SHOULD YOU HIRE AN SEO EXPERT? A NO BULLSHIT ANSWER
Let me tell you a funny story. Recently I got a call asking me to sign up with this “marketing company” that specializes in SEO. This company was going to charge me $199 a month for SEO marketing and they guarantee that I would be on the first page of Google within a month. Now mind you I was already irritated that they called me first thing in the morning while I am trying to put on my makeup and interrupting me with some non solicited bullshit, so I thought...."hmmm. Let's have a little fun!"
"The first page of Google? That would be amazing!" I screamed. If I was on the first page of Google I would get so much business! I would never have to blog or do anything, and then I could just hang out and just let the money come rolling in!"
This markeing company was selling me a throne of bullshit. They must have been thinking “oh my God, we've got this woman ready to sign on the dotted line.” Little did they know what was coming next.
When I started asking the SEO expert the detailed questions about SEO, he couldn't answer any of them. So I politely asked "so if you can't answer all of these very simple questions, what makes you the expert? Shouldn't you be paying me $199 a month to tell you how to do your job that you're trying to sell me?
Needless to say they hung up on me. Pretty much goes to show you that anyone can claim to be an expert at something...it doesn't just happen in the makeup biz.
Let me state for the record, I don't claim to be the expert on SEO, but I do know more than most average business owners. It's the nerd in me, I love to study SEO and marketing. . On my nightstand at any given time, you will see Vogue and Fortune 500 & Inc magazines on business & marketing.
Is that wrong?
In the next few paragraphs I'm going to tell you what I do know about SEO. I am still learning this stuff too, and the "rules of engagement" are always changing, so at anytime this information can turn as quickly as Kim Kardashian's lovers. But since I have gotten a lot of emails asking me about it, I thought I would write a few nuggets of what I do know.
Keep in mind that this is NOT EVERYTHING about how to be your own expert at SEO, but in my humble opinion a good portion of it is fairly straight forward even if it can be a bit complicated. But since I can't possibly write everything in one post, this will have to do for now. I hope it's helpful for you.
Many bloggers and SEO gurus – the self-proclaimed experts of SEO – often leave you with a rosy picture about search engine optimization. Shit, it changes so much who even knows what the hell it is anymore. In my experience most "SEO COMPANIES don't really have knowledge on the subject and they know that your awareness levels on the subject is low....and they are banking on it. It's a very safe gamble because to be perfectly honest, they don't want you to know too much or you will know they are selling you a pile of pony poo.
While there is nothing wrong with trying to get a hustle on, in doing so they end up painting a topic as complex as SEO in very broad strokes. As a result, they leave out many of the vital details that you need to know as a business owner.
SEO gurus and experts often leave you with the impression that improving your website rankings is simple or merely needs an easy fix. But let me be clear. SEO it isn’t that easy – or simple. It requires lots of hard work. It also doesn’t happen overnight and its not a set it and forget it kind of process. SEO is a complex little bitch. This persnickety little thing has several sides to her yin and yang personality.
After you read this I hope you can figure out if you really need to hire that "SEO" expert that wants to charge you a monthly fee.
Blogging will get you some results..but not immediately. I sometimes say blogging is a lot like working out.
Everyone knows that working out is good for your health but not everyone experiences the same results. (It’s the little lies we tell ourselves.) Not everyone who works out experiences the same results as their friends. For instance: If your friend is working out for an hour every day and you’re only working out a half an hour each week, clearly you can’t expect to achieve similar results as your friend right?. But, the rate at which you can see the results depend on a lot of factors like:
- How often you work out
- How long you work out
- What the hell you’re eating. (As I sit here eating a veggie tray with potato chips)
The working out analogy works for blogging as well. You will get results from blogging – but probably not at the pace at which you expect to see them. The bad news is that many business owners blog only to improve their rankings. As a result, they end up with drab content that not even the search engines would care to read. Uh. I was guilty of that myself. So if you suck at writing, don't know what to tell you there.
In my experience, until I decided to just “write” that’s when I started really having fun with my audience. And now I love it. A whole lot more than I enjoy working out, that’s for sure.
I have had some success in traffic on my blog but only because I like to write what I think other people want to read (and I am just a big goof ball trying to have a little fun). Has Glossible brought more traffic to my soniaroselli.com website? Too early to tell and that really wasn't the entire purpose of Glossible to be quite honest. But I am having fun and I like being helpful and I am sure in time it won't hurt.
So what should you be aiming for your own business? Simple. Just work on creating content that engages with your target audience. If you can do this consistently, your audience will find you on the search engines – more often than not.
One thing to keep in mind however. Ranking and having your audience find you based on specific keywords is not an overnight process. It takes time. So if you launch your blog tomorrow and submit 10 blogs each week, don’t expect to reap dividends on your ranking. Sorry Charlie. I wish I had a better answer for you. But the SEO experts can't push this along either. It has to happen naturally.
The no bullshit answer the SEO experts won’t tell you: Obtaining high search rankings is a task. These so called “SEO” experts cater to that demand to keep themselves in business. So, they convince you about how easy the process is all while taking your money with a hope and a prayer.
Some SEO companies might even promise you the moon or first-page results on Google just like the phone call I got. They will leave you with images of how you’ll be stealing business over all your competitors. It’s all bullshit and not as easy as they make it seem. If you are a sick and twisted soul like me, have a little fun with them and get them all flustered the next time they interupt your day. I’m evil like that.
Crawling and indexing on Google is a processes which can take some time and rely on many factors. Therefore, be patient and consistent in your blogging. It might take you several months to observe the results but you will see an increase eventually.
Not all domains are equal in the eyes of search engines. Evidence suggests that the age of your domain does influence how quickly it ranks. The influence might not be significant, but the fact that it exists is indisputable. My domain name is 15 years old. Wow! Time flies!
What does this mean for you? If you have launched your website recently and have ensured that it meets all the SEO parameters it’s gonna take some time, kitten.
I giggle when folks tell me their well thought out business plans that sound a little like this:
“I’m gonna launch a website and it’s gonna take off like crazy”
I just shake my head and nod politely. I wish it was that easy.
In a nutshell, it’s going to take time for your website to show up with higher search rankings, that’s just the way it is. Therefore, things could get tricky if you’re a new start-up who is eyeing for the attention of an audience with competitors who’ve had an online presence for years. Patience is a virtue but not a fun one I know.
In the battle of search rankings, older domains have a considerable advantage over new domains. The older domains have been around for some time. In that time, they would probably have published content consistently. Moreover, they might also have taken the effort to acquire quality inbound links (other websites that link to theirs). So, they reap the benefits of being the early birds in this situation.
My no bullshit answer: You don’t seriously expect SEO consultants to tell you that you’ll find the going tough because you’re a new entrant in the market, competing with domains that have been around for many years. Experience and tenure are invaluable when it comes to running a business so be patient. Time is hard thing to sell. But just like your career, you didn't build it overnight. Publish great content consistently and share on social media. Visitors to the site with share your content and this will generate inbound links.
If you have been asked to write for a blog or be featured on a blog or website site, JUMP ON IT. Inbound links, especially from popular sites, will only help your search engine rankings. The better your content, the more organic inbound links you will have. And the better your content with the higher number of inbound links you have, the lesser will be the impact of the age of your domain. Easy right? So next time I ask anyone to write for Glossible, jump on it. HA!
Ok so some of this may be talking over your head here but bare with me. Ya’ll have heard of keywords, right? Well, they aren’t quite what they used to be.
Remember the days when you would go to a website and you would see long lists of keywords, usually at the bottom of a web page? Well, Google doesn’t like that and neither does your audience.
Some businesses have a strong content marketing plan in place when it comes to SEO. They publish good content on a regular basis and engage their audience. They also use specific keywords that becomes an integral component of their strategy publishing useful content.
When you publish good engaging content regularly, this can be helpful for your search rankings. Google sees that you are talking about your industry and gives your site credibility.
But what if you aren’t posting content on your site regularly?
If you’re not publishing content on your website consistently, you probobly don’t have that many "indexed" pages in search engines (in the simplest terms it means pages that google has crawled and has listed). And the few pages you do have are probably stuffed to the rim with keywords. Am I right?
When you stuff keywords around your site on the few pages that you have it can actually hurt you. In other words your overloading your pages with rambling jargon is not engaging for your audience to read. Doing this probably boosted your search rankings in the past, but doing this now, could be counterproductive and actually hurt you.
Need an example? Here you go:
Chicago makeup artist Sonia Roselli is the premiere makeup artist in Chicago. Her Chicago brides love to work with her and her Chicago makeup artists for their very special Chicago weddings.....blah, blah blah. OR Chicago makeup artist, airbrush makeup artist, wedding makeup, chicago wedding makeup...blah blah blah all at the end of your website.
Who the fuck wants to read that? Like I said, I've been guilty of that before but only because I "thought" that is what I was supposed to do. Well now, don't do it. Got it? Good.
So, what has changed? The introduction of Panda 4.0 in the spring of 2014, from Google.
A day before the launch of Panda 4.0, eBay stood at No. 6 in terms of the share of Top 10 Rankings. A day after the launch of Panda 4.0, it had plummeted to No. 25. Whoa! That’s not good! Is that why Ebay is dying a slow death? Ebay was very short on good, digestible content but heavy in keyword stuffing in terms of phrases and "doorway pages". In the end, they dropped ranking literally overnight.
Companies that have relied heavily on their homepage for search traffic, now need to do more than just fill their web pages with thousands of keywords or phrases that add no value or experience in their website. In short, they need to publish good content – and regularly and make it a helpful experience for their readers.
My no bullshit answer: SEO experts will keep rambling about the need for "optimizing the content" of your website. When it comes to showing you the difference on how they can help you, most give some very short textbook answers don’t even really understand the process.
Because the SEO experts know how to get higher search rankings in theory. Achieving this in real life, well this is an entirely different ballgame all together. So don't stuff a lot of nonsense in your website. It's not fun to read or helpful to your audience.
Really, my basic no bullshit approach to simple SEO is to just be helpful to your customer/client and write great content about your business. That's really all google cares about. While it is a little more complex than that, this is really the first thing you need to know to get started. No amount of SEO "experts" can truly talk about your business the way you can. And it doesn't have to be painful.
I blog because I love it and I truly want to help my clients learn about beauty and business. I think being helpful to your client is good for any business, right? I hope that isn’t old fashion for me to say. It’s not about us, it’s about how we can help our clients.
So if you are thinking to hire an SEO marketing company or expert, think long and hard about what they will be doing to help you with YOUR SEO. Instead, devise a content strategy that targets most of your business-related keywords and just write about what you know. Over time, this will be more than enough to bring the audience to your website.
In future posts I will talk more about other ways to understand SEO.
Now excuse me while I lull myself to sleep with my business magazines. My fall fashion bibles have all been picked over.