Not All SEO Services are Created Equal

video-35MARK: Hi, I’m Mark Steinbrueck, and this is Kurt Steinbrueck. We’re with OurChurch.Com, and on this video we’re going to cover the topic of How all SEO programs are not created equal.

There’s a big disparity between certain SEO programs and others, so we’re going to get into what to look for so you understand the differences in various SEO programs.

KURT: The term SEO doesn’t really have a specific definition. It’s something where different people throw it around, being a lot of different things. Some of them, quite frankly, I don’t know how they’re really in good conscience calling it SEO. But there are all these different programs, you’ll see them out there. We just want to give you an idea of what it can really mean.

The first thing – I’ve taken these things through a scale – so the first one is what I like to call “not really SEO.”

I’ve seen this a lot with website hosts, where they’ll say that the sites are optimized, and what they really mean is that the site is able to be crawled and there’s maybe some automatic meta tags that are made. They’re not actually doing anything for you. It’s not really optimizing your site. In all honesty, it’s not. It’s the very basic of what you need just to be able to show up in the search engines.

MARK: Yeah, what you mean by crawled, it’s basically the search engines are able to read the information on the site.

KURT: Yes. Which you would hope with any site they would be able to do that. So just be aware that sometimes when people say SEO it could mean even as little as that.

The next one I call “barely SEO,”

And that is maybe they’re creating some meta tags for you, but they’re not doing any keyword research, they’re not optimizing the actual content of your site. All it is is just the bare basics of the meta tags and the title tags. It can get you, maybe, a little help, but it’s not going to do what a full optimization would do by any stretch of the imagination.

The next one is “decent SEO.”

You’re actually doing something here. This is where the company is actually optimizing the whole site, or the whole page, at least, the pages that they’re optimizing. So they’re not just doing meta tags, but they’re dealing with the content of the site and just the various elements there, the different tags that are there.

And they’re doing keyword research, and this is really important. This is something that I think gets overlooked by a lot of organizations. Keyword research is very important.

  • You’re trying to figure out what can you really rank for, at least at this point?
  • What does your site authority allow you to do?
  • What are the search engines going to be willing to rank this site for?
  • And also, what are people actually searching for?

If I try to optimize you for a keyword that you can’t rank for, well, you’re going to show up in #50, and no one’s ever going to see. But if I optimize you for a keyword no one ever searches for, then who cares if you’re #1? You’re not going to get any traffic.

MARK: You’re not getting any traffic.

KURT: Yeah, not at all. So that keyword research is very important to be able to determine, “What are the best keywords that you can rank well for at this time.”

MARK: Yeah, and it’s really important to do this because – I mean, the reasons that Kurt specified there, but also if you’re not doing any kind of keyword research, you have no idea what terms to even follow, and what terms to even pay attention to. So, it really is very important to make sure that that keyword research is done before you go through the process of optimization.

KURT: You find that gut feelings? Not so accurate.


KURT: That is not a good substitution. Then we start to get into real SEO. This is some good SEO here, and this is where you’re doing the on-page optimization, doing the keyword research to figure out what are the keywords that you can really benefit from, and then starting to do some link building. This is building the site authority for your site, and when I say authority, it’s how important do the search engines think that your site is, and what are they going to be willing to rank you for? The more authority you have, the more competitive the keywords that they’ll rank you for.

Doing link building and things like that, that’s going to start to build that authority up. You’re going to start to be able to rank for more and more competitive keywords. It’s going to be a progressive thing. You’re actually improving over time, which is a good thing.

Then we have the last one, this is “great SEO.”

This is what hopefully you would be willing to do, or a company would be willing to do for you. This is you’re getting the on-page optimization, the research, the link building, and then you’re also doing some content creation, so you’re actually creating new pages to optimize. You’re putting blog posts out, you’re creating videos, images, whatever you can share, so that you’re starting to really put yourself out on the web, establish yourself as an authority and an expert in your field. And also getting the shares, getting the links, things like that.

You also find that when you produce good content, that in and of itself brings traffic. So you’re getting traffic from the SEO and from the search rankings, which is great, but you’re also getting traffic from your actual content. It’s an additional bonus from that.

So what is an SEO program? Well, it depends who you ask. So you really have to be careful. You have to make sure that you’re asking:

  • What are you really going to do for me if I get your SEO program, or
  • If I get a website hosted by you and you say that it’s optimized – what does that really mean?
  • Is it that you’re not really doing anything, and it’s just the basics, my site can be crawled?
  • Or are you actually going to go all-out?

I would hope that anyone who’s serious about SEO would at least start with a good SEO – that you’re doing some on-page optimization, the keyword research, and some link building, so that you’re actually able to grow.

MARK: Yeah, so if you’re going through the process and talking to SEO companies and asking them about their programs, make sure that you get that in writing. It really is important to make sure that what they say on the phone is also what they’re going to be willing to put in writing and what they’ll implement if you work to have a program with them.

Kurt, I appreciate your time and your expertise. We thank you for taking the time to watch this video. We hope that it’s been informative.

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Paul Steinbrueck is co-founder and CEO of OurChurch.Com, elder of, husband, father of 3, blogger. You can follow him on Twitter at @PaulSteinbrueck and add him to your circles at Google+ as .

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