Explained by Josh Harris
I am often told by many of the business owners I consult; “Ya, I’ve heard of SEO but I’m not really sure how it works.” In this article I want to take some time to explain my views and experience on exactly how SEO works and what you can do as a business owner to show up higher in the search results. Without this information you could be losing tens if not hundreds of thousands of dollars per year in wasted marketing expenses.
I feel like I should get how SEO works but why is it so complicated?
Let’s face it, as business owners and true entrepreneurs we want to be able to do it all. I mean, we are the go getters, there is no challenge too big and we can do anything we set our minds to… Right?! The fact of the matter is that over the years I have met more intelligent and hard working business owners than dumb or lazy ones. Most clients of mine feel like they even understand (to a degree) how SEO works. Most of my clients have at least one or two marketing methods that they have heard about or tried in the past such as blogging, writing articles and press releases, creating online listings, posting customer reviews online, Facebook advertising, and many more. The problem every one of my clients has always had, how do I bring it all together and what can I do to actually understand how SEO works?
My answer to you as to why it seems so hard to understand is a simple one; Bad Information. Unless you are talking to someone who can tell you personal examples of how their marketing methods have had an impact on their own websites then you are probably just hearing the one thing that sounded best to that sales rep in training. Most business consultants, internet consultants, or so called “pro’s” have never even built their own website. They talk about theory and what they learned in a classroom on on a YouTube video but they do not know the impact it truly makes on the amount of food on the dinner table. All of the methods I mentioned above and many more CAN product thousands of views from customers but only when used the right way.
Breaking it down and making things simple
What is SEO
Lets get into how SEO works in one of the most simple explanation I can give. SEO is an acronym for Search Engine Optimization. If we break down the entire phrase into two parts; first we have “Search Engine.” Second we have “Optimization.” Optimization by definition really means to make something as perfect as possible. Use the definitions instead of big words and we really have Perfecting for Search Engines. So when one of my clients asks me how SEO works, I simply tell them: “We give the search engines what they want.”
How SEO Works
This is where things can get a little hairy. There are limited resources online that tell a website manager how to optimize their site for search engines to be most satisfied and help your search results placement. How to go about perfecting your website for search engines is really all opinion based on each marketing experts experience and training. My training personally was hands on with my own websites that I relied on to put food on the table. I understand the stress involved with perfecting your website and trying to work on so many things at once but what I can say is this; practice your patience. These things take time.
How Much Time Does SEO Take?
Google and other search engines use computers called “robots” to crawl or search through every page of your website to see how it is built and how well it performs. These robots could never check every page of your website every day, think about how many websites there are in the world. It would take a NASA computer to make that possible. This means that you can and will make changes but you won’t see the true results until the search engines pick up the change and improve your scores. Crawling can take anywhere from a few days to a few months depending on how much you are adding content and other items to your pages. Blogging, writing articles, and updating content on your website can help your site and getting it crawled more often.
Learn it myself, hire an employee, or work with a marketing firm?
1. Learning it yourself
Most business owners feeling like they can tackle any obstacle want to learn about how SEO works and do that work themselves. They have all considered an employee to help with some of the work that they might not have time for and we all get hundreds if not thousands of calls a year from the “next big marketing firm” promising CRAZY results for only a hundred or two hundred dollars per month. What option is best for me and my company?
Time Vs. Money
This always depends on two things, time and money. As we all know our time really is money because as most business owners are running very tight schedules and rarely have the chance to get “fully” caught up they have to decide what is the most profitable thing to spend their time on in their business and what they need to delegate. I always caution business owners on taking the full challenge of doing it all by themselves. You should ALWAYS understand what you are doing and spending money on from your marketing budget but if your time is really worth a couple hundred dollars per hour should you spend it trying to make a Facebook page or write blog posts and put them online?
2. Hiring an employee
On this topic I have to say this all comes down to what you are getting for your money. I have done a lot of hiring over the years and worked with all sorts of different personality types with our marketing and fulfillment teams and I have to say; if those employees weren’t managing multiple companies and accounts and helping push our business ahead in multiple ways then they would never be worth the salary they are receiving. Don’t get me wrong, with the amazing results we get I love to reward our employees and teams; that is how they come up with fresh ideas but look at it this way. Do you want to spend $30k – $60k per year on an employee who MIGHT know what they are doing? Most applicants are fresh out of college and they have little to no practical experience. They may get lucky but business is about getting the highest return on any and all investments as possible. Is it really worth even $30k per year to chance it?
3. Working with a third party or specialty marketing firm
Be careful who you trust and what they say they can do for you. The best way is to ask to see their testimonials and ask if they have any referral clients. Taking the time to do all the follow up isn’t always worth it but you will quickly see if that company feels good providing that or not. If they don’t have people already happy with the services provided I would suggest you don’t become the guinea pig.
Don’t Take Their Word For It, Get Proof
Work with a company who is reputable and has real customers showing real results. Working with some of our software we have audited work done by other marketing firms and the results are terrifying. We haven’t found a single “marketing” company (even the big big boys) who are actually doing the work they promise. The highest number of listings actually completed and helping a customer that we have found was 5. ONLY 5 listings out of over 150 that you need to be in or you don’t matter. Just be careful and ask to see real results so you know that you are working with real professionals. We offer free initial consultation services to help you understand, plan, and execute your marketing schedule. Contact us today!
The only place I would recommend you check out if you really are wanting to learn everything on your own. That is Googles resource center where they talk about their view on websites, web data, and other listings information.