In just the last month we’ve been appointed by three new clients for whom we’re building new websites, all of whom have been stung by the SEO myth.
They all fell for the hype of getting into the top rankings of Google and the subsequent expectation of masses of phone calls, new business leads and cash flowing electronically into their coffers, but it wasn’t long after the web designer / SEO company had pocketed their hard-earned cash that they realised that actually they’d been done.
Don’t get me wrong, of course your website has to be interesting, informative, compelling, absorbing and all that other good stuff – just the same as any other marketing colateral, but it isn’t the be all and end all of marketing, which the webistas would have us believe.
There are also way too many people out there selling a website fantasy – the truth is you can’t create a good website in a few minutes, or get taken seriously by flowing text in to a readymade template, and despite the hype there really is no such thing as a ‘Google Magnet’.
One of my contacts on the West Coast made this interesting observation in an email to me yesterday: “Now that sales guys have started to believe that there is a mechanism whereby they can get people coming to their website and pretty much writing the cheque before they even put in a call, they are putting relentless pressure on marketing to devote every cent of their effort into capturing this reactive opportunity.
“What they conveniently forget is that there are only so many top ten rankings, and unless you do stuff to drive people to your website, like DM, eshots, advertising, PR, events and such, then you’re not really marketing, or selling for that matter, – You’re just finding more ways to open the windows wide enough for the business to blow in.”
If you’re Apple, Amazon, Microsoft, Virgin, GM, BA, or a hundred or so other global businesses with buckets of brand equity and recognition, then you cannot but get good SEO rankings, and your web presence will account for a large percentage of the way that your customers and stakeholders build their perception of your business. However, if you’re a local company, or one of a hundred or more in your country doing largely the same thing, then you cannot rely on SEO as your marketing foundation.
Regardless of your size or speciality, you’re the same as every other business in the world, SEO is just one tool in your marketing armoury, and you should use it in conjunction with the rest of your marketing toolbox.
And for those of you who think I’m stating the blooming obvious, talk to the people you do business with socially – plumbers, builders, kitchen shops, small retailers and the like – and you’ll be amazed at how many of them will have been ripped off by Snake Oil SEO Salesmen, so it’s not obvious to them, and they account for around 60% of the GDP in the first world.
It is often said that a lot of people have made a fortune out of the internet – I wonder how many have actually made their stack out of preying on the gullibility of people who don’t know better?