2017 Search Engine Optimization Services in Review

What do you get when you retain Morroni Technologies for Search Engine Optimization (SEO) services? Well that depends — but let’s take a look at what we achieved across the board last year to give you a general idea.

2017 SEO Results by the Numbers

On average, Morroni SEO clients’ organic search traffic volume rose by 260% year over year. You may be asking ‘what is organic search traffic?’ It includes all visitors from search engines (Google) who aren’t from paid ads.

Take a look at the graph below that shows the total organic traffic for all of our clients from December 2016 through December 2017. Keep in mind that October – December is the busy season for most of our clients, so the relatively flat Dec ’16 through Jul ’17 is more impressive than it looks; generally traffic would be falling through that period. The difference in traffic volume between Dec ’16 and Dec ’17 tells the full story.

Organic Traffic for all SEO Service Clients

Total Organic Traffic for All Morroni SEO Clients – December 2016 – December 2017

Within those numbers we had two groups, both of which happened to average calendar year gains of 260%. Clients we added during 2017 tended to post higher month over month gains (an average of 35% increases month over month, as opposed to 12.5% for full-year clients), as they often came to us lacking much of the basic SEO groundwork. With those clients, we were able to tackle many low-effort and/or high-impact projects quickly in order to bring their web presence up to standard. Often these projects started with a website redesign, through the course of which all SEO best-practices were observed and page content was optimized.

It was the effect of these redesigns that drove such impressive numbers for our new clients. We (and most SEO agencies) are careful to warn clients that SEO is a long term strategy, and it can take some time before work starts to have an effect. Of course, when replacing a poorly constructed and optimized website with one built from the ground up with search optimization in mind, more immediate results are possible. Take a look at the average month over month traffic increases new SEO clients experienced on average in 2017:

search engine optimization services results 2017

Average Month over Month Organic Traffic Increases for New SEO Clients in 2017

Our full year clients also saw an average organic traffic gain of 260% year over year, with corresponding 12.5% month over month increases. These clients, most of whom have been working with us for 3 or more years, already have very well optimized websites and few opportunities for quick and easy improvement. Search Engine Optimization service for these clients typically consists only of content marketing and off-site optimization.

We also looked at results weighted by client size. Calculating a weighted average by valuing clients proportionately to their traffic volume, we get a 191% year over year gain in organic traffic. This figure includes all of our clients, including all of the accounts we added mid-year. So that figure actually only represents an average of 10.7 months of SEO work. Extrapolate that out to be an average of 12 months, and we’d expect to see a 214% weighted gain. Do the same thing with the un-weighted figure, and you get an expected 12 month gain across all clients of 292%.

All data was taken from Google Analytics, with internal, paid, and spam traffic filtered out.

Philadelphia SEO – How Did We Do Locally?

Local Search Engine Optimization looks rather different than SEO for companies that sell online or serve nationally. Content marketing, though still important, takes a smaller role, while citation building, generating reviews, and social media optimization play a larger part. Rather than seeking to expand the number of keywords a site ranks on, extra emphasis is placed on being on the top of a handful of major service-related searches.

The local pack, or Google Maps results shown at the top of organic search engine result pages, is the center of attention. Not only do results in the local pack supersede standard organic results at the top of the results page, but many local shoppers look for services right from their maps app.

So how did we do with Philadelphia Search Engine Optimization? We averaged a 240% year over year increase, including both full year and partial year clients. Take a look at the average month over month gains for these clients from December 2016 to December 2017, including both full and partial year clients:

monthly gains for philadelphia seo clients

Month Over Month Traffic Gains for Local SEO Clients

This includes quite a few new clients, though it does not include any brand new businesses. As a result, if these results are applied over a full year, traffic gains would be well in excess of the actually realized 240%:

philly seo traffic increases

Local Month Over Month Organic Traffic Increases Applied Over 2017

So What?

Traffic is rarely the end goal of SEO. Generally, conversions are. And all traffic isn’t equal in value. SEO services in particular generally result in traffic increases all over the conversion funnel, from information seekers to those ready to purchase. That said, traffic numbers are a universally applicable metric that can give prospective clients a decent idea of what they might be able to expect with their expenditure. They can use the information to begin estimating return on investment.

Very few SEO agencies publicly release broad metrics on how they perform. In a way, this makes sense. Most conversations with prospective or even current clients about what results can be expected from SEO service are rife with disclaimers and pleas of ‘every situation is different’. After all, we’ll be the first to tell you that if someone is promising you that they can achieve a specific rank or similar for you, some wariness is advisable.

And this is exactly why we focus on achieved results. While we can not say with certainty that we will be able to do exactly ‘X’ where Google results are concerned, we absolutely can show you what we have achieved in similar cases. For our current clients, we do this once a month with our rather detailed reports.

How Did We Achieve These Results?

We focus on long-term results. Our desire is always to form lasting, fruitful business relationships with our clients, and our search engine optimization services are just once facet of this. To this end, content marketing is the core of our service. Around that, we offer a suite of off-site, development, and analytical services, all of which are packaged in a plan tailored to each client’s individual situation.

seo services used by morroni clients

Common SEO Services and the Proportion of Clients Receiving Them

These services look different depending on the age and size of the client. New clients generally receive more basic, foundational service. This often includes:

  • On-site Optimization – either in the course of a website redesign, or as a separate project
  • Content Optimization – an important part of on-site optimization, ensuring website content is well keyworded, formatted optimally, and converting visitors
  • Social Media Optimization – whether or not the client expects to generate any leads from social channels, this is an important part of SEO
  • Backlinking and Citation Building – These tasks are easy when just starting, as there are many sites around the web where a profile (and backlink) is natural and of value

For larger and more mature clients, focus is centered on content marketing, competitive intelligence, and backlinking. Maintenance of the overall health of on- and off-site optimization is achieved through weekly scans of websites, brand mentions, social activity, search engine positioning, and backlink profiles. This content marketing usually involves a mix of the following:

  • Evergreen Articles – lengthy and comprehensive pieces that answer a question commonly searched in google, and are intended to rank highly on related searches for years to come
  • Service and/or Location Pages – robust pages used in conjunction with off-site optimization to improve visibility for particular subsets of a business
  • Video Production – an underused tool that has serious SEO clout and the potential to rank on the world’s second largest search engine (YouTube)
  • Testimonial/Project Overviews – both good sales tools and excellent ways to improve ranking for particular services or locations

For all of our clients, these services come with monthly reporting leagues above industry standard. After all, what good is quality work if your client doesn’t know about it? In many cases, this SEO is also done in conjunction with PPC advertising on Google, Facebook, and/or YouTube.

Let’s look at a couple specific examples of how these services worked for our clients this past year.

Example #1: Wild Success with Video SEO

Last year, we found our most effective tactic to be video SEO. As an example, consider the testimonial content we prepared for Stucco Today entitled Stucco Remediation in Pipersville, PA. This is one of a number of testimonials we prepared, each targeted to a different area of Pennsylvania. The goal of these testimonials was to get not one, but many pages ranking on searches related to stucco remediation in the target area. In short, why get one result on the first page when you can get 5?

In an area such as stucco remediation, testimonials are an excellent tool. When potential customers can see the finished results and hear about the experiences of their peers, they trust what they are being told much more readily. As they should!

For this client, Morroni filmed videos at a steady rate throughout the year. A drone was used to provide overhead views and to get right into the action while work was being done. The videos comprised 2 to 6 minute interviews with homeowners along with video footage documenting the house before the work, the damage discovered underneath the siding, the construction site, the work in progress, and then the finished product. The videos were edited, published, and combined with high-quality images and text content. The resulting pages were optimized heavily with a focus on “stucco remediation” and the location where the project took place. Each testimonial was also published on a handful of video networks, to houzz.com, and on all of the social networks on which clients might be found.

video search engine optimization best

The results of these efforts were striking, and are discussed in more detail here. If you look at the search results for ‘Stucco Remediation Pipersville, PA’, you will see between 4 and 5 organic results in the top 7 spots, and they are all for Stucco Today. As of the time of writing, StuccoToday.com owns the first (project page), fourth (youtube video), fifth (second youtube video), and seventh (houzz.com project page) results, as well as having ads and a local pack result showing above the organic results.

Example #2: Quality SEO Also Means Vigilance

One of our larger clients is an international cosmetics company. We manage the backend of their Magento web-store as well as their AWS servers, and work in concert with a front-end design agency. That said, we extend to them a service we provide to every single one of our clients (though many of them may not even be aware we do this), whether they’re SEO clients or not: we run constant passive scans on their entire web presence. Not only do these scans help us service our SEO clients by identifying needed improvements and prime opportunities, but they alert us if there are ever major problems that crop up.

We crawl the website for both usability and SEO issues, have monitoring scripts on web servers to guard against both downtime and security issues, track and monitor backlink profiles, track brand mentions and social media activity, record search engine positioning, monitor competitors, and more.

In the case of this cosmetic company, one of these scans identified a major problem: their website was showing up on a link network. While links are an important aspect of page rankings, link networks can spell trouble for your SEO strategy. A link network is an old black-hat SEO tool. It is a large number of sites that are connected, and are created to provide hundreds of backlinks to other websites. Google aggressively deindexes these websites, and links from them at best do nothing, and at worst can lead to penalties. For more information, take a look at [this article about bad links][1].

Our client was notified, we assembled a disavow file, and submitted it to Google (thus telling Google to ignore those links) in the space of a few hours. Problem solved.

Here’s To A Great 2018

2017 was a banner year for us, and 2018 is shaping up to be even better. Not only did we post best ever results for our clients in 2017, but the Morroni marketing department grew to its largest ever size.

If you are wondering what might be possible for your own website, give us a call. Consultations are free, and whether or not you work with us it will be worth your time.