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If you own a business, you’ve no doubt received thousands of emails in the past month with one of the following headlines:
“Learn the Secret of #1 Google!!”
Get to the Top of Google!”
It’s hard to believe some of the antics and claims made by telemarketers and email marketers in the search engine marketing industry. What’s even scarier is they must work on a percentage of recipients!
I would have thought that actions like this would have served to reduce the number of spammy calls and emails I get on a monthly basis, but so far this is not proving true. If anything, the calls and emails have doubled or tripled!
At the same time, most business owners understand that there is a real value in increasing your company’s visibility on search engines like Google. If you have a website and you’re not on the first page of Google for keyword searches relevant to your business, you are losing potential traffic (and leads and customers).
Below is Google Analytics data from two websites in identical businesses in different parts of the country. One site has organic rankings on the first page of Google for several keyword variations. The other cannot be found in the first 5 pages for any of the same keywords (or any others for that matter!).
The claims that getting to the top of Google (on the first page, top 10, whatever) will super-charge your business are no lie. At times they might be exaggerated, but being on the first page of Google could be a game-changer for your business
How do you get more visibility for your website on the first page of Google?
I’m going to clue you in on the real secret:
Promote and establish yourself / your business as the expert, as the authority for your product / service in your geographic market.
Of course, this is easier if you already are an expert and an authority or if your market is very small or non-competitive. However, even if you are not (currently) an expert or an authority and/or your market is very competitive, you can still succeed in getting your website ranked on the first page of Google. But as Quint in the movie Jaws says, “it ain’t gonna be easy!” (sorry – not a great quote, but summer’s here!). That’s right – it can be done, but it’s going to take some work and it’s likely going to take some money as well. How much depends on your goals (you knew that was coming!).
Despite what some companies would have you believe – there are no (lasting) secrets – no magic sauce or formula. Any secrets quickly get scaled the point where they raise Google’s red flag, Google changes their search formula and… BAM! No more secret sauce and if you’re really unlucky, you might be begging your way back into the search engine listings for months.
There are no secrets, but there are best practices – things that have been used repeatedly to get unrelated sites in unrelated industries increased visibility on search engines like Google. If you spend a month searching the web and reading everything you can, you’ll uncover at least enough of them to keep you busy for the next 11 months!
Some business owners might be better off doing this on their own rather than responding to a spammer or hiring a local expert.
Here are 5 Signs that you might need hired search engine marketing help:
- You still use AOL email or AOL to access the World Wide Web
- You still call the Internet the “World Wide Web”
- You don’t know (or care about) the differences between HTML, DHTML, XHTML, CSS, Java Script
- You think “ALT” tags refer to that era of music when everyone wore flannel year around and never shave
- You don’t have a month to educate yourself or another 11 months to put your knowledge to work!
If, while reading any of the aforementioned bullets, you thought – “man, this is me!” – that’s okay. Don’t be embarrassed. Some of the most successful local business owners are where they are today because they know their strengths and the best uses of their time.
If you are in need of more search engine traffic and you decide to hire someone to help you, what can you do to protect yourself from the spammers?
Here are 3 tips:
- No one can guarantee you the top organic spot on Google (it’s up to you to understand the difference between paid and organic listings). If someone guarantees you a top spot, head for the door.
- Even if you get to the top, you may not stay there for any appreciable amount of time. In competitive industries and as more people learn how to optimize their websites to rank higher organically, search engine optimization work or SEO work will be increasingly an on-going endeavor not a one-time event. Think about this when considering incentives such as paying a firm bonuses for first page rankings.
- Don’t let anyone tell you that Paid is a money waster while Organic is a silver bullet. Rarely is this the case. At the end of the day people pushing organic results will bad mouth paid advertising and the reverse is also true. Try to think of the entire page as real estate – paid or organic doesn’t matter – there is a cost with both – it’s just allocated differently.
Your best bet is to hire someone that you’ve met with or spoken to at length. Find someone that knows business as well as they know search engine marketing. Find someone that knows the ins and outs of paid search as well as organic optimization – because they are both highly effective tools and you might need both to reach your goal(s).
Search engine marketing professionals with experience can go for more than $5,000 – 8,000 per month – not factoring in benefits, etc., so it may never make sense for some businesses to have someone in-house.
If you are still tempted to become your own search engine marketing expert, contact us. We’ve got a new e-book which will be available soon which will serve as a do-it-yourselfer’s guide to search engine marketing.
About The Author: Blue Corona is a data-driven online marketing company with offices in Gaithersburg, MD and Charlotte, N.C.
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