Expert Tips For What is Semantic Search and Why is it Important for SEO?
The evolution of search engine technology goes beyond backlinks and includes as many keywords as possible. The focus is now shifting toward understanding the intent, behavior, and context behind those keywords. When we understand what the keywords mean, provide rich information that contextualizes those keywords, and discern the user’s intent, we can better understand consumer behavior. The key to working effectively and efficiently in the knowledge economy lies in semantic search. In this blog post, we’ll dive into what semantic search is and why it’s important for the new age of SEO.
Semantics is a branch of logic and linguistics referring to the study of reference, meaning, or truth. Applying this discipline to SEO translates to a better understanding of consumer intent and behavior and provides rich information that contextualizes the meaning of keywords. Semantic search looks to understand the natural language the way a human would but is facilitated by machine learning and AI technologies.
In order to rank high on Google, your website needs to use semantic search engine optimization techniques. Semantic search is the understanding of intent, behavior, and context behind search engine optimization (SEO) keywords. In order to generate the most accurate SERP (Search Engine Results Page), Google must understand the relationship between words and the context in which they are being used.
Why is it Important?
The implementation of Google algorithms has directly impacted SEO and facilitated a shift to adopting new best practices and techniques. Before semantic search engines were fully realized, content created for SEO purposes had to be designed around specific keyword-to-word-count ratios. Today, the emphasis is on the relevance of content and how accurately it reflects the way people naturally use language.
The rise of voice search plays a significant role in the evolution of semantic search. Mobile voice commands are now commonplace and optimizing for this type of search is immensely different from traditional SEO as the results must immediately get to the point and keep the content much more conversational. A firm understanding of language, context, and behavior is vital to achieving this.
People often say things and search for things in different ways, languages, and tones. Search queries can also be vague in nature. Google semantic search can distinguish between distinct entities and interpret the searcher’s intent based on factors like the user’s search history, location, global search history, and spelling variations. All of these aspects help Google provide a better user experience by delivering quality information and surfacing the most relevant content results.
Keyword Search vs Semantic Search
Keyword search satisfies the basic needs of a search query, but it has its limitations. They are extremely literal in the sense that the search engine finds terms wherever they appear, even if the words are used in a larger phrase or different context.
Today, the way people search for things is often ambiguous. Semantic search takes into consideration the user’s intent to uncover the contextual meaning behind those terms and pushes beyond the boundaries of Google’s collective base of knowledge to surface the information and concepts that haven’t been explicitly written into the query. Semantic technology decrypts concepts and meaning by associating search inputs with clarifying terms, like related synonyms that have been integrated into the system. Semantic enrichment helps users find new ideas and concepts by tagging unstructured text with information about its meaning. To differentiate concepts, semantic technology references vocabularies containing all known terms for the same thing or its synonyms connects these entities to each other in hierarchical relationships, and employs algorithms to analyze the content within which those terms appear. Latent coding automatically enriches the search query and provides better, more relevant information rather than simply including the specific words searched amongst a multitude of contexts.
Even with Google’s advanced algorithm, it still isn’t smart enough to gather meaning or understanding by itself. You must optimize your site to help Google understand your content and present it to your target audience. Semantic keywords, link building, structured data, and analysis are some of the most important tools needed for business growth in the era of digitalization.
Agency Partner Interactive is the top SEO agency to optimize your website and help your business rank #1 on Google. Our digital marketing experts have the skills to effectively utilize tools like Google semantic search and semantic keywords to accelerate the growth of your business. Contact us today to get started!
Social Media News: Is Facebook Trying to Copy TikTok’s Feed?
Agency Partner’s co-founder and Chief Marketing Officer Adam Rizzieri joins Fox 5 Las Vegas to talk about the latest social media news. If you’ve been paying attention to recent social media news, you may have heard that Meta is updating Facebook to be more like TikTok. Is this really a good idea? Bad idea? What is the goal here…?
Tune in to the conversation below.
For a more in-depth analysis on this major social media update, click here for the whole story.
Can Agency Partner Interactive Help With Your Social Media Marketing Challenges?
Of course! As Dallas’ top digital marketing agency, we optimize social media marketing investments in real-time with our digital marketing and social media management services. Agency Partner’s internet marketing experts can adjust and optimize your marketing campaigns up to 48 times over 24 hours. We try to make improvements in real-time to provide you with the fastest, most impactful return on investment.
Our digital marketing experts will help you attract valuable customers, drive sales, increase your leads, build brand awareness, and more. Ready to optimize your business with an award-winning PPC Agency? Maybe you just have some basic questions? Contact us today to get started!
Recognized among “Top Companies In Dallas-Fort Worth” in 2022
Dallas, TXJuly27, 2022— Announcing a special recognition appearing in the August2021 issue of Glassdoor.com published by Glassdoor Inc.Agency Partner Interactive was selected for the following honor:
“Top Companies In Dallas-Fort Worth“
A spokesperson from Agency Partner Interactive commented on the recognition:
“This is quite an honor for us. The fact that Glassdoor.com included Agency Partner Interactive in its selection of “Top Companies In Dallas-Fort Worth“ signals that our constant efforts towards business excellence are paying off. We are proud to be included in this recognition.”
Following the publication of Agency Partner Interactive‘s selection for Glassdoor.com‘s Top Companies In Dallas-Fort Worth list, American Registry seconded the honorand added Agency Partner Interactive to the “Registry of Business Excellence™.”
This press release was written by American Registry, LLC with contributions from Agency Partner Interactive on behalf of Agency Partner Interactive.
Social Media News: Is Facebook Trying to Copy TikTok’s Feed?
If you’ve been paying attention to recent social media news, you have likely heard that Meta is updating Facebook to be more like TikTok.
The heart of the app update will be focused on your Facebook feed. This is typically where users find content from friends and family… Well, this week we’re seeing a change to that as Meta is now able to utilize its new “Discovery Engine” to show you more recommended content, with a strong tilt for all video formatted content, above audio and text.
With a new discovery algorithm powering all of this, the Facebook User Interface, which is basically what you see on your app screen, will now be split into a “Home” feed and a “Feeds” tab. The Home Feed will present you with content that is designed to keep you entertained, similar to your typical TikTok experience. Meanwhile, the Feeds tab is where you’ll find the latest posts from Friends, Groups, and your you basic social media favorites.
This is a Move from Social Network to Online Content Sharing Platform
There is no doubt that this is a big change for Facebook. It is a move away from its roots as a social network among friends and family, and towards a TikTok style “entertainment app” that highlights content creators and online commerce.
Think of the TikTok “For You” feed. This is a feed that shares seemingly endless short form videos from strangers and friends alike. Of TikTok’s 1 billion users, more than 55% of them are creating highly shareable short form videos that are not restricted to an audience of first, second, and third-degree connections.
What is Behind this Change to the Facebook Feed?
If you ask 10 people, you may get three to five different answers. Here is what the Zuck himself has to say about it:
“One of the most requested features for Facebook is to make sure people don’t miss friends’ posts. So today we’re launching a Feeds tab where you can see posts from your friends, groups, Pages and more separately in chronological order. The app will still open to a personalized feed on the Home tab, where our discovery engine will recommend the content we think you’ll care most about. But the Feeds tab will give you a way to customize and control your experience further.”
Does the Zuck stop here?
We don’t think so… We think Meta is anxious that TikTok is now surpassing 1 Billion active users. We know Meta is taking note of the fact that Bytedance’s cash cow, TikTok, is poised to grow from $4 to $12 Billion in 2022.
So here we are…. TikTok is at its first billion users and it is dominating the attention of Gen Z. Consider this: the average TikTok user spends 29 hours per month scrolling through the app. This compares to 16 hours for Facebook users and just 8 hours per month for Instagram users.
That difference in time spent on the app is huge… Meta is feeling left out because no doubt, they are not the cool kid in school anymore.
Is Facebook About to Alienate the Legacy App’s Loyal Users?
This move to appeal to a younger demographic could totally blow up in Meta’s face.
Your typical Facebook app user presents much different demographic data than your daily TikTok user. Meta’s Facebook has mostly Millennials on up to Baby Boomers, and really doesn’t have many Gen Z gamer kids on the platform.
Meta has to ask itself: “Can we have it all and if we cannot, is it worth alienating a loyal legacy user to try and attract the favor of a younger demographic?”
At best, the younger demographic is spending time reposting TikTok videos to Instagram Reels….
Why, you might ask? Well, social media users tend to prefer the video editing tools that TikTok offers in its app so most often a video will be created and posted to TikTok before eventually being shared on Instagram Reels.
But I digress. Baby boomers and older millennials are likely engaging in none of this content duplication and posting behavior. They’re on Facebook to share updates with the family across the country or keeping up with old friends from school. If they’re keeping their content consumption closer to home, it’s likely that they’re hanging strong in Facebook Groups.
Are Companies Changing Their Social Media Behavior?
Yes and no. In some ways, a good social media marketer is always changing things up. Similarly, the social media engagement algorithms are constantly in flux to cater to a combination of a better user experience and specific business goals. Yes, business goals. These social media companies are NOT non-profit organizations. In some ways, they may even be a little bit evil, emphasizing that small businesses and individuals are largely at the mercy of the big tech.
News organizations, for sure, will have to change how their content is disseminated online.
More than 70% of US adults are accustomed to consuming news content in a digital, in-app social media format and Facebook has been a leading supplier of this type of information. This Facebook-TikTok update will highlight user generated content (think of the TikTok challenges and trendy dance moves) and move away from syndicating real and “fake” news. Given the heat that Zuckerberg and Co. have been facing from US lawmakers and states attorneys general, this may help mitigate the companies annual legal expenses.
As always, in times of change, opportunity presents along with challenge. There will be some companies that find new ways to engage their customers among the 3 billion Meta users worldwide.
How Should I Respond to this Facebook/TikTok Social Media Update?
If you’re a social media user, pay close attention to the type of content of you see in the Facebook Home tab, and take note of how it differs from the stuff that is presented to you in that Feeds tab. If this change happens to be a win for Meta, and Facebook starts to measure more app activity between Facebook, Instagram, and Insta Reels in particular, then expect this to stick around. Remember, Facebook is a for-profit business and it really only cares about promoting user growth and selling advertisements to businesses. Meta cares about Meta.
If your business happens to be a news and information publisher that relies on Facebook to syndicate content, you should contact a social media marketing agency today. This will be a difficult time for your company.
If you run a product or service company that gets new product sales, phone calls, appointments, and form submissions from social media marketing, then this could be an interesting new world for you.
In fact, it could be a lot of fun if you’re able to invest in shareable, video content that is designed explicitly for social sharing. Brands have been using TikTok to go viral and put themselves front and center in front of gamer kids, Gen Z’s, and younger Millennials.
Now, that same style of content can be used to get your brand in front of a more mature social media user. Depending on what you sell and who your customer is, this may or may not work, which is why always recommend that you consult with a digital marketer first. With that said, every new internet marketing campaign is a test and should be conducted using the scientific method.
Can Agency Partner Interactive Help Me With This?
As Dallas’ top digital marketing agency, we optimize marketing investments in real-time with our digital marketing and social media management services. Our internet marketing experts can optimize your marketing campaigns up to 48 times over 24 hours. We try to make improvements in real-time to provide you with the fastest, most impactful return on investment.
Our digital marketing experts will help you attract valuable customers, drive sales, increase your leads, build brand awareness, and more. Ready to optimize your business with an award-winning PPC Agency? Maybe you just have some basic questions?
Expert Tips For How Much Should Working with a PPC Agency Cost?
If you’re in the market for PPC (pay-per-click ads) services, you may be wondering how much you should expect to pay. Pricing can vary widely among PPC advertising companies, so it’s important to know what to look for when choosing one. In this article, we’ll look at the rates that PPC management agencies typically charge as well as some factors that can affect the cost of their services. So, whether you’re just starting out with paid search advertising or looking for a new agency partner, read on to learn more!
What’s the Cost of Hiring a PPC Management Agency?
A quick Google search on how much you should pay for PPC management services will reveal a wide range of articles with conflicting advice about what’s “normal” or “average” when it comes to agency pricing. You’ll find that PPC Agencies will charge anywhere from $250 to $5,000+ per month. When you see numbers at $250 to $300, it’s often too good to be true. On average, that buys you about two hours a month for any agency. Will you be getting the best results possible when someone is looking at your account for roughly half an hour a week? How much can that agency do strategically for you to maximize your ad spend?
What’s a Realistic Expectation for PPC Management Pricing?
If you’re looking for an agency that can actually drive revenue and deliver the best results, you should expect your PPC management costs and ad spend costs to be about the same. If you’re spending $2,000 a month on ad spend and you want to see deliverable results with Google Ads, you can expect to pay an additional $1,000 to $1,500 to a PPC agency.
That figure may seem like a lot, but realistically, that’s what you’ll need to be looking for when pricing agencies. This number allows an agency to really dive in and spend time with your account. They need to be constantly optimizing and figuring out innovative ideas for improvement. As your ad spend goes up when spending money across multiple campaigns, so should your agency spend.
Why do I have to spend more with a PPC agency just because my ad spend goes up?
You could spend less or go with cheaper agencies while still seeing some results month over month, but in order to scale the results of your ad spend, you need an agency that spends more time in your account for at least 1 to 2 hours per week at a minimum. With more money being spent on Google Ads, the agency will have to keep track of more keywords and run more campaigns.
Are the Returns Really Worth the Investment?
With the right agency and strategy, 100%.
At Agency Partner Interactive, we have a client that spends roughly $15,000 per month on both ads spend and PPC management fees. They see a return of close to $250,000 on that investment. This is only possible when you properly invest in a dedicated digital marketing agency. This empowers them to spend more time analyzing your audiences, campaign performances, and more. If you’re only buying the agency 30 minutes a week to spend on your account, it’s impossible to achieve that level of return.
How Do I Make Sure I’m Getting the Most Out of the PPC Agency?
The absolute best way to ensure you’re maximizing your ROI (return on investment) is through communication. Constant communication with your PPC agency allows you to discover what is and is not working so that they can adjust their strategy as soon as possible. If you’re not communicating often and clearly with your PPC agency about what qualified leads look like or whether their Google Ad campaigns are actually delivering qualified leads, you’ll be in for a world of trouble.
What sort of trouble?
If your PPC agency partner is driving a ton of leads for you only to find out later that most of those leads are spam, you aren’t giving the PPC agency a chance to fix these issues. The earlier you can provide feedback on the results you’re seeing, the earlier your PPC agency can solve potential problems and save you money.
What Should I Expect When First Starting Out with a PPC Agency?
You should anticipate a learning curve, especially during the beginning of your relationship with your PPC agency. It’s critical to be aligned and vocal about what you are and aren’t seeing. This way, you and your PPC agency will be constantly working toward achieving better results together.
Start with a smaller budget during the preliminary stages. After you’ve proven your concept through testing and refining your audience and campaigns, you will have gathered the data to inform your decisions before you start investing heavily.
Why Agency Partner Interactive?
As Dallas’ top digital marketing agency, we optimize marketing investments in real-time with our PPC bid and budget management services. Our PPC and data science teams can adjust search campaigns in competitive markets up to 48 times in over 24 hours. Our digital marketing experts will help you attract valuable customers, drive sales, increase your leads, build brand awareness, and more. API knows that every penny spent is an investment to produce a return, and our transparent communication and fair pricing will keep you in the loop every step of the way. Ready to optimize your business with an award-winning PPC Agency? Contact us today to get started!
Expert Tips For What is Content Marketing & Why Do I Need It?
As we move further into the digital age, content marketing is becoming increasingly more important. In order to stay ahead of the competition, you need to have a content marketing strategy plan that’s up-to-date, innovative, and compelling for your customers and prospects, setting you apart from the rest. In this blog post, we’ll explore what content marketing is, the benefits of content marketing, and how to build a content marketing strategy to grow your business.
What is Content Marketing?
Content marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant. Consistent content (audio, visual, and/or written) to appeal to and keep a clear target audience, which in turn drives profit and achieves business goals. A successful content strategy should attract your audience at every step, keeping them engaged after their purchase.
Why Do I Need Content Marketing?
A common misconception new business owners may have is that a content marketing strategy is nice to have, but not a necessity early on. Let’s debunk that. Producing high-quality, compelling content can be invaluable in establishing trust with new target audiences and contribute to long-term business success. Content marketing helps businesses prepare and plan for consistent and reliable, cost-effective sources of new leads and website traffic. If you can develop a single blog post that gets a solid amount of traffic, an embedded link or fee tool will continue to generate leads for you over time, long after the post date. This reliable traffic and lead source from your evergreen content can give you the flexibility to try out other marketing tactics to build revenue, like sponsored content, social media ads, and distributed content. Apart from attracting leads, impactful content educates your prospective customers and generates brand awareness.
Why is Content Marketing So Important?
Content marketing opens a conversation with your audience and keeps those conversations fresh, helpful, and engaging over time. Great content marketing leads to engagement and builds relationships and trust amongst your target audience. A recent study states that marketers who prioritize blogging are 13x more likely to see increased ROI than companies that don’t. Content marketing captures 7.8x more organic traffic and generates 3x the leads, and costs less than other digital marketing channels. Lastly, content marketing is a welcoming extension for the user rather than an interruption from their activity.
What Are the Steps to Building a Content Marketing Strategy?
Define your goal: knowing why you want to create content and your aim for developing a content marketing plan is essential to determining what’s best for your strategy.
Conduct research: clearly defining your target audience is the key to developing a successful content marketing strategy. By understanding your target audience, you can produce relevant and impactful content that will keep them engaged and wanting to learn more.
Run content audit: most brands usually start with blog posts. If you’re looking to expand into different formats, you can run a content audit to evaluate your highest and lowest performing content. Then use that information to determine your next steps.
Decide on a content management system: some critical parts of content management are content creation, publication, and analytics. You’ll want to invest in a content management system to keep track of your content in a way that’s easy to read and sustainable.
Determine what type of content works best for your business: you can choose whichever media you think resonates best with your audience, from written blog posts to audio content like podcasts and more.
Generate ideas for content: it’s brainstorming time! Start coming up with ideas for what you want your content to be about. There are many tools you can use to surface relevant keywords or google SEO analytics to gain the most exposure and generate leads for your brand.
Publish and manage content: your content marketing strategy should include more than just the type of content you’ll create – it should also include how you’ll organize your content. A content calendar will help you publish a well-balanced and diverse content library for your website and work in conjunction with other marketing channels like social media marketing.
In conclusion, building a content marketing strategy tailored to your business and target audience is the key to establishing trust and an impactful relationship with your customers. Great content marketing is educational and keeps your audience engaged, leading to higher conversion rates and lead generation that, in turn, helps your bottom line. If you’re ready to start developing lucrative and powerful content marketing strategies to accelerate and grow your business, contact Agency Partner Interactive today to schedule a consultation. The experts at API have all the tools and resources needed to create outstanding content that’s helpful for your audience while keeping the conversation fresh and engaging.
Expert Tips For NFTs and Digital Marketing: What You Need to Know
As the world of blockchain continues to grow and the metaverse gains more traction, so too does the use of NFTs. These unique digital assets are popping up in a variety of industries, and one area where they are seeing particular success is in digital marketing. This blog post will explore how NFTs are being used in digital marketing strategies and how to promote your NFT. Read on for more!
What is an NFT?
NFTs are non-fungible tokens that are 100% unique. Think of them as certificates of ownership that exist on the blockchain. They’re created when a digital file is minted, such as an image, video, or GIF. This means that these digital assets have a certificate of ownership, and originality is generated by cryptocurrency and sold or granted to a new owner.
What Are the Benefits of NFTs?
Since digital media is easily replicated, it’s often a victim of brand theft. Providing ownership of an NFT transaction in the blockchain is undeniable proof that you own this piece of media and that it cannot be replicated. These digital assets offer a number of advantages that make them perfect for use in digital marketing strategies. For one, NFTs are unique and can’t be duplicated, making them ideal for marketers to create powerful brand identities and engage with customers. Additionally, the location of all data in the blockchain is recorded in a decentralized, public ledger, offering full transparency for customers to see how their data is being used and shared. Sharing data via blockchain is a way for brands to build trust with customers who are afraid of their data being exploited in other transactions and lengthy permission agreements.
NFTs and the Metaverse?
For brands, NFTs can generate brand value and loyalty in several ways, like using them as virtual souvenirs and making them more personally significant to the customer. Digital marketers will start exploring branding opportunities in the metaverse as an exciting new way to engage with customers. This is a chance to rethink virtual experiences and find better ways to do what we’ve been trying to do in the real world, such as building a community among customers, experiencing physical goods in a virtual space, understanding consumer behavior, and enhancing personalized services. When promoting an NFT, It’s important to have a clear marketing strategy. Since there are a million directions brands could go, those that enhance the total experience of the metaverse and know the differences of how traditional marketing in the physical world may not translate into the virtual one will be able to pull ahead. Virtual marketing strategies must be interconnected with physical ones to create the most impact.
How to Promote Your NFT
It’s all about generating value when thinking about how to market your NFT. The best way to do this is by offering something truly unique, such as a one-of-a-kind digital experience or access to exclusive content that can’t be found anywhere else. You can also create an NFT community where customers can connect with one another and share their love for your brand. This is a great way to build brand loyalty and create lasting relationships that turn your customers into life-long clients. As another way to promote an NFT, digital marketers will start exploring the branding opportunities within the metaverse as another way to deliver an engaging, less invasive experience than the current marketing landscape to gain the greatest impact.
Are you ready to jump into the exciting world of NFT marketing? If so, get in touch with our team of digital marketing experts at Agency Partner Interactive today. We’ll personalize our approach to best benefit your unique brand and help you create a powerful NFT marketing strategy that will help you engage with customers and promote your brand like never before. API is the premier digital marketing agency that produces real results. Contact us now, and let’s get started!
One thing we hear all the time is: How much does SEO cost? How much should I budget for SEO Marketing Services?
As digital marketers, we hear that question and our brains start to think about SEO strategy and everything that goes into getting more organic searches for business owners. Immediately, our SEO specialists consider everything from potential website performance needs, competitor research, on-page SEO optimization, link-building strategies, local SEO, and more as it relates to your goals.
Oh, and let’s not leave out considerations for the fact that there are different SEO pricing models, depending on whether you are looking for a one-time optimization or if you’re truly looking to play the long game and dominate your industry. Depending on what you need, you will likely consider fixed pricing versus monthly retainers that support technical SEO efforts, the cost of content marketing that helps you rank on Page 1 for new keywords, and routine analytics meetings with your SEO consultant.
Those are just a few things we think about. Other questions may include:
How long has your web domain been around? What about other websites that compete for the same keywords?
How much organic traffic are we currently seeing in Google Analytics and what are the referral sources?
Is the site ranking just for branded keywords, or are more competitive keywords resulting in impressions and clicks?
What does the Google Search Console say of impressions and clicks to your website over time? Is growth stagnant?
Is your website currently holding a first page rank for any relevant search terms either locally or nationally?
How healthy is your backlink profile relative to the top ranked sites?
Are we competing with big brands, local businesses, or personalities?
How often do your biggest competitors publish blogs, news articles, and/or new web pages?
Can the business support a SEO campaign right now? …or do immediate needs require that this budget be allocated toward a more immediate, albeit less permanent marketing tactic?
In Google Analytics, what does the website’s bounce rate look like relative to keywords resulting in clicks to the site?
While these questions are fairly common, the answers to them will vary significantly from one business website to another. Competitiveness and your desire to dominate will factor into what your monthly SEO budget should look like. To generalize, most SEO experts will charge a monthly recurring investment of $2,000 to $10,000+ per month. Yes, that’s a big range!
A national or international SEO budget in a competitive online market should never be less than $5000 per month. For SEO that seeks to attract local buyers in a not so competitive market, it is possible to kick-off a local SEO campaign in the $500 to $2500 range. Again, depending on competitiveness, your budget will vary significantly.
To learn more about where that money goes, some things to watch out for when selecting a SEO partner, and when you can expect some ROI from SEO, keep on reading!
What to Expect From An Appropriate SEO Budget
Notably, the value from search engine optimization compounds over time… So unlike PPC on Google Ads, SEO is not how you make a quick buck. SEO is how you build wealth through a business website.
SEO is also kind of like caring for a plant. It requires consistent attention over time and when you stop, your SEO value slowly begins to diminish relative to other competing sites on the web. This is because Google’s search algorithm changes constantly. So as you consider your SEO budget, be mindful of the fact that an adequate SEO effort is something that should be a monthly recurring undertaking for the life of your business or website.
SEO, when content driven, ensures that whenever someone is searching for answers to any question that is relevant to your business, your brand is front and center every time. Businesses love SEO because of how the economics of it play out relative to other sales and marketing activities. If you consider an investment over 12 months, notice how the monthly expense stays mostly flat in the graph below. Also take note of what the additional revenue line is doing… strongrevenue growth.
In this example, we are looking at a Texas based, B2B medical supplies company with a monthly SEO budget of $8,500. At the 7th month of this campaign, things started to get exciting because this company’s website began to rank on Page 1 of Google for some its most commercially valuable keywords. At the close of the year and following a 12 month SEO investment of $102,000, this family business counted just under $1 million in additional revenue and a massive ROI. The break-down is as follows:
Total SEO Budget: $102,000
Total New Revenue: $992,742
12 month SEO ROI: $890,742
Unlike this company’s SEO campaign, if you look at their Google Ads marketing performance, new revenue is positively correlated to their monthly ad budget. So as logic would have it, more budget equates to more revenue just as less budget equates to less sales. In this case, the client was competing in a market with a fairly expensive cost per click and PPC was never their most desired source of new business. PPC helped them serve some immediate needs while they worked to establish their SEO game.
To reiterate, this is a big reason that business owners love the economics of an expertly crafted SEO campaign versus other marketing channels. SEO is part of a long-term, industry dominating digital marketing strategy. A basic SEO campaign typically takes anywhere from 8 to 16 months before a mostly static, consistent monthly investment begins to generate a noticeable ROI. For some industries and markets, like SEO for family law, return on investment may feel exponential once your average page rank starts to hold search engine positions 1 through 3.
Ways to Allocate Your SEO Marketing Budget
There are different ways to allocate your SEO budget and get the work done. You may consider augmenting your existing marketing team to fill any gaps in expertise, hiring an outside agency that happens to be an expert, or you may try the DIY route. Generally speaking, these are the various ways to allocate your SEO marketing dollars:
Hiring a team of SEO freelancers with a budget of $70 to $190 per hour, per person
Hiring an in-house marketing manager or marketing project manager that can manage a team of SEO freelancers.
Depending on experience, expect to budget anywhere from $50,000 to $125,000 per year for this person. You get what you pay for!
Don’t forget to add the cost of your freelancers to this. They will most likely charge a price per word or a flat monthly fee for a set amount of deliverables.
Hiring a SEO agency at $90 to $250 per hour depending on the agency’s bill rate
Small consultancies and startups may easily feel overwhelmed by all of this and most will never have a starting SEO budget of $8500 per month…. but the fact is that there is a way to start small and grow your SEO strength in an effective, strategic way.
Many small to medium sized companies, including law firms and health practices, tend to hire marketing agencies because they are able to gain access to certified, experienced experts that would otherwise be out of reach. Most agencies will offer a full suite, white glove service that functions much like an outside marketing and technology department. Enterprises will almost always utilize their in-house teams for SEO however it is common for them to hire agencies for occasional marketing tests or simply to get some fresh ideas on the whiteboard.
Across all budgets, the common key to success is a commitment to consistent, scheduled content production over an indefinite period of time.
Why $100 Per Month Is NOT The Real Cost of Cheap SEO
There is such a thing as “cheap” or bad SEO… Bad SEO is exactly what it sounds like. It’s wholly inadequate and far too many companies fall into this trap. A lot of this stems down to the fact that less than half of small businesses have a SEO budget of any kind. Of the businesses that do have a SEO budget, a survey indicates that 71% of small businesses budget for only $1 to $99 per month for their SEO. I mean… you get what pay for. $99 is literally nothing and you will almost certainly measure some negative ROI from this.
Most often, this is due to a lack of education wherein business owners are sold by the agency with the cheapest proposal rather than the one with the highest value. This happens ALL the time. Don’t be a sucker.
Unfortunately, SEO spammers know that most business owners have no idea how SEO works.
This is why they exploit businesses every day by sending spam email with promises that you can get on Page One of Google for only $99. Because most business owners assume that SEO is a basic commodity, similar to getting gas at the pump, many opt to invest in the cheapest option. After several months, they may realize that there is “no strategy” and/or no ROI and will opt to end the campaign to either find another vendor or do nothing at all.
The way this often plays out is like this:
Company contacts 2 to 4 agencies for SEO quotes
Some agencies respond with general, templates proposals, almost immediately. Others may ask some basic business questions.
Company considers several proposals. Often, these are reviewed by several stakeholders that really do not understand what SEO is.
Company may reach out to the final 1-2 agencies with follow up questions.
Company opts for the cheapest or second to cheapest SEO marketing proposal.
Company cancels SEO arrangement after several months.
Either immediately or several months later, Company may opt to work with a different SEO Agency or does not invest in any SEO.
This scenario plays out daily. In the end, a lot of time has been wasted, a little money has been burned, and the business hasn’t really achieved its goals. But worse can happen….
Some of the collateral damage from cheap SEO may far outweigh any money that may have been (under) invested to begin with.
There are a ton of LinkedIn and Facebook groups for digital marketers. In some of these forums, you’ll observe extremely elementary questions from people posing as experts. Some of these questions may be so basic as: “I just scored a SEO client and he wants to rank for ‘keyword X’ so how do I do that?”
There are also a ton of online resources that provide free or low cost SEO tools for rookies that want to pose as SEO experts. In most cases, rookie marketers will rely on their personality and salesmanship to “score a client” and then figure out the SEO part after the sale. This is something to fear as the effects of black hat SEO may be permanent in some cases and in others, they may be very difficult to bounce back from. Things to watch out for include:
Utilization of link schemes such a private blog networks (PBNs)
Unnatural, purchased backlinks that may or may not be relevant to your industry
Keyword stuffing and hidden text on your web pages.
Zero requests for a content calendar and weekly recurring blog posts
The single most damaging thing a SEO rookie may lead you toward is a Google penalty. The effects of a penalty from Google can be absolutely devastating and you should expect a huge loss of organic search visibility, clicks to your website, and revenue. There are ways to bounce back from this, but it takes a lot of investment to do so.
DIY Stuff: Start Your SEO Budget By Collecting Some Basic Information
To truly understand where you need to go, it is important that you fully understand where you are today. There are a few ways to do this and the most simple is to ensure that your technology team has been instructed to check your website for some technical best practices. Once you have ensured that some foundational things have been fully accounted for, you also will want to glance at your competitors and see what things look like on their side of the fence. We have found that some of the most powerful SEO strategies start with a basic SWOT analysis.
Compare Your Website’s SEO Grade versus Your Competitor’s
Use comparative data to create your roadmap for success.
This is something that your in-house digital marketer should be doing already: Take 90 seconds and get your Competitive SEO Report Card score to see where you stand. When doing so, be sure to enter the domain of your single biggest competitor, and enter a super common, non-branded word that a customer would search for when looking for the product/services you sell.
Competitive SEO Report Card (scroll down to “Begin Your Free SEO Analysis”)
Ensure That These 3 Fundamental Elements are In Place
Does your site adequately address demands around Mobile Friendliness and Site Speed?
As a best practice, your marketing team should be demanding a routine weekly or monthly audit of your website’s mobile friendliness and site speed. Because a majority of web searches start with a mobile browser, Google wants to ensure a fantastic mobile experience in its search results. So know where you stand and ensure that your site is up to the mark by leveraging these two free tools.
Make certain that your site is defaulting to HTTPS when opening pages.
Google has adopted a strict position on information security. Whether or not a website leverages HTTP versus HTTPS is a Google ranking signal. This means that Google will view a domain that opens in HTTPS more favorably than one that opens in HTTP. To open your website securely you must have an active SSL certificate associated with your web host. To see whether or not your site has an active SSL certificate in place, simply open your website and see what the browser bar tells you. Do you see HTTP or HTTPS next to your web address?
By leveraging HTTPS, you are telling your visitors that you value their privacy and taking a step to help prevent third parties from eavesdropping on a conversation between your website and your web visitor. This is especially important for any web forms that may ask for personal, financial, or other information. If you choose not to have your website default to loading secured HTTPS sessions, Chrome and other browsers will go so far as to inform users that your site may be compromised and unsafe to access.
So before any actual SEO work begins, consult with your technology team and ensure that you have your bases covered as things pertain to Speed, Mobile Friendliness, and Site Security.
If you are starting from scratch and have never optimized your site for speed, security, and mobility, expect to pay anywhere from $300 to $3000 for the first effort.
Once you have covered those three essentials, you are almost ready to call in your SEO experts. Be sure to discuss maintenance of these items with your technology team and inquire about a monthly and annual budget for this routine work effort. Once you get past the first big optimization, your monthly maintenance budget should be fairly minuscule. If you have any questions about that, please feel free to contact us directly by clicking here: Ask Us About Speed, Security, or Mobile Friendliness.
Have a Clear Understanding of Your Business Goals
Now that we have accounted for the basic technological leg work that goes into creating a solid SEO foundation, we can start building. But just what exactly are we needing to build? To answer this question, start by writing down what your business goals and objectives are.
On paper, define what sort of ROI you expect and need from your SEO campaign. Is it leads, sales, retention?
Discuss your goals with other stakeholders and create a realistic, “rigidly flexible” SEO budget as a conversation starter.
Put On Your “Spy vs. Spy” Hat
In a nutshell, it is time to compare your website against your industry’s top ranking sites. This helps you understand what tactics your biggest competitors are employing. In many ways, it should be your goal to match, and then one up whatever it is they are doing. To put this as simply as possible, do the following:
Compare your blog versus their’s — how regularly do they publish new content?
Does their content add value?
What is the approximate word count of their average post?
Does your competitor seem to leverage press releases?
Are there any special sections on their site like FAQs or location specific landing pages?
Does their site have a landing page that is uniquely tailored to each product/service line?
Take note of your findings and be prepared to discuss all of this information with your internal stakeholders. Also, be ready to share this with your agency partner and know that the more candid you are, the more able your SEO expert will be to devise a competition crushing strategy.
Sum It All Up And Share Your New SEO Budget
By now, you know that you need to allocate some of your marketing budget to the following, tangible deliverables:
Site Speed Optimization performed by your web team
Mobile Friendliness update performed by your web team
SSL certificate performed by your web team
At a range of $300 to $3000 for this first overhaul, these are fairly inexpensive optimizations. Once you’re past the first optimization, you should make a plan to revisit these items at least once a month.
With the foundational tech needs accounted for, you also know that you need to allocate part of your monthly SEO budget toward:
On-page optimization performed by your digital marketing team
Off-page optimization performed by your digital marketing team
Expect to pay your in-house team or agency partner anywhere from $1500 to $2500 per month for really good, US based SEO optimization. This should include the cost of monthly analytics and reporting, keyword targeting, strategy, and updates to your meta-titles, tags, and descriptions. Also, know that this alone is not enough to help you grow and dominate your market.
The next big variable, and often the most costly, is the key ingredient that actually helps you retain your favorable position and rank for new, relevant keywords:
Weekly, recurring SEO Content production performed by your digital marketing team
To determine what your content needs are, this is where you refer back to your marketing intelligence. If your competitor is posting a new blog every day at 500 words each, at a bare minimum you should be doing that as well. It is best to curate a writer that is a subject matter expert on your topic or at least familiar with your industry.
To help you do the math on this one, assume that your content will cost anywhere from $0.15 to $1.50 per word. The range is fairly expansive because some writers are much more valuable than others. There are a lot of people that will claim to be content writers but there is a huge difference in style, expertise, and process. Super cheap writing tends to be spun content and it is not suitable for 99% of business websites. If your subject matter requires unique expertise, it is possible to pay as much as $1 to $2 per word.
If it’s super specialized content that you’re after, well… yes, you guessed it: that price per word just keeps going up. Remember, you get what you pay for!
Know that the perfect SEO strategy may or may not conform to your early budget expectations but even a small SEO scope can prove to be valuable… so start with Local SEO and the basics of on-page SEO services! If in fact your site requires a lot more investment than anticipated, discuss what can be done to stretch every investment dollar and whether or not some tactics may be phased into your SEO campaign over time.
As a Leader, Educate Yourself and Make an Informed Decision
Combined with our own data, this information has been aggregated by surveying top SEO agencies and world renowned SEO authorities. If you’re looking to firmly control your market and aggressively grow your market share, a content driven, expertly crafted SEO strategy may be for you. As long as you understand that this is not about making a quick buck, with some patience and equal commitment to a full campaign, SEO can be one of your most reliable performers when it comes to lead generation.
Additionally, good SEO tends to positively impact your other marketing channels so don’t take this budget decision lightly. For example, if you are running a Google Ads campaign, it will lower your cost per click by improving your Google relevancy score. This means that for the same PPC budget, you end up winning more clicks and impressions.
Also, good SEO allows you to build a valuable content library that will establish your brand as a thought leader. This content helps your customers make purchase decisions and it gives your sales team a more valuable reason for reaching out to sales prospects. No one likes the “check-in” or “follow-up” email so lead with value and share a new blog with your prospect.