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How Your Recruiting Firm Should Approach Competitor Negative Keywords

As a recruiting firm, you want to make sure you’re not spending your marketing budget on the wrong keywords or unintentional calls. Recruiting firms using PPC have to really look at the negative keywords they are using, as well as the competitors they are showing up for, to ensure they’re not wasting valuable ad spend on false conversions.

For example, if you’re a staffing firm and you want to show up for the keyword staffing agency near me, you want to make sure you have all the major competitor names in your area as negative keywords.

Related Post: What is SEO? Beyond the Keywords ➢

What are Negative Keywords for Recruiting Firms?

Negative keywords are a type of keyword that prevents your ad from being triggered by a precise word or phrase. When deployed, anyone searching for that precise word or phrase will not be shown in your ads. But if you don’t utilize negative keywords, your ads will show up in inefficient searches.

Let’s use an example of Robert Half, a well-known staffing agency.  If someone types in Robert Half staffing as a search term and you have staffing as a broad term in your keyword list you are bidding on, you will show up for that search.

You might be thinking, that’s great, my firm can be positioned to compete with them! But it’s not like that at all.

It has been tested and tested and no matter how many times your upper management “thinks” that your team can steal that lead…the answer is NO.  If someone is looking for your competitor with a branded searched, they are almost certainly so deep into the sales funnel that you have little-to-no hope at stealing the lead.

Now I know you are thinking: “Well if the searcher reads the ad copy and URL in my ad they will see that I am not Robert Half.” The trouble is, people don’t pay as much attention to the ad as you WANT to believe they do. A lot of people just click on the first option that pulls up on their phone or desktop after typing in their search query.

Now, I am not saying that ad copy is not important because it definitely is. I’m saying that putting all of your trust, and ad spend, on the low-percentage chance that the searcher diligently reads the ad copy is not a prudent idea.

Related Post: New Site Launch SEO Checklist ➢

The Danger of Neglecting Negative Keywords

So, if your company is using staffing as a general keyword in your keyword list, you would show up for the search term Robert Half staffing. When the searcher inevitably doesn’t catch that you’re not Robert Half, here’s what’s going to happen.

The searcher is going to click to call the agency and your office answers:

“Hello this is ABC Staffing. How can I help you?”

The searcher will rightly be confused and disoriented not to hear Robert Half, and either hang up or ask for Robert Half. Once the searcher clicked call, you lost a good amount of money based on the keyword cost of each click. If you don’t use negative keywords for your competitor names, you will continue to cost yourself money and fail to get the conversions you’re expecting. Not to mention you’ll skew your analytics and metrics in the process, making it difficult to forge a future PPC strategy.

How many Competitor Recruiting Firms Should I Have in my Negative Keyword List?

The more the merrier. Having a large number of competitors in your negative keyword list will get you more accurate conversion data, better click-through rates, and greater return on your ad spend.  In the end, every staffing agency monitors marketing budget and specifically paid media/PPC very closely, so you want to make sure you’re optimizing and structuring your campaigns the best you can. Using negative keywords and specifically, competitor negative keywords is a big part of budget savings.

In closing, negative keywords will help you save budget and give you the ability to get in front of the exact client/candidate you are looking for. Make sure you are continually monitoring and adding negative keywords to your list. It’s wise to set aside time to go through your search query reports to see where you are potentially losing money on unneeded clicks.

So, the next time someone tells you that you have an opportunity to increase overall organic visibility on your site, hear them out. Ask them pointed questions about how they plan to drive marketing success.

And if you do find yourself starting a partnership with a marketing agency, here are four ways to build an effective relationship.

woman creating a new start up website

Schema Structured Data: What It Is and How to Implement It on Your Website

Structured data is a way for search engines to organize the content in your HTML by providing explicit clues about the meaning of the page using semantic vocabulary.

Google and other search engines created a structured data standard called Google recommends using JSON LD and

Here is an example of ATT and Verizon using reviews and price schema: (often called Schema) was launched by Bing, Google and Yahoo! to create and support common schemas. Schemas are a semantic vocabulary of tags (or microdata) that you can add to your HTML source code to improve the way Google reads and represents your page in search engine results pages (SERPs).

For example, here is a JSON-LD structured data snippet that appears on Parqa’s website: markup is becoming more important in voice search, acting as a suggestion that points digital assistants towards the information to correctly answer a voice query. Voice queries depend heavily on implied context, and Schema markup can help give that context to an otherwise unclear page of text.

There are clear advantages of using, but actually implementing it can be more challenging. Because of this challenge, only a small number of websites make use of If you use schema markup, you’ll automatically have an advantage over the majority of your competition.

Related Post: How to Build Your Brand Through Digital Marketing ➢

How Do I Add Schema to My Website?

Option 1

Hall Analysis has created the JSON-LD Schema Generator. It allows you to pick from a group of popular types, but instead of outputting microdata, it generates JSON-LD. Google also has a JSON-LD tool. These tools only produce the code and you will have to manually add the html to the individual page’s source code.

Option 2

WP SEO Structure Data Schema is my preferred plugin for WordPress websites. This plugin allows you to insert the information and not only creates the JSON-LD, but also adds the code into the source code.

Related Post: PPC vs. SEO: Which One Should I Focus On? ➢

Testing your Schema Structured Data

Option 1

Use the Google Structured Data Testing Tool. This is the most reliable way of testing your schema markup. However, I have had issues with this tool timing out and not providing any answers.

Option 2

Add Structured Data Testing Tool to your Google Chrome browser. I rely on this tool more than the one provided by Google. One click on the icon and you are provided with the type of schema found on the page with an accordion tab to view what is being pulled and any possible errors.

What Schema Structured Data Should I Use?

Organization Schema Markup (included in WP SEO Structure Data Schema plugin)

The organization schema markup helps enhance your Knowledge Graph entry and website snippet presence. Remember to Insert your logosocial profile links, and corporate contact information.

WebSite Schema Markup (included in WP SEO Structure Data Schema plugin)

The WebSite schema markup helps generate the Sitelinks Search Box feature for brand searches. You need to have an existing site search on your website to enable the Sitelinks Search Box element.

Breadcrumbs Markup (can be implemented through Yoast)

The BreadcrumbList schema allows you generate breadcrumb rich snippets for your pages in the SERPs. This also helps improve the crawlability of your site.

Site Navigation Schema Markup (included in WP SEO Structure Data Schema plugin)

The SiteNavigationElement markup helps produce organic site links.

Schema Product Markup

The Product markups can help product information including price and status information to appear in SERPS.

Schema Article Markup (included in WP SEO Structure Data Schema plugin)

If you are producing articles or blogs, the NewsArticle or BlogPosting schemas are for you.

Recipe Schema Markup (included in WP SEO Structure Data Schema plugin)

Recipe websites leverage Recipe schema markup to enable recipe rich snippets.

Next Steps for your Online Presence

Schema markup is one of those SEO best practices that will be around for a long time. Google is finding you additional avenues to provide the end user with detailed information before they even land on your site.  You might as well stay ahead of the curve and have an instant leg up on the competition by implementing schema on your site today.

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How To Inject Some Much-Needed Fun into Your B2B Blog

B2B blogs have a terrible tendency to be dry, boring, and informal. Why are most B2B blogs so yawn-inducing?

Some of the blame lays at the feet of B2B business owners, who often become overly concerned about scaring customers away by showcasing personality. Then there’s the content-for-the-sake-of-content mentality that prevails in the industry, where many companies have been falsely told that if they publish blogs consistently, regardless of how aimless or poorly written the content is, they will increase their traffic.

This misguided mindset leads to a whole glut of boring content being published merely to feed the unending appetite of search engines, instead of to achieve the primary goal of content marketing—to educate and inform your existing and potential customers.

The blame game isn’t important but slapping some fun and excitement into your B2B content is. You want your blog content to be insightful and informative, but you also want to keep your readers from falling asleep on their keyboards while they read your stuff.

Watch On-demand: Check out this webinar to learn how you can implement content marketing into your strategy ➢

Here’s some tips for injecting some fun into your B2B blog.

Have a Voice

First and foremost, give your content a voice. What is voice in terms of writing? It’s the distinct personality, style, or point of view that a writing possesses. A strong authorial voice will leap off the screen and capture the attention of your reader.

I commonly hear people say that you can’t make boring topics fun, but it’s simply not true. By applying a unique voice to your writing, you can inject some life and character into any subject, regardless of how interesting or uninteresting you feel it may be.

For example, we can all agree that there is nothing inherently interesting about a person drinking a glass of water, right? To demonstrate the power of voice, here is two messages that have the same literal meaning, but vary greatly due to voice:

Boring Voice: Jill was thirsty, so she drank some water.

Fun Voice: Jill guzzled water straight from the faucet in a desperate attempt to quench her thirst.

Both sentences describe what is otherwise a boring event of someone drinking some water. The first one gives us a matter-as-fact account that leaves the reader with no questions or interest in learning more.

But in the second example the reader is left with several questions—why is she so thirsty? Why didn’t she use a glass? Why is she drinking yucky faucet water in a post-Brita world?

Deploy First Person

Another common contributor to boring content is third-person POV. Using third person is very standard in business writing, as it separates the person writing the content from the opinions being expressed in the writing. But while third person is safer, it creates distance between the writer and the reader, which often results in dull writing.

Don’t be scared to deploy first-person POV in your B2B content, especially in blogging. First person is more intimate, authentic, and confident than third person. By result, blogs written in the first person will sound more conversational and address the reader more directly.

If for no other reason, write in the first person because your audience is being inundated with third person. If they read five top-of-funnel blogs about a topic, and four of them are written in third person and one is in first, the first-person blog is going to have the inside edge on standing out.

Related Post: 5 Content Marketing Mistakes – That Give Competitors the Edge ➢

Take Some Chances

B2C brands simply have a more energetic and lively reputation than B2B, which makes it seem like B2C marketing is more fun-filled than B2B. Some of that is a consequence of the end product inherently being more interesting for B2C brands, after all when Don Draper and the copywriters of Sterling Cooper were devising scotch-soaked campaigns on the hit show Mad Men, they were doing so for massive B2C brands like Life Cereal, Kodak, and Chevrolet, not for finance & accounting firms or IT software suppliers.

But B2B brands don’t have to let B2C brands have all the fun. Instead, take note of their courage to try new things and apply that lesson to your content strategy.

Buck the status quo every once and while and take some chances with your content. While a B2B audience is typically a bit more conservative than a B2C one, that doesn’t mean you can’t throw in a pop culture reference every so often or toss some gifs into the equation. By taking some chances in how you write your blogs, you’re going to make the experience more fun to write, and possibly, you’ll identify that it will make your audience more engaged. But you won’t know until you try.

Writing the same boring B2B blogs over and over is no fun for you to write and certainly isn’t fun for your audience to read. Take note of some of the tips I put forth in this blog the next time to sit down to punch up a blog and see if you don’t stumble into a more intriguing blog.

Want to learn more about giving your B2B marketing a boost? Learn how Parqa can transform the way you approach digital marketing.

What would you do if you knew your website was working for you?

Content Marketing Webinar

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Why Develop a Recruiting Agency Website with SEO?

I recently had a recruiting firm owner ask me why he needed SEO for his website, since his previous website development firm told him they made his website SEO friendly already. After a little digging, it was easy for me to see what happened to him is what happens to MOST people who hire a development agency and don’t ask specific questions about SEO.

The website was set up well for SEO, as in it had a plugin installed for SEO, but there had not been any SEO tactics applied to the website at all. This is not really the fault of the development firm, as their sweet spot is development (not SEO), nor did they sell it any other way. They know “SEO friendly” doesn’t mean “SEO optimized” …but the business owner didn’t.

Most people don’t.

SEO For Your Website: 101 {That Everyone Wishes They Knew}

When we create a website, we include a full SEO process to ensure your website informs the search engines what you DO and ultimately what you want to rank for. Our SEO Discovery Process includes keyword research, a content map, a technical website audit, and a competitor audit.

Each of these research processes provide valuable insights into what people are searching for, what the search volume is for those particular keywords, what others are doing in your industry that is working well (or not so well), and ultimately what you need to do to your website and online presence to make sure you are represented online in searches.

Watch On-demand: Check out this webinar to learn how you can implement content marketing into your strategy ➢

SEO gets technical pretty quickly, and at the end of the day, a recruiting firm owner’s top priority isn’t diving into the details of digital marketing and search engine optimization. Rather, it’s making sure you’re out there networking, getting new business, filling roles, and managing your team’s success in making placements. And if you’re working ON your business rather than IN your business, you may be thinking more and more about how to get your marketing to work for you.

Why is it important to make sure your website is optimized for SEO?

Story Time: How A Hiring Manager Initial Meeting is Similar to a Google Search

Well, imagine walking into a potential client’s office. You’ve secured a meeting with the hiring manager who has an open role, and you’re going to tell them about your company, your experience, and why you are the best person to fill their role. Let’s say the role is for a CFO. Let’s say you claim to be able to fill any role in any industry, nationwide. That’s your pitch.

Your meeting ends. Let’s say the next person to meet with that hiring manager is a recruiting firm owner right down the street from the company who specializes in placing Accounting & Finance professionals in senior level and C-level roles. That’s all they do. And they do it well. Who do you think is going to get the search?

Now let’s bring it back to your website. If a hiring manager or candidate needs your service (but they don’t know you, and don’t have a good resource, or haven’t had luck with their current partnership), they are going to ask Google.

Related Post: 5 Content Marketing Mistakes – That Give Competitors the Edge ➢

What do you think they are going to type in? Let’s use the same hiring manager as an example. Do you think she is going to type in “Recruiter”? Not likely. She is probably going to type in something like “Finance Recruiter <My City>” or even “CFO Executive Search <My City>”. Now this could be REALLY good for you, or REALLY bad for you.

If you don’t specialize in that area, it’s not likely your website has content around those keywords, so it’s not likely you are going to rank for that search at all. No chance of being found. (PS, we all know the importance of focusing on a niche industry and/or market is a whole different conversation.)

But let’s say you DO focus on that niche, and you ARE in that city…you should come up in that search! Right? Maybe…if your website has been optimized for content relevant to your niche. If you have no pages on your website that talk about those keywords (e.g., practice area pages, blog articles, job posts, other content), Google may not even know that’s what you do. The key here is that it doesn’t necessarily matter how credible you are, and it doesn’t even matter if you close 95% of the searches you go after—you are going to have a difficult time having those conversations to close those searches if people cannot FIND you online in the first place.

Related Post: Redesigning Your Website? Why You Need to Work with an SEO Firm ➢

There is Hope to Get Found Online…And We’ve Discovered It!

Don’t worry, there is hope! And it’s not that difficult to attain. Start with a conversation with our team. We’ll review your website to see if you’re set up well for SEO (and thus, see if you are in a position to have Google know what you do, and ultimately get found by people looking for your services). And if you’re not…then join the club. No, really. Most recruiting agency websites…in fact MOST websites in general, are not set up with the technical SEO and the content needed to get found properly online. And it’s easy to fix.

We’ve worked with many companies across the country and have helped improve their website traffic for inbound clients (or candidates), based on their business needs. It’s as critical (more in fact if you think about the potential reach), as training your recruiters on doing their job well. Make your website work for you, not against you.

What would you do if you knew your website was working for you?

Content Marketing Webinar

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What is SEO? – Beyond the Keywords

More times that I can count, I hear people say things like “I don’t need SEO services because my site already has keywords included.” What I love to do is help people learn and understand that SEO isn’t just about the keywords on the page, but about the overall experience search engine crawlers have on the site and, in turn, how consumers see and interact with the site.

Related Post: How Long Does it Take for SEO to Produce Results? ➢


It’s true. SEO used to be about things like keyword stuffing, link farms, etc. We all remember the black-hat days of SEO, where a few timely keywords could shoot a page up the rankings. Luckily, today’s search environment is much more sophisticated.

As search engines have evolved and become more knowledgeable on how consumers search as well as what consumers want to see. SEO has become much more about finding the relevant content for the consumer based on the intent of their search, and much less about sleezy tactics that once dominated the industry.

What does that mean for my business?

It means you have more opportunity!

Related Post: 6 Signs You Need a Content Marketing Strategy ➢


Search engines are evaluating your web pages with a much broader scoring rubric. Think about it like the SAT. If your SEO strategy is focused exclusively on keywords, it would be like only studying for the math portion of the SAT. While you may crush that portion and yield an outstanding math score, you’re going to have your overall score get dramatically dinged when you tank your reading, writing, and language portions of the exam.

Yes, like math, keywords are still important, but so too is the other vital components of SEO like the readability of your content, how easy your site is to navigate, the internal and external linking maps your site is deploying, and the overall user experience your site is providing readers. Each of these areas presents your business with opportunity to increase your organic traffic and capture the eyes of more prospective customers.

Related Post: SEO vs. PPC: Which One Should I Focus On? ➢


So, the next time someone tells you that you have opportunity to increase overall organic visibility on your site, hear them out. Ask them pointed questions about how they plan to drive marketing success.

And if you do find yourself starting a partnership with a marketing agency, here are four ways to build an effective relationship.

coworkers together on redesigning website plan

Redesigning Your Website? Why You Need to Work with an SEO Firm

Why Do I Need an SEO Firm?

When redesigning your website, it is vital to take SEO into consideration. If your website isn’t easy for Google to crawl, doesn’t provide a simple UX, and portray trust to your customers, no amount of keyword optimization or SEO magic is going to help you improve search engine rankings, grow your online presence or increase online leads/ revenue.

To ensure your new site will resonate with your targeted audience — and to save yourself from costly headaches down the road — SEO needs to be integrated into your website redesign strategy from the beginning.

SEO is not just about optimizing page titles and on-page content, it’s about all the factors that help you improve your search-engine rankings and online presence, and YOUR WEBSITE EXPERIENCE is #1.

You can partner with a website design/development agency, but without an experienced SEO company/specialist you’re going to have to make significant changes after your new website has been created.

What is SEO?

SEO is anything that impacts potential links, any input that engines use to rank pages. Anything that people or technology does to influence those ranking elements is what the practice of SEO is about.

– Rand Fishkin, Moz

Related Post: How Long Does it Take for SEO to Produce Results? ➢

Your Website Redesign & SEO

While you may want to try and save money by pausing your retainer with your SEO partner during your website redesign, you’re likely going to end up paying more in the long run because of the significant changes that will probably need to be made from a website UX perspective. Changes include: adding CTA’s, URL/folder structure, keyword optimized URLs, H1 vs H2 title tags, internal linking, content that builds trust with readers, etc.)

Myself, along with other digital marketing and SEO experts can’t emphasize enough the importance of incorporating SEO into the redesign of your website:

“If you don’t have SEO in mind from the initial strategy session, you’re going to lose what you took so much time and effort to build. Everything from the structure of your website to the meta description of your website pages is important and should be taken into consideration.”

-Laura Hogan, OverGo Studio

“All too often, when we’re brought in for SEO work on a redesign, it’s often late in the process, such as when the site is being coded or even totally complete. The advice that usually needs to be passed on at this point will most likely cost the company much more in design, coding, and more.”

-Jeff Ferguson, Fang Digital Marketing

Like many small-to-mid-sized business owners, you might wonder why your digital marketing firm is talking about your website’s UX. The overall design experience of your website, as well as its mobile friendliness, is a ranking factor for Google. Plus, in order for SEO and PPC to be effective in helping you grow your business and generate leads, your website has to provide a great UX to visitors and establish trust.

Related Post: Mobile Optimization vs. Mobile Friendly: What’s the Difference? ➢

 “SEO is neuropsychology. SEO is conversion rate optimization. SEO is social media. SEO is user experience and design. SEO is branding. SEO is analytics. SEO is product. SEO is advertising. SEO is public relations. The fill-in-the-blank is SEO if that blank is anything that affects any input directly or indirectly.”

 -Rand Fishkin, MOZ

Related Post: What is SEO? – Beyond the Keywords ➢

Isn’t My Website Good Enough?

‘Good Enough’ won’t cut it when it comes to your website’s UX

A few reasons why having a good UX matters:

  • A poorly designed website can impact the trust users have in your business.
  • A poorly designed website can deter visitors from buying your products or services.
  • A poorly designed website can impact if users will share your content.


If you choose to hire a web-design company or freelance designer for your small to mid-sized business, you should be sure to also choose an individual or SEO firm to partner with during the redesign process. They will help ensure SEO best practices will be properly integrated into your new website from the beginning. This will save you time, and money, down the road.

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Black Hat vs. White Hat SEO: What’s the Difference?

The difference between Black Hat & White Hat SEO refers to the techniques used when trying to improve a website’s search engine ranking.

Black Hat SEO:

Focuses on utilizing techniques and strategies to deceive search engines into ranking their particular websites higher on search results.  It’s typically used by those looking to see immediate & quick results, rather than a long-term investment.  Often times Black hat SEO focuses on only search engines and not so much a human audience. Black Hat techniques that are seen as deceptive and violate Google’s Webmaster Guidelines include:

  • Keyword Stuffing: “Keyword stuffing” refers to the practice of loading a webpage with keywords or numbers in an attempt to manipulate a site’s ranking in Google search results.
  • Hidden Text: i.e. using white text on a white background, setting font size to 0, hiding a link by only linking one small character—for example, a hyphen in the middle of a paragraph, etc.
  • Link Farming: Links intended to manipulate PageRank1  or a site’s ranking in search results (i.e. buying or selling links that pass PageRank, excessive link exchanges (“Link to me & I’ll link to you”)
  • And More

While these techniques can provide quick and immediate SEO results – and may seem appealing in the short run -consequences can result in your site being banned from a search engine (most likely Google) and or ranking penalties.  This means people won’t be able to find your site organically, defeating any short lasted traffic/sales/leads you may have gained from Black Hat techniques.

“Black hat SEO focuses on search engines and not so much a human audience.”2

White Hat SEO:

White Hat techniques target human audiences rather than simply search engines.

Techniques and strategies typically utilized in White Hat SEO include: conducting keyword analysis and keyword research, rewriting meta/page titles and meta descriptions to speak more specifically about what the page is about, writing and creating quality content for HUMAN READERS, internal backlinking and natural link building, just to name a few.  However, probably the most important White Hat SEO technique is creating quality content.

White Hat SEO is a long-term investment and takes time to build and see ROI, however the pro is that the results last a long time.

Related Post: How Long Does it Take for SEO to Produce Results? ➢

“Creating quality content may be time consuming, but it will be well worth it in the long run. […] The more content-rich your site is, the more valuable it will appear to the search engines and human visitors/ customers/ clients.”

Related Posts:

1 PageRank – (PR) is an algorithm used by Google Search to rank websites in their search engine results, and is a way of measuring the importance of website pages. IT IS NOT THE ONLY ALGORITHM USED BY GOOGLE to order search results

2 & 3 Quoted from Unamo University – online marketing resource center

man on Google Analytics

How Long Does It Take for SEO to Produce Results?

When it comes to digital marketing, people ask me this question a lot: “how long will it take for SEO to produce results?” No matter what industry your business is in—whether your company is looking to create or improve their digital presence—this is an all too familiar question that everyone wants to know the answer to. Unfortunately, the answer is not so simple.

Over the past decade, SEO has evolved significantly. It now better reflects a website’s overall quality and the relevance of user’s searches, while simultaneously penalizing websites that utilize older, black hat SEO tactics that used to provide quick results—for example, low-quality link building or keyword stuffing.

Nowadays, the success of your online campaigns and the time it takes to see results can vary based on a number of factors, including:

  • The size of your SEO project(s)
  • How long your website has been around
  • If you’re currently involved in any SEO efforts
  • How much content is on your website
  • What market you’re targeting (and its saturation/ competition)
  • And most importantly: what your ultimate goal is

With so many factors at play, you need to look at SEO as an investment—not a short-term quick fix.

“SEO that generates results for your business is not a strategy that can come to fruition overnight, despite what many SEO firms and specialists may claim.”

Producing quality results takes time. SEO should be considered a long-term marketing strategy that requires thoughtful planning, cross-departmental cooperation, and a results-driven approach.

With that being said, there is a plausible scenario for what your SEO efforts might look like during the initial months and the results you might expect from its implementation.

Related Post: What is SEO? – Beyond the Keywords ➢

Initial Steps—Planning the SEO Strategy (0-2 Months)

These first few months are mostly dedicated to planning, and it’s unlikely you’ll begin achieving any noticeable results to your SEO rankings or bottom line. Depending on the size of your business, this stage can take anywhere from a few weeks to a few months to complete. This planning process includes:

  • researching relevant keywords
  • benchmarking your competitors (keywords, traffic, site performance, and online marketing initiatives)
  • auditing the performance of and content on your existing website
  • getting a better understanding of your ultimate goals

SEO Strategy Implementation (3+ Months)

After the planning process, the next step is to begin the implementation. This stage has an open-ended timeline as SEO is an ever-changing strategy that requires constant monitoring and optimization of content. As your SEO strategy matures, revisions and corrections may be needed to accommodate for new opportunities.

Stage 1 Addressing technical site & SEO issues

During this time you’ll be working on fixing the technical issues on your site that affect your search engine ranking.

Stage 2 Begin execution of long-term content marketing strategy

This includes blogging, writing, and optimizing content for product category pages, and service pages (what we call ‘$$$ pages’). A strong content strategy is likely one of the most important elements to include in your SEO efforts as it can help drive your website to the top of search engine rankings.

NOTE: You may start seeing an increase in traffic within a few weeks of publishing great content, but remember that SEO is an ongoing approach.

Related Post: SEO vs. PPC: Which One Should I Focus On? ➢

Realistic Timeline for SEO Results (7-12 Months)

While your keywords will likely start performing better prior to the 7-month mark, in all reality, 7-12 months is likely how long it will take before you start experiencing any impactful results from your SEO efforts. Google and other search engines have gotten smarter over the past few years, and they can no longer be tricked by content that’s stuffed with keywords or doesn’t make sense. Google is looking not only at your content, but also at your reputation. Is what you’re saying reputable? Do you have a history of great content? Do you have high-quality links? The more of these questions you can answer “yes” to, the better your search ranking.

Why Partner With an SEO Firm?

While you can’t take shortcuts on your way to profitable SEO, that doesn’t mean it’s not worthwhile. If you want to go about SEO the right way and potentially see results more quickly, it’s smart to partner with an SEO firm. The best SEO companies will save you months of research and implementation time by using their industry experience and expertise. Many times an SEO firm will have worked with a similar client in your industry and can leverage that experience to deliver better results for you. They can also give you a clear timeline on when you should see specific results and how they’ll deliver those results.

SEO: A Long-Term Marketing Tactic with Strong ROI Potential

It’s easy to get impatient when it comes to SEO, but success by any standard will rarely come within the first three months. If you quit after just a few months because you’re not seeing results that justify the cost, you’ve essentially just thrown away your money due to unrealistic expectations. SEO is a long-term investment—one that requires at least a budget for 6-12 months. But if you give it enough time, it’s one of the smartest long-term marketing strategies around for growing your business. Partnering with an SEO firm can help you develop a realistic timeline and see solid results that deliver a strong ROI in the long-term.

Related Post: Top 5 Questions Business Owners Have About Digital Marketing ➢

laptop and notebook with report illustrations

PPC vs. SEO: Which One Should I Focus On?

When it comes to boosting traffic to your website, you have two basic options: pay-per-click (PPC) or search engine optimization (SEO).

You can pay for traffic using the PPC advertising programs provided by Google Adwords, Bing Ads, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc. They enable you to display ads in the sponsored results section of each search engine’s results page or the feed of a social media platform. You pay a fee based on how competitive your chosen keyword is and how many clicks your ad receives.

Alternatively, you can build traffic for free by increasing your rankings in the organic search results. These are the listings displayed below the paid/sponsored results. It takes time to reach the top of the organic results for the keyword(s) related to your product/service offerings, but the free targeted traffic will prove to be well worth the investment down the road.

Related Post: Top 5 Questions Business Owners Have About Digital Marketing ➢

Which approach is better?

It depends on a multitude of factors including your needs, budget, business goals, and website quality. If you want more traffic fast and are willing to pay for it, then PPC might be right for you. But if you’re operating on a smaller budget and are ok investing in something that will take time to build & see results, optimizing your site & content to help increase your organic search rankings through SEO efforts may be a better option1.

One of the biggest problems I see with many clients is that they come in wanting immediate results, whether that’s product sales, business leads, etc. The reality is that both PPC and SEO take time to build, implement, and optimize.

The other problem is that many of these clients come in with a website that’s poorly laid out (i.e. looking like they were made in the 1990s, and very little information and content around why individuals/ businesses should buy from them or utilize their services over their competitors).

Whether you choose to invest in PPC or SEO, your website has to do an efficient job of selling your services and telling visitors (directly or indirectly) why they should work with you over another company—otherwise it doesn’t matter how much you increase your traffic.

When Should I Invest in PPC?

Let’s get to it: when should you focus on PPC instead of SEO? Your company should invest in PPC if:

  • You’re looking to quickly increase the amount of traffic coming into your site (not just conversions or leads)
  • You’re willing to spend money on advertising within Google & potentially other search and social platforms
  • Your website ISN’T designed/ optimized for SEO
    • When this is the case, oftentimes we recommend our clients use a landing page creation software (i.e. Unbounce)
    • This gives us optimal control over the look and feel of the landing page we’re directing paid visitors to, and we can tailor that page towards a specific type of conversion2, without having to redesign the whole website
  • You’re looking to target a specific type of traffic (i.e. by demographic, education, hobbies, etc.)
  • You thoroughly explain why you’re better than the competition on your site

And When Should I Invest In SEO?

It’s important to remember that SEO is NOT free. No matter how you look at it, SEO comes at a cost. Whether it’s your own time or hiring an outside firm to develop or manage your SEO strategy, SEO does come with a cost. Invest in SEO if:

  • You want to invest in growing traffic for the long-run
  • You have quality pages on your site that advertise all your different products and/or services (i.e. this is what we call $$ pages)
  • You want to dominate search results for your keyword(s) category
  • You want to increase the value of your website

Related Post: How Long Does It Take for SEO to Produce Results? ➢


In an ideal world, we would look at both SEO and PPC. They both have pros and cons, but work best when supporting each other. Clients & companies who can get SEO and PPC working in tandem will often be able to drive results that are greater than their individual component parts.

1 Investing in SEO may require you to also invest in redesigning your website. You can drive all the traffic to your site, but if it doesn’t do a proper job of portraying who you are, your offerings and differentiating factors it’s not going to convert those visitors

2 A phrase used to describe the act of converting a customer who browses your site to a paying customer

two people looking at a macbook pro on desk

5 Content Marketing Mistakes – That Give Competitors the Edge

Content marketing has emerged as one of the most effective ways to build your business’s brand and voice. Additionally, it can also help generate customer loyalty and improve your company’s website ranking on online search engine results pages. As a business owner, content marketing is one of the best tools in your toolbox, but you can’t reap the benefits by aimlessly churning out content without a strategy and authenticity.

To benefit from content marketing, you have to do it right, otherwise it may be working against you and could be giving your competitors the edge. A finely-tuned content marketing strategy can help establish your authority in the marketplace, bring in new business and raise awareness for your brand, if you avoid the common but critical mistakes listed below.

1. Hiring Ghost Writers to Write for You

The bottom line is that the content you publish cannot be authentic if it does not come straight from the mind of a relevant expert. I see companies on a daily basis who publish content blatantly written by a ghostwriter and, in my experience, it detracts from the business’ overall credibility. In one instance, an US based competitor published a number of blogs containing words with British spellings, which made it obvious that they didn’t write it themselves.

From the customer’s perspective, if the content you’re putting out appears “fake” and doesn’t capture authentic thoughts and feelings, how good can your services be? Without the involvement of a genuine thought leader who has real expertise, using a ghostwriter is a shortcut that appears as a red flag to customers. You have to ask yourself: What does my content say about my company? Am I simply putting out content for the sake of doing it, or do I want to offer valuable and authentic content that people can learn from?

2. Over Promoting Yourself and Your Business

When the majority of your posts focus on personal accomplishments or newly retained assignments, you’re missing out on what makes social media so valuable: sharing and promoting the work and accomplishments of others, especially your individual employees. Promoting personal and overarching company accomplishments has a place, however, when you do it too much it gives off the impression that you’re only concerned about things that benefit or relate to you.

Rather than focus on your company and yourself, start sharing and talking about others more. Keep in mind that prospects are always watching you on social media, not necessarily your company. When they see that you are sharing and supporting others, it reflects positively and shows that you care about the success of your employees and learning from your peers. For example, rather than post about your company’s newest client, consider a post congratulating a loyal employee on their recent accomplishment.

3. Post and Pray, Not Tracking Metrics

Not tracking the effectiveness of your content marketing and thought leadership efforts is one of the most counter-productive mistakes you can make. If you don’t track key performance indicators (KPIs), there’s no way to know whether or not all your hard work is paying off. Without analyzing data and evidence to show what’s working and what isn’t, you’re simply guessing when it comes to your content strategy.

You’ll be far better equipped to make informed choices about how to approach content marketing if you know which types of content are resonating with your audience, which platforms are generating the most engagement and so on. It can feel tedious, but tracking basic analytics metrics such as clicks, visitors, and conversions (and analyzing that information) is important when it comes to refining your marketing strategy over time.

4. Writing for the Wrong Audience

You may also be writing to the wrong audience, or taking a guess on what they’re interested in. Your thought leadership can fall flat if you have the wrong people write or target an irrelevant audience.

Getting your intended audience right and properly defined can work wonders. Understanding who you’re writing for gives you a better understanding of the perspective you should take, the tone you should adopt and the level of knowledge your audience has. Additionally and perhaps most importantly, you’ll know what the pain points of that particular audience are so you can speak to them in your writing. For example, if your business is B2C, you’ll want to write directly to customers, but if your business is B2B, you’re more likely going to write to business owners and high-level decision makers. These two target audiences are very different and content needs to be finely tuned to resonate with any niche.

5. Don’t Allow Your Content Strategy to Work Against You

Above all, my point is that there’s truly no shortcut for building a great brand, owning rankings in search engine results pages, or becoming an authority in your market. Simply pushing out content without a plan is not enough and, unfortunately, can actually work against you if customers walk away with a bad taste in their mouth after reading it.

The key to avoiding this common pitfall is ensuring your content is authentic and comes straight from the mouth of a respected and experienced thought leader with genuinely valuable advice to give. While ghostwriters are convenient, they can’t deliver this. If you avoid these mistakes, share and support what others are posting about, and establish a way to track the effectiveness of your thought leadership, you’ll be able to build a strong brand based on memorable customer experiences.

How Can Parqa Help?

Digital marketing continues to evolve at a constant pace, so it helps to have a team on your side to navigate the latest changes and help you get solid results based on your unique objectives.
Parqa is a Digital Marketing Agency that specializes in SEO, SEM, Marketing Automation, Social Media and content creation. We help grow your brand and drive leads through inbound marketing.

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