Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a set of actions and standards intended to increase the amount of relevant, organic search traffic to a site.
SEO is a complex and constantly evolving process, which requires time, dedication and technical know-how to master.
It includes everything from page set-up and content building to link-earning initiatives. It also requires thoughtful analysis, ongoing research, and a comprehensive understanding of how search engines and their users operate.
SEO should be seen as a complementary marketing strategy to paid traffic (PPC) and traditional offline marketing.
Why is user experience important for SEO?
A search engine's primary goal is to return search results that most satisfy the searcher's need.
As a result, when determining rankings for a given search, a search engine like Google is most concerned about the overall user experience that a given page or website provides relevant to that search.
So while search engines are becoming more and more sophisticated, their overall objective will never change. Therefore, SEO will always be about ensuring that site visitors have an incredible experience once they're on the site.
Why is content important?
Content will always be crucial to SEO success.
The text content on a page tells the search engines what a site is all about. High-quality, unique content gives search engines a clear picture of each page's purpose and function.
For example, if you create a page specific to condos, but there's very little text content on the page about condos, how will Google know that this page should show up specifically when someone is searching for condos, as opposed to a more general community guide?
And most importantly: your website's content is what provides value to the visitor. If your website is the best local resource for real estate information, and deserves to be ranked well, it is much more likely to rank well.
If a website is very thin on content, it's less likely that it provides the best possible visitor experience, and therefore is less likely to rank well in search engines/
What's wrong with duplicate content?
Duplicate content does not provide any SEO value.
When you're looking for info on the internet, you don't want your query for "adorable cat photos" to return the same cat picture 15 times. You want to see 15 different cats.
Search engines know this about their users, and that's why they strive to return unique results. If multiple sites use the same content, Google tries to show the original source only, and won't show the duplications.
What should my domain be?
If you don't have an old domain with lots of "authority," then the best domains are consistent with your branding.
Pick something that looks great on a sign, is easy to remember, and reflects who you are.
The keywords appearing in a domain name have little bearing, if any, on search engine ranking.
When will I receive leads? How long does SEO take?
Unfortunately, it's impossible for any credible SEO consultant or company to give an exact figure or estimate of when leads will be generated, or how many.
There are hundreds of factors that affect SEO, including competitors, domain age, targeted keywords, social media initiatives, client participation, budget, and so forth.
How do you measure success in SEO?
It may be our natural instinct to use search engine rankings to measure SEO, but this is actually a highly inaccurate (and even counter-productive) metric for website success.
First off, search engines like Google provide customized web results for each user depending on numerous factors, like user location, browsing habits, and search history. In other words, no two users receive the same search results.
Secondly, there are thousands of possible search terms to rank for. You may not rank for "Vancouver real estate", but maybe you rank first for your brand name, or "new construction in Vancouver."
And finally, even if you do rank number one for a certain search term, the amount of actual traffic that search term generates will be highly variable from keyword to keyword.
That's why instead of tracking rankings, REW uses traffic and leads to measure success, as these are much more accurate metrics. We don't strive to increase rankings; we increase relevant traffic to your site.
There are also benefits to SEO beyond traffic and leads, including developing a library of incredible content, providing a better user experience on your website, and branding yourself as an expert.
My competitor does exactly what you're telling me NOT to do and she ranks well. What gives?
Some old sites can get away with naughty SEO tactics simply because there are other factors keeping them afloat.
We recommend and implement "white hat" SEO tactics that follow search engine guidelines and Google recommendations. Seeing other sites "cheat" can be incredibly frustrating, but there are two things to take away from this:
It's only matter of time before the non-compliant sites are taken to task by the search engines' frequent algorithmic updates.
A new site simply doesn't have the authority to get away with ill-advised SEO tactics, which means it's just not a viable option.
Your competitors may be getting short-term benefits from shady practices, but our adherence to search engine professionalism is a long term approach which has consistently proven to be effective.
Working With REW
How do I get the most out of my SEO hours?
Our advice for best results is to clearly communicate your business, branding, and website goals to our SEO Specialists as much as possible at the beginning of the project.
This allows our SEO Specialists to develop and drive an SEO plan from the very beginning that is tailored to your unique business. It also helps reduce the amount of communication time needed throughout the lifetime of the project, which allows more time to be spent on SEO strategy.
That being said, it's extremely important that you keep in communication with our SEO team when called upon. The most successful projects always include an actively involved client.
Does your team write all the website content? Can I provide content from a third-party writer?
REW will completely draft and optimize your content from scratch. Our team of writers has extensive experience writing, researching, optimizing, and formatting content in any market that drives search engine results.
If budget is a concern, you may hire an external writer to draft content, which our experts will then optimize. While this may save some time, please note that we still estimate approximately 1-2 hours to adapt the content to meet our SEO standards. And often times, the quality just isn't good enough to ever result in any type of high rankings. Therefore, it's often best to save yourself the hassle and allow our team to look after your entire content creation.
As a warning, many virtual assistants and bargain freelance writers will submit duplicate content that cannot be used by our SEO team. Ensure that all third-party writers are contributing 100% unique content.
Am I being billed for this?
Any time our SEO Specialists spend on your project is billable to the project.
That includes all planning, communication, internal coordination, keyword research, writing, formatting, optimizing, image research, and more.
Can I have a phone call with my SEO Specialist?
Absolutely! However, phone calls are billable and most questions can be answered more efficiently through email, which also provides you with a permanent record. If you would like a phone call, simply ask your SEO Specialist and he or she will schedule you in.
Does your SEO team do social media?
Yes and no.
In reality, the best social media accounts are those that are authentic, local, and photo/video heavy. Therefore, it's challenging for our SEO team to employ an amazing social media strategy for you.
Our SEO team will evaluate your social media on a case-by-case basis and make recommendations that are tailored specifically to you. We are far more likely to give you advice and tips than we are to actually take over your social media accounts.
We usually don't focus on social media until after your site's content framework is established and optimized.
Is there anything else I can do?
The REW community is very active, which means that both clients and staff are routinely sharing valuable information. Join in on the discussion at REW Forums.