Bob Brennan: You should be thinking quarters and quarters ahead and what you're going to incorporate in your SEO in terms of content and the direction of your company.
Jesse Dolan: That's an important distinction because a lot of people don't really see it as part of the integral, this is how we do marketing. It's this add-on thing, the secret sauce that they got to sprinkle on or whatever. But it shouldn't be. It should just be part of your natural marketing, like sending out emails, propaganda on some kind of billboard or social media. You also want to be found when people are looking for you for whatever it is you're trying to promote.
Welcome back to Local SEO Tactics where we bring you tips and tricks to get found online. I'm your host, Jesse Dolan, joined today with Bob Brennan and Sue Ginsburg.
Sue Ginsburg: Hello.
Jesse Dolan: Ready as always to tackle the tough questions of SEO. Sue, what are we going to be talking about here today?
Sue Ginsburg: Today's question is why does SEO have to be ongoing? Can't I just stop when I get into the map pack or at the top of the page in organic searches? This question comes many times by business owners that we talk to who aren't as familiar with SEO as we are because it's a logical question. Why can't I just do it, get on the top of the page and stop? So I think that there will likely be business owner, audience members who have thought this question or never thought about it and would like to know what the answer to that is. Quote of the day for today, "Stopping advertising to save money is like stopping your watch to save time." That's a quote from Henry Ford. How do you like that?
Jesse Dolan: I just love Henry Ford quotes.
Sue Ginsburg: Pretty good. So I will set this up by saying that in many discussions that I have with business owners, this question comes up. They want to know why it has to be ongoing, and I always say that marketing is like losing weight. It'd be great if you just got there and could stay there, but unfortunately, when you get to your ideal weight, you still have to keep your eating habits or your diet or whatever you did to get there. It's the same thing with SEO. You can't just get there and expect to stay there by not doing what you were doing to get there. Same with other parts of marketing as well.
As consumers, we have all been exposed to products that are at the end of the aisle at Target or wherever else we shop. It catches our eye and we buy it. And whether it's on sale, being sampled, or just caught our attention at that moment by the place that it is in the store, we buy it. The next time you're in the store and it's not on the end, you don't see it. It's not prominently in front of you. Do you still buy it? Maybe yes, maybe no.
So if you think about that and translate it to being found online, when you appear in searches, you are top of mind and will get clicks to your website, leads and new customers weeks or months later. If your rank drops and you're not showing up in searches, your visibility to people is less and your chances of them buying your services or products may be less as well. That's a very simplified version of why SEO needs to be ongoing, and I would like to toss it to you two experts to see what you have to say and make us all smarter about the topic.
Jesse Dolan: Yeah, Bob, I've got a bit of a technical, kind of some bullet points I'll walk through, but is there anything you want to open up with, with your opinion, your impressions, why you got to keep after it?
Bob Brennan: Yeah, I mean it really needs, as a business owner, if you think of SEO as a checklist like you would, let's say an accountant, it's like, "Yeah, my accountant takes care of that." You've missed the boat. It needs to be part of your marketing culture. It needs to be the direction of your business really. I mean, you should be thinking quarters and quarters ahead and what you're going to incorporate in your SEO in terms of content and the direction of your company. And if you're starting new services or even want to start a new service, again, you need to be planning way ahead in putting that content out there.
I would love to just walk away from SEO and just say, "Okay, we're done. We got that off. Just, it's done." I'll guarantee you, your competition isn't thinking that way and it's a war, it's a battle, and your head better be in it pretty consistently. It is not something unless you've got incredibly talented marketing crew that you can just say, "Okay, they'll take care of it." Again, whoever owns the vision wins the game, and you better be all part of that, totally in and live, eat and breathe this stuff because it's as important or more important than your sales team. And again, they can be part of that process to whatever extent as well. With that, I'll throw it back to you.
Jesse Dolan: I like how you're saying make it part of your regular marketing. That's my words, not yours. But I think that's an important distinction, because a lot of people don't really see it as part of the integral of this is how we do marketing. It's this add-on thing, the secret sauce that they got to sprinkle on or whatever. But it shouldn't be. It should just be part of your natural marketing, like sending out emails, propaganda on some kind of billboard or social media. You also want to be found when people are looking for you for whatever it is you're trying to promote. Yeah, that's a great distinction. It has to be part of your strategy.
I think I can open up talking about we have a three-pronged, whenever people ask this question, why does it need be ongoing, kind of a good three-pronged answer, and one of them you already hit on is your competitors. If we're working with anybody or anybody listening right now, if you're currently number one for something on Google that is a product or service search, not your own brand name, that's a little bit different deal, but if you're number one for something, somebody else is pining to be number one. If you weren't number one, one of your competitors was and now you are, they've noticed that difference.
Sue, you always talk about your website being a salesperson from a production standpoint or a value standpoint. Your number one salesperson or a very important salesperson goes away, stops bringing in business, you're going to notice that as a business. To Bob's point, any competitors that either used to be number one or pining to be number one, they're knocking on your door. They're invested into this and they're trying to get there. Even if you got to be number one today, there's other factors I'll get to here that can definitely knock you off, but your competitors is definitely one of them to look at because they're feeling in the pocketbook, man. So, can't sleep on that.
The other two here, these are things that change and change rapidly. The Google algorithm is really the number one. If we go back a number of years, it was fairly static. Google would announce when they're doing updates and they were quarterly or seasonally, if not annually originally, but now as it's more sophisticated, these things are happening almost in real time. I hesitate to say actual real time, that's a little bit sensational. But you can have algorithm updates that are happening market by market. Google may be testing a certain thing somewhere. You can have algorithm updates or even just idiosyncrasies to the algorithm market by market.
We're up in the Twin Cities, Minneapolis, Minnesota area. Even though it's a large market, it is nothing compared to Los Angeles. And so just how the search works downtown Los Angeles or an urban area that's as dense as that compared to even Minneapolis or especially if you get more rural areas, you're having different functions, different features, and the algorithm itself operates differently. So the algorithm itself is completely disjointed compared to how it was years ago or a decade ago, and those updates are happening very, very frequently.
Sometimes that's good for you. If you're a business that is really doing SEO "the right way", not being spammy and manipulative tactics, often when Google does tweak an algorithm, it's to get the crap out of the results and have the good stuff rise to the top more. Inherently an algorithm change doesn't mean a negative thing. There's winners and losers on every single one, but that is definitely the number one area that can quickly change your rankings overnight when they do an algorithm update.
It's important to do ongoing SEO in this regard because usually ongoing SEO, again, is kind of a more confident approach. It's not just throwing some money, secret sauce and kind of revamping your website or sprinkling something on there, then set it and forget it with some trickery. If it's good ongoing SEO, it's more stable taking into account the things Google is constantly trying to do, and you're kind of going parallel with that. So that's definitely one thing, algorithm.
The second we talked about was the competitors, and the third area that we often talk about with why you should do ongoing SEO is the market itself. I always say COVID is the easy example of this because it's very tangible for everybody. Things like curbside delivery... Curbside pickup. I can never say that phrase. I always say curbside delivery for some reason. I don't know why. At home delivery, curbside pickups, all these different things, do you have to wear a mask? There's these different attributes and things we started searching for and seeing within Google with COVID. So this isn't all about COVID, but that's a thing. The market changes. Before Uber was Uber, we'd be looking for taxis, not ride-sharing and not Uber. So the marketplace changes, terminology changes, events happen, which can disrupt what we're searching for, can disrupt rankings and all that stuff.
The overall concept is SEO isn't something that you start and then stop. It's something that if you're not doing, you need to start doing just like other marketing in your business, to Bob's earlier point. If you're doing it proactively and you're doing it regularly, all three of these things won't be very dramatic for you at all. If you're starting and stopping SEO or you did SEO a few years ago, now you're wondering what's happening in rankings, all of these areas can definitely be hampering you potentially without you even knowing it.
A little bit of a sidetrack. Those are, I'd call them external forces that can impact your rankings if you're not doing ongoing SEO and, again, reasons why you should be doing ongoing SEO. I've got three more here that I'd refer to more as internal factors, things that are within your control and really part of your business. And I think Bob, these kind of speak a little bit more towards what you're referring to as SEO being part of your marketing, and one of them is what you've hit on, new products and services.
Maybe you want to test something. Maybe you're thinking about taking on a new line of a certain product and before you invest into the inventory and warehouse and about everything else, throw out some pages on your website that are optimized for your appropriate search terms to be found for the thing you want to rep. See if you get some phone calls. We've talked many times on the show and with clients about just do some testing and maybe you don't have the widget or gidget and somebody calls, people get freaked out like, "What am I going to do if I get a phone call?" We'll, just say, "I'm out of stock or I can get you one next," or whatever it is. That's just a test.
SEO is amazing and invaluable in many ways for things like that purely just for testing, but even more so, let's just say you weren't testing. If you're selling iPhones, the new iPhone comes out, boom, you want to have content about the new iPhone now too. If you're not thinking about SEO and having SEO be part of your ongoing strategy for marketing, that doesn't even come up. You might think about needing something on your website for that new iPhone or that new widget because you're trying to push people to it with maybe a newsletter you're sending out or something else, but you don't think about that being found in search, which is kind of ridiculous. So yeah, new products, new services, new lines that you want to represent, things like that. If you're doing SEO and have some fashion of ongoing SEO, it's very easy to deploy that and pull the trigger on those new pages of content or tests on your website.
Elizabeth: Seospringtraining.com is the website that you can go ahead and purchase your tickets on there. You can learn a little bit more information of what we're doing. I am absolutely available. My contact information is on there. It's firstname.lastname@example.org, so you're free to email me and ask questions. I absolutely don't mind. It is April 13th is the VIP, but 14th through the 16th is the other regular marketing conference. It's in Scottsdale, Arizona. We have reserved an Embassy Suites.
Jesse Dolan: And it's not an event where it's just, this isn't like trade show where it's just sponsors all over tables, people throwing stuff around and everything's brought to you, "Buy this," and trying to sell you a package. It's actual people practicing SEO doing it that are up to date with what's happening.
Elizabeth: We bring quality value to people through our events. That's the whole purpose of it is just because when we started out, we didn't know what we didn't know, and if I can shorten the learning curve for other people, I'm absolutely happy too. Our speakers are coming from so many different areas. We've got people from social, we've got people from Supertech technical, we've got people from sales, people from affiliates. It's any discipline within the SEO marketing realm.
Jesse Dolan: No, it's real people doing stuff, sharing, helping, and not just a one-off deal, not just a pitch fest to sell a bunch of stuff. You're going to come to the event, learn some stuff, get back and actually make a difference in your business.
Elizabeth: We give a lot of real-world, practical, actionable things that as soon as you're behind the computer, you can actually utilize that information and make a difference for your clients or your business.
Bob Brennan: And I would just quick throw out, I mean I have a mechanic friend of mine that was considering programming key fobs and to get a key fob replacement for some of these newer cars at the dealership is crazy. It's like, I don't know, $300 to $500 or something for... Because these cars are starting with just a push button and the key fobs are pretty... Unless it's Hyundai or something, or a Kia or whatever. But anyway, the machine to do that is expensive. It's 2,000, 2,500 and then there's software. So you're looking at somewhere $3,000 to $5,000 for this equipment.
The point is, for somewhat of a minimal cost, I would guess your time, and maybe you've got a SEO agency that's doing most of the content for you, but let's say it's 300 or even $500 to add these terms to your deal in terms of SEO or what have you, or your GMV, that's far cheaper than $3,000 to $5,000. And then when you get the calls, to your point, it's like, "Hey, we don't have the equipment yet," or whatever you need to tell the first callers. You're going to know after getting, let's say two calls a day, hey, we need to buy this thing, get it in here and get it going because we're going to get ROI on that piece of equipment in 60 days or something versus going out and buying it and it just sits there and you just lost three or five grand.
Jesse Dolan: No, I mean, I think-
Sue Ginsburg: I think another thing that-
Jesse Dolan: Go ahead, Sue.
Sue Ginsburg: I was just going to say what both of you are saying makes me also think that businesses need to understand that just because you may be showing up at the top of the page or the top of the map pack for one of your keywords does not mean that you're showing up for all of them. Depending on what you want to focus on, target, and what you want to be selling, you can't just show up for one and forget the rest of the business either.
Bob Brennan: Yep.
Jesse Dolan: Great point. Again, I think it goes back to if people think about SEO being this abstract thing where it's not, it's really ongoing maintenance and updating of your website for the purpose of not only putting stuff on there visually to promote it and see it, but also if you're going to do that, you might as well do it to be found in Google at the same time really. When we really talk SEO, that's the secret sauce I keep talking about that you sprinkle on top and if you're just doing ongoing SEO, these things are just kind of second nature to your business and easy to do that, Sue.
In the same vein, a new location, whether it's you want to get penetration into another suburb, you can do that. I'm talking specifically though, like, "Hey, we want to open up a second location, a branch office," or things like that. Just like you can get ahead of it on your products or services before the doors are open, you could start to rank in Maps for that location, get some traction there, kick off your business. Or, if you did want to test it out before you even moved in, there's strategies for that. So again, why should we do ongoing SEO? New locations, geographic expansion, things like that become much easier and quicker and kind of align with your marketing with SEO as part of what you're doing.
And then the last thing I have here is news, events, PR, all the things that are happening with your business that you may not be capturing that content, whether it be creating a blog post, just putting it on your website. Your website can really act as the glue for your entity out there in the digital space. Through your website you can tell Google and any search engine that, "This is my YouTube channel, this is my Facebook page. That event that was mentioned in the newspaper, that's for us." Not going to get into the technical how-tos on that, but through articles, through schema, through mentions on your website, you're able to pull all that stuff in. And this concept is kind of rooted in SEO. I really haven't met any marketing manager that did all these things just to have a nice tidy website. You really do all these things to maximize the SEO benefits.
So that's another area that you're going to really get some big wins if you're doing ongoing SEO is just that concept of making sure all the things that happen in the digital space come back to your website. So that can be the main entity, the main kind of front door of your brand in search, and then the things that happen in those areas can give you benefits on your website as well and maintaining or increasing your rankings.
So for me, this is all kind of a two-part answer. Why should I do ongoing SEO? One is to make people aware that it's not a thing you just do one time. It's not a quick fix or a band-aid. It is more of a strategy and a discipline of marketing. Then the other side is if you're doing that, there's things you can do in your marketing that you're not even aware of or leveraging right now because you're not thinking in that SEO mindset. If you do SEO one time and you get out of it, you'll get a short-term bump, hopefully, if you're doing SEO the right way, and you can ride that wave for a while. It's hard to say if it's one month or one year or five years, but definitely all these other things that we're outlining are not going to be benefits that you're able to capture as well.
So hopefully that turns some people onto some thoughts and ideas or if you were on the fence of if you should take that plunge because ongoing SEO is not cheap, that's a monthly bill you're going to be paying for that should be pretty significant for your business. Again, if we're talking about it performing like a salesperson, you're not going to get a salesperson for five bucks an hour or 10 hours a week. You know what I mean? So there is definitely an ROI that you can be expecting with that kind of investment, but it should be there. We always say, this should be the best marketing that you do. It should give you the greatest ROI of any marketing spend, SEO, if you're doing it the right way. So, there you go.
Sue Ginsburg: Something else that I've heard you say, Jesse, is that if you are going to stop it, it will not be the same process getting you back up to the top of it when you start up again, because Google, you need to recalibrate and reeducate and you're confusing Google by turning it on and off like that.
Jesse Dolan: Yeah, that's how we, if somebody says, "I want to turn it back on," we start from scratch because we don't know what's happened in the meantime, what are the rankings? That isn't something you can just jump in and out of. Don't get me wrong, I'm sure there's people that do and say it's possible, but for us it's just like starting over each time. You may not have to do all the same things again that you did last time, but you do have to check all those areas to see what's the current status. Yeah, it's not as easy as people might think. Good point.
Sue Ginsburg: Yeah. Well, it's also like running a marathon. You can't just stop, not be training, and then think you can run the marathon as if you were. It doesn't work that way.
Jesse Dolan: And really all this stuff too, I'm sure people can do what the heck they want to do, right, Sue? I mean, what we're talking about here, and again, some of this is what Bob was getting at earlier, is getting on top, staying on top, and just crushing your business. If you're comfortable with your business going up and down because your rankings go up and down, then start and stop SEO all you want. But if you want to get to the top, stay there, and then just keep growing your business and be predictable, don't stop your SEO.
Sue Ginsburg: Great point. Anything else either of you have to add?
Bob Brennan: Nope.
Jesse Dolan: Nope.
Sue Ginsburg: I will say, if you remember one thing and one thing only, remember this. If you stop doing your SEO, you can trust that your competitors will not stop doing their SEO. They will notice and do what they need to do to overtake you, and you will no longer be on top in a very short amount of time, depending on what your market situation is, et cetera, et cetera. So keep doing it. Hopefully you have a better understanding of why. It's just like you said, Bob, marketing is not a one-shot deal either. Whatever the version of marketing is, and with SEO, it's just a little more visible to us because we can see almost in real time what the metrics are and what our ranking is at any given time.
Quote of the day, again, "Stopping advertising to save money is like stopping your watch to save time." Henry Ford didn't have digital marketing or computers or SEO in his day, but pretty smart inventor, and the same concept applies. So, that's what we have.
Jesse Dolan: That's solid. I hope everybody listening, if you've, again, been on the fence of taking the plunge to do SEO, start SEO, or maybe you're thinking that your rankings are good, you can just dismiss it, hopefully there's some insights in here today that have caused you to think and maybe choose the strategy that keeps you on the top.
All right, appreciate the topic, Sue. Bob, thanks for the great insights. Everybody listening, hopefully you pulled out some good nuggets. Appreciate you joining us for this one and catch you on the next episode. Take care.
Bob Brennan: Bye.
Sue Ginsburg: See ya.