it falls, you’ll want an explanation of why so you can fix it.
Search Console / Queries
This view shows you for your selected timeframe the search query, impressions, clicks, click through rate and average position so you can optimize your content and pages accordingly. Use the date range to show a comparison of time periods so you can see if your site has fallen in search engine result pages for search keywords, or if your click through rate shows a significant decrease.
Behavior / Site Content
Google shows your most popular pages, or all of them if you like, their pageviews, the average time on page, bounce rates and page value (if you have goals established with monetary values). You can see a page’s popularity over time and use that to review your content for update and re-publication.
What to look for in your Google Analytics metrics
- Users/Sessions: Each session is a period in which a user is actively engaging with your site, by viewing pages, scrolling, clicking, et cetera. A user may have several sessions during a given time frame. More users and more sessions are good indication that you are reaching new customers and/or keeping customers coming back.
- Bounce Rate: A bounce is an indication that a user did not find what they were looking for. The visited a page with a session duration of 0 seconds and did not visit any other pages in that session. Every bounce is a lost opportunity, so you’ll have to use Google Analytics to figure out which referring source/site or page has the highest bounce rate and improve your website navigation, design, load time or content accordingly. Ask questions from Analytics, like, is it a mobile device that has issues loading your site that might cause someone to impatiently leave? Is it a certain page on your site that isn’t meeting the users’ needs? Is it an ad you’re running, or a search term that doesn’t deliver the expected content?
- Session Duration/ Pages per Session: Getting visitors to your site, keeping them there, and getting them to return will be evident in both the Users/Sessions and Session Duration and Pages Per Session metrics. These metrics are further indication of your site’s success, depending on content. If you have a contact us page with a simple contact form, obviously that page may not have high session duration. It will be just long enough to fill out and submit the form. You can track the success of shorter form pages using Conversion Goals. Having an increased Pages per Session count over a timespan comparison doesn’t necessarily indicate success, unless that is the aim of your business goals. If you have valuable content, then you’ll want to keep your users on your site and viewing more pages over time.
- Conversions: Establishing goals for your website are integral to monitoring your site’s success. What is your business goal? To increase traffic? To improve return visits? To get leads? You’ll want to determine your marketing goals and track them by setting up a new goal and monitoring the total conversions and conversion rates. For service based businesses, you may want to track clicks to contact, whether they are clicks on your phone number to call you direct, or submit a form for making an appointment. If you’re running a content marketing campaign or ad campaign, you can set up tracking goals to monitor the success of that campaign over time.
Best technical SEO tips for 2021
- Write comprehensive, long-form content that builds your site’s authority and earns backlinks.
- Optimize your page titles and URLs for accuracy and brevity.
- Improve your time on site by using high quality, optimized images and internal links.
Do I really need more content?
Not all small businesses need to maintain a blog, but all sites, including service-based businesses should follow Google SEO Best Practices as closely as possible for the best organic search engine ranking results.
- Create unique, accurate page titles
- Your page title should accurately describe the page content.
- Each page should be distinct from other pages on your site.
- Page titles should be brief but descriptive.
- Use the description meta tag
- The description should accurately summarize the page content.
- Each page description should be unique to your site.
- Use headings for emphasis
- Write content in outline format.
- Use headings sparingly.
- Add structured data markup where applicable
- Use a Schema markup plug in for your WordPress website.
- You can mark up your products, service, location, hours or events.
- Organize your site hierarchy
- All websites should use the https protocol.
- You can use both www and non-www versions of your URL in search console.
- Plan your navigation based on your home page (use categories and sub-categories as appropriate).
- Use breadcrumbs in your WordPress theme with Yoast breadcrumbs.
- Create simple, textual navigation that flows naturally (most modern WordPress themes comply naturally with list-style navigation).
- Use Yoast’s sitemap for Google Search Console [and Bing Webmaster Tools].
- Optimize your content
- Write easy-to-read text.
- Organize topics clearly using paragraphs and subheadings.
- Create fresh, unique content for users, not search engines.
- Provide an appropriate amount of expert content for your subject.
- Avoid advertisements.
- Use links wisely
- Write descriptive link text.
- Choose concise anchor text.
- Format links appropriately.
- Use accurate internal and external “nofollow” links.
- Optimize your images
- Use the “alt” attribute with short alt text.
- Use brief but descriptive filenames.
- Use standard image formats, just as Jpeg, Gif, PNG and WebP filetypes.
To learn more about optimizing your website, visit our blog section, SEO Strategy, for optimizing for Local SEO, or digital marketing.