Selling Unicorns: Get On The 1st Page of Google for Little Cost and Effort???
February 4th, 2013
Do you believe that you could get on the 1st page of Google for little money and very little effort? If someone tries to sell you this then they are, well... uninformed, irrationally hopeful; or worse, lying. This critique of some so-called SEO professionals is especially important for companies that sell to a larger audience rather then the town in which they reside. I would have thought that this irrational exuberance would end, but it hasn't.
I hear people ask about the "SEO cure" to their website woes all the time. They look at SEO as some sort of magic bullet. Think about it. If every company could spend just $99 to rank first, wouldn't every company do it? And here's my big disclaimer: I happen to think SEO is very important and there are some firms that do it very well. Unfortunately for them, or fortunately depending on how they look at it, they are in an industry that is busting at the seams with con artists, the ignorant uninformed, and part timers who might have had a tiny bit of success somewhere.
SEO is a process, and if you are serious about it, and you should be, then you should expect to put in some serious time. And, if you hire an SEO firm, expect to pay a hefty fee. Because any firm that can get your mid- to large-sized company on the first page of Google for the terms that your sales people actually sell, deserves their fee. Remember, you get what you pay for, and any firm that is selling this on-going process for an unbelievably small fee is selling a scam.
Pre-qualify these firms by talking with their customers first. You will want to talk with companies that are a similar size as yours. If all of the success stories are with companies that are small or have a very narrow audience, you need to rethink whether or not they can handle your requirements. It's one thing to get better organic rankings for "chimney cleaners in Newington, CT," but it's quite a bit harder to get better rankings for "banner printers in New England."
Here's the best way to pre-qualify an SEO firm. Go to their website and write down their title tags (viewable on the very top of your browser window). Then perform a search on Google for these terms. See how they rank against all the other SEO firms who compete against them. If they rank high, they are doing something right. But, if they don't, they are unable to do what they are selling. In other words, they are selling unicorns.