You’ve been told you need SEO to become more visible online, nurture the right audience, and gain more leads. But what does SEO really entail? What does it take to maximize SEO results? And how do you find the right SEO agency that will tell it like it is? 

Keep in mind that while SEO can produce exciting returns, it’s no walk in the park. Behind every success lies challenges and pitfalls. Not to mention, there are numerous SEO companies that make it difficult to scope out the right ones.

So here are 12 SEO facts that only a trustworthy agency will tell you. Use these to help your team establish the right expectations and make educated decisions throughout your SEO journey.

1. SEO Takes Time & Hard Work

SEO is a long-term strategy that can take months for things to start blooming. We know, this sounds rather frustrating. But good things take time. It takes time to optimize your site and optimize it well to win Google’s trust. 

Though we can’t give a solid answer to how long it will take, we can say your timeline will depend on factors like:  

  • Your website. How old is your site, and how much SEO does it already have? Depending on the kind of work it needs, it may add to or cut down on the time. 
  • Your business. What types of products/services do you sell, and what is your target market? Who are your competitors, and what kinds of SEO strategies are they using? If you have a lot of catching up to do, your SEO campaign can take longer to achieve the right results. 
  • Your current online presence. What’s your domain authority? How’s your online reputation looking? Are you thriving or just surviving? If you’ve been the center of bad news lately, it will take some time to plan the right strategies and bury the negative results.
  • Keywords. What are the key search phrases your target audience is looking up on Google? How competitive are these keywords? The more competitive they are, the longer it will take for your site to rank for them.

2. SEO is at the Mercy of Search Engines

SEO is about winning the affection of search engines. And man, can they play hard to get. Google reported over 3,000 updates to its search algorithm in 2018 (almost nine per day). That’s eight times higher than the number of changes in 2009 — further illustrating how quickly the space evolves.

One algorithm change can have a massive impact on the SEO landscape. It can affect the way you target search terms, how search engines display search results, and what types of results appear. This means you have to continuously update your site to stay on Google’s good side and stay visible online. 

3. SEO Involves Trial & Error

As the SEO landscape is constantly changing, you have to be ready to fail (gulp). But with failure comes rich opportunities to learn and succeed. You learn what works and what doesn’t work for your business. 

Not to mention, SEO is about creating customized strategies tailored to a number of different factors. No business is the same; audiences and brands differ. 

Taking a one-size-fits-all approach just never works, and finding answers can take some time. But through continuous effort, research, and collaboration with the right SEO company, you’ll find something that will safeguard the long-term viability of your business. 

4. SEO Requires Adaptability

Since success is never final in the SEO world, a good strategy is an adaptable one—one that can be adjusted to keep up with the changing tides of our digital economy and online patterns. 

SEO best practices are generally similar year after year, but there are always nuances and new additions. Moreover, the market is always evolving, so you want to be able to shift your priorities accordingly. 

What adaptability means and how it will look like for your company will depend on factors like: 

  • Who your target audience is
  • How your audience is using the web
  • Changes in the marketplace (how are your competitors doing?) 
  • New marketing trends in your industry

5. SEO Done Right Demands Transparency & Expertise

SEO is tricky. It takes years to understand. So to identify the right online opportunities, you need a team of seasoned and trustworthy SEO specialists.

How do you know when you’ve found the right SEO company? A good agency advocates the following: 

  • SEO is a marathon—not a sprint. It realistically takes much longer than a few days. It takes preparation, perseverance, and hard work.
  • Honest and thoughtful feedback is crucial. For SEO to succeed, it needs to be reinforced with a healthy feedback loop. Transparency helps teams find opportunities to learn and grow.
  • Expertise in multi-platform marketing is essential. It’s crucial to be aware of how other platforms and initiatives impact SEO and vice versa. Social media, reputation management, and conversion rate optimization (CRO) all play a part in SEO. It’s important to find a team that knows their way around these strategies.
  • Some businesses may simply not be the right fit. Businesses that want to see results right away and want short-term results might not be suited for SEO. Here at Big Leap, we are motivated by long-term success. 

6. SEO Alone Isn’t Enough

SEO is just one piece of the pie. To really make the most of it, you need to combine it with other digital marketing strategies. 

For example, SEO combined with CRO can help your business achieve lower bounce rates, higher conversions, and higher returns. Why? SEO brings in traffic, while CRO optimizes these resources into actual returns. 

You need to coat your SEO with other tactics to effectively parade your online visitors down the marketing funnel. To learn more, check out this case study, where we crafted an SEO and CRO strategy that helped our client amplify their conversions by over 45 percent.

7. SEO Needs Great Content

Another great combo? SEO and content marketing. 

SEO thrives on high-quality content (where else are you going to house those keywords?). And a good SEO agency will come prepared with a team of qualified creatives (writers, editors, designers, etc.) who can produce 10x content. 

Coined by Moz founder Rand Fiskin, 10x content is content that is 10 times better than your competitor’s. It’s: 

  • Trustworthy. It’s content that speaks to the right audience with the perfect tone and voice. 
  • Reliable. 10x content should provide accurate information, backed by research and credible sources. 
  • Useful. It solves a problem or answers a question for the audience. 
  • Relevant. It carries current information that is applicable to the reader’s life and circumstances. 
  • Detailed. 10x content goes out of its way to provide helpful resources like tips, definitions, and statistics to help the reader make more informed decisions. 
  • Well-organized and visually enticing. The content is presented in a pleasing style or medium that encourages engagement. 
  • Elicits emotion. The content evokes emotions you want your prospects to feel. 

8. SEO Is about Building Lasting Relationships

Yes, backlinks are crucial and one of Google’s most important ranking factors. But to earn valuable inbound links, you need to build valuable relationships first. 

Fostering these connections involves asking: 

  • What are some high-authority sites/blogs out there that carry the same niche as us? 
  • What are some businesses that have the same values and mission as us?
  • Who can help our team establish more credibility around our company’s brand? 
  • How can I communicate with potential partners in a way that helps them see our value? 

This requires meticulous research to find key influencers who can boost your credibility. You don’t simply want to treat your inbound links as winning numbers, but as opportunities to further grow your reach. 

Also, you have to create 10x content! You need to show them you’re a reputable and reliable source. You need to win their trust to win that link and many more to come. 

9. SEO Is Interdisciplinary

Speaking of relationships, SEO needs support from multiple internal teams. It’s a collaborative process that taps into the expertise of: 

  • Web development and engineering teams
  • Marketing and branding teams
  • PR/outreach teams
  • Content and graphic design teams
  • Product development teams
  • Social media teams

Both technical and creative, SEO requires talking to many different teams to create goal-oriented strategies and achieve great returns. 

10. SEO Requires Testings…& Patience

SEO isn’t about following an X, Y, and Z formula, because frankly, no such formula exists. There are numerous ways to optimize a site, numerous keywords to rank for, and numerous ways to engage your leads. 

So what to do? Test, test, and test. With analytics tools like Google Analytics and Screaming Frog, you can effectively measure and identify which metrics are bringing in the greatest returns. 

And yes, this might test your patience, but that’s just SEO. 

11. SEO Should Be Customized to You

SEO is a rapidly growing industry. But with a ton of SEO information out there, how do you know what/who to trust? 

To avoid getting trapped by misinformation, you need to question the status quo. It can get intimidating, especially when tons of sites are telling you to do something a certain way. 

But will that plan work for your company and customers? What do they find valuable? Where are they hanging out? Use these points to guide your decisions. 

12. SEO Involves Thinking Ahead—Mobile, Voice, & Whatever Is to Come

Over half of the world’s site traffic comes from phones, and 48 percent of consumers use voice tools (Siri, Alexa, etc.) to conduct online searches. And guess what? Google knows this and will always be aware of how these mediums evolve. 

Therefore, SEO requires focusing your efforts not just on one but various channels. How many you ask? TBD. Because who knows what the next hot tech invention will be and how many variations will be created.  

Grow with the Right SEO Team—Contact Us.

We know, this is a lot to think about. But the good news is, the SEO experts at Big Leap can be your sounding board. 

With over a decade of experience amplifying 600+ businesses’ SEO initiatives, our team thrives on learning from each other and crafting customized strategies. More importantly, we are motivated by trust. 

What does success look like to you? Let us know by reaching out to us, and we can give you tips on how to drive those results.

Janet Lee
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