Maybe you’ve just watched some online marketing videos on YouTube, maybe you heard it mentioned at a recent webinar or networking event. No matter how you arrive at the topic of SEO you are sure to be confused to start.
All of the online gurus seems to always leave out the part that puts 2 and 2 together that shows you how to take actionable steps towards building a successful SEO campaign for your business.
Even if you do grasp the concept right away, finding the time to run your own SEO campaign or finding the right team to trust can weigh on your resources.
In this article we will be answering some entry level SEO questions, providing you with a way to vet an SEO agency, and tips on where the industry is headed in 2022. When you’re all done here, reach out to a team member at Mad Mango Marketing to learn how we can help your business reach an organic audience.
Before we start…
One of the most challenging parts of SEO is getting other websites to link to yours. This creates what we call in the SEO world, a backlink. Backlink building can be much more challenging than creating content or making sure your site is fast because link building should be a continuous effort. Backlink building the right way takes hours of research.
Luckily, Mad Mango Marketing has been building hundreds of whitehat links monthly for our clients over the last 3 years and have perfected the research process.
And don’t worry…all of these leads can be filtered by any Ahref or Moz metric so you never have to worry about your link ending up on a penalized site.
Watch this video below and if you are trying to conduct your own SEO in 2022 (or own an SEO agency), our new “Do It Yourself Backlink Building Lists” could be just the product your team needs!
Common Questions We Get From New SEO Clients in 2022
Can I do SEO for a year and then stop?
Sure! You can also maintain your office for a year and stop too…odds are people will stop visiting after the cobwebs start to form. SEO is a supply and demand game. If you are in an industry with not a lot of websites writing and ranking on the topic (low supply), you may be able to get away with tapering your SEO efforts. If you are in an industry that is hyper competitive, there is a good chance you need to factor in SEO as an annual expense.
How quickly can I rank?
Again, supply and demand. If there is no competition for the keyword you want to rank for, you can rank in as little as a few days. Here at Mad Mango Marketing, we provide your business with an SEO road map on day 1. This document will show you how difficult your main services are to rank for based on your competition. We will provide hard metrics that we will need to hit to make ranking possible and show you the way we plan to get there.
How often should I post content?
There is no magic number. The best way to gauge this is to Google search what you want to rank for and see how often these sites post. Matching their output, or even surpassing it, does not mean you’ll rank, however. The content still needs to flow with the rest of your site and will typically require a few other websites to link to your content before you rank.
Is there a quick way to the top?
There are a few ways you can get a quick shot up the rankings which we have outlined in previous blogs.
How can I appear as a voice search result?
Everyone claims voice search will be all the rage! No one knows for sure. But let’s say they’re right and voice searches and results become the majority. You can encourage Google to serve your site as a voice answer by utilizing heading tags properly and implementing certain schema, like FAQ schema, to the site. Google and other search engines are tuned in to notice these markups and when done correctly, can encourage Google to serve your site as the answer to voice searches and other featured snippets.
How much of my marketing budget should go towards SEO?
The only time SEO should be 100% of your marketing budget is if you are in an advertising restricted industry like CBD to Gambling. If your industry is allowed to market on the traditional online channels, SEO could be anywhere from 25-50% of your advertising budget. To some this may seem like a very large portion of your funds, but proper SEO is a manual effort. You will need to pay real people to create useful content, spend time reaching out to other sites to get them to link to your content, and stay on top of your backend issues as they arise.
** Something else to note **
Users from organic traffic are more likely to spend more time on site, visit more pages, and convert at a higher rate because of the naturally inspective nature of organic searches.
How To Vet an SEO Agency in 2022
Here is a short list of questions you can ask any SEO agency and what we think is a sufficient answer:
How do they quantify site health?
Hearing an SEO agency offer to “make your site compliant with Google” can sound great but few business owners know what it takes to accomplish this task. And to top it all off, Google has recommendations but no real checklist that works for every site the same. So, when you hear an agency offering to make your site "ready for Google", ask them for a list of deliverables.
One way we at Mad Mango Marketing show our clients we are improving their overall site health with Google is by utilizing Ahref’s Site Health tool. This tool will break down any SEO errors or warnings into an easily understandable to-do list. As we work our way through the list, you will see your site health in Ahrefs rise. We can trust that these suggestions are accurate because Ahrefs is in the business of analyzing websites to identify what Google prefers and what they don’t want to see.
How do they generate their keyword research and content?
SEO needs a plan. If you aren’t given a plan on how to rank for your desired search terms within the first 60 days of working with an SEO, you run the risk of wasting a lot of time and money. Your SEO team should be using 1 of 3 tools for keyword research, Moz, Ahrefs, or SEMrush. Inside of these tools you will find valuable data such as average content length of page 1 listings for your desired search term, the average number of backlinks needed, as well as other versions of the keyword that may be easier to rank for while still bringing valuable traffic (known as long tail keywords). All of these hard metrics help create a plan that will outline how much content you need, the quality/length of that content, and how many other sites need to refer to yours before Google associated authority with your page.
How do they conduct backlink outreach?
This is one area where a lot of black and grey hat SEOs will get more and more vague when pressed. They show you a list of backlinks they have built but when you take a quick look at the domain names…they don’t seem completely aligned with your industry. Be wary of PBNs and ask the SEO team you are vetting what they know about PBNs and what they do to keep your site out of any.
For those who don’t know, a PBN is a private blog network. These are clusters of sites, built by people with the intention of tricking Google’s algorithm into believing a site is popular. The problem with these networks (besides going against Google’s policies) is that if one bad site slips into the network, it can tip off Google and cause all sites in that network to be penalized. If links are being built without much effort from your business, this could be a sign of a PBN or blackhat tactics because most legitimate site owners will want some sort of contribution from you in exchange for the value of the backlink.
Backlink outreach should be a manual effort where a member of your SEO team researches relevant sites, reaches out to the site owner, and negotiates a deal for content placement.
What service do they use to get you set up on all directories?
SEO agencies love to make potential clients believe that setting you up on all directories is some difficult feat. In reality, they are signing you up for a service like Moz Local, Bright Local, or Yext.
Making sure all of your info is accurate across the web is a very important part of SEO but don’t let an agency tell you it’s some intense manual effort. In most cases, the agency is signing you up for one of the 3 services above, inputting your info once, and then these software companies communicate with the directories online to set this up.
Any transparent SEO agency should be able to tell you exactly how they set you up on all directories and what software they use. This could also save you a few bucks off your monthly bill because you can just as easily opt to sign up for one of these services yourself and manage your listings in house.
Is there a link to track hours worked?
SEO is a very ambiguous task for many business owners. All agencies should be providing you with a timesheet upon request. You can read more about our time sheets and what we provide here.
How do they report and track the progress?
In person meetings are critical for many SEO efforts. Being sent a video can only do so much because you lose the opportunity to ask questions in real time and are left waiting for an email response. If you are paying an SEO firm whitehat rates ($1,000+/mo), you should have some face time with your team to make sure the content is staying on schedule, links are being built, and any other site health questions can be answered.
The Future of SEO in 2022 and Beyond
Organic traffic is king in 2022. Paid traffic is getting more and more expensive and less trustworthy.
Organic traffic is also becoming more competitive as SEO related positions have been some of the fastest growing job offers on LinkedIn.
The fact of the matter will always be that it is never too late to start building your online authority but you need a plan and you need to stick to it for 12-24 months and beyond.
Imagine you are Google and the searcher is your client. If you value this client, and they come to you asking for a referral, you are going to recommend the best options you can. Most likely you are going to suggest options that have proven themselves to you over time…Google works the same. You can’t earn that referral from Google without putting in the work to make yourself valuable. While it is never too late to start SEO, you can be losing critical traffic by not starting sooner.
Paid ads have sucked since the dawn of the internet, at least for you on the receiving end of said ads. The businesses behind the ads have enjoyed an incredible acceleration in the ability to target and retargeted their ads cheaper than ever.
With a cultural shift towards attention to privacy, companies like Apple & Google have taken steps to make it harder for third parties to advertise as accurately as they once did. This regression in data collection has caused a number of large companies to reevaluate their ad dollars on platforms like Facebook and Instagram and in response, these platforms are making it more expensive to reach the ideal client to make up for lost revenue.
Changes to the PPC and Social Ad Space in 2021
Some giants in the space have taken measures to make these retargeting efforts more difficult in 2021, leading to an increase in these costs as well as a number of court cases. The most notable moves are Apple’s iOS 14 and 15 updates and Google announcing that the Google Chrome Browser will go cookieless (later retracted but still possibly in the works).
When iOS 14 went live Facebook released the following statement…
“Apple has released changes with iOS 14 that impact how we receive and process conversion events from tools like the Facebook pixel. Businesses that advertise mobile apps, as well as those that optimize, target, and report on web conversion events from any of our business tools may be affected.
Specifically, Apple requires that apps in the App Store that engage in what Apple defines as "tracking" to show a prompt on iOS 14.5 or later devices, in accordance with their AppTrackingTransparency framework. Apple’s policy prohibits certain data collection and sharing unless people opt into tracking on iOS 14.5 or later devices via the prompt. As a result, ads personalization and performance reporting may be limited for both app and web conversion events.” Read the rest here.
What Facebook is saying here is that the pop up that asks users if they want to be tracked on iOS 14+ devices will lower the effectiveness of their ad tracking and as a result, reporting for conversions and events on the web are far more limited. These limits reduce transparency between marketing teams and their counterparts and have often ended up in a move of those marketing dollars to mediums who are progressing their tracking instead of regressing.
Google Going Cookieless
Earlier this year Google announced…
“(Our) intent to remove support for third-party cookies, and why we’ve been working with the broader industry on the Privacy Sandbox to build innovations that protect anonymity while still delivering results for advertisers and publishers. Even so, we continue to get questions about whether Google will join others in the ad tech industry who plan to replace third-party cookies with alternative user-level identifiers. Today, we’re making explicit that once third-party cookies are phased out, we will not build alternate identifiers to track individuals as they browse across the web, nor will we use them in our products.
We realize this means other providers may offer a level of user identity for ad tracking across the web that we will not — like PII graphs based on people’s email addresses. We don’t believe these solutions will meet rising consumer expectations for privacy, nor will they stand up to rapidly evolving regulatory restrictions, and therefore aren’t a sustainable long term investment. Instead, our web products will be powered by privacy-preserving APIs which prevent individual tracking while still delivering results for advertisers and publishers.” Read the rest here.
In March of this year this announcement was made, in June it was postponed until 2023. Google claims a number of reasons for this delay, much to the appreciation of marketers in the short term, but the writing is on the wall for all businesses that plan to advertise online and on social media…you will need to develop other methods of retargeting and tracking your users across the web.
Where We Are Headed in 2022
With companies leaving social media platforms in droves, that marketing budget needs to be reassigned elsewhere. Below are three of the most invasive, organic marketing tactics of 2022 being initiated by small and large businesses alike.
Paid ad alternatives
SEO is the practice of optimizing your website for search engines to show your site as an option more frequently. Search Engine Optimization can be just as expensive as paid ads if you don’t have a plan. If your SEO plan includes long tail keywords with low competition, you may be able to write one really great piece of content, build some backlinks to that content, and have it rank at the top of a relevant search for a long time to come. SEO is competition based and if you can find a sentence or a longer string of words your clients search for often with the intent to convert you can save a ton in ad budget. SEO also has a ton of benefit because internet users are becoming more savvy and less likely to click on the paid ads.
Network marketing is no longer finding your local BNI chapter and visiting a couple times a year. Post COVID network marketing has seen exponential acceptance of Zoom calls, webinars, and other networking that does not require a handshake. Finding webinars you can speak at gets you in front of more qualified leads than any other type of low budget marketing and with low cost design platforms like Canva readily available, presenting yourself as an authority in the space is easier than ever. Joining associations within your industry is also an easy way to meet other business owners just as hungry as you are and looking to collaborate.
Influencer marketing has gone the way of ppc in 2021 becoming more and more expensive for less and less of a guaranteed return. This is usually the result of a poor influencer selection. Not all influencers have to be glamorous either. If you are a local electrician, your best influencer can be the local real estate agent and part of your marketing budget can be spent taking them out to dinner once a quarter. Influencer selection should be completely based around the answer to the question “where do my customers go before they make a decision to choose my product or services”. Unless you are a large e-commerce brand the last metric you should be worried about is follower count.
Why Choose SEO Over Paid Ads in The New Year
Paid ads won’t be getting cheaper anytime soon on the traditional online advertising platforms of the 2010’s. With every company looking to leverage blockchain and the metaverse we could see the majority of ad budgets move there but even that is years away. In the meantime, the number one place to discover unknown information is Google and other search engines and the most effective way to advertise where the most people go is by ranking in the organic listing for valuable search terms. Not to mention these users stay longer, are more engaged, and convert more frequently than paid user.
All blogs are written by our incredible staff here at Mad Mango Marketing. Your Connecticut SEO, App Development, and Online Advertising experts.