In her recent article on Search Engine Land, Jenny Foster reveals some of the most significant “hard truths” that SEO marketers need their clients to know. Prospect Genius frequently echoes these same ideas to our own clients, so it’s validating to see them emphasized by such a prominent leader in the field.
Today, we offer a discussion of the truths Foster outlines in her article, “Setting Local SEO Expectations: 3 Points to Hit Early and Often.”
Be Patient With Google’s Regular Changes
First, Foster says she likes to emphasize the ever-evolving nature of Google. From the get-go, she primes her clients to be prepared for the lack of predictability when it comes to Google’s local system. Google often moves the goalpost for marketers by rolling out sudden updates to its algorithm, which means SEO requires a proactive plan based on in-depth knowledge and something close to ESP.
We remind our clients of this all the time. “Be patient,” we say. Your listing might be flagged inexplicably or your placement might have dropped suddenly, but it’s usually just because of a new Google update. We’ll get to the bottom of it in no time.
SEO Is About More Than Just Keywords
Foster astutely notes that effective SEO looks beyond keywords and phrases and understands user intent. You have to understand what kind of information local users are searching for; then, you can package valuable keywords in a more relevant context. For this reason, Foster tells her clients that she needs a bigger picture of their small businesses and their customers’ needs.
This describes the logic behind Prospect Genius’s in-depth interviews with new clients. We like to get as much information as possible about each small, local business so we can capture the highest-quality traffic and appeal to motivated customers nearby.
SEO Is Not a Bandage
Finally, Foster says what all marketers (including us) have been saying over and over for years: SEO is not a one-time fix. It must be a long-term investment if you wish to maintain rankings and grow your presence over time. Continued optimization is key for a stable, enduring online presence.
This is precisely why we caution clients against stopping their campaigns once they’ve reached their goal lead generation numbers. They might feel like they got what they needed, but in reality, SEO must be ongoing in order to sustain those numbers. Otherwise, they’ll drop off pretty quickly.
Overall, Foster’s article is an accurate depiction of what so many marketers try to hammer home for their clients. These are three, need-to-know realities for any local business owner embarking on an SEO campaign. It’s a great read, so be sure to check it out here for more details.