Dirty Little Secret of SEO Companies

An SEO’s job is to get you on page 1 of Google.  The reason for this, is that almost all of the clicks for any search happen on page 1.  When you get on page 1 of Google, it’s referred to as being ranked highly.

If you get your website highly ranked on Google, you should get lots of visitors and lots of business should be the end result.  It takes a lot of time, skill and effort to position your website design with Google in order to get Google to rank you highly.

Getting Highly Ranked on Google is Worth It

According to SEO Expert, Rand Fishkin, “SEO is the process of helping sites earn traffic through search engines’ organic/non-paid results. Google was quoted a few years ago as saying that ~18% of all clicks go to paid ads, while 82% of clicks go to the organic results. Given that Google alone receives more than 1 billion searches each day, there’s a lot of value in doing great SEO.”

The Problem with Some SEO Companies

Here’s the problem though: many SEO companies will get you on page 1 of Google, but they do it by using a dirty little secret.  When they use this dirty little secret, you won’t see any increased business from the rankings they get for you.

Dishonest SEO’s will get your website ranked for keywords that no one (or very few people) are searching for on Google.  Here’s how this impacts you:

  • The SEO company can tell you that they did what they said they would do. They got you highly ranked for keywords.
  • However, because the keywords that they ranked your website to have low volume of searches, the number of visitors to your website increases little to none.

Example

Let’s pick an example of a Dentist in Mississauga.  This Mississauga dentist wants to increase the number of patients he’s getting.  He believes that if he gets better SEO rankings, he will get more new patients.

He’s asked an SEO company to get him better rankings.  The SEO agency has provided him with a list of 7 keywords that they are going to get him rankings for.   Here’s the list:

Kids dentist Mississauga
Affordable dentures
Dental implants Mississauga
Dental care Mississauga
Gentle Dental
Porcelain Veneers
Root canal pain

Search Engine Rankings: Previous and Current

The SEO company has provided the dentist with a ranking of where his website presently ranks with each of the 7 keywords with Google.

Rank Keywords
Kids dentist Mississauga
58 Affordable dentures
Dental implants Mississauga
62 Dental care Mississauga
Gentle Dental
52 Porcelain Veneers
47 Root canal pain

The highest rank in the above list is 47.  A ranking if 47 means that the keyword is found on page 5 of Google.  Every other ranking listed is either lower (page 6 or 7) or not found in the top 10 pages of Google’s ranking. (Please note that “-“ indicates that there were no rankings on the first 100 positions).

According to the above, the ranking for his website is very poor.  Almost no searches happen on page 4 or after.  There’s lots of room for improvement in the rankings for this dentist’s website.

After 3 Months

After 3 months of work, the SEO provider submits the following report to the dental clinic.  This report shows where the rankings are now.  The been a lot of change over 3 months and the results look very good.

Starting Rank Current Rank Keywords
7 Kids dentist Mississauga
58 34 Affordable dentures
42 Dental implants Mississauga
62 14 Dental care Mississauga
8 Gentle Dental
52 4 Porcelain Veneers
47 9 Root canal pain

Some of the rankings are even on page 1 of Google.  More than 90% of searches never go past the first page of Google, so being on page 1 is very important.

From the results of this initial 3 months, it looks like getting in the top 3 positions on page one of Google is possible with a number of the keywords.  According to Chitika, the first three positions get 61% of the clicks from people searching on Google.

However, not everything is as good as it seems.

The Importance of Monthly Volume

For most people who don’t know about SEO, they would think that the results are good.  The search engine rankings have increased and there are even some keywords that are listed on page 1 of Google.  Here’s the problem.  There’s not enough information to determine if these keywords are valuable or not.  We don’t know the volume of searches per month.

Here’s the volume of searches that happen each month for the keywords.

Rank Keywords Volume
34 Affordable dentures 90
42 Dental implants Mississauga 140
14 Dental care Mississauga 10
8 Gentle Dental 480
4 Porcelain Veneers 1300
9 Root canal pain 1600

“Dental care Mississauga” has no value in ranking.  Only 10 searches a month is extremely low.

90 searches for “affordable dentures” is very low too.  Remember that this is only the search volume.  Someone still needs to choose to click on the link and then choose to call the dentist.  Ranking for a keyword with only 90 searches a month likely won’t lead to a new client in at least 5 or 6 months.

“Porcelain Veneers” and “Root canal pain” appear to have lots of volume here.  Most people would assume that these are really good to get Google rankings for.  However, this is not true.

Search Engine Rankings Adjusted for Location

The dentist doesn’t want just anyone searching for his dental practice.  He wants someone living in Mississauga.

The numbers in the volume column are the estimated number of searches for the keyword in Canada.  It is not the number of searches for the city of Mississauga.

When someone is searching for a dentist in Mississauga, we only want to consider searches in Mississauga, not all of Canada.

In order to do that, we first set aside all of the keyword phrases that have “Mississauga” in them.  “Kids dentist Mississauga”, “Dental implants Mississauga”, “Dental care Mississauga” all have the word Mississauga in them.  For these keywords, we can use the national volume numbers without adjusting them at all because people who are searching for something in Mississauga aren’t searching for something anywhere else in Canada.

  • We then take the other volume numbers and multiply them by the percentage population that Mississauga has in relation to the population of Canada. It’s about 2%.

When we do adjust the volume of the keywords by population, here’s what we get.

Rank Keywords Adjusted Volume
7 Kids dentist Mississauga 50
34 Affordable dentures 1.8
42 Dental implants Mississauga 140
14 Dental care Mississauga 10
8 Gentle Dental 9.6
4 Porcelain Veneers 26
9 Root canal pain 32

Without the adjusted volume, it looked like Porcelain Veneers (1300) and Root Canal Pain (1600) were excellent keywords.  However, it turns out that they aren’t.

Without the adjusted volumes, it looked like Dental Implants Mississauga, was an OK term to have.  That’s still true, however, it now just looks way better in comparison to the other numbers than it did before.

3 Different Search Engine Rankings

There’s some other information that we don’t see here at all either.  There isn’t just one rank that Google does.  They rank based on three different factors.

Desktop Local Mobile Keywords Volume
7 6 12 Kids dentist Mississauga 50
34 24 37 Affordable dentures 1.8
42 35 48 Dental implants Mississauga 140
14 14 Dental care Mississauga 10
8 5 11 Gentle Dental 9.6
4 5 5 Porcelain Veneers 26
9 14 11 Root canal pain 32
  • Desktop is the ranking for searches done from a desktop or laptop computer.
  • Mobile is the ranking done from smartphones.
  • Local is the local map pack for Google.

More than 47% of the clicks on a map pack happen in the first three results.  That means that getting into the top three of Local Map Packs is VERY important.

As you can see, there is variation in all of them.  If your company is dependent on local business, like a dentist, they should be working to get

  • Desktop rankings – this is obvious. Lots of searches happened from the desktop and you want rankings here.
  • For a business that is focused on getting clients who are geographically close to them, getting rankings on the map pack is essential.
  • With dentists, many of the searches are likely happening from a smartphone. It’s probably more important to get rankings on smartphones than it is getting desktop rankings.

For a good SEO company, they should be attempting to get you rankings for all of your keywords in all of the 3 different types of searches.

Ideal Terms to Rank For

We’ve shown you an example of keywords that have little value for our Mississauga dentist.  Now here are some keywords that are valuable for the dentist to get ranked for:

Keywords Adjusted Volume
Emergency dental care 140
Dental implants Mississauga 140
Dentist Mississauga 2,900
Veneers 296
Invisalign 662
Dentist near me 810
Dentist 1,810

It’s much easier to get rankings for the original set of keywords.  The second set is much harder.  It will cost more and or take longer than the first, but the potential for more business is significantly greater.

  • The first example had an adjusted volume for Mississauga of 309 searches per month.
  • This new keyword set has an adjusted volume for Mississauga of 6,758 searches per month.

That’s a 95% greater volume of searches.  Choosing relevant, high volume keywords for your SEO campaign is a big deal.

But Wait, There’s More

This is really important to know.  If you are trying to rank for highly competitive keywords, getting ranked for the highly valuable keywords takes time.  It often takes at least 6 months for you to start to see valuable results.

Depending on how your website is ranking and how competitive your market is, your SEO provider will probably start by getting you ranked for low volume keywords and then get you ranked for high value keywords.  What’s important for you, is that your SEO company tells you what they are doing.

Selecting the Right SEO Company

It can be a challenge to select a quality SEO company.  If they are providing you with a list of focus keywords that includes showing you the following, it’s a good indication that they will do quality work for you.

  • Monthly search volume
  • desktop, local and mobile rankings

If you are looking for more information on how to select an SEO company, then you can take a look at this article and video on how to choose an SEO company.

If you’d like to learn more about how The Story can help you get more business, contact us at 800-349-3394.