If you have been i business for more than 5 minutes you have been offered SEO or a “google spot” or some kind of digital marketing service. These ranges from yelp, yellow pages and Angies list which are review sites where people harness “social proof” from their satisfied (or not) customers and people search for companies to service them.
I myself get phone calls, emails and messages on my website offering all kinds of SEO and so called “google” services.
What is going on here? Well, glad you asked!
What is happening is what I have decided to call the “gold rush effect” People are flocking to offer these “services” many times in exchange of on going fees and companies big and small, some local some from India, Pakistan and Nepal are offering to put your company and business front and center.
If you stop and think about it for a second though the problem is clear (or perhaps you just have a bad feeling about this, something isn’t quite right) there is only ONE top spot in google in any given market, yet these people seem to be calling everyone and their mother to offer these services.
I am not going to go into a long explanation about how google ranks websites but it is not as simple as it seems. NO ONE I don’t care who it is can promise you a “top” spot in google (or any search engine for that matter) it is simply not in their hands. Also google doesn’t charge for these (unless they are paid ads)
Also paying companies like yellow pages or yelp to be featured in their listings can backfire because a business is basically paying for someone else’s platform which just gets stronger and can choose to charge you more money down the road. Not to mention you might be at the mercy of their “review” system which is many times random and a little “mafia like” (pay us and we make those bad review go away, don’t pay us and we will make sure everyone knows about them)
There are basically TWO channels of traffic in the web you need to know about and how they work. They are organic and paid.
Plain and simple.
At the time of this writing the most important traffic channels and the two with most influence are google and facebook. What is important to note is that these two platform are simply that, a channel. Any company or business interested in lasting impact, longevity of customer relationships and continued business needs to focus in using these and other available channels to grow its OWN platform. This is KEY.
Story time: This is a sad story (spoiler alert) but it is a necessary one. I once was on a call with a desperate prospect, her name was… lets call her Ann. Ann had a business that went from making 45k a month to making less than 10k. What happened?
Well she seemed stressed and wound up tight the whole time I was talking to her and as I kept asking questions and finding out her problems and issues it became clear what her problem was. Her business had relied in an organic Google listing to get traffic and new leads (this business was very dependent in new customers) and the website had been hacked and the domain name lost!
Now that’s a nightmare. It was basically like she had to start from scratch to grow her business again. Don’t let this happen to you! Is your website secure? Do you pay for hosting? (never host your site on a “free” server or so called “free website service”) Do you have control over your advertising channels? Trust me it is better to pay and have a monthly budget for advertising than to build your house on the sand!
I don’t want to make this post much longer but the reason that I always advice my clients to start with paid advertising it is because of three things basically. Speed, control and effectiveness. You need to find out what resonates with your market and you need to find out fast. Also you want to be different than the rest of the market in some way so your keywords are not necessarily THEIR keywords. You want to do this fast while at the same time knowing that your progress belongs to you not to some glitch or at the mercy of the whim of the algorithm.
Talk to an experienced digital marketing consultant about the best solution for YOUR business, how to use social media and what you can expect from google. Educate yourself properly but at the same time delegate! the world of online advertising is complex enough, be proactive and check out what your competition is doing.
Everyone is offering SEO, find someone that listens to YOU and understands the market and where you and your goals fit it first.