SEO: The Bad
This week, I had conversation with a potential client, a restaurant. They have a great niche food service in Edmonton, and they are coming out from under a dark cloud that has coloured their view of online marketing.
Four months ago, they signed on with a Montreal Search Engine Optimization (SEO) company that promised dramatic improvements to website traffic and rankings in Google search. This company touted itself as an aggressive, leading SEO firm with hundreds of clients, a staff of SEO techs and content specialists that will craft messages while keeping tight to keywords.
I see this a lot. I see the glut of SEO companies out in the wild who are signing up—and fleecing— unsuspecting small businesses who are attracted to the dreams of ranking #1 and the modest cost to get them there.
In defense of science fiction (being nothing more than crap), writer Theodore Sturgeon once wrote that “90% of everything is crap.” This aphorism is equally powerful and accurate when looking beyond fiction and into technology.
SEO Companies, like the one my client signed up for, provide an absolute base level service. They may build a simple website, and they may write some page content for you, but in most cases, these companies bring traffic, but no conversions.
These companies don’t run campaigns with you. They don’t interview you, your staff, your clients, your vendors or your partner organizations to get a real sense of who you are. They don’t build designs for you that speak to your clients because they know your clients’ tastes. And they can’t bring the kind of traffic that actually buys from you because they took the time to find out who your buyers are.
But if you’re hiring an SEO company to improve your search engine ranking, and you use ranking as a decent measure for success, you’ll never succeed, anyway.
You should be striving for better conversions (purchases, call-ins, signups, or other actions), not for better ranking. Ranking just brings more bodies to the door. Conversions brings more buyers to your business.
So I looked these Montreal guys up and found out a bit about them. They use every trick in the book to boost rankings, and some of them are already out of favour with Google. So this company is swimming in waters that are already drying up.
Good SEO firms concentrate on what matters. A solid website structure, good working linking campaigns to build authority and socially supported content that drives the right people, gets shared and fulfills business goals while entertaining, informing and educating.
I’m happy to say that I’ve worked with the best SEO firms in Edmonton in various capacities. These folks understand that it’s people, not algorithms that drive business today (okay, maybe not Wall Street, but who’s counting).
SEO is PEOPLE
Noble SEO writers (like us) understand that when we perform optimization, we’re not doing it just for search engines, we’re doing it for people who deserve the chance to find what pleases them quickly and easily. Search engines fit into the equation, yes, but they are not the most important concern. I’ll talk about this more in a future post about referrals and organic searches.
It can be hard for many independent contractors to get a deep sense of a business, that they can publish web worthy content for that company and sound like an internal voice.
But there is a select number of us that do just that. And when that’s all you do, you tend to get good at it.
So before you jump into a contract with any SEO firm (anywhere), check the companies above. They’ve got the chops to get the job done for you, and we’ve been happy to work with them.
Best of luck!