What is SEO?
If you’re reading this, you’ve probably heard of the term Search Engine Optimization or SEO used before. While many know of SEO, it can be difficult to understand exactly what it is.
By definition, Search Engine Optimization is the process of maximizing the number of visitors to a particular website by ensuring that the site appears high on the list of results returned by a search engine. In other words, SEO is when you influence search engine algorithms in order to achieve more prominent placement on Google, Yahoo, and Bing.
What’s involved when performing SEO?
This is where the blog gets interesting. The answer to this question is never exactly the same. Each website faces different challenges and obstacles, but we’ll do our best to explain the process.
Step 1: Set Goals/Conversions
Before starting, a search engine optimizer and the client should discuss and set clear goals. For customers of 1-2-1 Marketing the typical goals are to sell more tee times, increase memberships, or book more weddings & events. Once we have our goals set, we can then start to optimize the website accordingly.
Some SEOs skip this step. Instead of setting clear goals, other search engine optimizers will use an increase in traffic or search engine ranks as performance metrics. While more traffic and ranks is definitely a good thing, it’s much more important to know if you’re generating more revenue. You can have all the traffic on the internet, but unless you make more money it’s all worthless!
Step 2: Do a SWOT analysis of the competitive marketplace
In order to get measurable results quickly and effectively, it’s necessary to take a look at what your competitors are doing in terms of SEO. By taking a closer look at the marketplace, an SEO agency can determine the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats that exist. Some SEO advances can take several months before seeing results while other SEO processes will show an immediate return. It’s important to identify and work on both short-term and long-term SEO opportunities for maximum results.
Once the client and SEO agency have set the goals and recognized the opportunities in the SWOT analysis, targeted keywords should be chosen based on the findings. It’s best to start with keywords that are considered “low hanging fruit” and move on to more competitive keywords with time. Proper keyword selection can be the driving force behind a successful SEO campaign.
Step 3: Test & Measure
Few things in the SEO process are certain. That’s why there is really only one way to optimize a website and its environment. Test, test, and test some more!
While many SEO agencies out there overlook this step, the only real way to make search engine advances is to A/B test different elements. Every time a search engine optimizer makes a change they should be measuring the results of that change. We’ve all heard “every action has an equal and opposite reaction”. Well, the same holds true in the world of SEO.
Some SEO offerings out there will claim to have a “set it and forget it” or “one size fits all solution”. I can assure you that there is no such thing. Each and every website will take different SEO tactics to perform optimally.
Step 4: Reporting
Something that 1-2-1 Marketing believes is vital is monthly reporting to our SEO clients. These monthly reports provide all the key performance metrics our clients need in order to see the improvements that are taking place each month. 1-2-1 has the capability to integrate with booking engine providers, so our reports consist of how much revenue was generated via different traffic courses. These metrics help both the SEO and the client decide which marketing channels are worth pursuing, as well as any weak spots in the campaign.
These 4 steps continue in perpetuity. A quality SEO agency will continue to test, measure, and find new opportunities month after month. Since search engines like Google continually update their displays and algorithms, a SEOs job is never finished. There are always new opportunities coming done the pipeline.
How long does SEO take?
This question has two answers, one more qualitative than the other. If you’re asking “how long until I start seeing results?” the answer is between a couple of weeks and a couple of months. Some websites need more work to get off the ground, therefore, the range in timelines.
However, if you’re asking “How long until I can stop paying for SEO?” the answer is never. While that might sound like a biased answer, let’s think about the importance of optimal search engine positioning. The difference between a #1 and #2 ranking on google can make a massive difference in traffic and tee time bookings for a golf course. The first position on Google receives an average on 32% of all the clicks on the first page. The #2 spot only yields 14%. That’s less than half the clicks! With an ever-growing number of people using Google as their yellow pages, it’s more important than ever to be #1!
The main reason you should never stop the SEO process is there is too much opportunity to generate business with it. All it takes is for Google to update one factor of their algorithm before your golf course is nowhere to be found in search results. Taking a proactive approach to SEO is much easier and cheaper in the long run than waiting until you have a problem.
Will it work for my golf course?
One great thing about SEO is that if you have a website, it can benefit you. Search engines are essentially robots. They pick and choose who shows up based on what they can see. In fact, there are SEOs out there that create fake “business” online, SEO their website, and sell the exposure to real local businesses. What does that tell you? It tells you that Google doesn’t care who you are, how great your course is in reality, or how many members you have.
1-2-1 received an email just the other day saying, “How is XXXXX Golf Course above my course on Google? Their place is terrible”. While the competing golf course may very well be terrible, a solid SEO campaign has brought them to the top of the search results page. The moral of this story is that it doesn’t matter where in the spectrum of golf courses your facility lies, SEO can make a big impact in business.
Also, be sure to submit your website to our Marketing Grader Tool to discover the strengths and weaknesses of your internet marketing efforts.