The Agency Blog

Google Analytics dashboard

The baseline data you need before launching an SEO campaign

If you plan to optimize your website for SEO the time is now to kick off that project. 

Many companies wait to set up detailed tracking until they’re ready to launch their marketing strategy. 

Unfortunately, this can leave you months behind when you finally launch.

If you’re planning to get the most out of your SEO strategy, you can’t afford to wait. If you do, you’re losing months of insight.

Your SEO launch can wait, setting up tracking cannot. 

Most companies have the basics set up in Google Analytics. They have the tracking code on their website, but not much else. 

While this is an ok place to start, it leaves mountains of helpful data untouched and ungathered. 

We’re talking goal tracking, Search Console, conversion forms, phone call tracking...the opportunity to gain actionable insights on the performance of your website are vast.

This matters because the tools that run behind the scenes need time to gather baseline data before they start to deliver solid insights you can use.  

You may not be ready right now to start a PPC campaign or to work on your SEO, but that doesn’t mean it’s safe to wait to set up tracking.

The sooner you start tracking data, the better

Unless of course, you want to wait months for key insights to start rolling in when you finally start an SEO campaign…


Most business owners we speak to aren’t willing to wait months to start to see results. There is too much opportunity cost in waiting while you gather crucial baseline data.


Why are you waiting months to really see results if your campaign is running? 


Because when you start an SEO campaign without a baseline of data for your existing website you can only make educated guesses on the changes you should make to your website to improve your SEO. 


Without the benchmark data to back it up, you’re guessing when you could be making savvy, informed decisions.

Set up tracking now to make informed marketing decisions 

For a solid SEO campaign, you’ll want to set up and configure your tracking and reporting at least 2 months in advance. 


This gives you a few months of baseline website data before you start the campaign. 


The more data you have in advance, the better your campaign will perform. Without this benchmark, it’s nearly impossible to see before and after changes in your analytics. 


Without a few months of baseline data, you’re flying blind. 


To ensure you’re getting the best results on your SEO campaign you should aim for 60-90 days of data before doing any optimization work.


This not only makes it easier to show results, but it also lets you quickly notice any changes that impact your site negatively.  


If a change is made and a dip in performance is noticed, you can react accordingly. 


Without a baseline for how a site performs, you won’t know if the optimization changes you make improve your website’s performance until you collect enough data.


In fact, without baseline data driving your decisions you could accidentally reduce your site’s performance and not be able to tell. 


To ensure all optimization decisions are well-informed and pay off, you must take the time to gather baseline data.


If your site does not already track all the necessary conversions--forms, chat, calls-- you’d be better off waiting to start your SEO campaign until you have good data to start. 


This means if you’re even considering an SEO campaign in the future you should get the tracking on these parts of your website set up today.


What does an ideal SEO campaign look like?


When properly set up, your campaign workflow will allow you to gain a solid baseline of data, plus get some much-needed ROI before you launch your SEO campaign.


Start by adding any missing lead generation or sales tools. 

This could be chat, forms, or phone calls. If you’re not already using these tools you could be missing out on valuable leads. 


For example, A chat study released by ApexChat revealed that “live chat can increase online leads by an average of 40 percent.” And that’s just an average, your numbers could be even higher. 


Now, add tracking for these tools.

Once these tools are set up, you will want to track how they’re getting used. These insights are immensely valuable to increase your lead gen. 


To continue our live chat example, you’ll be logging any time someone uses your chat box as an “event” in Google Analytics. This data lets you further segment your traffic and see what keywords and tagged URLs are sending you the best leads.


Next, set up your goals 

This is a little different from your normal business goals, these are specific goals you define in Google Analytics based on the metrics you’re tracking.  


This could be a destination goal of sending traffic to your contact form, an engagement goal to reduce your bounce rate, or an event goal where users interact with your chat box.


Setting up these goals allows you to easily compare goal conversions and measure changes and improvements to your site.


Once you set your goals, it’s time for content

Now for the fun part, here you’ll get cracking on content creation. 


Yes, this means your blog needs content. Aim for a minimum of one blog post a month, although four would be preferable. This is an easy step to put off but it is vital to increasing your search results and building a robust, optimized website.


If you can’t make time to write at least one blog a month, outsource it, this step is that important.


Time for ads. 

Next, you’ll run a PPC (pay per click) campaign for a minimum of 90 days. You will need to track performance closely and should keep this campaign running as long as the ROI supports it. 


You will start with a lower budget to cover this PPC campaign, but should expect to increase the budget and add an SEO campaign on top of it. 


The alternative would be to cancel your PPC campaign and move that budget onto the SEO side, but this can end up hurting your ROI in the long run. This is because sites that rank well and run PPC perform better than sites that only do one or the other. 


Of course, your mileage may vary, so you should base that decision on the data you’re collecting and the ROI.


Finally, you have the data you need to start your SEO campaign! 

After all that it’s time to start your well-informed, data-driven SEO campaign


The steps above give you the best data set for basing SEO decisions as you move forward. Again, without these preliminary steps, you are basing your initial campaign on educated guesses, and not on hard data. 

To move up the ranking in search results, lean on hard data, not good guesses.

This practice requires thinking ahead, but there’s a big silver lining to getting started now.


The sooner you start tracking data, the further ahead you will be when you launch your SEO campaign.

Cannabis oil in pipette and hemp seeds in a wooden spoon

The only way to market CBD online

The CBD market is exploding. 

In a newly released report from Brightfield, they predicted year-over-year CBD product sales growth in the United States of 706% in 2019 to around $5 billion -- not a typo – and sales of $23.7 billion by 2023. 

The growth potential is staggering, and while CBD itself won't give you a buzz the market is buzzing with the potential to cash in on CBD’s explosive growth. 

However, many are learning that their typical playbook for marketing a B2C product doesn’t work for CBD.

While enthusiasts will claim CBD is nothing like ephedra, anabolic steroids or the latest slim-tea fad, advertising giant Google has other ideas.

Google has lumped CBD products under a large umbrella of unapproved pharmaceuticals and supplements that come with heavy restrictions on how you market these products. 

In short, you can’t.

Google has banned all products on that list from using Google Ads, with severe penalties for violations. Including going so far as banning the user & their payment method from all future ads...regardless of what product you’re selling. 

This is rough news for holistic health practitioners looking to promote CBD wellness products and services without jeopardizing the rest of their product line.

The only way to market CBD

This doesn’t leave a lot of wiggle room for entrepreneurs in the CBD space, but there is one foolproof method to get eyes on your product.

While Google won't let you use Adwords or other Google advertising suite tools, they do allow websites affiliated with CBD to be indexed and displayed in organic search.  

This means your best gameplan is to optimize your SEO strategy.

SEO best practices and white hat SEO techniques ensure you’re getting the most clicks on CBD related searches. 

Most SEO strategies won't cut it when all of your marketing hinges on organic search. 

The typical SEO firm tracks only a handful of keywords and phrases. 

We’re talking small numbers, 1-10 phrases, maybe 15 or 20 if you’re lucky.  They get their phrases locked in and keep tracking the same ones the entire time, sometimes for years. 

This is a great way to end up at the bottom of the search results and lose a TON of clicks.

A better way to optimize SEO for CBD companies

We’ve found here at The Branding Agency that with SEO keywords and phrases, more is more. 

We suggest you track up to 150 keywords and phrases and never get comfortable with that list.

Each month you should revise your list of targeted keywords based on the data & results of the previous month. This keeps your brand presence agile, so you can respond to fluctuations in search trends and traffic. 

Don’t forget to watch your competitors 


An agile, regularly updated list of keywords and phrases is a great start, but since you don’t sell in a vacuum you should add competitor tracking as the next best step in optimizing your organic search position. 


For this, you’re watching your competitors’ websites to see what they’re up to and ensure your website is outperforming them.


If your biggest competitor starts to allocate a bunch of time and resources towards SEO and you start creeping higher in search results, you’ll need to do the same to keep up with (or outperform) them. 


The last thing you want is to spend time and money optimizing keywords and phrases only to have a competitor just barely edge past you. 


Being mindful of what other players in the market are up to will keep you ahead of the curve.


Put these lessons to work

Even if you aren’t in the CBD market, these suggestions are solid ways to boost your organic search results. 

They’re foundational strategies for the SEO work we do here at The Branding Agency.  

If your organic search results could be better, or if you’re working with regulated products like CBD, we’re here to help. We have affordable SEO packages that can quickly start to improve your SEO and search results, like many of our clients you might even find the additional traffic pays for the service itself.



Contact us and learn more about how we can help you achieve an effective SEO strategy and campaign. 



The Branding Agency Steve Bouboulis

Meet the Team: John Laurie, Digital Marketing Strategist

John Laurie, Digital Marketing Strategist


For a marketing agency, growth is everything. 

Every day we focus on providing solutions that help our clients grow their business, and more importantly, their bottom line.

You’ll often hear it said at The Branding Agency that you have to spend money to make it, and we’re living proof of that.

We’ve recently invested in growing our staff at our Ballantyne/Charlotte headquarters, this means bringing on more talented marketers ready to help you grow your business.

We’ve been able to outpace our peers in the online marketing and website development space thanks to a strong focus on customer experience. This is the guiding light that drives our business decisions and has made all the difference in our ability to expand and better serve clients like you.

Let’s face it, the online world is getting more and more crowded. It’s harder than ever to stand out from the crowd and get your business noticed.

It’s not enough to provide solutions for clients, the customer experience from day one truly matters. Your satisfaction makes all the difference because online, word of mouth is everything.

In pursuit of our mission to provide the best possible customer experience, we’ve made extra investments to have the best-trained staff & top of the line training programs. Our team, the professionals that bring their passion to the office every day, are the catalyst behind The Branding Agency’s success.

With this, I want to introduce you to one of the newest assets at The Branding Agency.  

John Laurie is our new Senior Digital Marketing Strategy Partner, and we couldn’t be more excited about the marketing prowess he brings to the team. 

We are thrilled to have the wisdom of a powerhouse like John on our team and can’t wait to see the great gains he can bring to your business.

Check out the Q&A below with John Laurie and get to know this newest face on The Branding Agency team.


When and why did you decide to join The Branding Agency Team? 

I joined The Branding Agency's intake team in September of 2019.  I'd spent several years in the "big box marketing" space, and I was tired

of feeling like I was unable to deliver results for my clients. While researching boutique marketing firms in the Charlotte area, I found

The Branding Agency on LinkedIn - I started as soon as I could!


What excites you most about joining The Branding Agency? 

I'm excited to work with a company that can deliver real results. Online marketing is technical and complex, and there is no "one size fits

all" option that can get clients a good return on their investment. I really enjoy working with our team here - and knowing that each client

that I bring in will be treated well and see appreciable results!


What led you into digital marketing? 

I stumbled into it! I'd originally planned on working in radio and television, but I saw that traditional media was becoming less and less

effective every year. I also discovered that most small businesses can't afford TV and radio ads; I enjoy working with solopreneurs, so

digital marketing was the obvious step.


What's your favorite part about being a digital marketer? 

Helping small business owners achieve goals - period, hands down, case closed. I've been a small business owner, and I know how challenging

it can be to keep your company afloat in a competitive market. I love knowing that - in a very real sense - I'm helping those owners keep the

dream alive by significantly increasing the number of new customers and clients walking through their doors.


What have your previous roles taught you that you think will be helpful for your new role at The Branding Agency? 

They've taught me what I don't want. My prior experience in digital marketing was a "big box" agency with one account manager for every

250 accounts. Most companies in the digital marketing space exist to produce profit for the owners and shareholders; the clients are a distant

afterthought. As The Branding Agency continues to grow, we have a North Star to stay focused on - don't be like that!


Describe your perfect day at work! 

Any day that I get a progress report from a client's campaign is a good day. Their numbers keep on climbing, and I keep on smiling. It really

does feel good to help!


What do you like to do for fun? 

I'm a jack of all hobbies. I enjoy hunting and fishing, live theater and music, and mentoring young men in the Charlotte community.




The marketing support you need.

We've brought together an incredible team with the skills and expertise to make a difference for your business. With our team on your side, you’ll have the marketing support you need. Ready to work with us? Let's start a conversation.




Website Designer creating a site

5 Signs It's Time To Overhaul Your Site

It goes without saying that doing maintenance work on your physical property isn't a one-time thing. You've got to continually mow the lawn, dig up weeds, change smoke detector batteries and more.

Failing to do this will quickly turn your property into an unsafe environment no one wants to stay in for too long.

Things are no different with digital real estate.

Leaving your site neglected can have a major negative impact on business; according to Blue Fountain Media, 81% of internet users say they think less of a business if their website has not been properly maintained. (1)

Unlike with physical real estate, however, web design issues aren't necessarily as easy to identify as weeds or an unruly lawn.

In this article, we'll explore five easy-to-miss signs it's time to contact a web design company and have your site tweaked – or even completely overhauled.

Web Design Red Flags: 5 Signs It's Time To Overhaul Your Website




Sign #1 – Visitors Aren't Looking Around

The key metric to pay attention to here is your bounce rate. This rate represents the percentage of visitors who leave your website after only viewing a single page.

Standard practice within the industry is to view a bounce rate of 70% or higher as concerning.

Not only does it mean your website isn't captivating visitors enough for them to learn more about your company; it also tells Google and other search engines that your site is of low quality, pushing you down in rankings.

There are a number of factors that can contribute to a high bounce rate – not the least of which is poor or outdated web design.

Pay particular attention to your site's mobile experience.

With an increasing percentage of web visitors arriving from mobile devices, you need to be consistent in making sure that your web design keeps up with the ever-shifting mobile content formats.

You might know your content is great and totally worth suffering through a clunky viewing experience for, but your potential readers won't stick around long enough to find that out.

Sign #2 – Visitors Are Constantly Asking You For Help

Maintaining an open line of communication with your website visitors (whether through a feedback form or dedicated support staff) can alert you to many issues that may have gone unnoticed otherwise.

If you find that people are constantly asking you for help with locating something on your site, it may be time to give your web design a refresh.

The unfortunate reality is that, for every visitor who took the time to reach out for assistance, there are several more who just left and went to a competitor's site to find that they were looking for. So take this sign very seriously!

Sign #3 – Your Website Is Not Bringing You Business

With so many tracking tools available, it's remarkably easy to measure exactly where your business is coming from.

If you've invested a lot of time, energy and money into your website only to have it deliver disappointing results (or worse – it once delivered good results but is now rapidly dying), it's time to have a web design agency take a look at it.

Sign #4 – Your Website Is More Than Three Years Old

Among experts, the general consensus is that a web design more than three years old needs an overhaul. This timeframe – provided you carry out occasional tweaks in between – allows you to remain competitive.

As mentioned earlier, design trends, particularly when it comes to mobile devices, are always changing. 

Devices get bigger, giving you more real estate to spread your content out on. Platforms like Facebook Instant Articles come along. New plugins are created.

All of these changes can, and do, happen within a three year period. Your competitors are doing their best to keep up with the times – make sure you are as well!

Speaking of your competitors...

Sign #5 – Your Competitors All Seem To Be Updating Their Websites

If you're still rocking a website you built several years ago while your competitors have gone through one or two, or maybe even three, designs, it's time for a refresh.

Even if you think you have a better grasp on the offline market than your competitors, you could be doing so much better if your outdated design wasn't prompting visitors to check out another business.

Bonus Sign: You Don't Want To Work On Your Website

If your website has gotten so clunky that you dread making even the smallest of changes, it's a sure sign that things could use a refresh.

Your site's content management system may have been state-of-the-art five years ago but, as with your site's front end, things can get stale and outdated very quickly.

A new design won't just make things easier for your visitors and potential customers; it'll make things easier for you as well!

For services like web design and development, search engine optimization, paid search advertising, blogging and social media advertising, you can trust The Branding Agency.

We are a dedicated website development and digital marketing agency dedicated to giving small business owners an alternative to highly-priced traditional advertising firms.

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We are an alternative to the high priced traditional advertising firms & the low buck mills that can not offer customized services.

  • 16607 Riverstone Way #200,
    Charlotte, NC 28277
  • 704-800-7413
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