Monday July 22, 2013

Malarkey, Hogwash, Tomfoolery...and Getting on the 1st Page of Google

definition of tomfoolery

Every business wants to land on the first page of google search results. Every bricks and mortar service/retail company wants a spot on the Google Places map on page one. The eternal question is- how do you get there?

There’s a glut of freelancers and consultants that are eager to “help” for a fee. It’s a business virtually anyone can get into, and everyone has. So how do you know if they’re helping, hurting, or fleecing you?

I’m not going to attempt any kind of technical narrative here. There’s a great overview of Google’s latest changes to their search algorithm here if you’re just after the latest tactical info.

Instead, let me share a recent experience with a so-called search engine optimization(SEO) expert.

Last week, I joined one of my consulting clients in a meeting with their current SEO service provider. Here’s an example of their price sheet: pricing sheet for an SEO service company

One item we reviewed, was blogging and other content creation. Here’s a snippit of the conversation:

Me: So what’s this onsite blog and articles part? We get 4 per month?
SEO expert: We have writers on staff that will research your business and write 4 blog posts for you each month.
Me: Really? So they’re essentially like little in-house bloggers for us.
SEO expert: Basically.

He then went on to share how they provide the same thing for social networks, posting X number of tweets, facebook posts and items on Google+.

Here’s the problem- It’s a farce. They’re not writing blog posts for us. They’re pulling articles from a library of content in my client’s business category, and reposting that content to his blog. They’re doing exactly the same thing for social media posts.

Google hates this. Their mission is to index all the information in the world and make it accessible and useful. Reposting blog posts that 30 other businesses like yours have also posted, is not useful to a searcher. Throwing tweets out that are identical to tweets that 14 other businesses have used adds no value to anyone. And Google is getting hip to this.

Long story short- I recommended my client look at other options.

If you’re looking for a consultant or agency to help you with your internet marketing, here are 3 red flags to listen/watch for. If one or more of these rear their head, look elsewhere for help:

1) Facebook/Twitter/Google+ Setup for $295- I could have put $395 or $199- doesn’t matter. Your high-school age son or daughter can set up social profiles for your business and upload some pictures.

Any legitimate service provider is first going to ask you why you’re wanting to “do facebook”. What is your goal? Are you trying to build relationships with existing clients? Make it easier for existing fans an clients to share your business/service with others? Improve your search ranking? Sell products?

If the service provider isn’t digging deeper and helping you think strategically, you don’t want to hire them, unless of course you’re prepared to provide them with all that strategic direction.

2) “We’ll get you on page one of Google Results using our special program”- Anyone that actually has the ability to help you in this area will avoid statements like this. There’s so many factors that go into a site’s search ranking, it’s just not as simple as applying some boiler-plate approach.

3) We can manage your social media for $250 per month- Your social presence online is an extension of your business. Many people will experience your brand online, and never ever interact with you at your office or store-front. To them, you are your Twitter or Facebook account.
Would you expect someone to understand your business and effectively engage with your clients and prospects for $250 a month?

Every business is different. To build an online following of clients/fans/prospects/readers, or grow an e-commerce site, there will be different investments required. For some, it might be thousands per month, for others, maybe it is indeed only a couple hundred.

The point is- if someone’s throwing out package pricing or a boiler-plate prescription of services, without really understanding your business- look elsewhere.

Chris Nordyke is an integrated marketer and strategy consultant. He works with owners and senior business leaders to transform and grow service companies via a unique holistic approach that drives referral business and client retention. Click here to schedule a complimentary consult with Chris.

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