What Is SEO: How Does It Work, What’s Included and How Much Does It Cost?
New to search engine optimization (SEO)?
You might already know that SEO can boost brand visibility and drive traffic to your website. And now, you want to take the next step by understanding how SEO works and how to do SEO.
SEO is not as complicated as it seems. Once you learn the basics, such as what is SEO and how it works, you’ll realize that it is the most viable and cost-effective solution for building long-term brand equity.
Start your SEO journey with a deeper understanding of organic SEO marketing.
Defining Search Engine Optimization
Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of driving traffic to your website from free, organic search results. It aims to position your site higher on search engine results pages (SERPs) to improve online visibility and generate more leads and conversions.
Google, with more than 90 percent of the market share, currently processes more than 7 billion searches every day (Statcounter GlobalStats). This translates to potential prospects searching 81,000 times per second (Worldometers).
Because organic search is the most prominent way for people to discover and access online content, understanding what is SEO and how it works is crucial to building brand awareness and increasing online engagement.
“Businesses need SEO now more than ever because 68 percent of online experiences begin with a search engine,” said Hannah Garon, Thrive’s SEO Director, “and that’s just the beginning.”
“Take, for instance, someone who comes across your brand or product on TikTok. Their next action might be to Google your product. If you are not coming up for those queries, that’s a lost lead. While 68 percent of online experiences begin with a search, that doesn’t mean they don’t end up utilizing search to find what they are looking for during their buyer journey online.”
Proving the Value of SEO for Businesses
As the most lucrative marketing channel today, SEO also adds incremental business value in many ways. Take this full-service plumbing company in Texas, for example:
Plano Plumbing and Leak Detection invested in organic SEO marketing to boost website traffic and leads for its three primary service areas: Plano, McKinney and Allen.
Implementing a laser-focused local SEO and SEO content writing strategy has enabled the company to improve online visibility, ranking Top 3 on Google Maps and Top 7 in organic search results. In no time, the firm experienced unprecedented growth, averaging 24.6 online leads per month throughout 2018.
New Website Users
Seeing how SEO works for local businesses, neglecting your own organic SEO marketing campaigns would be a costly mistake. You’ll eventually start seeing lower rankings, reduced organic traffic and less brand visibility. And if you haven’t invested in SEO yet, ignoring it for good could render your business inexistent to your target audience.
Let’s dive deeper into the fundamentals of SEO to guide your SEO journey.
The Core Components of SEO
In this competitive digital landscape, good SEO practice is tantamount to good user experience. And to achieve this, you need a robust SEO approach.
A strong SEO strategy begins with three main components: (1) technical SEO, (2) on page SEO and (3) off page SEO. Each element impacts how search engines process and organize websites to determine their ability to rank for relevant search queries.
Let’s look at each core component of SEO and its significance in providing a good user experience and driving traffic to your website:
Technical SEO is the foundation of a successful SEO strategy. This component of SEO involves analyzing and optimizing your site’s technical aspects, including crawlability, indexability and site architecture, to ensure it meets the requirements of modern search engines.
Here are technical SEO elements to check for maximum site optimization:
Why Is Technical SEO Important?
Technical SEO is key to increasing online visibility and reach. Your content might be well-written and valuable to your audience, but few people will see it unless search engine spiders can crawl it. Technical optimization ensures your site is responsive, easy to navigate and free of technical issues that prevent it from achieving better rankings.
Coherent technical SEO tactics improve your site’s crawlability and indexability and drive traffic to your website.
The Case of an Asset Tracking Software Developer
Geoforce is a reputable asset-tracking software developer that works with major operating companies to improve safety and industry compliance. The company needed a comprehensive technical SEO audit and site optimization to improve online visibility and search performance.
By implementing data-driven SEO strategies, including technical SEO, local SEO and industry-specific SEO content writing, the company improved its search engine ranking score. It generated a 68 percent increase in new users, a 360 percent boost in organic traffic and a 167 percent increase in leads from only 15 organic leads per month in June 2021.
Onsite Goal Completions
On Page SEO
On page SEO (also known as on-site SEO) is all about the content, layout and structure of your website. It includes everything that exists on the page, both in published and HTML format.
Here are some of the most important considerations for the on page optimization of your domain:
Why Is On Page SEO Important?
Search engines crawl your website to determine its value and relevance to search queries. The goal of on page SEO is to publish relevant, high-quality content and optimize your headlines, HTML tags and images to boost your site’s authority and trustworthiness.
The Case of a Direct Private Lender
On page SEO played a huge role in increasing online visibility and reach for Longhorn Investments.
The firm needed a website that represents its professional brand and delivers the best user experience. A solid on page SEO strategy, which involved website redesign and SEO content writing, fueled Longhorn Investments’ organic search results, lead generation and online conversions.
Off Page SEO
Off page SEO focuses on off-site authority building or external measures that influence your search rankings. Mainly, it’s about link-building or acquiring nonspam links from authoritative domains to get you to the top rank. Your off page SEO strategy determines how search engines rank your business based on how online users and other organizations perceive your brand.
Some of the most important off page SEO ranking factors include:
Why Is Off Page SEO Important?
Off page SEO builds brand awareness and domain authority. Without it, your site will rank below other websites that have a robust link building strategy. Data from Moz’s Search Engine Ranking Factors study reveal that off-site SEO carries more than 50 percent of the ranking factor weight.
Deploying data-driven off page SEO tactics gives you strategic control over your site’s ability to rank.
The Case of a Mobile App Development Company
A mobile app development company that builds world-class mobile applications needed to strengthen its web-to-app deep link acquisition strategy to boost website traffic and ramp up its rankings for target SEO keywords.
Within only 16 months since the link building campaign was launched, the company generated 407 inbound links via guest posts with an average domain authority (DA) score of 46. This resulted in the increased referral traffic, online visibility and high-quality backlinks for different mobile applications.
How Does SEO Work?
All search engines have the same goal: to provide the most relevant results to the searchers. When a user types a query into the search box, search engines use complex algorithms to pull out the most accurate and useful list of results for that query.
SEO aims to show search engines that your content is the best result for the topic. Optimizing your web pages helps you rank higher in relevant search results and convert more searchers into customers.
What Happens if You Stop Doing SEO?
It’s hard to pivot once your website starts to go in the wrong direction. If you stop doing SEO, you’ll stop ranking for new, highly relevant SEO keywords. In effect, you’re limiting the number of people finding your website, minimizing your active audience and reducing organic and direct traffic to your website.
If you don’t know how to do SEO or you’re struggling to keep up with constant algorithm changes, then keep reading.
How SEO Works for Business Entities
of Different Niches and Sizes
Getting the three core SEO elements right can help you with brand awareness, online engagement, leads and conversions. But are there only three parts of SEO you need to know? Far from it. What you should know about SEO is that it operates differently for different business types.
Depending on your niche and business size, there are several other strategies you need to focus on to boost consumer engagement. These are (1) local SEO, (2) franchise SEO and/or (3) eCommerce SEO.
Local SEO is the practice of improving brand visibility to get more business from local searches. It requires a targeted approach that is distinct from general SEO. As a local business, you have the opportunity to rank for both main and local organic search results at the same time.
How Does SEO Work for Local Businesses?
Local SEO requires a series of actions intended to raise local search visibility. These include claiming and optimizing your Google Business Profile (formerly called Google My Business), optimizing for geo-targeted SEO keywords, local link building, citation building, reputation management and website optimization.
Done right, local SEO can help your business appear more prominently in localized organic results.
A sneaker boutique located in Florida revamped its local SEO strategy to boost website traffic, inbound leads and sales. By fixing the duplicate links and inconsistent link placements and executing on-page SEO revisions, the company saw an 820.2 percent increase in total traffic and a 324.1 percent boost in inbound leads.
Franchise SEO is a set of initiatives focused on building a consistent brand image across target locations. It involves optimizing the website of individual franchise locations, writing blog posts that target relevant SEO keywords and creating business listings in national and local directories.
How Does SEO Work for Multi-Location Businesses?
There’s a lot that goes into creating a cost effective SEO strategy for multi-location businesses. Franchises, like all local businesses, need local SEO to boost website visibility in local search results. And while each location will have its own website, the look and theme of each site should be similar to each other and aligned with the corporate branding.
Using the right franchise SEO strategies helps boost website traffic, leads and sales.
A multi-location residential foundation repair company focused on balancing its website focus between target cities to drive a steady stream of leads, traffic and conversions month-over-month (MoM). From only 74 total conversions in April 2017, the firm’s franchise SEO efforts drove a 268.3 percent increase in monthly traffic and a record-high 132.5 percent increase in organic conversions.
eCommerce SEO is the process of improving your store’s online visibility in relevant search results to help more people discover your brand and find your products. It typically involves enhancing your site architecture, optimizing product pages for SEO keywords and crafting click-worthy title tags and meta descriptions to boost consumer engagement.
Investing in eCommerce SEO enables you to appear in more relevant search results and drive more traffic and sales.
How Does SEO Work for eCommerce Businesses?
For your online store to rank higher on SERPs, you must ensure everything from the technical setup of your web store and SEO keywords to your website content and user experience is well-optimized.
Depending on which eCommerce platform you’re using to market your products, you would need a different eCommerce SEO strategy. Let’s focus on the two most popular eCommerce platforms: Amazon and Shopify.
Amazon SEO entails optimizing your product listings to help them rank higher in product searches. This involves focusing efforts on:
Entrepreneurs who understand how SEO works for business entities in Amazon yield increased product visibility and higher sales growth.
Shopify SEO isn’t so different from the regular optimization on WordPress. It involves fixing duplicate content on your website, optimizing for high-volume SEO keywords and improving site navigation so users will stay longer and convert into paying customers.
An eCommerce brand selling high-end juicers invested in eCommerce SEO to rank higher in relevant keyword searches and compete organically with eCommerce giants, such as Amazon, Walmart and Bed Bath & Beyond. In no time, the online store generated a 70 percent increase in website traffic and a 130 percent boost in organic revenue.
SEO Pricing: How Much Does SEO Cost?
Agencies price SEO services in several ways.
When setting an organic SEO marketing budget and looking for an SEO firm, you’ll find SEO services price models all over the place. Some agencies provide upfront SEO service price details, while others hide them from their website.
So how much does SEO cost, and how do you find providers that price SEO services in a way that lines up with your marketing budget?
SEO pricing varies and depends on several factors, including the service provider, location, competency in your target audience’s language and SEO plan. Let’s take a look at three major SEO services price structures:
Some SEO providers charge an hourly rate for SEO work. This means the SEO service price is based on how many hours are spent working on the project. This SEO pricing model is favored by independent contractors offering SEO services to smaller businesses.
How much does SEO service cost per hour? On average, the SEO price for hourly work is between $100 to $300 per hour. Thrive Internet Marketing Agency charges $150 per hour for SEO services.
Larger SEO agencies typically charge monthly fees. You’ll pay a fixed price for SEO services, which will carry out ongoing optimizations on your site.
How much does SEO cost per month? On average, monthly retainers for SEO campaigns range between $2,500 to $10,000. The monthly price for SEO services varies depending on the services included.
Some SEO companies charge a one-off SEO price for a particular SEO project. The campaign scope determines the total SEO cost.
How much do SEO services cost per project? The average SEO price for project-based SEO services ranges from $1,000 to $30,000. Larger enterprises can expect to pay more, especially if you’re doing franchise SEO for multiple locations.
How Can You Tell if the SEO Price Is Worth It?
Now that we’ve answered how much does SEO service cost on average, the next thing you need to consider is if what you’re getting is worth the SEO price.
Consider how much the same amount of traffic would cost via pay-per-click (PPC) marketing. If you could buy each visit for less than the SEO service price, then you might need to question the SEO company you’re working with.
Choose an SEO agency with a proven track record of delivering value and results. More importantly, learn to spot a shady strategy. Consider purchasing a la carte SEO audit services from several providers and then compare the results. You may pay a little extra at the onset, but you’ll have a better chance of finding a reliable SEO company that offers cost effective SEO solutions.
Increase Your Organic Visibility and Online Engagement
Many businesses find it very frustrating to see their rankings fluctuate. And unfortunately, it is often due to a lack of understanding of what is SEO and how it works.
The key is finding a reputable SEO company that can guide you throughout your digital marketing journey.
Thrive Internet Marketing Agency provides fully managed SEO solutions that bring your company brand awareness, increased consumer engagement and an organic SEO marketing strategy that has the flexibility to keep up with the constant industry and algorithm changes. As your digital marketing partner, we ensure you know how to do SEO effectively and drive real results using white hat SEO strategies.
Wondering how much does SEO cost per month with Thrive? Schedule a consultation now, and we’re happy to answer all your questions.