STATE OF SEO IN DETROIT (UPDATED 2020)

Street in Detroit

Search Engine Optimization of websites has been around since the mid-2000s. If you’re just hearing about it, it is either because you’ve tried to ignore it, your site has not been performing up to your expectations or you just weren’t all that interested. You’re probably here today because your site’s performance is no longer acceptable to you, or you just want to make sure you know the latest.

That’s why we’re here: To keep you up-to-date on the latest.

So what’s the latest and will it help my Detroit area business? The answer is emphatically “YES!” and here’s why:

  1. GOOGLE IS CONSTANTLY CHANGING ITS ALGORITHMS. Google is a private company and it does not want to cede any of its users to Microsoft or Yahoo, among others. Thus, it is constantly improving its product to stay ahead of all the others.
    • What does this mean for you? Your site will constantly need to be managed to make sure the new changes at Google benefit the page rank of your site, and not penalize it.
  2. PAGE RANK IS DETERMINED ON A HOLISTIC BASIS. The days of writing a page about your new location on Woodward Avenue near Campus Martius Park, and stuffing it with keywords, are over. Google introduced Hummingbird in 2013 to better the understand the context in which you were using said keywords, and now it has just introduced BERT which goes even further in reading the sentence to gain its meaning using “bidirectional encoder research using transformers”. What this really means is that Google will look at the whole sentence at once and better understand if you were to use the word “no” for example. This will effect about 10% of all searches.
    • What does this mean for you? Your page content must be well written, deep in meaning and filled with useful information to get the higher page rank.
  3. E.A.T. TO IMPRESS. This useful acronym is the basis of the Google rankings, and it is even looked for by the over 10,000 Google human rankers around the world. They are paid to review websites for your company’s (E)xpertise, (A)uthoritativeness and (T)rustworthiness.
    • What does this mean for you? Your SEO company should be writing the pages of your site with these terms in mind, and adding all useful tools to meet these standards to get a high page rank.
  4. WHAT SERVICES IS THE SEO COMPANY OFFERING? No two SEO companies seem to offer all of the same services, so it is very difficult to compare companies on price without knowing what services are included. The services should cover all of the known Google ranking factors. If they don’t, you’re not going to rank high.
    • What does this mean for you? No two SEO companies seem to offer all of the same services, so it is very difficult to compare companies on price without knowing what services are included. The services should cover all of the known Google ranking factors. If they don’t, you’re not going to rank high.
  5. DO YOU NEED TO SIGN A CONTRACT? Some SEO companies in Detroit do not require any more than a month-to-month commitment. This is a real advantage to you so you can cancel if you don’t see the improvement that was promised, or you expected.
    • What does this mean for you? Leverage! The ability to move on if you deem it necessary.
  6. HOW ABOUT VIDEOS? As the web becomes more and more video-based, it is important that your site have some video, if not a lot of video. Talk that over with your SEO firm before you sign. Understand what their vision is.
    • What does this mean for you? Higher engagement with your prospects through up-to-date informational videos.
  7. EXPERIENCE COUNTS. Nowadays it seems like every ad agency in Metro Detroit is now an SEO agency. “SEO” does seem to be the flavor of 2020, but it’s not a simple road to achievement. It takes tremendous expertise and knowledge.
    • What does this mean for you? You don’t want to be the test site for your SEO partner. It will be costly monetarily and time-wise. SEO results don’t come overnight anyway, so if your SEO company does not have any real experience, you are now their guinea pig.
  8. ONE-STOP SHOP. In looking at the services your SEO company is proposing, how all-inclusive are they? Detroit’s a big city in population and land mass. It’s about 50 miles from Troy to Trenton, so you don’t want to be having to work with two or three entities spread all over the Metro area to get your site ranking high. Look for a “one-stop shop”. One that can do the Content, Social, Local, IT and Digital Advertising all in one place.
    • What does this mean for you? Save time. Consistent results. Seamless communication.
  9. ART AND DESIGN. Does your SEO company have an artist on staff? This is often outsourced, and while it can work, it does add a layer of delay. Having an artist sit in on your meetings prevents misunderstandings which then prevents “redos” and delays.
    • What does this mean for you? A better product because you’re talking to the designer first-hand. That way you get what you want in the first place, and without delay.
  10. BRICK AND MORTAR. One of the biggest complaints in a survey of 500 businesses by Brian Dean at Backlinko was that the client wasn’t really sure where their SEO agency was even located. There is a trend in advertising today toward “virtual” offices. What this really means is that there is no office and the staffers all work remotely from their homes.
    • What does this mean for you? Collaboration suffers and you really can’t get them all together without renting a hotel room at the Ren Cen, or crowding into a Starbucks. Actually, the Starbucks Reserve at Old Woodward and Maple is big enough, but not really all that quiet for a serious meeting.

KEY POINTS

person taking notes

— SEO is not getting any easier. It’s actually getting harder as more companies hire SEO specialists and the competition for Google PageRank heats up. Remember when there were two or three jewelry stores in downtown Birmingham? Now there are 10.

— Entry into SEO can seem to be expensive for some firms as spending a couple of thousand dollars a month on their website is foreign to them.

— In 2020 more and more firms will “give in” and hire an SEO specialist as they see the need to be found online becoming more and more vital. Adding another channel of revenue only makes sense.

— Detroit businesses have hundreds of SEO firms to choose from, and hopefully this article will make your due diligence a lot easier. Good luck and choose well!


Bob Ottaway Profile Picture

Bob Ottaway

The author, Bob Ottaway, is President and Founder of Ottaway Digital. Established in 1999, it has been a pioneer in SEO, digital advertising & social media since 2006.