Search Engine Optimization. You see it referenced everywhere and you’re constantly being told that your business will not survive without it. But what exactly does it mean? Is SEO as vital to modern business as everyone claims? And if so, should you choose a manual approach or try to automate it? And how much is all this going to cost!? Fortunately, SEO doesn’t have to be complicated. It doesn’t have to be costly. And, when utilized properly, it really can be the difference between a business that booms and a business that fails.
Although you may not be aware of it, you are affected by SEO every time you carry out a Google search. Because Google has millions upon millions of websites to choose from, it uses a complex set of algorithms to decide what order it should rank search results in. These processes that Google have put in place (commonly referred to as search engine ranking factors) is why Search Engine Optimization is so important. You can have a fantastic looking website, with insightful content and useful functions, but without SEO, you’ll be listed on page 63 and no one will ever find you.
For example, imagine you live in Brooklyn, New York and you need a plumber. You open up your device and conduct a Google search for “plumber brooklyn ny”. In just a few seconds, Google will find “about 10,600,000 results” and will notify you that there are “50+ plumbers nearby”. How will you decide who to contact? According to reports on Google traffic, 91.5% of people will click on one of the listings on the first page of the search results. Only 4.8% will bother continuing through to page 2. Clearly then, your website ranking is important.
Why is it that people are most likely to click on first-page search results? Is it just that they are too lazy to keep looking? Not entirely (although if you’re in a hurry then you are almost always going to choose the fastest option). The fact is that people have a greater level of respect for websites that have achieved the first page of Google rankings. Even if you have never heard of a particular business before, the fact that Google ranks them highly immediately bestows an air of legitimacy.
Evidently, SEO is a need, not a want when it comes to marketing your company to potential customers online. Now you need to decide either to do everything manually or try to find automated SEO solutions. This decision can have a significant impact on both the results you will receive and the amount of money you will have to outlay, so it is important to understand the difference.
Businesses that choose to implement manual SEO will need to either make all the work themselves or engage the services of an SEO agency. These agencies employ a team of experts who have experience in applying a range of SEO strategies to both new and existing websites. As the name implies, they do all of this work manually, without the use of automated software.
While manual SEO can offer a range of benefits (including a highly customized approach to SEO), it is important to understand how long this kind of operation takes. It can take a single SEO expert several hours to complete a relatively small amount of work, due to the highly detailed nature of the task. But most agencies won’t just assign one expert to your website that would take far too long. Instead, they’ll assign a whole team to work on it. A whole team of experts, who will all need to be paid by an agency that still needs to make a profit. To make that profit, the agency will need to charge you (the client) exorbitant fees. Not to mention, that some agencies can automate most processes, but still charge for them as if they were performed manually. Many businesses may find their entire advertising budget entirely consumed by the high cost of such services, without receiving the benefits they had imagined.
The time-consuming nature of manual SEO also leaves businesses open to a certain level of risk on two different fronts. Firstly, this laborious process requires high-levels of dedication from the agency team. If they are extremely motivated individuals with a passion for their craft, then you could achieve some decent results. But if they’re somewhat more lackluster with regards to their work, then you could be paying through the nose for relatively little gain. Secondly, Google algorithms are constantly evolving, and SEO needs to be able to keep up if a business is going to see a real return on investment. Because manual SEO is, by necessity, a slow process, your Search Engine Optimization could become out-of-date before it’s even been finalized. If your website has hundreds or even thousands of product pages, then manual SEO strategies could literally take years to complete.
Some people hear “SEO automation” and instantly think spam but this couldn’t be further from the truth. In many industries, automation has replaced manual labor because it is faster, lowers costs, and oftentimes, because it is far more effective. As the name suggests, SEO automation removes the need for slow and costly manual implementation of Search Engine Optimization strategies. It can do this thanks to finely-tuned software which has been developed to stay up-to-date with the constantly changing SEO process.
Understandably, automated software is much faster than manual processing, meaning you can start seeing measurable results a lot sooner. Not only is the implementation process quicker, but many of the simple day-to-day SEO tasks that need to be completed (things like keyword researching) can be carried out routinely with SEO automation. So, you won’t have to worry about paying an expert to complete mundane, but necessary, tasks. Another benefit of automated SEO is the useful back-end information that it can provide business owners with. These reports can help to ensure your website is operating at peak efficiency, alerting you to issues such as broken links or insufficient keyword density.
As we’ve already discussed, manual SEO can be an expensive endeavor. There is nothing more frustrating than investing huge sums of money in an SEO agency, only to watch in disbelief as your search engine rankings fail to improve. The agency may be able to talk the talk, providing you with all manner of colorful charts showing optimistic growth estimates, but if they’re not generating real results then, ultimately, you’re wasting your money.
SEO automation can reduce costs for business owners in several ways. Firstly, by getting rid of manual SEO you’re also getting rid of a questionably effective process that was eating up a huge chunk of your annual marketing budget. By making the switch to automated SEO you’re eliminating the costs associated with paying an entire team to manually work on your website. In contrast, SEO automation for a website will be far more cost-effective, typically generating a higher return-on-investment than manual SEO or pay-per-click (PPC) advertising. In fact, SEO automation could cost as little as $300-$500 a month for an average website, with low-competitive niche websites costing even less.
Another way that SEO automation can reduce costs is by routinely providing high-value data. Instead of waiting for feedback from an SEO agency or blindly guessing at what keywords will generate the best results, SEO automation will give you detailed and real-time feedback. You can check up on your current keyword rankings, as well as analyzing things like the website Meta content or keyword density. This allows you to see, instantly, what is working well and where there is further room for improvement. You won’t be wasting money on keywords or backlinks that are unlikely to generate results, so you’ll get more bang for your SEO buck.
There’s no doubt that SEO automation can be great for your business, but this doesn’t mean that all automated SEO is created equal. If a business is looking to reduce marketing costs while simultaneously boosting rankings, they may be tempted to go for a cheap automated SEO program or a plugin that they can download for next to nothing. The problem with this kind of approach is that it fails to consider the human element of Search Engine Optimization. The correct use of software can save a business vast amounts of time and money, but it needs to be developed correctly with an eye on long-term market strategy. A “one size fits all” approach is never going to deliver the results that you hope for. So, when considering which automated SEO tools are right for your business, it’s important to keep in mind the following points:
SEO is not a solution, it’s a process: If a company promises to magically boost your website ranking overnight then it’s a good idea to be wary. Although automated SEO can work wonders when it comes to improving certain aspects of a website, it will generally take some time for a website to organically develop a good ranking with Google. Slow and steady improvement will do more for your business in the long term than a rushed initial approach.
Don’t underestimate the importance of backlinks: One of the biggest factors involved in determining a website ranking with Google is the quantity and quality of backlinks. A backlink is when one website includes a link to another website. For example, your website may include links to the websites of your key suppliers – in this way, you are providing those suppliers with backlinks that will boost their Google ranking. Backlinks are important because they tell Google that your website has useful and valued content. If a link to your business is included in a range of well-known websites, then it conveys the message that your website should be trusted as well.
Low-quality backlinks will do more harm than good: Because backlinks play such an important role in Google rankings the market is now flooded with “amazing deals” offering “verified SEO backlinks”, often for incredibly low prices. A quick search on eBay will turn up hundreds of listings which offer to boost Google rankings with as many as “200,000 backlinks”. What these low budget operators fail to include in their ads is that they generally employ a quantity over quality approach. Yes, they may be able to deliver on their promises of thousands of backlinks, but in all probability, these backlinks will be of such low quality that you won’t receive any benefit from them. Additionally, Google is well aware of this process and uses algorithms specifically designed to search for farmed links. Any websites found to be using this approach are classified as violating Google guidelines and will face penalties as a result.
Blackhat SEO is illegal and should be avoided at all costs: Blackhat SEO is the term used for any Search Engine Optimization techniques that involve illicit tactics. This could be something as simple as utilizing link spam (considered unprofessional and unethical) but can also involve hacking and other illegal activities. Regardless of what results you may be promised, blackhat SEO is never worth the risk.
If you want to boost your website ranking with Google, without running the risk of being penalized, then what is the best automated SEO process to use? Many companies are finding that a semi-automated SEO approach delivers superior results at a highly competitive price. This is because semi-automated SEO benefits from the latest software while still retaining a human element. Instead of mass-producing a vast quantity of irrelevant backlinks, semi-automated SEO uses experienced professionals to match your business with high-quality donor websites. Once a match is found, the software does the rest, creating a backlink that is natural, relevant, and trustworthy. As a result, your Google rankings will steadily climb.
Clearly, when it comes to gaining measurable results from automated SEO the most important step is finding a reputable SEO automation company. With over ten years’ industry experience, LinkLifting has developed a solid reputation for delivering a range of professional and semi-automated SEO services (including the creation of high-quality backlinks) at a price that remains affordable. LinkLifting was created with the intention of delivering high impact SEO services that can work within the advertising budget of any company, including smaller businesses or those operating within a niche market. By partnering with LinkLifting to improve your business SEO, your company will see a measurable return on investment, with an enhanced Google ranking that directs more potential customers straight to your website every day. Simply fill in your website address and select your target country to get an instant quote and discover just how much money your business could be saving with LinkLifting.