Our SEO Philosophy (2019)
An SEO strategy is a plan to increase your surface area on the web. It’s centered around discovering your target market’s activity on the internet, presenting your offerings to that market, and converting customers. Powerful SEO makes you a default market authority.
SEO philosophy has always been the same, but the implementation changes with algorithm updates and new platforms. Give search engines what they want, and they’ll give you what you want. Search engines have customers of their own, and the engine is trying to take those customers from A to B like any other service. In order to do that, the search engines deliver strong, signal producing content that’s guaranteed to satisfy their users.
Why bother supplicating to Google like this? The reason is very cut and dry. Market abundance is low hanging fruit if you just play the game. Can you imagine having more qualified leads than you can handle, pouring into your business, every single day without fail? When you dial in a winning SEO strategy, that’s what happens. And we see it over, and over. Digital marketing is only getting bigger and faster and stronger.
People are not abandoning the internet, they’re adopting it more for everything that they do. B2B and B2C has morphed into B2P (Business to People) thanks to the internet, and any market is going to have cracks that your business can step in and fill or refill.
Some of the biggest cracks you can find are completely untapped. Finding them requires a creative SEO strategist that uncovers your most valuable markets. This is going to be the 20% of your clients that give you 80% of your business. And, the mechanics behind the vehicles that give you the most valuable customers.
It’s possible to target more than just the customer or customer segments. You can also target referrers, the referrer’s referrer, potential employees that you’d like to hire, investors, purchasers, partnerships, third parties, and other unique markets that can help you meet your goals. Everyone lives somewhere online, and getting your website in front of someone is equivalent to shaking their hand.
At Ladner Studios, we offer full service that takes you every step of the way to win with SEO. The first step is discovering your market and finding its B2P cracks. This is done with market/keyword research and competitor analysis. What are your competitors doing that works and how can we do it better? What’s the content need in your market that no one’s filling? How can you deploy your content? There’s so much abundance and opportunity in terms of market volume, deployment methods and unfocused competitors.
With solid research, expert processes, and consistent execution, it’s hard not to rank on the first page of Google for anything but the most competitive keywords. Today, SEO tooling is so robust that you can dissect the traffic of any website along with their keyword ranks, ad spend, back-links, content, and position distribution history for the lifetime that the site’s been around. Competitors cannot hide what they’re doing, and neither can you. But, your competitors don’t pay as much attention to the SEO ecosystems as we do.
The next step is a website. Most of the time, a company website is how you deliver content and convert customers online. Other times, you’re on someone else’s website as content like an ad, YouTube video, or Amazon item (these listings can be optimized too). Google uses over 200 signals to determine if a website’s content is worth presenting. We can boil the signals down into 3 categories.
Authenticity, User Experience, and Authority
Once your site gets indexed by Google, the search engine starts testing your content and probing the click-through-rate and length-of-stay of new site visitors. If users click, stay, and convert, you’re signaling authenticity. You’re giving users what they want, and Google will pump you up in order to continue serving its customers with your great content.
There’s details with authenticity metrics like brand preference and E-A-T scoring, but it comes down to sending positive signals. Coincidentally, most customers are going to trust strong brands and trustworthy experts that have credentials displayed on their site. But if you don’t have those, it doesn’t mean you can’t win outside of “Your Money or Your Life” markets.
User experience is an element of authenticity, but has some of its own unique characteristics. UX affects bounce rate, view time, mobile first priority, and other signals. What we’re worried about here is speed and ease of use on all devices. Slow, disorganized websites with popups and fluff make users run. When users leave quickly, it’s a strong negative SEO signal.
Clarity, speed, elegance and functionality are what make people stick and increases positive signal. The most common thing you will nail your competitors on when you work with us is website design and performance. A beautiful website that’s optimized for speed is a luxury item for most businesses. We specialize in web design ops as well as SEO, and consider a great site mandatory in order to win online. We go into depth on great design in our article, Developing Pixel-perfect Websites.
Authority is the next key, and it comes in the form of building up link juice. When you generate back-links, testimonials, reviews, mentions, and citations you tell search engines that other people trust you. And, the more authority that your references have, the more authority you have. There are white-hat and grey-hat methods to generating back-links, and we utilize both. You can also invest in ads, which creates artificial authority, and has a different set of risk vs. reward parameters.
If you’ve followed our steps up to this point, you’ll be dominating your local market. Take a look at the global scale for your industry and you’ll find that the top competitors are using private influencing networks, huge content pushes, and mega ad spend to secure their authority. Companies that prioritize digital strategy are prioritizing their long-term growth.
Content is what people see when they visit your website or find you online. You might get direct landing page visitors for keywords like ‘best treatment center in colorado’. Or, more likely, you’ll get an explosive amount of hits for writing a blog on the steps and the stages of the thing that you’re treating. The people reading the blog might not convert at the high % that direct landing page visitors do, but they’ll build up your authenticity and authority (click-through-rate and back-linking) and shoot you up the ranks to reach those high converting customers.
The same is true for any market. ‘Painters in co’ versus ‘painting quotes for a 3000sqft house’. And ‘colorado SEO firm’ versus ‘top 5 ways to rank locally in colorado’. Different content is focused on different markets and conversion %’s, but all of it increases your authority by generating traffic. The key is locking on and exploiting those content, keyword, and delivery methods that get you qualified leads.
By developing enough valuable content over time, your business will show up in multiple locations for semantically related keywords, and you won’t have to touch your site to convert customers via SEO. It’ll happen organically.
Ads are a way to shoehorn your content in front of users. We recommend them after you’ve built organic traffic since you can target known markets with lower risk. Ad spend requires upfront capital. They’re not sustainable without careful retargeting efforts on the back-end, which is what organic traffic data helps confirm.
Content converts differently depending on the medium. Most businesses are able to see a huge ROI from video. It’s just easier to build rapport when you can speak directly to your customer, and there’s way less competition. Additionally, Google is now scraping video transcripts and using them for semantic SEO. If you ever Google something and see a YouTube video come up first, that’s what’s happening.
Some markets respond to custom tools like quote generators or any other integration that the market may be asking for. Since searching for content in text format is how we operate on search engines, copywriting and targeted blogs are still the foundation of serving content via SEO.
Finally, influencers have become the nuclear option for content delivery. Get an influencer to talk about you, and you’re likely to convert a good chunk of the market overlap.
For more on content, see our article Ingredients to Expert Content.
Planning, Execution, Reporting, and Optimization
Search engine optimization is a long-term investment. We can see a rate of change moving faster in the short term, but real efforts take months to get you indexed for competitive search results. Since every market is different, and each keyword comes with a different competition landscape, it’s important to know that SEO is an iterative effort.
Our goal is to make your organic traffic convert so well that you develop a budget for pay-per-click ads (PPC). When you combine PPC with a foundation of organic ranking, you add rocket-fuel to the engine of your business.
We’ll save PPC and social media marketing for another post. Our philosophy on social media is that it’s irrelevant for organic conversions and only slightly useful for back-link authority due to its transient nature. Our eyes are on the highest converting, highest traffic funnels, and that’s going to be everything Google at the time of this post. Google owns YouTube, which is fast becoming the greatest vehicle for growth, closely followed by social media ads and influencer marketing.