If you came here ready to find the answer, here it is. Are you ready? Really? Are you sure? Okay.
There. Is. No. Magic. Bullet.
Sorry to be such a downer, but it’s better to know the truth. And that is that SEO (Search Engine Optimization, to be pedantic) is a big, long, time-consuming affair — definitely not for the faint of heart. That’s the bad news.
So is there any good news?
Absolutely. When done properly, with enough time, resources, and expertise, SEO can be incredibly effective. This is for a variety of reasons, but the most important one is a killer.
Intent: It’s critical
Being able to get in front of a potential customer, when they’re in the process of researching, comparing, or purchasing a product or service like yours, is key. In fact, there is no marketing technique like it.
Here’s an example:
Let’s say you offer home remodeling services. Sure, you can take out one of those bus-stop bench ads, or put an ad in a local magazine, or even advertise online, choosing relevant websites. You may even “reach” a lot of people. However…
Most — in fact statistically speaking, all — of the people seeing those ads are not currently in the market for your services. Yes, a vanishingly small percentage may try to keep you in mind for future projects, but that involves a lot of steps, including saving your contact information, getting in touch with you later, etc.
On the other hand, if someone types “home remodeling contractors near me” into a search engine, they are definitely looking for exactly what you offer. Being able to get in front of them at that precise moment is priceless. And at that instant in time, they could be one click away from your website.
That’s the power of search engine optimization.
Great. So how do I do that?
First step: acknowledge that SEO is a multi-faceted process, and there is no one single technique; it involves the consistent application of a number of factors to be successful. Just like any involved discipline, there’s no simple “A leads to B” explanation. You’ll go crazy looking for it! If you find a good, reputable SEO firm, trust that they know their craft, and rely on their judgement in how to tailor an approach to your situation.
On the other hand, you should work with a search engine optimization company that is transparent. That is, they share with you what they are doing, and give you access to all the statistics they track, as well as their analysis of what it means.
NOTE: We firmly believe that your data is yours — period. We’ll set it up for you (if necessary) and manage it as long as you want us to. But you own it. Sadly, that is not universally accepted in our field.
Finally, help your SEO company by giving them information that you have but they don’t. Things such as the different channels from which you get your business, what leads you are receiving, what items current and potential clients find important, and the like.
SEO in the real world
Starting with this picture of how to view SEO and SEO agencies, you are on the way to creating a successful partnership. And while we do not recommend that SEO be the only way you market your business, it can almost definitely play an important role.