This question (or some variation of it) is a one we get a lot at Modmacro. In asking how they can get their business top search rankings on Google, business owners are recognizing the importance of search engine optimization (SEO), which is a good place to start. But it’s important that Murrieta business owners have at least a basic understanding of SEO so they can know how it works and what it involves, so that they can have realistic expectations of the results it will bring, and how quickly those results will happen.
What Is SEO and How Will It Benefit My Murrieta Business?
Let’s take a step back and explain what SEO is, for those who have only been told they need an SEO strategy, but aren’t exactly sure what that means or entails. SEO is a digital marketing strategy that increases a website’s visibility on search engines, such as Google, when certain targeted keywords or terms are searched for. For example, if your business is a mechanic shop in Murrieta, you would want your business’s website to be optimized for terms like “Murrieta mechanic” or “Murrieta auto repair.” When properly optimized, a website will appear earlier (or receive a higher search ranking) on search engines than those websites that have not been optimized. In general, higher rankings on the major search engines, like Google, result in more visitors to the website, which in turn, can mean more customers.
Optimizing a website for the right keywords and phrases is a science, but there’s also some art to the process. Search engines today are highly sophisticated. Their goal is to provide online searchers with the results most relevant to their queries. As such, the way in which keywords and phrases appear on a website is often more important than how many times they are repeated. Because of the intricacies involved with optimizing websites, more and more Murrieta business owners are hiring digital marketing firms to handle SEO for them.
SEO encompasses several different tactics, the first of which is usually to determine what words or phrases your potential customers are using when they are looking for the service or product your Murrieta business offers. We call this SEO Keyword research. After we arrive at the best keywords or phrases for your business, we make sure there are no barriers that would keep the search engines from indexing the site. From there, content can be changed or added to increase the relevance of your site for those words and phrases. We also work on server setup, domain setup, internal linking structure, page anatomy, and many other website-related elements.
What is described above is known as “on-page SEO.” There is also “off-page SEO.” This involves strategies such as link building, which is the process of getting links to your site from other reputable websites, as well as digital advertising. Link building is just one of the many off-page methods incorporated into a well-balanced plan.
Optimizing Your Website for SEO
Having an SEO strategy in place for your Murrieta small business is essential, but that strategy looks very different from business to business.
One thing that is common to all businesses when it comes to SEO, however, is that organic SEO should be considered a long-term strategy. Your Murrieta business won’t appear on Google page one overnight, and anyone trying to sell you SEO services who tells you otherwise is either being unrealistic, or worse, they are being dishonest with you in order to get your business.
As with anything, it is important to have realistic expectations about SEO. Normally, when Murrieta business owners are looking to implement a marketing strategy, digital or otherwise, they want to see quick results. Often, they are inquiring about SEO because they need more sales now, and have been told that digital marketing is the way to increase leads and sales. One of the things we tell SEO clients who want to rank for highly competitive searches is this: “For the first several months, as we begin implementing your SEO strategy, it may feel like you’re throwing your money away.”
We know this is not what our potential clients want to hear, but depending on the situation, the budget, the level of completion, and other factors, it may be the truth. Organic SEO takes time and consistent effort to be truly effective. The good news, though, is that the effort compounds on itself when it comes to SEO. With a well-executed SEO strategy, your Murrieta business will steadily rise in the Google rankings for your targeted keyword searches, month after month. Any SEO company worth its salt will be able to show you the results of the SEO strategy they implement after several months using hard data, such as the number of page views, and the quality of those visits.
At Modmacro, we have our own ongoing SEO experiments that we conduct, which tests various SEO tactics. We don’t “experiment” on our clients’ sites. All of the SEO methods we use are proven and safe. We know they work, and we have the data to prove it. We don’t waste your marketing dollars on unfounded techniques that may or may not bring any leads or business to your Murrieta company. We use SEO strategies that have been proven to work for small businesses in Murrieta.
How Do I Know What Keywords and Phrases to Use on my Murrieta Business Website?
Keyword research is a vital component of SEO. Any SEO company that asks you what keywords and phrases they should use on your website is not doing you a great service. There are sophisticated software tools available that can track what words and phrases are the most searched for in your industry and location, and the amount of competition (other websites with those keywords) for those words and phrases. If you are going to put the time and money into an SEO strategy, you want to make sure that it will be effective, and determining the best keywords and phrases is a great first step in an effective SEO campaign.
The results of keyword research often surprise our clients. Most come to us with an idea of what they think their potential customers are searching for, but after we conduct our keyword research, they find that it is something else entirely. For example, if you have a Murrieta pest control company, you may think your potential customers are searching for “Murrieta pest control,” when, in fact, the more popular search might be “Murrieta ant exterminator.”
Even something as simple as making one of your keywords plural or singular can make a huge difference in the effectiveness of your on-page SEO strategy. If you have a hair salon in Murrieta, your potential customers may be searching more often for “Murrieta hair salons” than “Murrieta hair salon.” In many cases, these small variations make no difference. But in some cases, the difference is significant.
Staying on Top of Changing SEO Rules
SEO may seem simple on the surface, but can be quite complex, especially the more you delve into its intricacies. Search engines reward certain SEO practices and penalize others, and the rules sometimes change overnight. To illustrate, in 2010, Google CEO Eric Schmidt claims that the search engine giant made more than 500 algorithm changes, affecting search results. While most of those changes were very small, and only affected a fraction of the websites on the internet, it proves that an SEO strategy is something that needs to be constantly attended to. Tactics sometimes need to shift to account for the changing algorithms at the major search engines.
If you are a small business owner, it would be almost impossible for you to stay on top of current SEO tactics, in addition to all of the other important business tasks you have on your plate. When you hire a reputable marketing firm to handle SEO, they stay on top of the ever-changing world of SEO so you don’t have to.
So How Long Will It Take for SEO to Start Generating Leads for my Murrieta Business?
As mentioned earlier, SEO is a long-term strategy. You may start seeing an increase in traffic to your site and leads (either through your website’s contact page or by phone) in as little as a few months. By the six-month point, you should be really noticing an uptick in the amount leads coming in. By the one-year mark, you should be experiencing a steady stream of new leads. Now, it’s still up to you or your sales department to convert those leads into actual customers, but if done correctly, SEO will bring your Murrieta business-quality leads (potential customers looking for the exact type of goods or services you offer). It’s important to note that these time estimates are somewhat of an average based on our experience working with clients in various industries and local markets. For clients who operate in highly competitive fields, it can take significantly longer for organic SEO methods to begin paying off. This, of course, is also dependent upon your budget.
Because SEO is a long-term marketing strategy, most digital marketing firms will want you to sign a marketing contract (usually for at least a year). This keeps clients from quitting on the SEO process before it has been given a fair chance to work.
We understand the reservations that many small business owners have with this. Most small businesses have limited marketing budgets, and they want to know that they are getting a return on their investment before they commit to a long-term strategy. Forbes writer and SEO expert Josh Steimle echoes this sentiment in this excellent article titled “How Long Does SEO Take to Start Working?.” He says:
“I’ve seen companies get started the right way, but quit after 2 to 3 months and say ‘We just weren’t getting the results we needed to justify the cost.’ This tells me they went into the exercise with unrealistic expectations… Paying for just a few months of SEO is, in many cases, no better than throwing your money away. SEO is a long term marketing tactic, and shouldn’t be seen as a way to generate sales quickly. However, if you make the proper investment, and plan on being in it for the long haul, SEO is a marketing tactic with one of the best ROIs out there.”
We couldn’t agree more with that statement. They money you spend with a reputable SEO firm will give you an excellent return on your investment—generating higher search rankings, which results in more traffic to your website, and ultimately, more business.
If your Murrieta business is ready to delve into the world of digital marketing and SEO, contact Modmacro. We are a local digital marketing firm that would love the opportunity to talk with you about your company’s goals for growth and how we can help you achieve them!