SEO Consulting for 2012

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It’s 2012, and SEO has never been more difficult.

Convincing business owners to utilize us is an uphill battle.

SEO is not easy. Even the brightest and most talented of Internet marketing managers don’t have the capacity to devote to the effort. It takes dedication, persistence, patience, scientific inquiry and a heart of stone. Oh, and let’s not forget – TIME. However, if done correctly, SEO can reap huge benefits for online conversions. We know this, but we have to communicate this to business owners and marketing managers in a more effective way. Perhaps we begin with communicating the SEO landscape more efficiently.

But, what do business owners really need? In the past this was an easy question: links. How can I build links? This, however, is no longer the case. SEO strategies need to evolve in a serious way, and that’s what the majority of us are doing. These companies need SEO consultation, tactical implementation, content production and an overall strategy that will wrap this all together. Every company or organization that owns a web property that is or is one of its basis for making money, should be interested in investing time and money into search engine optimization and the consulting that may, or may not, be needed to accompany those initiatives. Period.

Let’s look at the funnel below:

I’d be willing to bet that every business owner would look at this graphic and quickly identify that it their funnel gets squeezed pretty tight around “Keyword Rankings”.

Business owner: “I need better rankings.”

It’s a simple answer. Develop and implement an SEO strategy. (I said it was simple, not easy.)

A modern day SEO consultant might approach that task like this: Optimize your domain. Optimize your pages. Optimize the architecture of your domain, and make sure it can be properly crawled and indexed by search engines. Create off-page signals that communicate an optimized, relevant message. Create a social network that’s connected and actively engaged with your domain and brand. Finally, make sure each aspect of your strategy works in conjunction with the other moving parts, thus creating an environment of interaction surrounding your domain and your brand on the Internet while creating the proper signals to search engines that will increase your keyword rankings and overall traffic.

Rinse and repeat. Right? Well, not exactly.

You’ll have to keep up as Google updates their algorithm around 500 times per year, optimizing your pages and domain ever-so-slightly in order to avoid dying the slow, painful death of traffic decrease as a result of a minor loss of 2-3 positions on page one that comes from not staying on top of your SEO game (or a massive stab in the traffic jugular in a few cases, *ahem*…Panda).

As SEO experts, we know how difficult it is to achieve and maintain top tier rankings nowadays. This must be communicated to our audience. There is no longer a silver bullet or magic formula.

For many, this is the end of the store when it comes to what they’d expect from hiring us.  In order to earn and keep the business of enterprise level clientele in the SEO space, we must step up our game. The tactics and strategies mentioned above focus on both domain and page micro-level issues (eg: building links, optimizing anchor text, fulfilling on-site content needs, and more). It’s 2012, and there is a whole other world of SEO offerings that we can bring to the table. I’m talking about macro-level offerings SEO consultation fulfills that are often overlooked, undervalued and in some cases, even ignored.

This is the macro-minded marketing and digital promotion expertise of the majority of professionals in the SEO field possess, understand, value and can offer to our clients. Bottom line: We know what a good, effective and profit-driving website looks like, inside and out.

Consider some of these macro-level questions that business owners desperately need help with:

  • Sure I need SEO, but where do I begin?
  • What do I look for?
  • How do I do keyword research on a mass scale?
  • Where do I start when looking at my domain? What pages are most important to focus on for SEO?
  • What’s most impactful? Can I aggregate Analytics data to put a weight on my pages?
  • What am I already ranking for?
  • How do I analyze rankings, are there tools for that?
  • How do I create goals within my analytics for SEO performance?
  • How do I report performance and time spent on SEO activities to my boss?
  • Should I use a subdomain for development on a new segment of my company? What are my alternatives?
  • My conversions are happening on a different domain – my users are redirected once they click the “buy” button. Is this acceptable? How do I fix it if it’s not?
  • I have great rankings and awesome traffic for a couple of big terms – but they don’t convert, why is that and what should I do?

We SEO pros chomp at the bit for questions like these. We hear them, answer them and see results driven from them on a daily basis. There’s more to us than attempting to get backlinks built to a site, now let’s make that known. This is an evolving industry, and it’s evolving fast. We need to communicate that it’s alright for Internet marketing managers to ask for help with SEO. In fact, it’s expected.

Unless a company feels comfortable tacking their entire SEO operation by themselves or with the internal team they have developed at their organization, it’s expected that they’d hire on the help of an SEO agency or consulting company.

A final quiz for our world of Internet marketing managers:

Can you develop and implement a continuous SEO strategy around your domain, concerning both on and off page signals that are consistent and optimized with one another?

  1. Do you feel comfortable answering all of the questions above and any related questions having to do with the macro-level nature of communicating your progress, success and standing in your competitive SEO space?
  2. Do you have the time to consistently track, analyze and deduct sound strategies from competitive and on-site data such as analytics, rankings increases/decreases, and other SEO driven tool sets?

If they can answer no to any of these questions, then they’re in the market for SEO consultation. We need to re-evaluate the perception of the SEO consultant and communicate the reality of our situation. SEO is not what it used to be. It’s a holistic effort, in every capacity. We’re quickly becoming digital brand advocators. We know SEO, we know the Internet, and we know how to make money from websites. Period.

Plus, we’re nerds – and who doesn’t love a nerd?

Robbie Williams
Robbie is a SEO Consultant for Slingshot SEO. He works in the depths of SEO campaigns on a daily basis. From researching and developing site... Read Full Bio
Robbie Williams

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  • Nick Stamoulis

    In order to do SEO well, it’s not something that can just be done “on the side”. A lot of time and effort should be dedicated to it. If you don’t have anyone in house with the knowledge and time to do so, it’s advisable to hire an agency.

  • Robbie Williams

    Nick, appreciate the feedback. I couldn’t agree more – especially this day in age!

  • Tandheelkunde

    I agree on your point that SEO got way more difficult over time, and I assume this trend will continue, because algo’s will keep getting more sophisticated and competition will get much heavier. Do you agree that this means an in-house SEO will be a better option, because of the time needed for successful SEO, for more and more companies in coming years?

    • Robbie Williams

      Tandeheelkunde — This trend will most certainly continue! The exciting fact is that search has become such an immensely ingrained function of our day-to-day functionality, that it will always be an important marketing function. In-house SEO’s are a great option for the companies that can support that role, however, agencies will always have the upper hand when it comes to experience and peer reviewed advice on everything that goes into SEO strategies.


    SEO is getting harder all the time. The search engines are changing there algorithms constantly to keep SEO’s from zeroing in on their methods. Incorporating social media into SEO has also complicated the situation.

    • Robbie Williams

      Drask – Search and social, in my opinion is going to be the name of the game in 2012. Hopefully SEO’s everywhere are preparing their clients for the influx of data that Google is getting ready to apply to their algo!

  • Toni Atkinson

    Great, timely article as our heads are still spinning from all the new information. Your flow chart and questions are perfect for clarifying what we need to re-focus on. You’re so right- it’s not a rinse and repeat cycle, SEO now requires a lot more integrated thinking and monitoring as impact can vary from month to month and adjustments need to be made continually. BUT it is all good as these improvements add to the profession of SEO and make it more fun …. if we stay focused on your points 🙂

  • Toni Atkinson

    …just realized that in the first paragraph you actually make another excellent point: aha! It occurs to me that the real challenge is that the marketing manager has to act more like a CEO to drive the diverse, complex factors for successful website promotion- thanks!

    • Robbie Williams

      Toni – I appreciate the kind words! I am pleased to hear I was able to highlight a few points that you and your company will be able to apply in the coming days and weeks. SEO will always keep us on our toes, it’s one of the many reasons I love this industry! The day-to-day monitoring and analysis always seems to pay off in the end! Keep up the good work my friend!

  • Toni Atkinson

    You too 🙂

  • aishalal

    in future to get great results in SEO we have to keep on doing research and analysis due to fact that Google change in algorithms is uncertain. in my opinion inhouse seo is possible for big firm but for small companies are not able to afford it. Thanks!!!

    • Winnipeg Search Engine Optimization

      Agreed 100%. Large companies with the resources to take SEO in-house are at an advantage when compared to the small business owners. Plus, the SMB doesn’t have the time or resources to keep on top of all of the algo changes Google rolls out, and be able to adjust their strategy accordingly.

  • Shashank Gupta

    Thanks to you Robbie, for giving me few great pointers on convincing my customers that why they need SEO. Most of the managers are ready to fight tooth and nail over any SEO expense. At max they feel PPC is something they can shell out on and rest all can be managed in-house by their PR team or communication managers. Your article is such a great write-up about how SEO is a dynamic field, which requires expertise, constant updation and time.

    Great article. Keep up the great work

    • Robbie Williams

      Thanks, Shashank! I have had very similar experiences with my contacts at different companies. While a marketing manager might want to add content to the page, or develop a new silo on the domain that is dedicated strictly to education (content), sometimes C-Level contacts at these companies need a little more convincing. A huge value-add we can supply to our clients is documentation and deliverables that will help them take your arguments for changes on-site up the corporate ladder.

      Most of the time our contacts need help with this and they don’t even know it. We can provide the extra push that will make this possible!

      • Shashank Gupta

        Agree with you Robbie. Documentation and deliverables are the only thing that work. And of course constantly checking back with the contacts, as most of then tend to line up SEO as least important on their agenda.

        And just as you said, “Most of the time our contacts need help with this and they don’t even know it” that’s so true, by the time I have won over a client it feels like wining a war!!

        Wish you luck and patience in working with and convincing your potential customers 🙂

  • Etienne Beneke

    Robbie, spot on. The challenge i find daily is being able to cystalise the value to existing clients i.e what are they getting for their buck and secondly how to sell SEO to someone that really needs it but don’t have a budget. I tend to provide a mini high level SEO snapshot at a very affordable rate and entice them to buy into a full SEO offering after seeing were they are lacking in terms of on and off-page SEO.