Let’s get one thing out of the way… I am not selling you anything. There have been a few people contact me thinking they’d be an exception. You won’t be.
I don’t do SEO consulting anymore. Why? Because the best can do it for themselves. Think about it.
Now there are exceptions, but the problem is that SEO companies are usually good at selling SEO, but fairly mediocre in execution. This brings me to my first pro-tip:
Pro-Tip #1: When hiring a SEO company/consultant, ask for a personal project where they’ve used SEO to generate $1000+/mo.
This is the single most important tip I can give you. If you know someone, you can close this page now. The problem is, finding a companies that can show you that are few and far between. And the ones that you do find, probably aren’t in the budget you were expecting. If your a local business in Las Vegas, chances are you’ve been contacted almost daily from marketing or SEO companies offering you their business for pennies on the dollars promising you results that they won’t deliver.
A lot of businesses when they think about investing in marketing/SEO, they’re thinking about saving pennies per day, and I’m thinking about value over a lifetime. It doesn’t make a difference if someone is charging $20/hr or $200/hr, you don’t want to pay someone to twiddle their thumbs. You want results.
Pro-Tip #2: Pay for Performance SEO
This is how I did business. Create a win/win situation. Though not many SEO companies advertise pay-for-performance services and understandably so, they have a business to run and need predictable income. This is one reason why I prefer going with a consultant over a company, there tends to be more flexibility with things like that. It would be even better to do your SEO in-house. But it doesn’t hurt to ask, work in a performance guaranty in the contract. And in most cases, you should be seeing results month-to-month for the first few months, if you’re not I’d be a little weary.
Pro-Tip #3: An SEO who knows the industry
Let’s say you’re a local photographer, if digital marketing and SEO in 2017 is built on the base of “great content,” then why hire someone who knows nothing about photography?… or at least how to rank for that niche. Try this, if you’re a Las Vegas photographer, do a search for “New York Photographer” and contact a few of the photographers on the first page and basically ask them who did their SEO.
That’s it. It basically comes down to finding a SEO company or consultant who is an active practitioner, who knows your industry, and can articulate how they can bring you a return on investment. Good luck on your search!
If you’re looking for more information, here’s a few other posts I’ve made on this site that will now be redirected here:
The Problem with “Cheap” and “Affordable” SEO Companies
Sadly, most businesses in Las Vegas have been hurt by unscrupulous SEO companies. I’ve seen a business lose 75% of their web traffic in a month… consequently effecting their bottom line. Google can, and will sandbox (ie. make it near impossible to find in search engines) your business and nobody will even know you exist. If you’re running a business in Las Vegas (or any other local market), I know you’re getting cold emailed/called at least weekly with people approaching you with “cheap” or “affordable” SEO services. Here’s the truth, the best SEO companies don’t have to do outreach. We earn enough referrals through organic traffic that we don’t have to. Imagine this:
- You own an Italian Restaurant in Las Vegas, you could have the best food on the planet. But it won’t matter, because you hired a so called “Affordable SEO Consultant” who could “guarantee you rankings,” which over the course of the next few months – it’s possible that you may have seen results. Thing is, these lazy SEO consultants devise tricks to manipulate Google, they’re quick, they’re easy… but eventually Google catches up – they always do. Heck, it even happened to retail giant JCPenny (Read about it at SearchEngineJournal.com). Now whenever someone searches for something along the lines of “Italian Restaurant in Las Vegas,” they won’t find you… it’s like you never existed. Hiring a SEO consultant isn’t a decision that you should take lightly, it could mean the life or death of your business.
Most of the time, businesses are burned cheap SEO companies, but even corporations have fell victim to expensive consultants, who apparently, know nothing about search engine optimization (SEO). I actually started this consulting company out of frustration of companies I’ve worked for, and with.
So we’ve established that most SEO’s are terrible, and can actually cause more harm than good (seen it first hand many times). Where does that leave the rest of us? Well their are still good SEO’s out there, but the problem is – they focus on rankings, not revenue.
- Another example, one of my clients is an event planner. Unfortunately she hired a web design company that actually knew very little about web design – and even less about SEO. Well, they built her website (which I would later replace), and optimized her website for search engines (again, using lazy tactics). They said, “Hey, you’re ranking for this, this, and this.” The problem was, she wasn’t generating any calls, and thus any revenue. Then, her website was eventually penalized by Google Panda and Penguin. You see, there’s more to the game then just ranking on the first page:
- You have to rank for relevant keywords.
- You have to convert that web traffic. And that means moving beyond the realm, and typical job description of a SEO consultant. For most businesses, improving your conversion rate could mean a new website, A/B testing, video production, capturing leads with email marketing, engaging potential customers with social media, re-marketing, etc.
Fortunately, we can help you with that. You, as a business, shouldn’t care about rankings, you care about revenue!
I’ve worked with a number of different companies, some in the most competitive niches. Here are a few case studies:
Small to Medium Sized Local Businesses – Nevada Benefits is a health insurance brokerage located in Las Vegas. They’ve been in business for nearly two decades and was always early to adopt technology. They’re a legitimate business with a great team, unfortunately they hired the wrong company for SEO. They lost a lot of traffic once a couple major Google updates hit last year. I helped them recover, then grow traffic by undoing a lot of work already done by a former SEO consultant. I then identified keywords that they weren’t yet ranking for, and ran an AdWords campaign for those words/phrases. I also redesigned their 90’s website into a new design that’s not only more functional, but it looks 10x better. I used a lot of shades of blue to convey trust and orange for the “call-to-action” to stand out. While their website has since been modified by another company (changes I wouldn’t agree with), here’s a before and after of my work:
Keep in mind that health insurance is one of the most competitive niches on the internet, with related terms ranking for 3 out of 50 of the most competitive SEO keywords. And “insurance” is the #1 most competitive niche for Google AdWords. While other companies were paying $12+ per click (CPC on AdWords), Nevada Benefits was generating free organic traffic!
eCommerce – Iris Impressions is a fashion wholesaler and retailer located all across Las Vegas and growing worldwide. Prior to working with SorianoMedia, the only way you could find them was via a branded search (ie. a search for their name). In a few short months they’re now top 3 for many of their primary keywords, including infinity skirt, indian sari skirt, wrap skirts and more.
Affiliate Marketing / Internet Companies – Have you heard of [redacted]? Well, if you search for “[redacted],” as many people do before considering making a purchase, you’ll see that it’s one of our blog posts that is ranked #1. That’s an example of content marketing, good copyrighting and great SEO. As such, whenever someone clicks on a link through that post, we receive a commission upon every successful referral. That review alone can generate over $300/mo, while that doesn’t seem like a lot, keep in mind that’s a single blog post… it adds up when you’re talking 20, 50, 100+ blog posts.
Beware of companies who promise rankings, or who brand themselves as a cheap SEO company. We offer no long term commitments, I just ask for six months and I’ll show you a return on investment. But first, I want to make sure we’re the right fit. Please contact us for a custom quote. Questions? Shoot us an email at jay [at] sorianomedia.com.
Your SEO Consultant Shouldn’t be a Specialist
If your SEO consultant is specializing in 2017, you’re doing it wrong. By definition, search engine optimization (SEO) is the art of improving a websites organic ranking in search engines. Here’s the problem, you shouldn’t care about rankings, you should care about revenue. And digital marketing, is about much more than just ranking #1. Let’s give you a quick breakdown:
SEO is just one small part of the puzzle because you have to convert that traffic, and conversion optimization requires the ability to split test (A/B testing) which requires a working knowledge of web design and copywriting. The difference between a poorly optimized website and an optimized could be 2-3x your revenue. Why do you think companies like Amazon and Zappos split test even the smallest things, like the color of a button, or the placement of text, or where users are clicking on your website? Because when you do $61 billion in revenue last year like Amazon did, a 1% increase in your conversion rate could mean another $5,000,000,000+ in revenue.
Even if you’re a local business, let’s say your a lawyer, and each new client brings in about $1,500 in revenue. If your website attracts 1,000 visitors, a 3% increase in your conversion rate means 30 new clients… or $45,000 in revenue. Even if you’re a restaurant, small things like having a mobile website, link to the menu and happy hour times can drive in additional people through your door.
What about content creation? A true digital marketing consultant can create content that helps build backlinks (which improves SEO) through multiple forms of media including video, infographics, podcasts, etc. There are a lot of SEO’s out there who skip this part, and resort to building spammy backlinks that manipulate Google to improve rankings over a short time… but in the long run these tactics are detrimental and can either sandbag or de-index your website in search engines. I go in detail in this post, “The Problem with ‘Cheap’ and ‘Affordable’ SEO.”
Checkout our infographic on “The Mind of a Digital Marketer” for other skills that a digital marketing consultant should possess:
SEO Considerations When Hiring a Web Designer
If you’ve come to this page, I don’t need to sell you on the value of a website – you already know that. But we’ve covered a few topics that could be helpful in your search for a new website, including how to save money hiring a web designer and the 7 mistakes to avoid when hiring a web designer/developer. You should also think about Search Engine Optimization (SEO), also known as the art of increasing your organic rankings in search engines. We talk a lot about SEO on our homepage, we also have a blog post on the dangers of cheap SEO.
What type of web design do we do?
We specialize in WordPress, a popular open source Content Management System (CMS) that now powers over 20% of the web. Because of that, utilizing WordPress is inexpensive and very user friendly, even to non-technical business owners. With WordPress you don’t have to be reliant on a web designer, because anyone can make simple changes through the dashboard, which means you can save time and money on website maintenance. What was once popular for blogging, is now used by agencies, Fortune 500 companies, eCommerce and more. Even SorianoMedia is proudly powered with WordPress.
In short, we cater to 95%+ of the businesses out there.
“Are there websites you don’t design?”
- We don’t work with adult content websites, or those who are promoting a product/service that is fraudulent in nature.
- Mobile Applications: While your website will be mobile friendly, we don’t do mobile applications (ie. apps you download from the app store). We recommend seeking out the developer specific to the platform you’d like to build on, eg. Android or iOS developer.
- Scalable Technology Startups: Are you looking to build the next eBay, Facebook, etc.? We’d recommend searching for a Ruby on Rails or a Python developer. If you’re local to Las Vegas, you can try using the #VegasTech hashtag on Twitter to find someone.
How do You Find a Web Designer in Las Vegas?
The number one thing to consider is whether or not you need help with SEO moving forward, because SEO and Web Design are two different skill sets. At our core, we specialize in Digital Marketing & SEO. We just happen to be pretty darn good at designing websites too.
Evaluating a designer is fairly simple – just go through their portfolio. I would also urge you to contact websites listed in their portfolio and ask them how it was working with the respective designer, and to verify that they did actually design the website. I see a lot of companies just throwing names in their portfolio. Some could have worked with a national web design company that had a small hand in the web design, perhaps even a mockup that was never implemented. Some could have worked on that website in the 90’s that has since been replaced. Some could have merely designed a single page, and some could just be flat out lying in hopes that you’ll never verify their credentials.
How Much Does a Website Cost?
It depends. Most businesses just require a basic website, with 5-10 pages including an about page, services, contact us, etc. For that, small business websites start at $1000. For eCommerce, it depends on how many products, your payment processor (eg. PayPal, Square, etc.), shipping settings, etc. eCommerce websites start at $1500. Most of the websites we design our “responsive” which means that they’ll resize to the device being used – retina display, tablet, smartphone, etc. There isn’t an extra charge for a “mobile website” that other web design agencies tend to charge for.
What are the “Hidden Costs” of a Website?
We strive to be upfront in our pricing, although there are other charges that you should be aware of:
- Domain Name Registration ($10-15/yr) – This is something that you should register. I’ve seen web design companies hold domains hostage – it’s a horrific situation that’s easily avoidable. Other TLD’s (.net, .org, .tv, etc.) are optional.
- Hosting ($5+/mo) – We utilize multiple hosting providers, and we have a reseller account with HostGator. You can work directly with them, as of now it’s $6.36/mo with a three year agreement. If you’re a small company (less than 5 people), we can put you on our server free of charge.
- Premium Photos ($1-50+ each) – Even though most companies pull images from Google Images – in most cases it’s not legal. While there are a lot of quality images under public domain and creative commons, the best images are usually found at stock photo websites like iStockPhoto and ShutterStock. Most images are just a few bucks to use, but I have seen some extraordinary images for $50+. Generally speaking, most businesses don’t need more than 1 or two premium stock photos, if any at all.
- SSL Certificate ($12+) – This is generally recommended for eCommerce websites who want to handle the checkout process directly on their website, as opposed to through a 3rd party payment processor like PayPal.
- Website Tools and Templates (Varies) – See the “Contact Us” box in the bottom right hand corner? That’s actually powered by a 3rd party service called oLark. There are a myriad of website tools and templates on the web that we can discuss for your website.
Misc. Thoughts on SEO from our old homepage
- Be weary of companies offering blanket “SEO packages,” especially tied to a contract. Not all businesses are alike, and what works for one company, may not work for another. And what happens if the consultant doesn’t produce results after a few months, but you’re tied to a 12 month contract?At SorianoMedia, there are no long term commitments, I offer honest and transparent pricing that helps you drive more revenue. We work on a monthly retainer, and if you don’t see an improvement in rankings for the current month – your next month is free!
- SEO in 1999 was much different than 2010, and SEO has continued to evolve into 2017. Consultants who used the same old lazy tactics were penalized by Google’s recent algorithmic updates (Search: Google Panda, Penguin and Hummingbird). Put your business in the wrong consultants hands, and your website could get de-indexed by Google. Which would be the equivalent of driving a wrecking ball through your physical storefront.
- Here’s where a lot of SEO companies and consultants fail, they focus on rankings instead of revenue. Search traffic is just one part of the puzzle, you have to convert that traffic. Even on SorianoMedia, we’re constantly testing different copy, headlines and images just to see what converts best. Companies like Amazon spend millions on Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO), because when you’re Amazon and you do $61B in 2013, a 1% difference in conversion rate could add $5B+ to revenue. Similarly, if you’re a lawyer, converting just 5 more clients a month could be a five figure difference every month.
- Pay for Performance SEO Services are unheard of in this industry. Other SEO Companies simply can’t afford it. With office space, employees, overhead, etc., most companies can’t afford to risk a revenue stream, especially since a lot “SEO’s” over-promise and under-deliver. We can take this risk because we know exactly what it takes to rank small businesses, and not seeing an improvement in rankings is a very rare occurrence for us. Plus, we want to create a win-win situation for both client and consultant.
- When you hire most SEO companies, it’s a cost. Many business owners think that a new website will be the magic pill, that it will somehow magically solve all their problems, and that simply isn’t the case. At SorianoMedia, we don’t design websites for the sake of designing websites. We come up with a plan to improve the key monetization drivers for your business. Therefore the money you spend with us isn’t a cost, it’s an investment. We’re very selective about who we choose to work with, but if we feel we can help your business – we’d love to work together. I’ve worked with a lot of consulting agencies in Las Vegas and I know that they charge an exorbitant price, then assign your account to a junior associate. Many clients I’ve worked with have come to me because they’ve grown frustrated with an agency who doesn’t pickup the phone when they need help, or respond to emails in a timely manner. If you hire me, you get me. Send me a call, text or email and I always try to get back to you as soon as I can.
- Don’t choose an SEO company based on their rankings for “SEO Company Las Vegas.” It’s a selling point for the companies that rank there, but it’s a vanity metric for the most part. Only 260 people search that a month, and most of them are people out of the country looking to sell services to them or companies themselves to check where they’re ranking. Here’s a screenshot from Google: