Search Engine Optimization for Gov’t Contractors

Search Engine Optimization or SEO (#SEO) for short is essential to draw in clients to your business. During the interview with Tanner Scott of Ranksey Digital Marketing, the following topics were discussed: backlinks (#backlinks) one-page websites, blogs, digital content (#digitalcontent), social media posts, what SEO (#WhatisSEO) is. Just to name a few.

Interview with Tanner Scott of Ranksey Digital Marketing


Nancy (00:04): Using SEO to Scale Your Business. An interview with Tanner from Ranksey Digital Marketing.

Hey, it’s future Nancy and Tanner told me after we finished recording the video that throughout the video, I kept referring to SEO as CEO. So please note that I mean, SEO, instead of CEO throughout the video. Hi, welcome to today’s show. We actually have a special guest today and his name is Tanner and he is the CEO and president of Ranksey, and he does website development. And I’m going to go ahead and let Tanner talk to you a little bit about his background and how he gets started into this business. Okay. Tanner,

Ranksey Digital Marketing

Tanner (00:43):

Thanks, Nancy. As Nancy already said, I’m the CEO of Ranksey Digital Marketing. I’ve been in business for about two years now, straight out of college. I couldn’t find a job. So I decided to start my own company. So here we are two years later and then really fun, a wild ride we’re located in Northern Utah. And we primarily focus on helping our clients grow their businesses through search engine marketing and website development.

What is SEO?

Nancy (01:12):

Please talk about search engine optimization a little bit. Most people don’t understand what SEO is. Can you explain that to layman terms?

Tanner (01:20):

Yeah. So even if you have heard about SEO is chances are you probably don’t really understand what it is and that’s because it’s a really complex subject. And so in a nutshell, SEO, which stands for search engine optimization, it’s essentially just the process of gaining traffic from organic search, like from search engines, just like Google, in a nutshell, it’s just knowing what Google’s looking for, optimizing the website for it, and just it’s a continual cycle. And really that’s what it is. It gets a little bit more complex than that.

How Does SEO Work?

Nancy (01:58):

Okay. So how does SEO work?

Tanner (02:02):

So this is where it gets a little bit complicated before you can understand how SEO works. It’s really important that you know, how search engines work in general. And I’m just going to focus on Google because we all know that Google dominates the search engine space, right? All the other players like Damien Yahoo, they’re getting like five to 10% of market share. So to start things off what you actually see when you Google something, you’re seeing a library of websites that Google has put together.

Spiders are Crawling the Internet

That’s usually about one to two days old. And the reason for that is because Google has these bots that they call spiders and they just crawl the web. They find every website that they possibly can and they analyze websites, come with the analyze which websites are linking to them. They analyze just the whole ecosystem of websites, how everything is intertwined.

Google Indexing

Tanner (02:55):

And then they take all that data and they aggregate it into their own index. And so when, when someone searches for something that’s sent through a search engine algorithm, and based on the results of that algorithm, Google displays the most relevant results as possible.

Google’s Goal

Google’s primary goal is to provide the most relevant results and experience for the user and in doing so, they have about 200 different things that they look for when they’re ranking the websites. And I don’t know if anyone listening has ever thought about how Google actually decides which results are first, second, third, fourth is typically when you search something, it’ll say, okay, you got 10,000 more pages of results. Also, the most important thing that Google tends to look at is your backlink profile. And by backlink, I mean, other sites that are linking to your website. So that’s the biggest credibility signal that Google looks for when they’re trying to determine if a website is credible or relevant is the number of links pointing to them.


Tanner (04:04):

And not only the amount of links, but the amount of links that are pointing to the link that pointed to them. So getting links from high authority websites will really boost it. However, that’s not always required. You can actually still get to the top of search results without links, just as long as the competition doesn’t have a lot of links to the process of SEO is really just knowing what Google is looking for and knowing how they work and then making changes to your website and your link profile that is going to be satisfactory in Google size.

Can SEO Be Accomplished Once?

Nancy (04:38):

Okay. So if you do see SEO optimization once on your side, is that good enough, or does it need to be done continually?

Tanner (04:46):

So typically when we get started with a new client, there’s a lot of work that’s required upfront. And a lot of that’s just more on the technical side of things, making sure people can actually find your website and crawl it and actually understand it. That’s something that you could probably do one time and be done, but you’re not going to get a lot of results from the true results from SEO happen over time. It’s something you have to do ongoing. And even if you get to a point that you’re happy with, if you stopped doing the optimization efforts, then you’re just gonna gradually decline and go back to where you started.

SEO Approaches

Nancy (05:21):

So are there different approaches to SEO?

Tanner (05:25):

Yeah. So everyone that does SEO tends to have their own approach. She also mentioned that an SEO expert, isn’t really a real thing. Anyone that calls himself an expert is just someone that’s done it a long time. No one knows besides Google exactly what they’re looking for and what their algorithm has. Everything you’ll see from research online to online articles, it’s just people sharing their experiences like, Hey, I did this and it worked, but no one truly knows. But when you’re looking to get started with SEO, you really have two options. You have the local route or the national route. So the biggest difference between the two is obviously area whoever your target market is. And budget is also a factor here too, because if you’re trying to rank on a national level, then it’s going to require a lot of work to get there.

Depends On Location

Tanner (06:19):

So with local SEO, let’s someone like a plumber that only serves like a hundred mile radius of that location, something like that. And they may want to rank for a keyword that says best plumber in this area, not necessarily best plumber in the world type thing. Just to understand the difference there on a national level think about blogs.

Who’s Your Target Audience?

Think about online stores, think about anyone that is a national chain or targeting literally everyone that they can, any geographical location they’re going to want to rank for those product keywords. They get a ton of search traffic. And in order to do that, that takes a lot of content writing. It takes a ton of backlinks and takes a very long time and a lot of hard work to get there. But obviously, if you’re ranking at the top or something that gets 10,000 searches a day, then you’re probably gonna do pretty well.

Does SEO Really Matter?

Nancy (07:16):

Okay. As someone that has a blog and creates content, does having a blog really impact SEO that much?

Tanner (07:24):

Yes, it does impact it a lot, but depending on your position and depending on your industry, who you’re serving, how competitive everything is, you can get to the top of Google without any content, just the content on your website, right? Cause you still have to have something you can get to the top. I’ve seen it, I’ve done it. However, if that’s usually they usually works in competitive industries. However, if, if you’re going for that national ranking, you want to be the big guy at the top of the search results for really popular searches. Then content is a must. You will never get there without content.

Does the Amount of Content Matter?

Nancy (08:08):

And does it doesn’t matter how much content you have. Like I have 101 hundred and 86 blog blog articles out there. Does that really matter?

Tanner (08:17):

So obviously the more content you have out there, the better, because that’s more opportunities that you’re having. However, if you’re not optimizing those or tracking how those are doing in search results and seeing how you can improve those, it really just depends. So if you can get high rankings from all those different posts, then I say, that’s going to be amazing. However, another approach to doing that is maybe spending 10 times as long on an article. And we call that the skyscraper technique that usually if you have really solid content, you don’t even have to worry about it. People will find it, people will share it. People will link to it if it’s really valuable.

Why Should I consider Content as Part of my Strategy?

Nancy (09:03):

So why should content be part of any SEO strategy? Why should somebody like a plumber or an it, it probably a bad person. They probably know, but a plumber or somebody in construction, for example, why should they be writing articles and putting it on a blog of some sort, does it really matter for SEO?

Tanner (09:23):

So it depends on what their goal is. Usually a construction company is writing their blog just to spread the news about projects, they’re working on stuff like that.

Why the Right Content Matters?

That’s probably not going to get them a lot of increased rankings. However, if you can write content that maybe, maybe solving someone’s problem that they’re searching for, I can’t think of any construction type content pieces from the top of my head, but that if you can write about something that, you know, people are searching for, you know, people are struggling with and they come to your website and you solve their problem or add value to them.

Add Value

You can also try to bring them in as a client as well, or get them to subscribe to the newsletter. So that’s one aspect of content marketing is what we call that, where you write about stuff that you know, will bring people that you want to work with to your website. And then you just kind of throw offers at them. So that’s, that’s one reason why it should be there. Another reason would be to get those backlinks.

What are BackLinks?

Nancy (10:26):

So you said backlinks are really important. So if I have a YouTube channel and if I have a podcast and I back linked to my website, is that, that’s what you’re considering a backlink,

Tanner (10:37):

That’s a good question. So there are different types of links. Most social media platforms or business listing sites. They give you a link, but they add a no follow attribute to it. So it doesn’t pass any link juice to your site. So stuff like that, where you can add a link to your website, those are never do follow links, do follow is the opposite of no follow. Those are never do follow links and they don’t really help you that much. It’s good to have those links because it shows that you’re more legitimate of a business, but it’s actually not going to boost you.

Does Social Media Impact Your Website?

Nancy (11:13):

So I have a question it’s a little bit off topic. So how much is social media impacting you can help or assist with your website?

Tanner (11:23):

Yeah. So that’s a great question. Having social media profiles, having people, sharing your posts, engaging with your content that is ranking factor, it’s called social signals. It can help you. No one knows exactly how much it helps you, but a lot of people believe that it’s only gives you like a slight boost. And there’s a, there’s a lot of these factors that sometimes aren’t even worth focusing on because the weight of them is just, are just so low that you have. Okay. And maybe we shouldn’t do that. Maybe it’s not worth it type of thing.

Is it Worth It?

Nancy (11:57):

That’s what I’m, I’m at the point now, is it worth it? Is it worth to do all this? Because it takes a lot of time to do, you know, you figure I do one social media post a day and it goes out into five different social media platforms. And then you’ve got, you know, you’re still trying to do, you know, the YouTube production, the podcast production, you’re still trying to handle clients. And you’re still trying to do some marketing to draw people in. So all that gets to be a little bit overwhelming at times. What do you suggest somebody concentrate on?

Tanner (12:25):

It really depends on your business. So it really just depends. Like if you’re selling business to consumer sometimes organic search, isn’t the way to go. It’s all about where where’s your target customer? Are they searching for you on Google? Do they know you exist? Do they know your category exists? Would it be better if they just happen to scroll past an ad for me on Facebook, there’s a lot of questions that would need to be answered for me to really say what you should focus on, but do you have something?

Do You Help Develop an SEO Strategy?

Nancy (12:57):

Yeah. Do you help businesses with this type of type of strategy? Do you do any of the strategy development?

Tanner (13:04):

Yes, of course. Yeah. A lot of the times when we start working with new company, we will sit down with them, talk about their business, talk about their financials, talk about their target market, their ideal customer of we call this a discovery process and we require that we do that. Every large scale project something like SEO is not as important for that type of information because it’s all based on search word, search keywords and terms, but for the general digital marketing strategy. Yes.

What are Keywords?

Nancy (13:38):

Well, you talked a lot about keywords. Can you explain to an layman what a keyword is?

Tanner (13:43):

Yeah. So a keyword is basically just words that users use when they’re searching for something online. So if I’m looking for new shoes and I search men’s shoes, that’s a keyword. And so Google keeps track of all of these and you can see exactly how many times are well, they don’t give you an exact number, but they give you a range. So same men’s shoes is between 10,000 and 50,000 daily searches. That would be a good keyword to look at. Does that, does that make sense?

How are Keywords Different From Tags?

Nancy (14:20):

Yeah, it does make sense. So I have another question. How is keywords different than tags? Because I’ve seen like on the blog post that says tags, this, it doesn’t say keywords. So as keyword tag in the blogging world about the same thing. Okay.

Tanner (14:36):

So Terex are really just your way of organizing your content on your website. They might contribute a little bit to SEO but if you do use your keywords that you’re targeting in your tags, that’s definitely a good idea. Okay. there’s also something called Meta tags that it’s like it was an old school way of getting higher rankings. You’d put a bunch of meta tags on your website, but people don’t look at those anymore.

About Meta Tags

Nancy (15:09):

Oh, thank goodness. I used to have to do that when I was in it a long, long time ago.

Tanner (15:14):

Yeah. I see. I see a lot of websites doing that. I’m like, wow. You just writing random words all day or

IT History

Nancy (15:22):

Yeah. It’s it was a pain when I did it. Cause I was back in the early eighties actually to give you a little history when I was in the air force and I used to work in supply and we actually had one of those mainframes that took up the whole building. Oh wow. And we’d have to go in and use punch cards to program the different parts of the system. So you would go in and punch card had to have a punch card. Okay. We’ve we dropped 10 of this inventory. We got to, you know, 10, we sold 10. So now we gotta put 10 minus subtract 10 from the inventory and do all that stuff and do adjustments. And

Tanner (15:57):

Isn’t that crazy to think about?

Nancy (15:59):

Yeah, it really is crazy. And it was given away my age there for a minute, but yeah, that’s, that’s how I got started when I got started, I was actually doing some stuff in computers in high school, and then I did have a small it business, but I concentrated more on the actual maintenance of the computer systems versus I’ve done some website development, but it’s not something I like to do.

Tanner (16:24):

Yeah. Yeah. I, I, I can see that being the case for a lot of people, everyone likes the idea of building their own website and then they go jump on Wix or something and start messing around with it. And that’s usually when they call someone like me to help them out.

Nancy (16:42):

So while weeks is supposed to be, you know, what you see is what you get the acronym there. But I I’ve never found it as beneficial. And it’s, to me it’s a lot harder to work around a lot of times than just building it from scratch or using, you know, a template or something.

Tanner (17:00):

Yeah. I agree. You know, they market to people that don’t really know what they’re doing. Don’t really have any business building a website, but it works for people like that. And so they are, they are serving a market need, but when it comes to a professional, the professional way to do it, where you have more options and more flexibility and more customizability, then Wix is generally not a good path.

Do Startups’ Need a Website?

Nancy (17:26):

So a lot of the people that I talk to are just startups. So do you suggest that they have a website as a startup?

Tanner (17:32):

I firmly believe that having a website right off the bat is the most important thing that you can do. And more over than that, I think that just having a website and not using it and not getting traffic to it is a huge mistake. Even if you’re on a shoestring budget, I think you should at least get something up and at least try to get some attention online and try to get some traffic, just do whatever you can.

Anything That I did not mention that will benefit the audience

Nancy (17:58):

And is there anything that I did not ask that you think may be a benefit to the audience?

Tanner (18:04):

Yeah. So I just, I think that there’s something that’s often overlooked when it comes to SEO or any other forms of digital marketing and that’s conversion rate optimization. So I’ll explain what that is. It’s basically optimizing your website for conversions. So compression is version rate is the rate in which someone converts on your site. It depends on what you’re tracking. So if you have an ad campaign that’s just tracking phone calls, form submissions, or when someone actually purchases a product, that’s what you would call your conversion. So that’s what you’re optimizing for. If you don’t spend some time or invest something to make sure that your website is organized, clean, clear, persuasive, visually compelling, then it doesn’t matter what you do the best campaigns in the world, the best SEO strategy in the world. That’s not gonna work.

Nancy (19:00):

So it takes a mixture of all that to make it really.

Tanner (19:03):

Yeah, I agree. So it’s the, it’s the marketing’s job to get the user on the website, but then it’s like they pass the Baton, the campaign passed the Baton to the website. Now the website has all the lifting and that’s usually the hardest part about getting yourself. It’s easy to get people on your website that might be interested, but it’s even harder to make sure they actually take action and do something.

SEO Conversion Rates

Nancy (19:24):

So how do you, how do you measure your conversion rate? Is there some type of thing on my website? Is there a report or something that I get that tells me what my conversion rate is or

Tanner (19:33):

Yeah, so there’s a free product called Google analytics. If you guys haven’t heard about that, definitely check it out, get that installed on your website and start looking at the data.

Use Google Analytics

But inside Google analytics, you can set up a, you can set up a conversion goal and they call them goals and Google analytics, but usually, you can set those up. It can be a little bit confusing, but the easiest way to do it is if someone does what you want them to like to submit a form, just redirect them to like a thank you page. So make it so Google analytics counts, how many times that thank you page was viewed. You can also trace that back to the source. So you can look at the acquisition report and it’ll show you, okay, direct traffic had this many conversions, here’s the conversion rate and that’s, that’s how you do that.

Capture Email Addresses as a SEO Strategy

Nancy (20:25):

Okay. So I noticed that a lot of companies now are trying to capture like your email, address, your name, some just some basic information. So they’ll sit there and say, here’s a free, free document or a free PDF or a learn how my here’s my five stop five free strategies. And then you have to click on it. And it, to me, it’s so frustrating if I have to fill out a form just so they can capture the information, especially if I’ve been to the website before and I’m already re you know, I review a lot of their stuff on a regular basis. So is that something that they’re trying to do is to capture the market, share and figure out their rate of return on their,

Tanner (21:04):

So that’s, that’s actually just a digital marketing strategy. A lot of people referred to that as a lead magnet or lead generator. And it’s a really good way to build your email list. And it’s really good way to build a list of people that you could sell something to. So I I’ve actually done that myself. I have ads going on Facebook right now for a web design guy three, they just give me their name and email address and they get emailed to them. The trick here is to provide enough value in that document that makes them want to thought that form, because I know some people are very very concerned about giving out their personal information and as they should be, but I think most people are willing to part with their email address if they’re getting something in return.

SEO Marketing Strategies

Nancy (22:00):

Okay. So it’s just another, it’s just another marketing strategy to try to,

Tanner (22:05):

Yeah. It’s a way to build an audience. And so like, I’m just letting the audience build and then eventually, well, I shouldn’t say eventually they get put through an email sequence that just sends some offers on a regular basis. And then if I have any special offer that I want to offer them, I can send them an email blast just to just a way to have an audience, to send things to, you know, okay. Yeah. Email marketing really, really important doing something like that and having those contacts come through into your CRM all the time can really help you get through, let’s say a pandemic, for example, a lot of companies that were already doing that did find or independent Mick, a lot of people that just relied on referrals or direct sales definitely took a huge hit.

Does SEO Matter?

Nancy (22:54):

Yeah. So what do you recommend for a new business starting out? What should they, what steps do you think they should do first? Is it more important to capture the email addresses and to develop that? Or is it more important to have the website or is it more important to do both?

Tanner (23:10):

So the, the email stuff definitely comes later. If you can get started on that early on, you definitely should, but that’s usually something that’s more of a luxury. If you can, if you have the time and funds to get something like that set up first and foremost, get your brand going, get a logo design, pick out some good colors. That’s very important. Then you can using that logo and color scheme that you already chose.

Your Website Needs to embody your brand.

Get a website though, make sure that it embodies your brand, make sure that it looks and looks and like your brand, aside from that, just, I don’t want to S I don’t want to say that someone should go towards a specific strategy just because I don’t think there’s a one size fits all for that, but depending on the business, usually, anything search engine marketing is always a good option, whether that be SEO or Google ads, that’s usually it’s usually pretty good at that.

Does SEO require more than a One-page Website?

Nancy (24:10):

So on average, you know, do I just need a one page website or do I need to have multiple pages?

Tanner (24:17):

So if all you can afford is one page website, I think that’s better than nothing. Ideally you should have multiple pages. Of course, especially if you want to gain any traction on Google one-page websites, don’t rank well, and Google, ideally you should have a homepage. You should have an about page way for them to contact you.

How Do People Contact You?

And then at least one page for every single one of your services, because the way it’s going to shake out, once you start optimizing it for Google is if you have to all of your services listed on one page, then you’ve got, you’ve got too much going on that page for Google to think that that’s a good resource for that keyword. So every page should have its own focus, keyword that you’re trying to rank for. And so that’s why multiple pages is more important.

Nancy (25:04):

So if anybody wanted to reach out to you, how do they contact you?

Tanner (25:08):

So yeah, if anyone’s looking for any SEO help, or even if you just have a question I’m happy to help you out, just head over to my website. It’s Ranksey dot com. That’s R A N K S E Call us, email us, fill out a form. We’d be happy to help you out.


Nancy (25:24):

Okay. Well, thank you so much for being with us today. I greatly appreciate it.

Tanner (25:29):

Thank you very much, Nancy. And I really appreciate the opportunity.

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