Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Building client understanding of SEO services – part 1

I’m always talking with potential new clients about the different services we provide at Ideal Interface, with most seeing the advantage in our offerings of: digital consultancy, website design & delivery and online marketing. However the search engine optimisation service we offer is sometimes harder to quantify to a prospect, so I thought I’d air my thoughts in public on how to build a client’s understanding of SEO and clarify just how difficult it is to say “x effort equals y outcome” and why all-so-often we have to state “it depends”.
Lets just start from a common understanding that hyperlinks are the currency of the web. This is particularly true in two ways:

  1. The Google 'Page Rank' is basically a measure of in-bound quality links to a site. It is this rank that dictates how highly Google displays the pages/site when a keyword is entered.
  2. People follow links.... this means they click on page content, banner, emails, etc. and this converts to offline leads and online sales.
Therefore both people/money/revenue and SEO 'juice' follows links and therefore they are crucially important.
However if you asked a prospect what a link to their website gets them in business, then a lot of them probably won't have a clue. Unless they have a comprehensive web knowledge then they won't know whether links from one domain are worth a fortune in sales or are worthless for leads, etc.

But they should! Analytics are free these days (using Google Analytics & others) and it is very easy for professionals with this knowledge to tell which links & URL's are driving business...
The opposite is true for SEO. Its very hard to tell which links from other sites give your site a boost in the search engine results pages (SERPs) - although an SEO professional can make an educated guess as to which ones are the most important.

Google (and about 90% of all UK searches are done via this search engine these days) doesn't tell us this specific information, probably because everyone with a basic knowledge would then ‘game’ the system…. but it does constantly give out advice (mostly by Matt Cutts) to do all the basics of website design, build and management properly first of all and then the links to your content should come naturally*. Obviously you can 'assist' this position if you know how....

* I am still amazed by how many sites ignore this advice and then wonder why they fail to gain decent organic search traffic. Its basic site stuff.... but it often gets forgotten or de-prioritised.
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