I provide organic SEO services (Web site optimization and search engine marketing). Most of the consulting assignments I’m involved with include one or more of the following project types:
- Web Site Strategic Plans
- Web Site Audit + Recommendations
- Deep Dive Site SEO
- Web Site Restructuring
- Web Site Content Plans
- Search Engine Marketing
- Online Brand Development
Too many Web sites operate with no real strategy, opting instead to chase an ever-expanding laundry-list of keywords, thinking that this is somehow the best way to build a business and kill the competition. It’s not.
Superior Web marketing comes from knowing a company’s strengths & weaknesses, evaluating competitors, identifying opportunities – and understanding the Web sufficiently well to know the best ways take advantage of those opportunities. Insightful strategies can help a site leap above competitors, often without the other guys understanding what just happened.
Poor site organization, technical problems, missed keyword opportunities, and hundreds of other SEO issues can greatly reduce a Web site’s ability to rank for important search terms. So in most cases it makes sense to start with a Site Audit. It’s also not unusual to combine a Site Audit and Web Site Strategic Planning into one assignment.
Areas of investigation during a Site Audit include:
TECHNICAL AND STRUCTURAL REVIEW
Many sites suffer from technical and/or structural issues: “Canonical” problems, duplicate content, mishandling of redirects, unindexable content, links that can’t be crawled, and pagination problems are just a handful of the many issues that commonly suppress Web site rankings.
KEYWORD RESEARCH AND DEPLOYMENT
A critical aspect of SEO is keyword research, the goal of which is to identify all of the search terms that are – or should be – ones your site ranks well for. Proper keyword work, in conjunction with well-thought-through site organization, helps to ensure that a site captures as many relevant search terms as possible.
SITE ORGANIZATION & NAVIGATION
Most sites could be better organized to deliver on business objectives, and/or organic search traffic potential. But that doesn’t necessarily mean every possible change should be made immediately. Deciding which changes should be made now – and which put off – is usually a matter of assessing short-term costs relative to short- and long-term upside potential.
In addition to on-site work, it’s important to understand a Web site’s backlink profile (the number and quality of links pointing to a Web site from other Web sites). Understanding the strengths and weaknesses of a site’s current backlink profile – both in absolute terms, and relative to competition – is an essential piece of the puzzle that must be in place before online marketing plans can be formulated.
Another part of the puzzle is understanding the competition’s strengths and weaknesses. With that knowledge, we can develop site content and marketing plans to address weaknesses in current offerings, and take advantage of untapped opportunities.
Most sites miss lots of keywords, or don’t know which keywords to emphasize, but that’s just the beginning. The richness of a site’s content matters. So does how the content is displayed on each page. Weak site contents can be a major reason why a site is not rankings as well as hoped.
Sometimes a site needs a major changes to the ways keywords are used, from site-wide and contextual navigation, all the way down to the page-level SEO. This might involve hundreds, thousands, tens of thousands, or even millions of pages.
Deep Dive projects yield very specific keyword and related recommendations, to maximize the site’s potential for rankings from core terms to long-tail queries.
If a site’s basic structure and organization is a major obstacle to strong rankings in the search engines, a large-scale redesign is needed. This typically involves:
- Creating a new site organization plan, to better align with business/marketing objectives and category keyword volume
- Creating new directories and filenames (URL’s)
- “Deep Dive” work (as noted above, i.e., new page titles, etc.)
Some kinds of content are best suited for capturing organic search traffic; some for encouraging links from other sites; some for attracting the attention of key professional constituencies; etc.
Most sites don’t spend enough time thinking about:
- What kinds of content they need
- Who they are targeting with each kind of content
- How to best display their content
- How to market their content.
On-site and off-site SEO do not exist in a vacuum: SEO is just one discipline within the broader field of search engine marketing. Much of the work I do for clients is more accurately described as search engine marketing, which also includes:
- Paid advertising
- Link development
- Social media efforts
- … and more.
My background in marketing and advertising – working with clients like Citibank, Coca-Cola and other well-known client companies – helps me recognize not only search engine marketing opportunities, but also how to ensure that a brand makes the most of all available opportunities.
Some clients like having an on-going SEO and search marketing resource for everything from double-checking implementations, to handling project overflow, to new idea generation. Retainer arrangements mean that a client can pretty much get any question answered at any time (within reason).
Because every project is different, there is no set price list. Pricing factors include:
- Nature of the site (e.g., informational, services, e-commerce)
- Size of the site
- Complexity of the site
- Scope and depth of technical issues on the site
- Quality of the site’s contents
- Alignment of the existing site structure with business objectives
- Competitiveness of the category
- … and more.
A project on a 200-page information-oriented site with high quality pages, might cost substantially less than a project on a 1,000,000+ page e-commerce site.
However, if the 200-page site operates in a highly competitive category and should be an 800-page site with an entirely revamped site structure, and manually generated page titles, then the complexity goes up.
And if the 1,000,000+ page e-commerce site really only needs a few technical tweaks plus new page titles that can be generated with automated formula, then suddenly the smaller site may actually be the more time consuming project.
Which is why each project requires a preliminary assessment and a customized proposal.