SEO is a verb not a noun. You don’t have it, get it, or buy it. You do it.

So WTF is SEO anyway? You think you know. But do you?

SEO stands for search engine optimization. It is a critical component of any effective digital marketing plan.

Generally speaking, the SEO part of that plan refers to two specific things: Creating the actual search engine optimized content that search engine algorithms will “like” and then getting other sites to link to it, which tells those algorithms to pay attention to that content.

The most basic version of SEO is you creating a page or post on your website that targets a specific keyword or phrase and getting links to that content, using the same keywords, placed on high quality websites that already have a high “authority” on those keywords. That bit about high quality and authority is important. More on that later. These links are called backlinks, and they’re gold.

Gold Jerry, gold.

You can get a degree in SEO, but if you understand what we’ve covered so far, you understand enough for now.

Why Do You Care?

You care about SEO because organic rankings in search engine results (ok mostly just Google) generate free traffic to your website. If you can get a web page ranking “above the scroll” in the results for a popular keyword or phrase then you will have qualified visitors hitting your website 24x7x365 for free.

There Is a Catch

The keywords you’re probably thinking about right now are not the ones you should focus on. You’re not going to rank “above the scroll” for “Glock 19” or “AR-15” so stop thinking and just focus on reading.

We are getting to the point, but you need to be ready to listen and that means we need to talk about common mistakes you’ve probably already made or are about to make. Like spending money on SEO for “Glock 19” when you could just burn it instead 💰🔥

What You Should Not Do

You should not hire anyone that does not have extensive experience in the firearms industry, and you should not hire anyone that says they can get you ranked for “Glock 19” or “AR-15” without a six figure SEO budget. You are simply not going to out-SEO the established players. They have all the advantages, so don’t take them on.

You should not hire anyone that promises an instant-on list of backlinks. You don’t need that kind of heat. Those backlinks are “toxic” and you’re going to burn your domain’s reputation before you even get started. Having a high number of toxic backlinks associated with your domain is like going to a new high school and hanging out with the wrong kids on the first day by accident. They seem nice, but later you find out they’re the rejects, and now you are too.

Finally, you should not pay for SEO unless you have metrics in place to measure and evaluate your ROI. That could mean you are making more in profits from actual sales than you are spending on SEO. Or it could mean you are adding 250 gun buyers to your email list every month, and you are happy with that ROI in exchange for what you are spending on SEO.

What You Should Do

You (or your agency) should do basic on-site SEO around your company name, key differentiators, and a small set of keywords or phrases for which you have a reasonable chance of ranking above the scroll. We don’t need to put that in quotes now because now you know what it means ;-)

The reason we recommend this approach is because this basic level of SEO is affordable, you will learn what you don’t know, and it’s not really optional. At a minimum, when someone searches for your company name or website URL or hours of operation or for the exact product or services you offer, in your zip code, you need to show up and look dialed in out of the gate.

Be Careful Before Doing More Than Basic SEO Stuff

The other thing to keep in mind is that in addition to not wasting money going after “Glock 19” and instead focusing on less contested keywords around your specific differentiators, you need to look at search traffic to see if it’s really even worth spending the time, money, and effort to produce the content and nurture the backlinks to show up first for the nine people a year that search for “guns with pokemon stickers”.

Don’t give money to SEO Bros ™️ for no reason 😐

Ideally, if you’re going to dip your toe in the SEO pool around contested keywords, you are doing that as part of a broader digital marketing plan that also includes things like content creation and email marketing.

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