Website SEO and Advertising

Tmac

Adventurer
<Gaming Ghost>
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13,194
85d 8h 48m
I've just launched my new website and am going to be throwing money into SEO and PPC (pay-per-click) strategies. For backlinks I'm going to be testing outthisservice and creating a PPC strategy starting at $200 per month. I'll be using Ad Sense and will be contacting a Google Rep to help me set all that up.

I'll be documenting my traffic and findings. I'm focusing on low competition keywords in a niche market, so hopefully I can generate a lot of conversions without having to spend a fortune.

You can check out my website here:timber companies.

I'm also going to be working with a graphic designer over the next couple of weeks to add three banner images to the top of the home page. I'm thinking about going with small key phrases like, "Get preferential treatment in the timber industry", "Gain control over your timber asset", and one other phrase across the top of a picture of older couples in the woods or at home (my main demographic are ages 35-65+).
 

Dabamf_sl

shitlord
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0
0
Cheap SEO services are pretty much all scams. There is no effective SEO that can be done cheaply. Google closed most of the previously-effective loopholes in the past year. Using some of those old strategies are extremely risky now, and you can get massively penalized. What the cheap SEO companies do is spend about 1 hour a month doing some rudimentary shit that is essentially worthless. If it does work, it's probably shady stuff that will end up getting you penalized to the point that your site becomes useless.

Most firms charging under $500-1000 a month are scammers.
 

Tmac

Adventurer
<Gaming Ghost>
7,858
13,194
85d 8h 48m
Cheap SEO services are pretty much all scams. There is no effective SEO that can be done cheaply. Google closed most of the previously-effective loopholes in the past year. Using some of those old strategies are extremely risky now, and you can get massively penalized. What the cheap SEO companies do is spend about 1 hour a month doing some rudimentary shit that is essentially worthless. If it does work, it's probably shady stuff that will end up getting you penalized to the point that your site becomes useless.

Most firms charging under $500-1000 a month are scammers.
So, what are some legitimate firms? How do their services differ from the rudimentary botted tasks?
 

splok_sl

shitlord
57
0
0
If you want to be safe (for ranking penalties and for your company's reputation), you want to stay away from anything that looks like spam/automation. Cheap SEO is nothing but spam and automation. Of course, lots of expensive SEO is also spam and automation. It's also true that lots of people have (and continue to) rank lots of things with spam. Imo, no matter who you hire or how much you pay, you need to know exactly what you're getting and how it's being done (which can be tough when ever Fiverr gig guarantees that things are done manually by native English speakers...), and you need to be comfortable with whatever it is.

At the very least, I would have a phone/Skype call before hiring someone. That at least ensures that they can speak/understand English passably well (though passably might need to be perfectly, depending on what you're having them do). I would also ask them to walk you through their process and ask what tools they use. If you want to be extra safe, order a small package but sent it to a test site (or just some random site) so you can actually see what kind of work they do before you turn them loose on your real business.

For a site/business that you are highly invested in and care about, I think it's best to think more along the lines of publicist/public relations work than SEO work, at least for offsite. Sure you want links, but what you really want are endorsements from places that actual users value and respect.

From the package you're considering:
I do it since 6 years.
Even if it's all actually done manually, do you really want this guy writing stuff that will be forever associated with your company?


If you actually know what you want done, you could hire a VA to do it and just tell themexactlywhat to do. If you're not sure and you don't have the time/inclination to learn, instead of spending money on SEO services directly, you could maybe get a consultation with a couple of different firms on an hourly basis. Basically pay them to look at your situation and give you advice. If it sounds good, then pay a VA to actually do it.
 

Dabamf_sl

shitlord
1,472
0
0
So, what are some legitimate firms? How do their services differ from the rudimentary botted tasks?
I can't really answer that, I just know the answer almost certainly isn't some spammy looking ad on a forum with bad English. Search for SEO in your city and set up a meeting in person. It depends on the keywords you are going for, but if someone tells you they can do SEO for $200, they're a liar. If they tell you they can rank you cheaply for very competitive keywords, they're a liar. Someone close to me does SEO for a living and talks an inordinate amount of time about it. His #1 frustration is clients who want to pay $200 a month, and think that's normal because there are so many scammy companies offering that. For those he's unable to close, they go to that cheap company, then come back a few months later because the company did nothing.

I don't really know what methods are most effective because I'm not involved in it. I know he often hires writers to write blog articles. Things like blog spam are useless now because google has a new algorithm that reduces the value of websites that have a high degree of spam on them. Most of the benefit of blog spam came from a relatively small number of websites, and most of those sites were spammed by other blog spammers. So google devalues links on those sites, making them essentially useless. He says most of the other black hat tricks have been closed up as well.

Find someone in your area and set up a meeting. The benefit of googling your city for SEO is that the top ranked people are obviously able to get a site ranked highly.
 

Tmac

Adventurer
<Gaming Ghost>
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85d 8h 48m
Find someone in your area and set up a meeting. The benefit of googling your city for SEO is that the top ranked people are obviously able to get a site ranked highly.
I need state/nation wide SEO, so searching within my city wouldn't really fit the bill in my case.
 

Tmac

Adventurer
<Gaming Ghost>
7,858
13,194
85d 8h 48m
So, I had an interesting conversation today,

Friend - "Hey man, I just thought you should know that I'm working on a website for a company that wants to do exactly what you're doing.
Me - "Wow, really? What are they trying to do
Friend - "Well, it looks like they're trying to become the Ebay for timber or something. I told them that I knew someone already doing what they wanted to do and they both got silent, looked at each other, and said, 'Well, I guess we have to expect competition...
Me - "Can I see there site?
Friend - "Yeah, sure, it's right here...

So, their site looks hella fresh and they're working with a local SEO company that charges prettytop dollarfor their services... What do? How do I compete with a company that has investors backing it, when I'm doing all this stuff myself?
 

splok_sl

shitlord
57
0
0
Ignoring them is a pretty good option. Assuming you're already working as hard as you can to make your business go, then their presence doesn't change much does it? Also, keep in mind that companies can be pretty good at fucking things up. Unless this is the main focus for the business, there's a reasonable change that it will get forgotten. Take a look at their site, learn what you can learn, and go on about your business. Another option, if they're throwing money around, offer to sell to them.

As a side note, I would assume that your target market isn't exactly the most tech-savvy market in the world, so having a "hella fresh" site might work against them.
 

Tmac

Adventurer
<Gaming Ghost>
7,858
13,194
85d 8h 48m
Ignoring them is a pretty good option. Assuming you're already working as hard as you can to make your business go, then their presence doesn't change much does it? Also, keep in mind that companies can be pretty good at fucking things up. Unless this is the main focus for the business, there's a reasonable change that it will get forgotten. Take a look at their site, learn what you can learn, and go on about your business. Another option, if they're throwing money around, offer to sell to them.

As a side note, I would assume that your target market isn't exactly the most tech-savvy market in the world, so having a "hella fresh" site might work against them.
Well, their company is a little different in that they want it to be Ebay style sales, which I don't see the industry moving towards for another decade. Additionally, I'm not only connecting people through the interwebs (because the majority of landowners are baby boomers), but also have people making phone calls. Which is why I've been interviewing people from this forum.

The calls are highly effective, but I also want to start pumping money into SEO to get the smaller percentage of people who are in fact looking for help online. There's far less overhead and they're already incentivized to sale since they're looking for help. My biggest concern is the SEO competition, since I want to corner the market on an already low-competition keyword niche.

Currently, the only advice of value is, "If you want good SEO, spend a lot of money."
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splok_sl

shitlord
57
0
0
I never said spend a lot of money. Doing it yourself is probably the best and cheapest route. Paying a VA to do what you want is probably the next best and cheapest. If you're willing to invest the time, that is.
 

checkyeah_sl

shitlord
70
0
0
I do SEO in a competitive market and am #1 for everything that I've targeted. We are the only company in the area that doesn't hire out SEO outside of the business. I don't think my company could afford an external SEO even with the lucrative services we offer; it's just too expensive. I split my time around 20% to SEO and the rest towards other operations. A few rules to go by:

Always build you own links
Never create a link that can't be removed
Make sure the website your getting links from has a healthy PR (1-5) and backlink profile
Make sure your anchor text is diverse and leans more on your website url and company name

Overall the linkbuilding process can cost quite a bit, but it's nice throwing money into it and staying #1 for 6+ months without having acknowledge competitors. Again that's because competitors hire it out and get shitty work done.

Just to give you perspective, for one service I may spend $2,000 (not including my labor), and others might be $14,000 a year (yes we make a ton of money off this keyword). I think for your business, you shouldn't need to spend anything close to those numbers.

If you are proactive, the rest just takes time. I spent 2-3 solid months building links and it took 6 months for me to move up to #1.
 

Corndog

Golden Knight of the Realm
504
99
10d 4h 58m
Build your site the way you are. Being that they have backers etc. They need to see a bigger return much faster. Lots of these ideas fail because they don't turn money fast enough. They can drop 50k in 3 months. 9 months later they've only brought in 10k.. Money doesn't keep coming.. Has to shut down etc.

Meanwhile you don't have to have it pay out any specific amount to keep it going.

I'd also make sure they are on their a game. Make sure they own the .net, .org, any easy mispellings of their website. If not buy them up. Also if they haven't expanded their social media, take their twitter, facebook, pinterest, etc. Basically do everything you can to disrupt their progress. You could then have the other websites etc link to an email where you could offer to sell it back to them lol.

After that you could just blackhat them. Start buying their site fiverr backlink deals etc. They'll get pissed off at their big SEO company when you get really shitty backlinks going etc.

Or just wait them out. Sometimes it's just about waiting.
 

Shonuff

Mr. Poopybutthole
5,538
790
11d 22h 19m
Google just called and showed me I'm only reaching 10% of the area I'm targeting. And interestingly enough, if 90% of the area is the goal, only 3% of that is explained by budget. The rest is that my keyword quality sucks. It's not a spending issue they tell me. They showed me what to do, and we'll have a follow up meeting next week.

One day I'll get this thing figured out. Internet seems like it's the hardest ad medium to dominate. I can pick up the phone and go on a spending spree in newspaper, billboard or radio, but it's not that simple with Internet.

Apparently, the hits I've been getting off of the Internet have been spurred by some other ad medium or word of mouth, and not SEO. I'm glad they set up an appointment with me to show me what I'm doing wrong.
 

Shonuff

Mr. Poopybutthole
5,538
790
11d 22h 19m
If you want to be safe (for ranking penalties and for your company's reputation), you want to stay away from anything that looks like spam/automation. Cheap SEO is nothing but spam and automation. Of course, lots of expensive SEO is also spam and automation. It's also true that lots of people have (and continue to) rank lots of things with spam. Imo, no matter who you hire or how much you pay, you need to know exactly what you're getting and how it's being done (which can be tough when ever Fiverr gig guarantees that things are done manually by native English speakers...), and you need to be comfortable with whatever it is.
Good stuff. There are so many people out here trying to sell what you are saying as legit. I can usually tell we are getting off to a bad start when they claim they are Google (just to get the decision maker on the phone) and then you call them back and they are some two dollar month SEO firm.
 

checkyeah_sl

shitlord
70
0
0
Google just called and showed me I'm only reaching 10% of the area I'm targeting. And interestingly enough, if 90% of the area is the goal, only 3% of that is explained by budget. The rest is that my keyword quality sucks. It's not a spending issue they tell me. They showed me what to do, and we'll have a follow up meeting next week.

One day I'll get this thing figured out. Internet seems like it's the hardest ad medium to dominate. I can pick up the phone and go on a spending spree in newspaper, billboard or radio, but it's not that simple with Internet.

Apparently, the hits I've been getting off of the Internet have been spurred by some other ad medium or word of mouth, and not SEO. I'm glad they set up an appointment with me to show me what I'm doing wrong.
Google wants you bidding on broad terms so they make more money. I've already told you I'd help you in this area, it's only difficult because you don't know what you are doing. For search I always recommend phrase match primarily with a solid negative keyword list. Exact match is fine too, but in a local environment it's only needed on a few keywords. You shouldn't ever use broad unless you want to mine data that's already available for you.
 

checkyeah_sl

shitlord
70
0
0
We should be breaking this SEO thread into like 6 different sections:

Opportunity & Keyword Research
Competitive Analysis
Content Creation & Optimization
On-page & Off-page Optimization
Link Building & Reputation Management
Places & Vertical Search Engines

Then Search Marketing is another ball game
Search
Display
Retargeting
Bid Strategies
Targeting / Demographics

The key to knowing how much you have to invest for results is to see the opportunity, know the customer, and know the competition. The first step is heading to the Google Keyword Toolhttps://adwords.google.com/o/KeywordTooland looking up exact variations for what people search for aka keywords. If you are in a local environment and provide a service then you would type Service City, Service City StateAbbreviation, City Service. Sort by local searches (United States only) then see what the volume is. Do an expected value table for the services you provide with the search volume. If you don't know the value of your customer, then you need to figure that out. If you know your value try to figure out a conversion rate and if you need a place to start then try 5%. It would go like this:

Service Revenue * Local Searches * Conversion Rate or... $300 (made this up) * 156 * .05 = $2,340 in potential revenue. Now there is one rate we need to add to this which is the click through rate. Depending on the service, market, and your optimization you may range anywhere from 20% to 50% for the 1st position, then deteriorating rapidly from there. 2nd might be 10%, 3rd 5% etc. If you are a lawyer, chances are someone will look at the top 5 before making a decision. If you are a plumber and seem to have a good price, they will stick with their first option. So let's account for that click through rate.

Service Revenue * Local Searches * Click Through Rate * Conversion Rate = Expected Value

Sometimes I'll check the 1st position and 3rd position to note the different so let's say I do both:

$300 (my service revenue) * 156 * .25 * .05 = $585 per month if CTR is 25% ~ 1st position
$300 (my service revenue) * 156 * .05 * .05 = $117 per month if CTR is 5% ~ 3rd position

In my experience, local services tend to have higher click through rates and conversion rates. So I've just determined that spending up to $117 on one keyword might be worth the investment. The other factors to consider now are competition.

Login to your free Bing Webmaster Tools Account, Open up masspagerank.com (only checks root domains, use prchecker for individual pages), and then your free version of Open Site Explorer. Now Google your target keyword aka landscaping austin. First thing to do is note the AdWords, this tells you how willing your competitors are to engage in online marketing. If you see tons of adds that are competitors, including 3 up top, and more than 3-5 on the side then it might be a tough market. Take the first 7 organic results and run their URLs through masspagerank.com. What does their page rank say? If it's blank, NA, -1, 0, or 1 then they are new and just starting or haven't started marketing themselves. If it's a 2 or 3 then they are building a reputation and might be competitive. If they are a 4 or above then it could be tough competition. Page Ranks in my opinion are only good for a quick idea of what potential competitor you are up against. You can still outrank a 4 if you are a 1. Now open up your Bing Webmaster Tools Site Explorer and/or Open Site Explorer and then look up each URL. Note the number of unique domains linking to their website, along with the total quantity of links. If you Google Landscaping Austin you will see this most likely:

Lots of AdWords
Local Places either at the very top, or maybe a few organic results
Organic:
#1 yelp pr 3
#2 goodness grows in austin pr 3
#3 hill country landscape pr 1
#4 jw landscape design 3
#5 greenbrothersaustin 1
#6 olyeller 2
#7 linktown.kvue.com 5

Yelp can be tough to pass because of its high CTR's and branding. It's like what Amazon is for products, but it's doable. The other results are mixed from 1-5. Notice how the 5 isn't at the top. Again pagerank really isn't a huge issue. If all of these results were PR 3+ or 4+ we could be a little worried and move on to other strategies and techniques.

goodness grows in austin: I see 5 linking root domains and 44 total links, with no anchor text being targeted for our keyword
hill country landscape: I see 1 linking root domain and 1 link, with no anchor text being targeted for our keyword
jw landscape: I see 6 linking root domains and 28 links, with no anchor text being targeted for our keyword
greenbrothers: I see 8 linking root domains with 29 links, with no anchor text being targeted for our keyword
olyeller: I see 74 linking root domains with 807 links, with no anchor text being targeted for our keyword, however we do see more anchor text combinations and several similar keywords

Let's stop now and look at our competitors. How does olyeller have more links, but ranks lower than jw landscape and also has a lower page rank? This is where experience plays a huge part. Basically they've built a profile of bad links with 0% of them being nofollow, while keyword stuffing on every page. Basically they've overdone it. Not to mention while they were pretending to optimize they missed the most important keyword:

Austin Landscaping: 390
Landscaping Austin: 320
Landscaping Austin TX: 170

You might say, we should target Austin Landscaping, but you would be wrong. Landscaping Austin TX also sets us up to target a second keyword at the same time. Therefore we should focus our efforts on the 490 local searches we will capture by targeting Landscaping Austin TX. If you remember, our original search was "Landscaping Austin" this is typically natural for users to type the service they want then the location. A lot of times you see City Service as the most searched term, but remember many businesses brand themselves as City Service, not the other way around and if users are looking for that business then you are left with misleading data and wasted dollars.

In summary, not one of these businesses has targeted the highest demand keywords and not one has successfully generated a link targeting the keyword either. These businesses have clearly done some sort of SEO, because of their title tags and the way content is distributed on their website. It's just crazy how all of these businesses think they are getting the highest quality SEO or even just good advice but fail to see things right in front of them. These are basic concepts.

I'll keep sharing more information as I can. Hopefully this helps people and doesn't create competition for myself
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This again is basic SEO and the more advanced SEO comes into execution and recognizing opportunities. Two things that clearly separate the quality of work you will receive.