SEO is a lot like “King of the Mountain”
Everyone wants to be on the top of Page 1. If you never got the chance to play “king of the mountain” as a kid, then you might not get this… so let me elaborate. King of the mountain was a brutal game where the goal was to stay on the top of the mountain for as long as you can before someone else knocks you off.
If you run a business and are currently on page one, please read this.
As a professional local small business SEO, I do everything I legally and ethically can do get my clients at the top spot for their keywords in search engines. Once you hit the top spot, you instantly become a target for every single one of your competitors. An SEO’s job is to take down the champ and put their client there as the replacement. If you think that just getting there is the goal, you haven’t really thought this through.
Maintaining Your SEO Rank Is Important
Congrats! You did it!
Your website is now at the top of the search engines.
You have just become the target for every one of your competitors.
While you will see a natural increase in your traffic from your top spot, you will also see an unnatural increase from every one of your competitors looking over your website. They will be analyzing your site over and over again, looking for flaws and ways that they can beat you. Their SEO person should be running analysis and crawls on your site; figuring out your link structure and going through your keywords, content and meta data. This helps them put together a strategy to emulate or sometimes copy your sites links and structure.
If you aren’t adding new relevant content, adding new links and keeping your visitors engaged; your competition will knock you off the mountain.
This is why having a solid SEO on your team for long term contracts matters.
I personally have been let go by clients once they hit the top spot. Funny enough, once the competition finds out who I am, they end up contacting me to take down my former client. It’s happened a few times.
Sorry. Not Sorry.
The EGO of Page 1
I was at a business function about a year ago. One of the business owners I met there was a competitor of one of my clients at the time. He was cool. He was confident. He was cocky.
He was on page one as well.
His business was a bit smaller than my clients. Overall he was very happy getting the calls that he was getting because he stayed booked up. His site was a few spots down the page from ours but that didn’t matter to him. He was happy where he was at the moment.
I recently got an email from the same guy (who will remain unnamed).
His cocky demeanor was gone… so was his page one ranking.
After setting up a phone call, I found out a little more about the business and the company that was “handling” his SEO.
He was paying them an insanely low retainer on a 2 year contract, and just got monthly reports from them. While this seemed like a great deal at the time, I found out that they hadn’t done any real SEO work on the site in over a year.
The last new link was built over a year ago. They were literally billing him for nothing.
He had no idea what they were supposed to be doing and didn’t care to learn. He loved their cheap price when he was one page 1. Once his business ranking dropped, that’s when he started asking questions.
His businesses call volume had dropped by almost 200%. He was lucky to get 5 calls a week.
A year ago he was happy to turn away clients that could not afford his services. The calls were coming in. He knew that he could find enough qualified clients for his business based on calls he was getting from being on page 1.
I could tell that his business felt the hit from not being on page one based on the stress in his voice.
A few of his competitors invested in their SEO and took him off page 1. Now they were getting the calls that he used to get.
Understand what your SEO is doing
Open communication is important. Understanding what your SEO is doing to your site is important. Making sure that your SEO is doing their job is important.
Even if you don’t speak nerd, it’s a good idea to learn to speak basic nerd when it comes to your website.
I just took on a client who has had a site up since 2014. This site lacked a number of basic SEO steps. They had never had a sitemap submitted once. The onpage optimization is terrible. I can go on, but it’s pretty common stuff that most people don’t think about when they launch their first site.
The first mistake is usually with the web developer they hire to build the site. Most small businesses hire a cheap website builder who don’t optimize anything. This saves money on the front end but costs thousands in the long run.
Most “SEO PRO’S” will bombard their clients with spreadsheets of data and nerd talk about metadata, keywords and best practices. As a rule of thumb, I generally don’t trust anyone who can’t explain things to me in plain English.
While ranking your website with good SEO does involve a number of different factors, the Search Engine Optimization professional that you hire should be able to explain everything to you so that you understand it. If they cannot explain it, then they probably don’t understand it either.
If they cannot provide detailed reports, then they probably aren’t tracking the details.
As the owner of Rebel Base SEO, I can tell you that one of the major reasons that I maintain a number of long term clients is because I can and will explain everything. Quite often I will do it without being asked because I want to keep my clients up to date on what is going on with their business.
Staying on page 1 requires just as much work as it did to get there. Sometimes it actually requires more work if you are in a very competitive niche or market.
Your competition is always looking to take the top spot. With a solid SEO strategy in place you will keep you competition below you.
When you fail to plan, You plan to fail.
Proper budgeting and implementation of your SEO strategies will keep you on track. If you are not where you want to be yet, this is even more important. You need to pay your SEO. Hopefully you have a competent pro working with you to help you achieve your goals. It’s not uncommon for it to take some time to rank your site.
Contact Rebel Base SEO Today
Website Development for Proper SEO Ranking
Hiring the right website developer can be either a major bonus to your business or a massive headache and time suck. I can’t tell you how many times I have seen visually attractive sites that have terrible back end optimization. Quite often this happens when a business is trying to save money and hires a “pro” web developer on a temp site for a discount rate. From my experience, saving money on the front end will end up costing your business in the long run.
There are a few things that you as the business owner have to take into consideration when building or optimizing your site. Building a website that properly represents your business is an investment. Obviously there are a number of “discount” web designers out there on freelancer sites, and the idea of getting a great deal on a good looking site is appealing. That discount usually comes at a cost.
Building a new website
If you just bought a brand new domain and built a new site, please realize that your site is brand new. I know it sounds silly to have to state the obvious. After years of people contacting me with the “I want to have my brand new site on the first page of Google yesterday” I have realized that sometimes I need to state the obvious. Your brand new site has no power, no links, no authority, and depending on who built your site; you may not even have a Google Analytics or Webmasters account.
A properly optimized site build will help speed up the process of your site ranking naturally. As citations and links are added to the site, it will only increase your site authority and rank. A good looking site without optimization can complicate this process. Cost cutting just to get a site built will cost you more in the long run if you want organic rankings. If you just want a site up and don’t care about how you rank then a cheap build is still not a good idea. Do it right.
Your website is your online real estate. It’s how you represent your brand online. It’s how potential clients find you. A properly optimized site can increase your business incrementally. Treat your site the right way and it will take care of you.
Optimizing an older website
Given the fast paced world of technology that we have right now, it’s basically industry standard to re-optimize or completely overhaul and rebuild your site at least every 2-3 years. Small Business SEO is very competitive and odds are your competition is also looking to rank their site to be on the top of Google. Google is constantly updating their algorithms as well as their ranking factors. It is possible for an older site to lose it’s “juice.”
Depending on how your site is built, it could require a complete overhaul or it could just need a tune up. Sometimes it’s something as simple as making your site mobile optimized. Old sites need love and maintenance, the same way an older vehicle needs maintenance. You can always upgrade to a newer model, or just do what’s necessary to keep it running smooth.
To keep your older site running smooth, it’s recommended that you at least have some type of agreement with a web pro to keep your site working properly.
Website Building Experience Matters
The image below shows how easily you can lose your site traffic if you don’t have an experienced web designer and SEO pro optimize your site. This client bought the business and website and hated the old looking version of the website. His niece rebuilt the site in Squarespace and broke the entire URL structure of the site. While he LOVED the way it looked visually, his business was literally losing thousands of dollars for those couple days.
He had an extensive Adwords campaign running to URL’s that no longer existed. So the 40 or 50 $10 clicks on Google Ads were going to a broken 404 error page. His organic page one ranking positions that he had for years were also going to broken 404 pages. Luckily I caught it and told him to call his hosting company and revert it back to the original site build. It bounced back in about 48 hours…. but those 48 hours cost his business time and money.
Just because it’s cheap or free doesn’t mean it’s a good idea.
Choosing the right theme for your optimized site
Envato Sucks… 99% of the time.
Why does Envato suck you might ask? In my experience, while Envato does offer a large selection of “premium” themes; they are often buggy on the back end and the “required” add-ons and upsells are unnecessary. These add-on’s will often slow up your site. These premium themes also come prepopulated with dummy content, links, images, and coding that most web developers won’t even bother to edit or clean up for SEO purposes. Quite often these devs can get away with this because most businesses don’t even realize these are there and just want a pretty looking website.
Their support is terrible, most of the reviews are fake and the theme developers are usually on the other side of the planet. A few years ago I bought a theme from Envato for a job website that I was building and I spend a week going back and forth with support about why the term “Specialisms” was written into the hard coding of the entire site. They told me that a specialism was their version of “skills or qualifications” put into one made up word and that everyone has a “specialism.” On top of the made up words that were embedded into the site, they offered to fix this massive error on the theme for a few hundred dollars.
To me, it wasn’t worth it to keep the theme. I wasted a week and lost some money and then had to build my own theme to make the site work the way I wanted to.
Quite often your discount developer has dozens of these themes in their portfolio. They often get shared for free among develop groups and you (as the client) think you are paying for a premium theme that is both broken and probably has an outdated license. This will cause massive issues as your site gets built and updated.
Free stock art ends up costing you
While free stock art is great for certain things, they aren’t always the best option to use for every page on your site. A cheap dev will usually avoid doing the work to customize your images, or at the least rewrite the metadata so that the “free photo by Photoguy on Pixabay” doesn’t show under each image on your site. Improper metadata doesn’t help your site… it hurts it.
If you run a small business it’s better to use real photos of your small business if you really want to connect with your clients. If your site is designed to target a national or global audience, free pics will make your site look cheap compared to your competition.
I can’t tell you how many times I have seen the redheaded guy with the beard and the suit on different business sites. The generic handshake photo doesn’t do the trick anymore. Free stock photos are the current version of what motivational photos in an offer were in the early 2000’s. They were very cool in the beginning but were quickly copied by cheap knockoffs and so their value was deflated.
Can you have a good looking and properly optimized site?
The answer is yes. It is definitely better to build a properly optimized site from the beginning, but you can always retroactively fix and optimize a site after it has been live for a time being.
How does your logo look? Is it blurry or is it crisp and clean? Do you have a specific color scheme that your brand uses? Have you considered this? Does it even matter?
Branding makes a big difference in how people identify your business. Cheap looking sites or bad functionality for a website can hurt your brand. Crappy images, ugly themes, lazy site building, and things like typos can all hurt how you are seen across the internet.
How much does optimization cost?
Proper website optimization can cost anywhere from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars; depending on the size of the site. When you factor in the cost of building a site and add on the optimization costs, it’s worth it to just have a professional SEO who happens to know how to rank sites build the site for you. This way your site launches having everything set up the right way from the start.
We recently built a new site for a client. They sent us some website examples for what they wanted and we did our best to build both a site that worked great and looked great!
You can see some examples of real pros doing pro website development and optimization.