Often times clients come to me and one of the first things they ask me about is search engine optimization (SEO). There is a common misconception, that you can make a few easy tweaks and all of a sudden you’re number one in Google for any keyphrase. Now, that would be nice and oh so easy. If only it were true…
If you have a website, I am sure you are no doubt inundated with emails from SEO companies promising to make you number one and very quickly. However, in their emails they fail to even mention what you do for a living and/or what your website and businesses is even about. Still, they make you these promises and I am sure after sending tens of thousands of emails they hook a few fish on the line. Many times they will use what’s called black hat SEO methods which may even give you a quick bump, before Google removes you from the index all together. Now, you have spent thousands of dollars and your website is in even worse shape than it was before. As the saying goes, there is no such thing as a free lunch. Google’s algorithm is one of the most closely guarded secrets on the planet. It is worth billions of dollars, and there is not a single company that can reverse engineer Google. No way, no how. True SEO is following Google’s guidelines, and using some elbow grease. You have to commit to trying to improve your website, both by doing the SEO basics, as well as sticking to producing consistant, quality content that is well written and beneficial to anyone that visits your website.
It is right there on the Google’s own website. And we have this text on our SEO page:
“Give visitors the information they’re looking for: Provide high-quality content on your pages, especially your homepage. This is the single most important thing to do. If your pages contain useful information, their content will attract many visitors and entice webmasters to link to your site. In creating a helpful, information-rich site, write pages that clearly and accurately describe your topic. Think about the words users would type to find your pages and include those words on your site.”
There it is, they laid it out for you. There are no shortcuts, and like anything else in life, you need to work hard for success.
To me, I want my website to be of such a high quality that when potential customers/clients read the content, they have a believe in my skills and subject matter expertise pertaining to the web. So write your content, not from search engine standpoint, but from a human readable standpoint. Because there’s no sense getting people to your website, when they will just read a bunch of gobbledygook and leave to go to one of your competitors. That’s the thing the black hat SEO companies never tell you. They’re all about quick rankings. And, unfortunately what they promise, they can never deliver .
Here’s one of my favorite examples: an offshore SEO company emailed me and called me for months, begging for an appointment. Well finally, I had enough and said yes. I spoke to this guy and he promised to make me number 1 for anything and everything. I asked what the cost would be. He said it would be roughly $1500. I said, I’ll tell you what, I will give you $3000. He was flustered, and said what do you mean? I said that you are an SEO company. Yet I don’t find your company in the first 200 rankings in Google for “SEO”. So I will tell you what, if you can get your company on the first page (Not even number one) I will then pay you double your rate to work on my website and recommend you to many clients. He thanked me and said he would be back in touch soon. It has been three years, and he has never called me back, and their site still is not within the first 200 listings. Why? Because if it was that simple, anyone could do it. I assure you, it is not that simple.
Here are some tips for improving rankings:
This of course is not a complete list. The moral of this story is to remember Rome wasn’t built in a day and you really need to put in a lot of time and hard work in order to improve your rankings. While no one can guarantee you number 1 for any given keyword, I can promise you that you can make steady improvements over time. But you have to use Elbow Grease.
If you are in a hurry to be ranked, and don’t have time to wait then I would recommend using Google Ad Words in order to be found quicker. Now this of course can be cost prohibitive depending on what keywords and phrases you need to be found for. What I like to do is do my best SEO work and then filling the gaps by using Google ad words. A well constructed ad words campaign can be profitable, but you have to be very careful as expenses can really get away from you and before you know what you’ve spent thousands of dollars with very little return. But that is the subject for another day, contact me if you need help managing your ad words campaign, your SEO or anything at all. We are always glad to help.
This is especially true if that feedback is unfounded. As I always explain to my clients, always take the high road as this is the long run can turn a possible negative into a positive. [ see blog post entitled: How to deal with negative reviews ]
However, this past weekend I came across a comment on one of the social media sites I manage that was so wrong. In fact, the commenter had this company confused with another one.
Let me give you a little background: The commenter in question was telling people to never use this company as they were horrible and they just fired a guy who was involved in the California wildfires. She said this company fired him, as the fire destroyed his company van while he was trying to save his family. She said this company deserves to go bankrupt and they’re horrible, et cetera et cetera.
Now if this were true I would agree, and in truth I would’ve quit this company, No matter how much they paid me!
BUT, they had this company confused with an East Coast Company with franchises in California. My client is an independent company, with no franchises and only operates in Massachusetts. So this was just a case of confusion, perhaps the company had a name similar or something like that, I never did find out.
So I responded to her that we are not in California and don’t have franchises anywhere. She went in and deleted her comment, and there was no damage done to the company’s reputation.
Now what if I had ignored this comment, as many companies seem to do on social media?
The company would’ve faced the possibility of this goes viral and then losing tons of business. At that point he probably would’ve reacted, but they may have done irreversible damage the reputation, and even faced going out of business for something he did not do.
Can you imagine working so hard to build your business and having it torn down by a viral comment about something you did not do?
The problem with the age in which we live in, is people immediately respond to things on social media. Once something is out there, it’s out there for good. So if you don’t respond to them quickly, you really face an uncertain future. Because your reputation is something you can’t get back once tarnished. This is your most valuable asset and you must do everything you can to protect it.
So as I said, respond to comments as soon as possible. Now, this was over the weekend and it’s not always possible to be at your computer or even your smartphone 24/7. This is why it helps to have another set of eyes and ears paying attention to your social media and web properties.
This is why I always stress to use a quality website management company. So, in the event you miss one of these horrible, mistaken comments, there is somebody else that may pick up the ball and run with it and save your business.