The comments on a recent hacker news post got me thinking about what we actually offer as a SEO company and what Search Marketing offers our clients. Working with clients and seeing a direct affect on their business from the work we do, it’s easy to forget that a lot of online businesses and websites don’t really trust SEO. Perhaps it’s a previous bad experience or they’ve read some introductory or out of date SEO articles that didn’t pay off as they thought.
One comment from that discussion particularly caught my eye:
Many great startups shut down because they couldn’t find a repeatable, low-cost way to acquire customers (and SEO is exactly this).
Having a wonderful product isn’t going to magically attract customers, you have to market it in someway. In a nutshell SEO uses search engines as a marketing platform to get customers to your site.
First of all we don’t sell magic or silver bullets. SEO is often sold as a mystic power that will transform your site. It can make a big difference to your business but it’s not magic; it’s experience, attention to detail, analysis and a deep understanding of the search market.
First we look at your site and how you currently looks to search engines, we’ll discuss your aims and what you want as a result of our SEO work. This is our first consultation stage. Many customers don’t really know what they want from their search positions, apart from “better”. We help you choose a path that’s actually going to make a positive difference to your business rather than throwing money at keywords that mean nothing to your customers.
Next we do a lot of in depth research and analysis about your competitors and how people are searching for your products, we’ll also start tracking your site’s performance to give you concrete facts about our impact.
Lastly in the planning stage we’ll devise a strategy for your Search Marketing campaign and present it to you. For example it might be beneficial for you to split your budget up among a large number of less competitive terms or concentrate on one or two very competitive ones. The type of business you are in and your future plans will play a big part in which direction we sugest. But at the heart of our recommendation will be what we think will benefit you the most and what’s achievable with your resources.
The actual hands on work will vary from project to project, there will be some on site changes. After all it’s no point trying to polish a turd. But a large chuck of resources will be devoted to building links with other sites and making sure that the search engines view your site in the best possible light. This is often the hardest part for website owners to do themselves. Anyone can alter the text on their site to include content that people are looking for but few have spent time building up relationships with sites that will be beneficial to their long term SEO aims. Randomly buying links isn’t going to cut it and is going to put your site in serious danger down the line.