I Don’t Have to Outrun the Lion; Only You!
There’s an old joke about two guys who are walking through an African game reserve when they stumble upon a lion. One of the men calmly puts down his backpack and then takes off running. The other man yells, “You’ll never outrun that lion!” to which the other man responds, “I don’t need to outrun the lion; I just need to outrun you!” I’m sure you’ve heard it told a lot better, but you get the idea.
Search Engines are the same way. Our job at Big Red SEO is to help various businesses outrank their competitors. We’re not trying to outsmart Google. Google has hundreds of employees with PhDs that are very skilled at what they do – there is no way that Big Red SEO, with a team of less than 10 people, are going to “crack the code” and beat them. Our job as an Omaha SEO Consultant is to help our clients outrank their competition.
Here’s the breakdown on how we evaluate clients and point them in the right direction.
Look Before You Leap!
Too many times people come to us and say, “I want to be #1 on Google” – well that’s fine and dandy, but what do you want to be #1 for? We can help craft your website so that you’re number one for “purple edible mice” but it’s not going do any good if your business sells microwaves!
So before you even start looking at getting more traffic, you must first run a self-evaluation. Over the years, we’ve seen many business owners get jaded in the direction of their company. Bringing in a fresh set of eyes to evaluate the company and help refocus the needs of the company can be a really valuable asset. You can hire a business consultant, but also just getting a few business-minded people in a room (not employees) can open your eyes to whole new avenues.
The On-Page Audit – are you optimized correctly?
It’s probably one of the most overlooked steps when people are reviewing their existing website and working on a marketing strategy. Before you even start to look at the end goal, lets make sure that everything is in place on your existing site. Can your visitor reach the checkout or contact page without any issues? If there’s even a chance a visitor can get lost, you need to visit the drawing board. You must have a perfectly working (and looking) website before sending traffic to it. It’ll do no good if you market something nobody can operate!
With the On-Page Audit, you’ll want to look for any broken links, images that are not loading fast enough, title tags, description tags, alt tags on images, and ensure that a phone number exists on every page (preferably at the top right side of the screen). You should never pass an audit with a 100% clean score. Even after doing all the necessary things on the website, there will always be areas that you can improve. An SEO’s job is never done!
The Off-Page Audit – Links, Articles, Business Listings
A big factor in the SEO audit is how the various links on other websites are presenting your business. You’ll want to visit the Google Webmaster Tools section and check for any Link Errors. These will help you narrow down any pages that people are visiting that may have been deleted and need to be pointed to a new location.
Auditing links from other websites can be done using any number of tools, or even contracted with SEO agencies for one-off tasks. Backlink Watch and Open Site Explorer are great sites to help start you on your link audit. They’re not going to provide you everything you need, but it’s a start. An Omaha SEO company should have better tools to help gather more information for you.
Along with site links and articles that might be pointing to you, you’ll want to check your business listings and make sure that your business is listed correctly in all the places it appears. This is a big factor for search engines, such as Google. If you’ve got conflicting information out there, then you’re going to run into problems.
If you find problem sites linking to you, or links that are very spammy, you should contact the site owners to get the links removed. Failing that task, you can use the Disavow Tool at Google to help them isolate spammy links that could potentially hurt your website.
The Competition Analysis – Who’s Your Competition?
As an Omaha SEO Consultant, we always get a kick out of asking this question when we visit with a client. Generally, when people tell us their competitors, they are thinking about physical or proximity locations. In many cases, you can remove this from your marketing process when it comes to online marketing and the SEO process. While Google and Bing do care about distance when they’re returning results, for the most part you only need to worry about the actual businesses being listed in the SERPs (search engine results pages).
This is where the lion from the story above comes into play. You don’t need to be smarter than Google, you only need to be smarter than your competition. If they’re not doing any SEO, you can do minimal tasks and be ahead of them in no time. However, if they are doing monthly or weekly SEO, you have a longer road ahead of you. But again, you only need to outrun them, not the entire industry. Search engines have really leveled the playing field, allowing smaller businesses to compete with bigger businesses without much of an issue.
The Goal of the Company – He Shoots, He Scores!
We could have started with the question of what your company’s goal is before doing the evaluations, but the answer 9 times out of 10 for businesses is “to make money” or “get more leads.” That said, we need to know how many goals you want to reach and how they are being evaluated. Could you imagine playing soccer and just endlessly kicking a ball without any destination? It doesn’t sound like fun, but that’s actually how soccer started. It was a game of possession, and not necessarily a game of goals.
Okay, history lesson over. Let’s get cracking on a strategy!
The Strategy – World Domination, or at least Town Domination
Now that we have our website audit done (on page and off page), and we have our competitors and goals lined up, it’s time to put it all together in a marketing strategy and figure out what your website’s purpose is going to be.
Nearly every website owner’s ambition is one of a few things – provide information to visitors, guide users to a checkout page to buy your product, or guide them to a contact page so they can hire you. The web design is going to play a key part in making the strategy come to life.
If it’s not easy to navigate, you’ll never reach your goal. Sometimes this requires restructuring the website, and you have to be open to this idea. For Big Red SEO, while we’re an SEO company, we also do web design, and many times a website is simply not set up for conversions or goals–this needs to be fixed.
The Results – Winner Winner, Chicken Dinner!
As Captain Picard would say – “Make It So.” If you take everything from the above, you’ve got a heck of a report for the state of your website. This isn’t a one-time thing either. The audit process should be done every 6 months at a minimum. We have some clients who choose to perform internal site audits every 3 months.
There’s a lot of work involved, but at the end of the day you can easily outrun your competition and survive the lion (Google). There’s many SEO companies that freak out about the various updates that Google and Bing make, and then suddenly go into panic mode. If your SEO company is doing this, it’s time to get a new company! The rules that Google puts in place are just common sense. The idea of SEO has been the very same for longer than Google has been in existence.
Provide quality content, update things regularly, don’t get your visitors lost, and be an authority on a subject. If you can do these simple things, you’ll be at the top of Google and Bing in no time. Cleaning up your website is not only good for SEO, but it’s good for your site visitor, and after all, isn’t that who you built the website for in the first place?
Contact Big Red SEO
Big Red SEO is an Omaha based Search Engine Optimization company. Our Omaha SEO team is focused on results and helping you achieve your goals in business. We are not business consultants, but we’ve played that role a number of times over the years and we’d be happy to evaluate your website and business for you. Contact us Today for more information!