Local SEO Is Often All Bark And A Mighty Weak Bite
At 90MilesNorth, we are firm believers that any blog post worth reading begins with a rant….so here we go:
The SEO industry (along with the social media marketing industry) is too interested in writing books and making speeches to actually have experience with what they’re talking about.
People think that aggregating the experiences and talent of others and presenting it to novices as original thought makes them an expert, maven, wonk or whatever those douchebags call each other. And most people buy it – literally.
And because all these SEO novices and hacks do is read and watch and listen, they soon have no idea how to actually do it. We’ve created a new layer of completely unnecessary middleman – the “guru.” In this case, guru would mean someone who doesn’t really want to work, but wants to be a modern-day techno-philosopher. And then this new pack of idiots aspires to write books and articles…and the beast feeds itself. We don’t need ‘em. We do marketing…on the Internet. Who the hell needs a mantra for that?
What You Should Look For In A Hudson Valley SEO Company Or Search Marketing Firm
Here’s a quick list of things you should look for when considering a company to create and execute a Search Engine Optimization campaign for your website. As with our recent take on Hudson Valley social media (minus the cracks against local “artists” – you wouldn’t believe how hard they take it), we’re going to give you a solid set of fundamentals to wield so you can expose the fakers.
- Speaking English – No, this is not a jab at the endless roster of foreign SEO firms that make search marketing seem like an illiterate mix of Mad Libs and Tourette’s syndrome. This speaks to those SEO experts who lack the ability to explain what they do to those who are trying to understand. With Search Engine Optimization, we deal with a mixture of technical and marketing concepts that sometimes intersect neatly, and other times collide in a heap. Some things might seem counter-intuitive (like “Hey, I know you’re a photographer, but your site shouldn’t be all images”) and other things might just feel wrong (like, “You’re going to have to rename most of your pages”). The point is, when you hit those spots of divergence between your vision for your site and an SEO-laden vision of your site, you need someone who can explain why those changes are necessary and beneficial. Too often do SEO companies in the Hudson Valley and elsewhere simply insist rather than explain (in English).
- No Guarantees – This is a standard cry among SEO professionals – anyone who guarantees you a top spot on any search engine is no more than a snake-oil salesman. It’s really that simple. Proper optimization of your site accompanied by a well-planned SEO strategy will improve your visibility in search engine results. How great that improvement is depends on many, many factors that extend beyond search engines and beyond the digital space all together. Any search marketing companies that come to you with a guarantee for anything other than hard work and smart strategy, at least require them to make it a money-back guarantee. That should set them straight.
- Reasonable Application – This might be the most important tip of them all. A reasonable application of SEO to your site means that a web marketing company doesn’t insist that you overhaul your entire site to make it 100% SEO fit. For example, say you own a small business in the Hudson Valley and you have a modest website. Chances are, you aren’t looking into Search Engine Optimization because you want to dump a ton of money into rebuilding your site. Since we cater to small businesses in the Hudson Valley, we know there are financial restrictions that would prevent a full SEO overhaul. That’s where the creativity comes in. The key is to make the most of what you have to work with and make plans for efficient, manageable changes to your site in the future. Would a full optimization be the best option for your site? Sure. Is that always financially feasible? No. Bottom line – Look for a reasonable SEO plan and look out for those firms that will try to blow your budget (and then ask for more!)
- Actual Strategy – Okay, if the last one is the most important tip, this would be number two. When considering an SEO firm in the Hudson Valley, make sure there’s some substance to all the style they’ll no doubt be championing. In other words, optimizing a site so that it will be more search engine-friendly is one thing. Knowing what to do with that optimized site is another. Look at it this way, SEO comes in two major parts – site optimization and promotion. Once your site is optimized, you go about promoting it on the Internet. Without a clear, creative strategy to accomplish that promotion, you’re dead in the water. When considering an SEO company, ask all about that promotional phase of SEO. If it sounds hazy, generic or out-of-line with your business goals, ditch ‘em.
- Attitude-Free – Similar to our Hudson Valley Social Media assessment, when you are seeking Search Engine Optimization services in the Hudson Valley, it shouldn’t come with a large chip on the shoulder. SEO isn’t magic and it’s not some hushed discipline with a secret handshake. It’s marketing…on the Internet. You know your business better than anyone and your website is a digital extension of that business. Don’t let some SEO “guru” hijack your brand with a lot of bluster and bullshit. Just like you would with any vendor, if the message you’re receiving comes with a little too much swagger and condescension, ditch ‘em. If that’s how they act towards you, imagine how they will interact with current and potential customers. We’ve seen it…it’s not pretty.
- Affordability – Just like a social media campaign, a Search Engine Optimization campaign should not bust your budget. SEO is a long haul strategy designed to raise your visibility in search engine results. Spending an inordinate amount of money on it is counter-productive, especially for small businesses in the Hudson Valley. At 90MilesNorth, we create flexible budgets to fit any marketing mix. Any SEO company you sit down with should try to do the same.
SEO In The Hudson Valley: Go With Grit Instead Of Grandeur
The point here is, as with most shiny new opportunities for small businesses, there’s a fair amount of snake-oil being sold. In fact, search engine optimization is such an unknown entity for so many that it can be sold in almost any form. Enough people, here in the Hudson Valley and elsewhere, have already been burned by poor SEO practices that it’s starting to tarnish quality search marketing companies. As business owners or managers, you have all dealt with vendors before and you can separate the ones with grit from the ones blowing smoke. As always, do your research and be as educated as you can when trying to decide on a Search Engine Optimization company here in the Hudson Valley.
Get in touch with us to learn more about how to creatively and strategically implement a real SEO campaign to your website.