Questions Frequently Asked by Clients

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What is SEO?

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. In traditional search engine optimization, a website is optimized specifically to make it easier for the search engines to index the website for relevant keyword search phrases. When 1st Click Consulting was founded in 2002, that alone was enough to get results for our clients.

Although that is still important, today SEO must go beyond that. Search engines like Google and Bing want to highlight websites and companies that might be considered “best in class.” Those are the websites they would like to display on page one for a relevant search phrase. As technology improves, search engines have the ability to use more and more criteria to determine which are the best websites from leading providers of a particular product or service.

For example, search engines now use a number of criteria to evaluate a website for its helpfulness to visitors. They prefer websites that display well on mobile devices and ones that engage and inform visitors.

They also use a number of criteria to evaluate the company behind the website, preferring those that have a significant presence on other related websites and social media sites. So, there are a many moving parts to good SEO.

Because there are only 10 websites displayed on page one for most search phrases, SEO professionals are working in a very competitive environment. We must attempt to influence as many of the criteria used by the search engines as possible. To be successful in gaining page one rankings, it is usually necessary to positively influence more criteria than other websites now appearing on page one. For most 1st Click Consulting clients, we are able to achieve page one rankings for 50 or more relevant search phrases.

In very competitive categories, that success may not be possible when the website is first launched, but may come over time.

I am thinking about getting a new website. Is this a good time to invest in SEO?
This is the best time to invest in SEO. Since SEO involves website content, as well as web usability and engagement, you can expect far better results if SEO is built into your website from the beginning.
I received an email from a company offering to do SEO for $300. Why do you charge more?

First, we must point out that this is almost certainly unsolicited spam email that carries Federal criminal penalties. As such, we wouldn’t trust them any more than the guy from Nigeria who emails about the $1 million inheritance.

Beyond that, it is important to remember what is involved in successful SEO. It is not possible to do the same set of simple things and get good results for every client. Each client faces a different level of competition. Each operates in a different marketplace with clients that may be more or less knowledgeable about what they are searching for. I spend more time on keyword research with a database of actual keyword phrases that are being used than someone doing $300 SEO would on the entire project.

In short, SEO must be customized to the individual client. For some, social media is necessary. For some, their competitors have built a strong online presence outside of their own website though citations and links. And, for some, the most important element may be an informative, engaging website. Some clients face competition that makes all of these things important.

For businesses that used to spend thousands of dollars a month on Yellow Pages ads, an investment in quality SEO can be far more valuable than those ads ever were. Like Yellow Pages users, search engine users are looking for your products and services and are ready to become customers. But, instead of having just a small ad to describe your company, you can use your entire website to generate that call or email.

With quality SEO, you will put your best sales presentation in front of your best prospects.

What do clients get with your monthly consulting package?

It is possibly the greatest bargain we offer. 1st Click Consulting's monthly consulting package includes traffic and ranking reports, pay-per-click and social media results reporting for those using those media, and up to one hour of phone or email consultations (as needed).

But, those are not the most important things that clients get. The importance of the monthly consulting package is that it allows us to be part of your marketing team on an ongoing basis. By monitoring your online activities, and understanding what is working and not working for you, we can continue to advise you about new opportunities. For our consulting clients, we also monitor competitors’ online activities, and help you with reputation monitoring and management.

The web is a fast-moving environment. Most business owners and CEOs cannot take the time to stay on top of everything going on there. 1st Click Consulting does that full-time, and can take much of the pressure off your management and marketing staff.

Why don’t you guarantee rankings?

We know of no legitimate SEO company that does. However, our tenured clients all have page one rankings for more than 100 relevant keyword phrases. Some of them have page one rankings for what I call “root” keyword phrases that the search engines would not usually display commercial businesses for. These are very popular search phrases, but the search engines typically display websites like Wikipedia or university websites, because the search engines understand these to be searches for general information instead of searches for products/services. Nevertheless, our clients’ sites are apparently judged highly relevant to these searches by the search engines, and they benefit greatly.

But, if you were to ask us to guarantee that you would get top rankings for a particular search phrase, we cannot do that. Search engine optimization involves a combination of art and science. It is not a 2+2=4 situation. Our goal is to get rankings for as many variations of relevant search phrases as possible.

We know of two “scams” by firms that are offering guarantees. Some guarantee search engine rankings, but the guaranteed phrase is so rarely used and uncompetitive (possibly even one irrelevant to your business) that the guarantee is worthless. There are also some companies that offer guarantees of page one rankings that are actually selling pay-per-click advertising. Anyone can do that—and probably at a better price.

What kind of businesses do you work with?

1st Click Consulting works with any business that has not grown enough to have its own Internet marketing staff. That means that we work with small local businesses and with larger companies that market nationally and internationally.

Because our expertise in working with any client is based upon market and competitive research within the online environment, we are not restricted to serving businesses operating in narrow fields. We have worked with manufacturers, wholesalers, service providers and retailers.

If there is one thing the vast majority of our clients have in common, it is that they already have a website that was professionally created, and know that it is not enough to simply have a good-looking website. Their experience has proven that in order to compete online and have a website that acts as an effective marketing tool, businesses need the specialized expertise of a company like 1st Click Consulting.

What is your goal for successful SEO?

Successful SEO is not just about search engine rankings. Our goal for any client is this: We want to bring the client enough new business to more than pay for our fees.

Sometimes, we have potential clients that we turn down because we don’t think we can accomplish that—either because

    1. There simply are not enough people looking for their products or services online to have a reasonable expectation that that will happen or
    2. Competition for the business is especially intense online, and the company and its domain have too many handicaps that we cannot overcome.

To meet our goal we need to do two things:

    1. Bring the website additional visitors that are actually looking for the products/services the company provides.
    2. Set up the website so that those visitors find the information they need, feel comfortable with the company’s ability to deliver, and take action—call, email or buy.

That is it. We cannot tell any client that they will achieve a particular ranking for a particular phrase. These days, rankings change a lot. That is just how the search engines operate. Our clients do have page one rankings for many more phrases than they did before we began helping them.

What makes 1st Click Consulting better than its competitors?

Four things set 1st Click Consulting apart.

1. Tenure. We have been in business longer than almost any SEO company that works with small businesses. Our historical perspective makes it easier for us to stay ahead of the evolution of Internet marketing. It also means you can count on us to be there for your business’s brighter future.

2. Transparency. Our clients have full access to their website and any account we set up—analytics accounts, pay-per-click accounts, social media, etc. They know their account IDs and passwords, and they never take a chance on losing control of anything of value online.

3. Accountability. We do not subcontract SEO work to overseas sources, nor to anyone that is not directly trained by 1st Click Consulting. If we pull in other expertise like web development, brand identity development, graphic design, or video production, you have the option to work directly with those experts or use 1st Click Consulting as the single point of contact for the project. We take seriously the importance of precise, streamlined communication. Ultimately, when you hire us, you know who to hold responsible.

4. Results. Clients who understand online marketing to be an ongoing process and act on our advice get results. Always.

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