local seo cost

How Much Should Local SEO Cost?

local seo cost

Local SEO costs vary based on numerous factors, but the most significant factor is the profit margin desired by the local SEO expert. The same is said for all SEO. There is extensive time that goes into optimizing your business listing, link outreach campaigns, optimization, and drafting of content, etc. Does that mean that you should be paying a crazy amount of money per month on your search optimization campaign? No. The truth of the matter is that the overhead (or lack thereof) maintained by the SEO expert or agency plays a significant role in the pricing of their services. After all, they have to have the capital to pay for those expenses. (psst- that’s why we charge less than many other agencies- we don’t need to flaunt a shiny office)

Many SEO agencies follow a pricing model that looks at how competitive your area of business is, the amount of time and resources needed to compete with your competitors in the search rankings, etc. Others follow an ROI model wherein they charge based upon how much money your business can make with the extra clients they bring in for you. I do not agree with this model, and I am often criticized in the SEO community for it. Search optimization is a method of increasing website visitors and business contacts. Just because an attorney makes more money from a client than say a plumber, it does not mean that the EXACT SAME SERVICES should cost more. The amount of profit you make from a client should have no bearing on the prices of SEO services but instead should serve as a deciding factor for you as to whether you might see a positive return on investment. With that said, an attorney may need more work as it is a hyper-competitive market place, but that pricing would consider that as a prominent factor and not how much a business can pay.

Expensive is not always better

It is often true that you get what you pay for. This is especially true for products. Cheaper materials often lead to a product that is less than desirable based upon the expectations of the product. SEO, in our opinion, is a service. We are doing the work to improve the online search visibility of information that our clients rely on to enhance their client/customer base. Because it is a service, it stands to reason that we can charge what we value our services at, but, like above, many in the industry inflates their margin for the sole purpose of monetary gain. The scary part- I’ve been in the SEO and Web Design field now for more than a decade. I’ve done my own work, talked to others in the field, and taken tons of courses from self-professed SEO “gurus,” and the topic that always comes up is the pricing of services.

Too often in courses, I have heard people say that they should charge as much as possible while doing as little work as possible. This makes me scratch my head at the motivation of others. Don’t get me wrong- money is a beautiful thing to have, but that’s not our only motivation here. We are here to HELP businesses increase their revenue and accelerate their growth. How does charging as much as possible for our services help our clients?!

Also, in the many courses I have taken, it became apparent early on that many participants were there with dollar signs in their eyes rather than having a goal of helping others. Guru after guru, I would hear them say, “once you deposit the check, go to XXXXXXXX.com, buy this service, or these backlinks and then have that be your work for the month for that client. “Often the service they were recommending people buy was $100 or less, and they were promoting the idea of charging the client $1000/month, netting the SEO at least $900 in profit that month. So, the question for me then became, what were my own goals?

My Goals:

1.       Have fun helping others

2.       Make a positive impact on those who trust my services to help them

3.       Provide as much value as possible

4.       Make a living doing all of the above

You see, the goal for my own business was never to grow too large that I would be unable to work with clients personally. I never wanted a Lamborghini, I already have my dream house, and frankly, I don’t want to deal with managing tons of employees. (Been there, done that, no thank you). Instead, we have a small team, and I consult with all clients- there’s no go-between. Wherein some other SEOs charge a ton because they can, I charge as little as I can realistically while providing real value. When I talk to others about this they often are in disbelief, I mean, everyone wants to scale their business, right? Within reason, sure, but for the sake of making more money? Not if that means that the value that my clients rely on is diminished and not if that means that I do not have the time to work personally with my clients.

Too Cheap to be Good?

On the other end of the spectrum are the SEO agencies that undercut prices for the sake of getting more clients. The question I think of when I see this is how effective and efficient are these services? Are these search engine optimization companies able to keep up with their client acquisition? What are the services they are providing at such a cheap price point? Are they able to deliver quality results with the limited work budget they have available to them?

If you are paying very little compared to your expectations, you MUST keep in mind that SEO is forever, and if your SEO is utilizing cheap black hat tactics, they are risking your long-term success. I can imagine that having your entire business website become almost useless overnight would be frustrating for a lack of better words. That is the type of risk you run when you hire companies that are seemingly much cheaper than most others out there.

Ill-informed link building tactics will have your site on the fast track to being blacklisted by the search engines, and they, unfortunately, are often the hallmark of bad SEO. I’ve had the privilege of cleaning up the messes and Google Manual Penalties that result from cheap and lousy SEO, and to say that it being blacklisted can be disastrous is an understatement. Do not shop for the most inexpensive SEO unless you can uncover WHY it is so cheap.

affordable mesa seo

What is Local SEO?

affordable mesa seo

Many small business owners are bombarded by search engine optimization (SEO) “experts” via phone, email, or advertisement, but they have yet to hear of local SEO. Local SEO may not appear to be as flashy on the service as national or international SEO as people have come to know it, but it pays the bills for local business owners. In this article, we discuss local search engine optimization and how it benefits small business owners worldwide. We also delve into some best practices that you can use for your small business to improve your search visibility in your community. Lastly, we delve into how much local SEO should cost so you have a better idea as to when SEO can be affordable while effective.

LOCAL SEO

If you have ever searched Google or Bing for a local business, the chances are that you have stumbled upon business listings showing you nearby companies that offer the product or service you are searching for. Search for “doctor” or “handyman,” and you will find listings along with a map toward the right side of Google usually. How those listings appeared ahead of other local businesses on that search page is local search engine optimization.

FACTORS OF LOCAL SEARCH RESULTS

Google is the most used search engine by a large margin. Since this is most likely what your potential customers are using to search for your services, we will talk about Google Local search factors.

Proximity

Have you ever noticed that when you search, the local results are often close by? That is because Google takes into account the distance of the searcher to the business. After all, it would not make sense to show you results for Thai Food Restaurants that are an hour’s drive away. Well, if I were craving good Thai food, I might be willing to drive that far for it, but that doesn’t happen often. With that said, Google takes into account proximity because it values convenience to the searcher.

Proximity is a hard factor to control or influence. You cannot just up and move your physical office to accommodate every searcher. DO NOT try to “game” or outsmart Google when it comes to your business proximity. There are tactics that some search consultants use to try to game the system, but the results are not long-lasting, and the methods could actually HURT your search ranking or even earn you a spot on Google’s Blacklist.

Relevance

When it comes to SEO, relevance is HUGE. Google will try only to show you search results featuring local businesses that are relevant to your search term. This one is a no-brainer. Google is not (usually) going to show you a local business that provides HVAC services when you are searching for a doctor or lawyer nearby.

How do you, as a business owner, influence the relevance of your business to what the searcher is looking for? The most natural and most effective manner of proving your relevancy to Google is by including content on your website and Google My Business (GMB) listing and posts that is relevant to the audience or potential customers you want to attract.

Example:

You own a business in Mesa, Arizona, selling widgets to customers from your store and want to attract more customers to your store location and/or your website where online orders for said widgets can be placed. To improve your relevance, you would include content about widgets on your site as well as content about Mesa because that is where you are located.

Prominence (Authority)

Is your website/business listing considered authoritative on the keywords you search locally? Okay, this once is VERY dumbed down as there is a lot that goes into the authority of a web page, but let’s save that for another day. You have enough going on right now, and the last thing you need is a detailed explanation regarding ALL of the factors that go into the scoring/grading of this factor. Just know that the most common way for a site to show that it is an authority on the subject is the quality of backlinks (links from another website to yours) it has. Usually referred to as a backlink graph, your backlinks are your votes of confidence to the search engines that you know what you are doing. After all, no one is going to link to a website that has inadequate information on the subject.

In local SEO, you will see the term “business citations” thrown around consistently. Business Citations are listings on local and national business directories found on the internet that refer back to the proper Name, Address, and Phone Number (NAP) of your small business, as seen on your GMB profile and website. An authoritative website/business would have consistent information across all directories they are found in.

Link building for local results is slightly different than that of “regular” SEO because you want to look for local link building opportunities. For the previous example, an effective link outreach campaign may seek opportunities with local chambers of commerce, local bloggers, local event sponsorship opportunities, etc. Other link building opportunities can be niche specific to show that you are an authority in your line of work. Attorneys would list their businesses in prominent legal directories, plumbers in directories featuring home improvement service providers, and so on. Some business directories require payment for the business listing while others do not.

How much should Local SEO Cost?

Local SEO costs vary based upon numerous factors, but the most significant factor is the profit margin desired by the local SEO expert. The same is said for all SEO. There is extensive time that goes into optimizing your business listing, link outreach campaigns, optimization, and drafting of content, etc. Does that mean that you should be paying a crazy amount of money per month on your search optimization campaign? No. The truth of the matter is that the overhead (or lack thereof) maintained by the SEO expert or agency plays a significant role in the pricing of their services. After all, they have to have the capital to pay for those expenses. (psst- that’s why we charge less than many other agencies- we don’t need to flaunt a shiny office

Many SEO agencies follow a pricing model that looks at how competitive your area of business is, the amount of time and resources needed to compete with your competitors in the search rankings, etc. Others follow an ROI model wherein they charge based upon how much money your business can make with the extra clients they bring in for you. I do not agree with this model, and I am often criticized in the SEO community for it. Search optimization is a method of increasing website visitors and business contacts. Just because an attorney makes more money from a client than say a plumber, it does not mean that the EXACT SAME SERVICES should cost more. The amount of profit you make from a client should have no bearing on the prices of SEO services but instead should serve as a deciding factor for you as to whether you might see a positive return on investment. With that said, an attorney may need more work as it is a hyper-competitive market place, but that pricing would consider that as a prominent factor and not how much a business can 

what is seo

What is SEO?

what is seo

Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of creating content such as website pages, which is designed in a way that is ranked well on search result pages to effectively fulfill the search intent of the person searching the internet via that specific search engine. SEO has been a process practiced by internet marketing experts since the advent of search engines. Think of SEO like this- you hire marketing companies to create stunning ads and content that appeals to the target audience. Search engine optimization acts in the same way that it focuses on excellent web content that appeals to the searcher and the search engine.

The purpose of this article is not to provide you with a detailed step-by-step process for each aspect of effective and affordable SEO, but rather to only touch on the terms you will likely see while learning about SEO. Don’t get me wrong; there are plans for a series of best practice articles you can use to optimize your website, but today we are only covering the “What” aspect of SEO rather than the “How” aspect.

Areas of SEO

The facet of digital marketing, known as SEO, is comprised of many areas. For your understanding, we will briefly touch on high-level aspects of each area of SEO and what they are used for.

Technical SEO

Technical SEO is merely doing something technical in nature to improve the search rankings of that particular subject.  Technical SEO is essentially: Creating a website structure that contributes to the effectiveness of the search engine bot (a program that scans the internet) in its crawling of your website. Some questions you might ask yourself while auditing your website in the technical search optimization realm are in line with whether the site structure will be optimized for the searcher, and therefore the search engine to find what they need. Other aspects are the usage of an SSL certificate as it is now a factor in the Google search algorithm. This means that sites with an SSL certificate are given more power in the search rankings than equal websites that do not have an SSL. Don’t get lost in the weeds here; we will cover more on technical SEO in a later article.

On-Page SEO

On-Page SEO is the alteration of website content to rank higher in the search results page. This includes the inclusion and usage of keywords (the words people use in their search) in places that make sense. For instance, if a high-quality web page is about making widgets, then the reader would expect the title of the web page to include words such as “widgets.” You would also likely find that the author would discuss the process of making widgets in their content and, therefore, words related to widgets and the process of making them would be included. There are certain helpful places in the material where these words would be used, but that’s an entirely different article.

Off-Page SEO

As the name implies, Off-Page (or off-site) search engine optimization works to improve the authority of the webpage concerning the content that it provides. The easiest way for Google to determine if a site or page is authoritative is by how many links to it the site has. Google considers links to a site as the equivalent to a vote of confidence from another website or entity. Links from a site that Google already ranks highly and is deemed trusted and authoritative on the topic that you are covering tends to have more voting power than a brand-new website that may not even be about be related to your site content. Again, there is a science to effective backlinks, which we will cover in another article.

Local SEO

Local search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of improving the rankings of your business listing on Google or Bing. Search on your phone or computer for the services of a local business (example- handyman) and the search engine will return a list and map with results for the Google My Business (GMB) listing or Bing Places listing if you use Bing. Local SEO is the process of improving the order in which your business’ listing appears for potential customers/clients looking for your types of services and products. Google’s local search algorithm utilizes different aspects (signals) of a website and listing than that of their standard search algorithm, which is why you should hire an affordable local SEO expert if you’re a local business to attract local customers searching for what you provide.

Conclusion

I hope this article helps you better understand the different types of SEO are about. In the world of digital marketing and search engine optimization, in particular, there tends to be a strange secrecy regarding what is done to help search rankings. You should not have to scratch your head over stuffy verbiage used by experts in their field. When it doubt, look it up. Hire an affordable seo expert who is not afraid to explain the work they will do for you using language that you understand. At the end of the day, an expert in search optimization is a lot like any professional service provider- they have the knowledge to fix the problem you have, but you should understand the “what” and “why” of what they do. With EdElkins.com, we want to empower the small business owner with the knowledge and services they need to be successful- there are no secrets, only remarkable results.

SEO for Etsy

Easy SEO Tips for Etsy

Improving Etsy Product Visibility with SEO

Etsy sales not quite what you had hoped for? Feeling like you are just spinning your wheels week after week to try to make sales from your Etsy page? Using Search Engine Optimization (SEO) tips for products and profile on the most popular hand-made private seller platform may just be what you need to finally see a return on your Etsy investment.

What is SEO?

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a process wherein you make your website or content more appealing to search engines such as Google and Bing? The search engines have specific factors that it uses to determine how search results appear and in what order. The same holds true for Etsy. Etsy has its own search factors that it adheres to each and every time someone searches for a product using the website or the Etsy App.

 It is through this article that we discuss specific measures you can take on your Etsy profile page and product pages to become more appealing to their search algorithm and searchers in general. Keep in mind that if you tailor your product listings to become more appealing to searchers, they will become more appealing to the search algorithm as well. 

Search Intent

Let’s take a look at what Etsy is to better understand how their search algorithm works in addition to what searchers see. 

SEO for Etsy

 In the image to the left you will see the layout of the Etsy homepage. Aside from the logo in the upper left corner, the top of the page is dominated by a large search bar. The search bar, for those wanting to purchase products from the site, is the gateway to the information they seek and Etsy is aware of facet of user intent, otherwise it would not be the first thing you see when the page loads.

Once a search is completed, in this example quilts (everyone loves a good quilt), the searcher will then see the search results which will highlight specific attributes of the quilts available for sale. They will see the categories of types of quilts, the image uploaded as a way for the seller to showcase their work, the title of the product that they are selling, reviews (in star format), price (including discount as indicated by the seller) and any additional promotion option the seller chooses such as free shipping. 

Etsy Search Results

You will notice similarities between the products on the first page as well as a few difference. If we look at the results, we will see that the word, “quilt” is evident (in actual results on the page you may need to hover your mouse over the title to read the complete title for the product). This tells us that the keyword describing the product “quilt” is an important factor in the search algorithm.  It is a part of the algorithm because it assists the searcher in discovering what they are searching for and their reasoning for doing so. This is called search intent. It is the goal of the algorithm to display results based upon that intent. In this example we can see the second search result as being a specific type of thread used in quilts. You will note that the first products as highlighted in the image are paid ads. We still look to these because, although they are paid, the algorithm still utilizes its rules but with the addition of rules governing ad placement and order. Further down the page we see quilts and other products related to quilting that are showing as part of organic search results. They are called organic because the additional paid factors do not come into play. The search engine is looking at all of the products shop owners have indicated to be quilts and then asking itself, “If I were searching for quilts, what else in addition to quilts might I be interested in?” It then serves up results that answers the question. To better understand why the first organic search result is ranked first, we must engage in competitor analysis.

Search Ranking Analysis

For this portion of our deep dive into SEO for Etsy, we will engage in competitor analysis. This has been likened to reverse engineering the search result to uncover which SEO techniques the shop owner or SEO is using to obtain that #1 result placement. Let’s walk through this process together. In this image we have expanded on the title by hovering over it and we see that the keyword quilt is located in the title. Additionally, the title has other keywords that one might expect to see when searching for quilts such as the type of fabric used. In fact, this search result is not of a quilt itself but is actually for squares of fabric used for MAKING quilts.

etsy seo result 1 photo

Why might fabric for quilts show up in the Etsy search results prior to an actual quilt, you might ask? Let’s dive deeper into our 
analysis to see why this product stands taller than all others in the search.
 

If we were to click on the search result and travel to the product page, we can uncover the ETSY SEO techniques being used while diving into the search signals that have propelled this product to #1 for the search term quilts.

What does Etsy look for in determining how a product will rank for a search?

Search Signals, as they are called are the individual factors that influence ranking of the product. Let’s look at these signals individually and then how the #1 search result stacks up on the product page for those signals that are visible to us. 
 
  •  Relevancy
    • Relevancy asks, “How relevant is this product to the searcher’s request?”. Search signals related to relevancy include keywords, whether an exact match or similar to what is being search for,  in product titles, tags, and categories.  This means that a keyword should appear in these areas. WARNING: do not “stuff” the keyword into these areas numerous times over. This not only does NOT help your cause but it looks unnatural and unappealing to the person searching for your product
  • Product Location and Shipping
    •  Does it make much sense for Etsy to display a product located on the other side of the world with expensive shipping when a similar product is located nearby with cheaper shipping? Of course not! That is why these search signals and factors are HUGE. Etsy would be doing a disservice to the searcher if it showed products first that would a) take a long time to get to the searcher and b) be cost prohibitive. etsy seo factor: locationIn this example, I am located in Mesa, Arizona and the first result (as seen above) is located in Las Vegas, Nevada, has FREE shipping and indicated that it ships within 1 business day. Since the item is in close proximity to me, ships quickly and the cost is not too high, Etsy decided that this should be the first search result I see. Afterall, with all of these factors it would make sense that I would be likely to buy it. 
  • Customer Experience Score
    •  Would the searcher likely have a positive experience with this product from this seller or a less than stellar experience? This is where customer feedback comes into play. The feedback scores you receive not only display on the product page to psychologically attract you to that seller and that product but the search algorithm does the same thing. In this case, the reviews for the shop and the item have been great. etsy seo reviews 
  • Conversion Rate of The Product Profile
    • How well does the product convert into a sale? Why would Etsy rank a product when the product profile does not result in a sale? The whole purpose of the search algorithm is to show you products that Etsy thinks you will by based upon the intent of your search. As a result, products that have sold well and convert searchers into customers have an easier time ranking higher than products whose profiles are viewed thousands of time and rarely, if ever, result in a sale.  The quilt fabric that is highlighted about has sold 2,174 times as of the drafting of this article. Actionable item: Is your product description likely to appeal to people searching for it? If not, ask around for the opinion of others. Based upon your listing, if the person did not know you personally, would they likely buy it?
  • Recency
    •  Etsy temporarily inflates the ranking (in a good way) of a new product listing so that it can determine how well the product will do with customers. Will it convert like we discussed above? Even renewed (updated) listings are temporarily inflated so that the Etsy search algorithm can evaluate the performance of it. This is why it is important to update existing product listings regularly.
  • External Factors
    •  Etsy is no different than Google or Bing when it comes to search algorithms in that it looks to see how relevant and popular the product is outside of etsy. Is your listing being linked to by other websites with similar interests? In this example, it would be be beneficial to have links coming from popular quilting and fabric sites or how-to blogs. Look to do the same with your product listing. Share it on Facebook, Pinterest, forums related to the product, how to blog posts, etc. 

 Your next steps:

Now that you have a better understanding as to how Etsy ranks products in the search results the way it does, you can make positive changes and engage in SEO for Etsy. Follow these three common sense rules when you are optimizing our listings. 
  1. Draft your product listing with the intent of the searcher in mind. Are you using your keywords only enough to show relevance? Is your product description accurate and appealing to the searcher?
  2. Does you customer experience align with the way you would want to be treated? This will improve your customer experience score.

Do not be afraid to experiment. After a week of not seeing results, renew your listing with update information, tags, descriptions, etc. This will not only boost your ranking while Etsy determines how well the listing does but it will also help you determine what techniques will sell.