Small Business SEO Tips

If you want internet search engines to love your small business website enough to get high rankings in search results, you have to optimize all of your website’s content. 

There are over 250 factors that affect how Google ranks websites in search results. If you want the coveted number one spot, or even just a place on the first page of results, you have to use SEO – search engine optimization. SEO packages for small businesses can get your site results without doing all the hard work.

Small Biz SEO guarantees results for our various Search Engine Optimization Services, so your website sees more organic traffic, higher Google rankings, and increased lead generation.

What is SEO and how does it work for Small Business?

Before you can choose an SEO package and company, you must first analyze your business’s needs. There are a wide variety of marketing companies out there, so you have to do some leg work to find the one that will match your goals.

Some questions you should ask about your business and potential SEO providers are:

  • Is our business local or national?
  • What are our customer personas?
  • What is our budget each month for marketing?
  • Is our website for converting sales or providing information?
  • What do we think our customers are searching for online?

The answers to these questions can help you pick the best marketing company that gives you the most bang for your buck. There is no one perfect agency for everyone. Many users have to try a couple of different companies before finding one that meets their unique needs.

If you’re starting from scratch and don’t have an existing website, you may want to consider an SEO agency that offers content creation services. These deals allow you to have custom content created for your site that’s perfectly optimized for Google. 

Small Biz SEO offers content creation with all of our SEO packages. We also manage web designs to optimize your site from start to finish with a customized SEO strategy tailor-made to your industry and business goals.

Ranking Factors

SEO encompasses many factors and can have many positive benefits for your business. But it requires a lot of dedicated hours and research before you’ll see any results.

If your small business is something other than SEO, you probably don’t have the resources to dedicate to setting up and maintaining your business’s SEO strategy. SEO companies like Clayton Johnson have the sole dedication of helping your website rank high in Google. 

These companies know how to manage ranking factors by breaking them into buckets:

  • Strong informative content
  • Technical SEO
  • Positive user experience
  • Proper authoritative backlinking

Focusing on each of these elements will help your website become relevant enough to rank in search engines. Unless you’re an SEO expert, you may not understand all of these buckets. 

Technical SEO is one of the hardest parts of search engine optimization. This area of study requires knowledge of backend processes and technical characteristics. 

Strong Informative Content

If you want customers to purchase from your business, you have to make sure they can trust your brand. You do this by providing detailed information about your services, your products, and your business.

Google considers a website’s content when ranking them on search engines. If your website has useful content that clearly answers a user’s query – the search term they typed into their search bar – Google will put it higher on the search results list.

Most users choose a site based on location in search results. If your site doesn’t appear on the first page, you won’t see as much traffic or sales. 

Many small businesses don’t have the extra resources to hire writers to stock or update a website with relevant content to make Google happy. Most SEO agencies have experienced writers who can create new content or edit existing content for your site.

Your content must also have the proper formatting, backlinks, inbound links, keyword usage, and alt-tags. If any of these things sound unfamiliar to you, you could benefit from an SEO agency like Clayton Johnson.

Technical SEO

Google uses advanced algorithms to rate a website’s ranking. It can take a lot of time and research to understand the different requirements that Google expects from a healthy website. 

You will need a deep understanding of technical SEO. Technical SEO refers to optimizing a site so it’s more efficient. A site’s efficiency affects Google bots’ ability to crawl and index the site’s content. 

SEO agencies have the experience and knowledge to understand website design’s technical aspects for high Google rankings. They know how the algorithms work and what you would need to do to make your site meet these expectations.

If you want to go at yourself, you’d need to have a strong understanding of:

  • Using page titles
  • Writing strong meta descriptions
  • Using H1, H2, H3, and H4 tags 
  • XML sitemaps
  • Optimizing rich snippets
  • Robots.txt file
  • Google Analytics
  • Site audits

You also have to know how to perform baseline updates on your site and correct any errors to improve your ranking.

Other areas that technical SEO covers include a site’s architecture, the building and coding of the site, redirects, SSL (secure sockets layer) certificates, sitemaps, URL structures, site errors, and image delivery.

You’ll also have to know how to compress web pages and image files, use CSS stylesheets, understand and choose the appropriate hosting and DNS (domain name system) provider. Other technical SEOs also know how to minify coding – Javascript, HTML, and CSS. 

And finally, you need to understand how to include structured data markup code to allow search engines to index your site. 

Technical SEO also works best when the site owner registers with tools like Bing Webmaster or Google Search Console. For these, you have to submit your XML sitemap. 

Positive User Experience

As we mentioned earlier, most users choose a site based on its ranking on Google. And most people consider Google’s search results much like we use product recommendations. 

The first page of results you see when you search for something will be sites that Google recommends. These sites have passed the search engine’s specific criteria and are the closest match to what the user is seeking.

Google is a business with a powerful name. It makes sense that the sites they recommend will be easy to navigate, full of useful content, and optimized appropriately. 

For Google’s algorithms to like your site enough to rank it, you will need a low bounce rate, an analytic metric that occurs from users who visit your site but do not interact with the landing page or visit other parts of your site – a single page visit. 

If too many users visit your site but leave without following a call-to-action (CTA), viewing other products or pages, or making a purchase, Google may assign you a high bounce rate, which lowers your ability to rank high in search results. 

One of the biggest things that drive users from a site is a long load time. Most people want to get their research and shopping done ASAP. Having to wait for a site to load due to all the graphics and ads can cause customers to lose patience and leave your site.

While many companies can make passive income by signing up to display ads on their website, you may pay for this income with paying customers. Too many ads can cause a user to leave your site without completing a purchase.

SEO marketing experts can help optimize your site for a better user experience, so you experience lower bounce rates. You may need to redesign your site, improve content with appropriate keywords, make changes to your technical SEO, or change which sites you use for backlinking.  

Backlinking

Understanding backlinking is a crucial part of proper SEO and better Google rankings. Your site’s credibility relies on the sources that you link to in your content. 

Google loves content that leads users to other sites. But it hates if you’re linking to low-credibility sites. If you want your site to have high credibility, you have to use caution on the sites you choose to send your users. 

We all know it’s not nice to judge, but Google doesn’t care about niceties. You will face judgment for the company you keep (or link to, in this case). 

While choosing authoritative websites is crucial, you also have to use care to avoid competitor sites’ backlinking. How many referring domains you link to is crucial for Google’s algorithms.

There’s a ton of information to know about how to use backlinks properly. You could spend hours researching so you can manage your site’s complete backlinking data. Or you could spend money on a professional tool to check your backlinks like SEMRush or Ahref’s.

Or you could save time, money, and frustration by hiring an SEO expert like Clayton Johnson. Small Biz SEO doesn’t just work on building quality backlinks, but we also manage inbound links, which you also need to please Google’s algorithms. 

Inbound links direct users to other pages within your company’s site. Using SEO as an example, users would start on the company homepage, which defines everything about SEO. 

Using carefully placed anchor texts is also crucial to Google – you send users to other pages that you’ve published, going into more specific details. Anchor texts are phrases that have a link attached. These links will display in blue font and underlined. Which clicked, they lead the user from the current page to a new location.

Can Small Business SEO Companies Really Save You Money?

As a small business owner, you have to be stingy with your budget. To keep costs down, you learn which tasks you can outsource – hire an outside party to complete – and which jobs you have to manage in-house for affordability. 

There are multiple ways that hiring an SEO company to manage your SEO campaign can save your small business a lot of money. With a strong SEO strategy, your company will actually see profit increases. Let’s look at some of the ways an SEO company can increase its profits.

No Staff to Pay

With the right knowledge and experience, anyone can be successful using search engine optimization (SEO). The main problem many small business owners face is the time and funds to pay existing employees to manage its SEO. 

You have to be willing to pay your employee (or staff since there’s so much involved, your strategy may require multiple people) for all of the extensive hours they put into creating and implementing your SEO plan. 

These expenses can include regular pay and overtime, not to mention health benefits like vision, dental, medical plans, 401K, and paid time off (PTO). Let’s assume that you pay a full-time marketing employee. They have an annual salary of $38,000 a year.

If you operate with a small staff, you will not want one of your crucial employees to manage your SEO. Otherwise, there’s less time for the crucial business aspects that earn your business its income.

When you hire a Small Business SEO company, that business charges you a fee for their services. Then they distribute the various tasks to their staff. You will not have to pay for these workers out of your pocket, nor will you have to manage all the extra expenses. 

The fee you pay for a company’s services will be far less than the money you’d have to spend paying a regular employee for the same tasks and time frame. On average, you can expect to pay between $750 and $2,000 monthly for SEO services from an agency. The hourly rate ranges from $80 to $200.

Saves on Advertising

Decades ago, businesses had to spend thousands of dollars on advertising. You would have to purchase ad space in magazines, local newspapers, billboards, business cards, and other forms. 

Then you would have to pay for audio or visual advertising like commercials on radio stations or TV. Even after the invention of the internet, many businesses started spending money to rent ad spaces on prominent websites. 

While these methods were sure to get your site’s name displayed in many different places, they weren’t the best way to convert searchers to paying customers. 

When you use search engine optimization, you are doing a type of free advertising. By targeting keyword queries that customers commonly search for, you’re getting your company presented to the right people. 

A ton of traffic to your site doesn’t mean much if everyone is leaving without completing an action that results in you getting paid. When you use SEO, you’re targeting users who require what you offer, which means a higher chance of completing a purchase. 

Using the correct SEO strategy, you can spend less money on general advertising and still see an increase in sales and profits. 

Given the high rate of online shopping, many users are more likely to buy from a company they find on the first page of Google’s search results. The further down in the results a brand appears, the more likely it’ll be overlooked by users. 

Using SEO helps bring in the right type of clients without paying as much for advertising, saving you more money in the short and long term.

Keeps You Legit

Improper SEO tactics can do more harm than not using any SEO. Some SEO practices go against Google guidelines. When a person intentionally tries to cheat to achieve better rankings, it’s referred to black hat. 

Google operates on a strict policy that expressly forbids the use of black hat tactics. If a site violates using black hat techniques, Google responds by penalizing the site and removing all traces from any search results. On occasion, this restriction occurs indefinitely.

You could lose out on lots of profits and spend a lot of money having to repair your reputation and get back on Google’s good side. 

Hiring an SEO agency can ensure your site doesn’t violate Google guidelines. But you have to be careful when choosing a company. There are plenty of agencies who make false claims to convince you to use them over legitimate white-hat companies. 

When evaluating companies, watch out for these red flags:

  • Suppose they guarantee that your company will rank for Google. Rankings change all the time, and there’s no way to promise that another site won’t produce better content than yours – unless they’re using blackhat practices, which is cheating.
  • If the agency promises hundreds or thousands of backlinks. While you want an agency that knows how to get other sites to backlink to your site, you want these backlinks to come from authoritative sources. When an SEO company guarantees that many sites will backlink to you, there’s a high chance it’ll be due to blackhat practices. Most of these sites will not have the appropriate domain authorities needed to increase your credibility. 
  • Agencies who say they have insider secrets. No one can predict how Google’s algorithms will rank using legal SEO practices, nor will anyone have information on these programs’ updates. 

Don’t be fooled by SEO companies that promise false results for low prices. Check for online reviews from previous customers and SEO campaigns. 

SEO Packages for Small Businesses

With the wide variety of SEO agencies out there, it’s hard to provide a specific answer for what an SEO package should include. Agencies can differ on the services and pricing. Some agencies may only focus on one pillar of SEO rather than all three. 

The three pillars of organic SEO include on-page, off-page, and technical SEO. Each pillar focuses on different areas to ensure your site is fully optimized. 

TechnicalOn-PageOff-Page
IndexationIntent matchPR
Site speedImage optimizationInbound links
Site architectureKeyword optimizationBrand equity
Crawl budgetTitle tagsReputation
UXAccuracy
RedirectsAuthority, Trust, Expertise
AccessibilityContent quality
Structured Markup

All agencies will not focus on each of the three pillars or any of the crucial criteria. At a minimum, you should choose an agency that offers the following features. 

Tailored SEO Packages

When it comes to SEO, some general practices work for all campaigns and strategies. However, the agency you choose should also deliver an SEO package customized for your small business. 

Your agency should be able to provide you with a tailored strategy that reflects your company’s goals and industry. It should also take into account the competition and incorporate technical SEO. 

An SEO strategy aims to organize the content so it appears higher in search results. When you have a strong SEO strategy in place, search engine bots can index your site’s content, label your authority niche, and rank pages in SERPs (search engine results pages). 

You also need to ensure that the agency you choose knows how to optimize your mobile devices’ SEO campaign. Mobile SEO ensures that users who view your site from a mobile device get the same quality experience as they would using a computer browser.

Given the high rate of mobile users (61%) versus desktop users browsing the internet, it makes sense that Google algorithms operate on mobile-first indexing. Rather than the bots crawling your site as it’s displayed for desktops, the algorithm indexes and ranks SERPs based on your mobile version. 

Keyword Research

Knowing how to research and implement keywords properly is a crucial part of effective SEO. Many experts say it’s the first step and the most important. 

Most SEO marketing agencies include keyword research as part of their SEO services. When you use an agency like Clayton Johnson, SEO experts handle all the necessary steps to create a wide list of short and long-tail keywords relevant to your industry, brand, products, and company. 

Over 80% of shoppers do research online before purchasing a product or service. Knowing how users search for things you offer allows you to target the keywords necessary to get your brand mentioned in search engine results pages. 

Companies that do not have a strong online presence, including a website and active social media profiles, may be passed over for a business that does. 

SEO is not a quick process, and neither is keyword research. To increase KPIs (key performance indicators), you must use the proper keyword combinations, which leads to relevant leads and traffic. 

Keyword research applies to the process of compiling a list of every possible search query related to your business or customers. Once collected, these keywords also must be prioritized into groups -themes – and analyzed for future changes to existing content or new content creations. 

SEO is not a set it and forget it task. It requires constant updating and editing to ensure your content stays relevant and ranking.

Performing Keyword Research

There are many sources an optimizer can use for creating a keyword list. It’s best to find a method that works best for your company. Expert SEO agencies often use multiple methods. 

When listing your different keywords, including the following statistics for each phrase. An Excel sheet works great for organizing these if you’re not using a keyword research tool. Identify:

  • Exact keyword
  • Search volume monthly
  • Difficulty of keyword
  • Competition
  • Current ranking
  • CPC (Cost-per-click)

Some SEO agencies may also evaluate the intended audience to come up with keywords relevant to these subsets. 

It often helps to start your keyword list by coming up with a few seed keywords or starter words. To come up with your seed keywords, optimizers start by answering these questions.

  • What industry is the business in?
  • What products are for sale?
  • What keywords do you want to start ranking for?
  • What keywords will you buy?
  • What phrases would someone new to the topic use to start their research?

When choosing keywords, it’s important to be specific. Trying to target broad keywords leads to higher competition and fewer SERP results. If a website already exists, you can use it for getting seed keywords that already rank for the company’s brand.

The easiest way to conduct keyword research is using a tool like Keyword Explorer, Google Search Console, Domain SEO Analysis, or Moz. 

These software options allow you to analyze a website and compile a list of ranking keywords. The results also show the keyword’s monthly search volume, difficulty, and ranking.

Website Optimizing

Having an optimized keyword list and a strong SEO strategy is not enough to improve a brand’s ranking on Google. That’s why most SEO marketing agencies like Clayton Johnson also offer website optimization. 

Optimizing Dos

For a website to be optimized, it needs to provide users with the best possible experience while having relevant content and keyword usage. To optimize your website, an SEO agency can focus on the following criteria.

  1. Relevance – how relevant is your content to a user’s query?
  2. Content quality – Google ranks higher for long-form content that fully answers a query
  3. User experience – is the site easy to find, search, and navigate, with internal links?
  4. Speed – page speed affects a bot’s ability to crawl your site and slows down users’ activity
  5. Compatibility – using responsive design to allow for viewing across all devices
  6. Internal links – is the site linking to authoritative sources?
  7. Authority – sites rank better when they have a higher domain authority
  8. Title tags and meta descriptions – are these optimized using keywords?
  9. Schema markup – adding Schema markups to your HTML impresses search engines
  10. Image tags – all images should have an alt attribute listed describing the photo
  11. Evergreen content – is there content that isn’t time-sensitive but will be useful over time?
  12. Names of domains – sites should use sub-directory root domains that are keyword rich
  13. Permalinks and headlines – headlines and permalinks should be less than 55 characters
  14. Comments – comments should be activated and filtered for spam
  15. Local SEO – is the company registered with Google my Business with updated info?
  16. Social – a company brand must have an active presence on all relevant social media 

Focusing on these sixteen critical areas can make an SEO campaign more successful, thereby giving the business better search engine rankings and more sales conversions. 

Optimizing No-Nos

Earlier, we mentioned that there are some blackhat practices that Google frowns upon. These are things that will not help a company rank for SERPs and may negatively impact a company’s brand and reputation. Legitimate SEO agencies will not conduct any of these practices.

  1. Keyword stuffing – keywords should be organic and natural rather than stuffed
  2. Link buying or exchanging – links should be limited to authoritative sites in the same niche
  3. Ads – displaying ads that intrude on a user’s ability to use the website
  4. Mobile app interstitials – mobile users should be able to access the site without an app
  5. Copied content – content should be original to one site as bots only index one copy
  6. Hidden items – all content and links should be visible 

Remember that Google bots will catch a site using black hat practices and penalize them. Choosing a reputable SEO marketer can ensure your SEO strategy is white hat and Google-friendly.

Backlinking

Most SEO companies like Clayton Johnson offer backlinking services. The process of inserting a backlink into your content is simple enough for anyone to do. 

The tricky part about using backlinks is picking ones that will improve your domain authority. To increase a site’s authority, the included backlinks must also have a strong authority rating. 

Backlinking also includes when other sites link back to your content. When another site links back to your site, it’s increasing your credibility. 

In order to build backlinks, an SEO agency will focus on social media posts, media syndication, local directory posting, and off-page content writing. Backlinks are useful for three things. They can help with:

  • Ranking – the more backlinks a site has, the higher it will rank in search results
  • Discoverability – search bots use existing pages to discover new links
  • Referral traffic – when a person follows a link to a site, the site gets referral traffic 

For a backlink to be good, it needs to meet certain criteria. First, a backlink must have relevance to the topic being discussed. You won’t link to a website about beauty trends if your niche is in spare automotive parts. This backlink would not have relevance and would not earn any authority from Google. 

Backlinks will also affect the amount of referral traffic a site receives. If your backlinks are on sites with high-traffic, you’ll see more visits than sites with less traffic.  

And finally, links may get more authority simply due to the placement of the backlinks. Changing a link’s color makes it stand out against the rest of the content. The best location for backlinks is in the main content section. Backlinks in the footer are rarely followed.

Dofollow vs. Nofollow

It’s important to distinguish the difference between followed and nofollow backlinks. In most cases, unfollow links will not influence ranking. Nofollow links have an ‘a rel=” nofollow” HTML code that instructs search engines to ignore the link. 

Users cannot tell the difference between a follow or no follow link. It only affects SEO. Dofollow links will affect a page’s Google rankings. For Google to include links in their rating, they use a key ranking signal that instructs the algorithm to only pass along dofollow links to PageRank.

Any links that a brand pays for should have a nofollow tag. Failure to include a nofollow code on a paid link can result in penalization from Google. 

Reporting

When a brand hires an agency to manage its SEO strategy, all of the hard work is done for the site owner. 

However, as a client, it’s crucial to review your SEO strategy’s progress and performance to ensure that your current plan is effective. 

Any quality SEO agency will provide customers with reports, either on a weekly or monthly basis. The best companies will have a custom dashboard that allows you to view insights about your SEO campaign’s key metrics, activity, and results for lead captures. 

An SEO report shows, at minimum, the progress made since the SEO campaign went into effect and when these activities occurred and the impact they had, and recommendations on improvements for future campaigns. 

Reporting tools

Most SEO experts rely on reporting tools to collect all the necessary metrics to show the full extent of the business’s campaign performance. Common tools used include:

  • Google Data Studio
  • Google Analytics
  • Google Search Console
  • Semrush

You’ll also want to see reports on keyword rankings determined using tools like Position Tracking, your site’s visibility, estimated traffic, and rankings distribution. 

Technical SEO reports

The best SEO agencies will also give you audit reports on technical SEO aspects and provide recommendations on improving common issues like 404 errors, broken links, site speed, and site health. 

When it comes to the technical aspect of SEO, many beginners ignore its importance. Expert SEOs (search engine optimizers) have a wide familiarity with all the different technical aspects, so you get the full range of SEO benefits. 

Many companies run site audits separate from their SEO providers, either because the SEO agency doesn’t offer enough data reporting or because they want to do their own research. But the best agencies will offer technical SEO audits and reports to check for the following six criteria:

  • The site’s crawl ability (the site must have a robots.txt file)
  • Indexability (reports errors, warnings, valid, or excluded indexed pages)
  • XML sitemap (requires XML formatting, protocol, and canonical URLs)
  • Mobile-first index (the site’s ability to display on mobile devices)
  • Page speed (requires using tools to analyze a site’s responsiveness)
  • Repeated content (ensures there’s no duplicate content on your site)

Many of the terms we just listed might sound foreign or unfamiliar to people with zero or limited understanding of SEO. Since technical SEO is more complex, it’s easier for most people to give the responsibility to experienced SEOs like those at Clayton Johnson.

Content Marketing Reports

Other reports that an SEO agency can provide include data on content marketing. These reports answer the following questions: 

  • Which pages get the most activity from SEO?
  • Which pages are the most viewed?
  • Any content gaps that the competitors have that aren’t being applied?

Data for these questions can be accumulated using Google Analytics. Customers can also request reports on link performance. 

These reports display the different backlinks and their performance, Authority Score (AS), breakdown of follow vs. no follow, anchor text cloud, and the linking domains’ categories. Google Data Studio works best for these report compilations.

Educational

The final criteria that you can get with an experienced SEO agency are knowledge. Many people might be okay with hiring an agency that delivers a cookie-cutter SEO strategy and reaping the benefits. 

But there are also plenty of other people who prefer to have a basic or advanced understanding of what they are paying the SEO company to do for their business. 

Top-performance companies like Small Biz SEO like to work with customers who want to be involved in their SEO campaign. Agencies like this will be there every step of the way, answering questions and explaining unfamiliar processes. 

Many agencies also provide additional learning resources for their clients, whether through a blog, tutorial videos they post on YouTube, or their social media channels, sharing informative links and materials through newsletters or podcasts. 

Cheaper SEO content creators may have fewer resources available to their clients. This issue often leaves the customers in the dark and having to perform extensive research to understand the data compiled in your weekly or monthly reports. 

In addition to helpful resources, you should also consider agencies that offer more personalized touches, like monthly phone calls or emails to discuss the SEO campaign’s progress and reports.

Expectations from Purchasing an SEO Package

Many people hire an SEO agency with the misguided expectation of instant results. That is rarely the case, unfortunately. 

You should think of an SEO campaign like a plant. It starts as a seed, but with the proper care and patience, it becomes a flower. It will take some work to get an SEO campaign established and implemented. 

Depending on the age of the site, it may take longer to see higher Google rankings because the site has not yet established a domain authority. 

Once an SEO campaign goes live, the company usually starts seeing results within four months. There should be growth in both organic traffic and keyword rankings. 

Google’s constantly changing algorithms can make it challenging for a regular person to keep up with the massive amount of criteria it requires to impress Google’s search bots. Remember that there are over 250 ranking factors. Professionals rely on staying up-to-date with the changes, so you don’t. 

Agencies like Clayton Johnson guarantee results and have the proof to support their claims. Small Biz SEO relies on custom, one-of-a-kind SEO packages tailor-built for each individual client, starting with the site’s current organic rankings and visibility.

Many agencies (like Small Biz SEO) start their SEO campaigns by holding a meeting with the business owner to discuss their needs and company goals. Understanding the client’s objectives is the best way to deliver increased results.

Not only should you expect an SEO package custom-made for your business, but you should also be getting monthly reports displaying your strategy’s performance. And explanations from the agency on how to understand this data. 

Small Biz SEO uses monthly reporting to demonstrate how a company’s campaign is progressing. They help clients understand what actions they are doing and the purpose for the changes. And all clients receive an account manager who maintains the entire project, so clients always know who to contact with questions or issues.

SEO Services

Creating and managing an SEO services campaign requires many different types of research and data organization to be successful. Rather than paying a full-time SEO strategist or managing SEO campaigns personally, many businesses take advantage of the many benefits of SEO agencies like Small Biz SEO. 

3 SEO Services That Do Nothing to Your Traffic

There are A LOT of things you can do that are technically “SEO” that do absolutely nothing for your traffic.

In fact, that’s how most SEO agencies make money …

You get charged for “SEO things” but see no results.

Here are 3 things we see constantly popping up that you should watch out for.

1. Your SEO agency gives you a general keyword list

You’ve been there before …

Your SEO agency gives you a list of keywords that you should “use in your content” throughout the site.

Makes sense, right? Wrong!

Why it’s wrong:

Websites don’t rank for keywords, pages do.

What you should do:

Each keyword you use should be mapped to a specific page.

The intent of that keyword should be fully satisfied within the content so that a searcher has zero reasons whatsoever to go back to search results.

2. Doing an SEO audit

This one drives me nuts …

Clients pay thousands and thousands of dollars for SEO audits.

They dream of swimming in Page 1 keyword rankings like Scrooge McDuck.

Why it’s wrong:

SEO audits are good at diagnosing problems, not contributing to performance.

It’s like going to a mechanic and finding out the timing is off on your engine.

Your car isn’t going to go any faster when you fix it, it’s just going to run correctly.

What you should do:

Change expectations. You need to do an audit every six months to make sure your website doesn’t have a flat tire.

Calibrate your expectations accordingly—unless there is an actual problem, you aren’t going to see a lift.

3. Metadata updates

SEO audits are always going to trigger a bunch of alerts that your SEO agency is going to report to you:

  • Missing meta descriptions.
  • Title tags too short/long.
  • Etc.

All these things are absolutely “SEO things”, but …

Why it’s wrong:

We are usually talking about hundreds, even thousands of pages that your SEO agency will suggest updating.

At typical agency rates, that’s an insane amount of money for manual rewrites to POSSIBLY influence your click-through rates.

What you should do:

Very often Google completely ignores your metadata despite your rewrites!

While you shouldn’t ignore your metadata, you should spot-check it occasionally to make sure nothing looks wonky in SERPs.

Reinvest your resources into awesome content creation!

Frequently Asked Questions

Because search engine optimization is such a complex topic, there are always additional questions people have about the subject. Here are some commonly asked questions about SEO and Small Biz SEO. 

What are SEO Packages?

Many SEO content agencies offer SEO packages. These packages vary by company, price, and features. Each package includes selected services that provide SEO benefits for clients. Keyword research, link building, technical SEO, and analytics are common inclusions in most basic level packages.

What are Google Penalties?

Google uses two types of penalties to punish those who violate the webmaster guidelines. One type, algorithmic penalties, are adjustments so they’re not technically penalties. These automatic processes use algorithms to search for manipulations and then filter that content, causing lower rankings. 

With manual action penalties, a real person has reviewed the case and added a penalty. In these cases, you may have to do an in-depth analysis of your site’s data and make changes to repair the problems. 

What Services Does Clayton Johnson Offer?

Small Biz SEO offers multiple services for new and existing clients. In addition to SEO, Clayton Johnson also offers services for web design, video, strategy, PPC advertising, and content marketing.

What Packages Does Clayton Johnson Have?

Clayton Johnson currently offers three different SEO packages for varying costs – Advanced, Premium, and Enterprise. Each plan differs on extra features, but they all receive the same benefits.

FeaturesAdvancedPremiumEnterprise
Keyword research YesYesYes
Analytics Setup/ConfigurationYesYesYes
Technical SEO and OnsiteYesYesYes
Internal linkingYesYesYes
Content creation1,600 words3,200 words6,400 words
Link buildingOffsiteAdvancedEnterprise
Custom monthly reportsYesYesYes

What is Clayton Johnson’s Pricing?

Pricing for Small Biz SEO varies by package and client, as each strategy is custom-made.

Does Small Biz SEO Handle PPC?

Small Biz SEO is a full-service company that handles SEO and PPC – paid-per-click advertising. They rely on a strategy that builds a campaign to attract qualified leads, so you get better conversions. 

Clayton Johnson can create highly targeted creative ads tailored to your target personas for better traffic, conversions, and leads that are cost-effective using AdWords. They can also help clients increase the chances of connecting with buyers on social media using Creative Videos.

Clayton Johnson also handles remarketing – or retargeting – of ads to encourage buyers to return to your site again. They send targeted traffic to clients’ sites through PPC and paid social campaigns. 

What is PPC?

PPC – paid-per-click advertising allows a site to draw more traffic in a short time. When a brand uses PPC advertising, ads are strategically placed online. When a visitor clicks the ad, the brand gets charged a fee – CPC (cost per click). 

CPCs vary, with average costs ranging between $1 and $2, although you can find some on the extreme ends, as low as a few cents or as high as $50. 

Video and display ad fees are based on CPM – cost per 1,000 impressions. With these, the client pays a fee for their ad to display 1,000 times; the number of clicks the ad gets is irrelevant here.

Should I Choose SEO or PPC?

Search engine optimization and pay-per-click advertising campaigns are crucial components of successful marketing. SEO will help you generate more leads and traffic in the long term and is crucial for establishing an authoritative domain. But PPC is necessary to get a lot of traffic in a short period. You won’t be able to rank on Google until your site is receiving enough visitors.

How Much Should I Budget for SEO?

Pricing varies significantly between SEO agencies. Top companies can charge over $500 a month to manage a local SEO campaign. National and international campaigns can run from $2,500 to $5,000. 

Other companies may offer monthly plans as low as $100. Be wary of companies offering SEO services for anything below $100, as these could be less effective. 

It’s important to remember that you are paying for the time and experience of the search engine optimizers who are creating your campaign. A lot of work goes into creating a custom-made strategy.

How Long Does It Take to Create an SEO Strategy?

Developing an SEO campaign requires an initial time investment of 12 to 104 hours a week. That’s a lot of time for one person to devote to marketing when they could be focusing on the important aspects of their day-to-day business. 

The extensive amount of work that goes into SEO is the main reason that small businesses turn to SEO experts like Small Biz SEO. With a team of members working on a campaign, you’ll see results faster and get a better ROI (Return-of-Investment).

What is Clayton Johnson’s ROI for SEO packages?

The SEO team will work with clients to determine important ROI metrics and apply these to your SEO campaign, so you get a positive return. SEO can affect your ROI directly and indirectly, so Clayton Johnson understands how important this number is to your business. We regularly see 10x returns on investments in regards to SEO. 

How Do I Start an SEO Campaign?

The first step anyone should do for their SEO campaign is run an audit on their existing site. An audit reports any errors in your site, including broken links, Crawl errors, page load speeds, and ensures all the meta tags are correctly placed. 

What Are Some Questions to Help with Keyword Research?

Keyword research may seem intimidating for beginners but for experts, getting a long list of relevant words is like the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. To start a keyword research list, begin by answering the following questions, starting with each keyword’s parent topic.

  • What are parent topics related to my business?
  • What are parent topics related to the products I sell?
  • What are parent topics similar to topics I want to cover in my content?