This is one of a series of 12 posts that will show you how to take full advantage of the business-building power of the Internet and not get left behind as your prospects shift from using the Yellow Pages to the Internet to find a martial art school. Click here to view the first post and to access links to the others.
Reason #4 – Thinking you can hire a search marketing expert to get traffic to your site
With well over 45 billion web pages on the Internet, getting your website found isn’t easy – and requires some effort.
Business owners faced with this problem often hire search marketing experts (known as SEO or search engine optimization experts) – individuals or companies who charge hundreds to thousands of dollars a month to fiddle with a company’s websites in an effort to increase their search engine ranking.
There are four problems with these supposed “experts”
1. As Perry Marshall, a world-renown Internet guru says, “70-80% of SEO guys are incompetent and 5-10% are Con Men.” Here are just a few of the cons these guys get away with:
- They use SEO “tricks” that end up getting a site banned from the search engines.
- They make a big deal about the value of search engine submissions. The truth is that search engines will find your site on their own – if your site is findable – so there is almost no value in this heavily promoted practice.
- They focus on “on-site” SEO when effective “off-site” search marketing accounts for 80% of the difference in search results – but off-site efforts are difficult so it’s often completely ignored.
- They apply the same methods across all market segments when Google actually uses different criteria for ranking sites in different business categories.
- Rather than trying to optimize both Traffic and Conversions, they only emphasize getting visitors and few leads are generated.
- They fail to apply the 80/20 principle, focusing their energies on the 80% that produces meager results rather than the 20% that has the most impact.
2. Even if you find a search marketing expert that isn’t incompetent or a Con Man, they will likely know little about Local Internet Search.
See, the goal of traditional search marketing is to get traffic from all parts of the world. As you can probably imagine, this is a completely different challenge than getting traffic from interested prospects who live within a few to several miles of a local business.
For example, to be effective with Local Internet Search, here are just a few of the search categories that need to be understood:
- Organic Search (Google, Bing)
- Paid Search (Google Adwords, Facebook Ads)
- Local Search Directories (Google Places, Yahoo! Local)
- Online Yellow Pages (YellowPages.com, Switchboard, com)
- Online Review Sites (Yelp, Angie’s List)
- Local Classified Advertisements (Craigslist, eBay)
- Local Deal Sites (Groupon, Living Social)
- Local groups within national social media (e.g., Facebook)
- Business Category Search (business-specific category directories)
Knowing how to work with these search categories is a completely different animal than knowing the ins and outs of national/global Internet search.
That’s the problem most national organizations make. They implement national search marketing strategies to try to get local traffic to location pages on a national website – a losing proposition.
3. Even if you learn of an individual who claims to be a local search marketing expert (you probably get calls from these folks every week), their “expertise” likely comes from taking a $1,000 to $2,000 Internet course about local online marketing and working with a few local clients. I personally know of five outfits that offer such courses and they’re quite successful – meaning there are tens of thousands of these minimally-trained “experts” competing with each other for local clients (and calling you).
4. No matter who you use, it’s going to cost a ton of money. Local Internet Search is such a hot area right now that these experts – whether real or not – have extremely high rates. The true experts charge a few hundred dollars per hour and the individuals signing up for the local online marketing courses are being told they’ll be able to charge $2,000 to $5,000 per month – per client! – for their services.
This is crazy – but that’s the kind of money they’re trying to get from local clients who don’t know any better.
So, for a local business, hiring a true website traffic expert who can help a local business at a reasonable cost is almost impossible. I’m sure you get plenty of calls from companies who say they can help, but they all have at least one of these problems:
- Generally incompetent or are a con man
- Unknowledgeable about Local Internet Search
- Minimally trained by some “business opportunity” outfit
- Too expensive