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Block 81 is a design studio producing beautifully crafted websites and brands for independent businesses and startups.
January 21, 2014
One of the best online marketing tactics available is search engine optimization, or SEO. It can bring a high return if done properly. But it requires a serious commitment from site owners. Are you ready to put in the work?
Before we dive in, let’s make sure we’re talking about the same thing here. In the context of this article, SEO is defined as the act of optimizing a website through keywords and website development to boost natural search engine rankings. Basically, the code and content tweaks done to get a site ranking in the top ten of Google (and other search engines).
Now let’s define what SEO is not: an easy, magic bullet that will skyrocket your site to number one on Google. Sorry to burst your bubble.
With that out of the way, let’s continue, shall we?
SEO is pretty amazing when it’s done properly. Brand visibility goes up, rankings go up, lead generation goes up. But it doesn’t happen by accident.
There are a lot of moving pieces to SEO including content writing and editing, code optimization, and link building. None of it comes for free either. You’re either going to pay for it with your time or by hiring someone. Even if you hire an SEO consultant, you have to put in some time (albeit a lot less than if you were doing SEO yourself).
And that’s, unfortunately, where a lot of site owners get things wrong. Hiring an SEO consultant is just the first step. You need to put in the work and help them help you.
When we were still formally doing SEO consulting one of the most frustrating things was going to clients with various ideas and recommendations on how to improve their site to rank better and all we got were crickets. There was a lot we could do in terms of improving their site without client intervention or input – tweaking their code here and there, build a few links, tweak their content a bit and the like. But there were other tasks that just couldn’t be done by us; they had to be done by the client either in part or in whole. Tasks such as setting up Google Places or submitting to industry-only directories that required specific business info. Sometimes we recommended major modifications to the site that were outside the scope of on-page SEO that we needed to discuss and get approval on. All in the name of helping them reach the highest ranking possible.
Instead what we often got was resistance in the form of silence. And the expectation that by doing as little as possible we’d somehow get them to rank #1 for every keyword out there.
SEO doesn’t work that way. When you hire an SEO consultant – or an online marketer, or a web agency – you aren’t just hiring a pair of hands. Hence the word consultant. You’re hiring a professional to partner with you in helping your online business reach better visibility and gain more traffic and leads.
If you’re not willing to put in the work, don’t be surprised when all that money you’re spending on SEO is giving you minimal results.