SEO, Marketing And All That Rot
How To Lose Your Money, Time And Eventually, Your Mind.
You set up a business. It's small, because, hey, it's new. You've found a niche you're happy with. You're offering a new version of an old favourite. A better version. Yours is cheaper. Or faster. It's the moustrap that actively hunts down and euthanises mice with lavender-scented lasers. It solves a problem a lot of people have have and will pay good money to have fixed, by you. Happy days!
Except you have a problem, now.
How do you let people know about this Great Thing?
Leaflets? Nah, it's not pizza you're selling.
Adverts? Too expensive, too untargetted.
Website? Ok, but now it's just sitting there!
PPC? You're competing against people with bigger budgets or no sense. Or both.
Enter the SEO guy.
"I can get you top in Google for £150 a month", says Clive Jones.
"Oh great. Where are you from, Clive?"
"Ooohkay. And how will you get me top in Google?"
"With links from 10 PR5 directories and 3 PR3 blogs and 10 PR2 blog comments and a link-pyramid and optimising your web pages for the words 'YourBrandName YourProduct' ..."
"But I'm already Number 1 for that! And those methods are going to get me a penalty inside a week! "
"Clive? .... hello?"
The SEO Guy Who Knows More Than You Do is the latest incarnation of 'Jim Lively', the marketing whiz who's got the pizzazz to leverage your brand to top-of-mind in your niche. For £5k. With a £3k initial down-payment, to cover expenses.
With a flick of the wrist, a dash of Facebook posturing, a twiddle of Twitter, a tweak of your webpages and an interview on Trisha In The Morning, you can be Number 1 In All Territories. For your meat pies.
We all love meat pies, right?
Never mind there's half-a-dozen companies with 50 years of selling meat-filled pastries behind them and you're competing with them since ... February. Jim's the man. He's talking tech, he's got a firm handshake, his car smells nice so he must be good!
I am sure the genuine article exists out there.
Somewhere, on a sun-kissed island, Helmut Zeitgeist, pale as a ghost and lean as a whippet, is sitting in front of a next-generation, customised Alienware laptop, running his bespoke SEO software and chuckling at the latest attempts to stop his fiendish and underhand assaults by 'diese Amateure' at Google.
He says "Danke, liebchen" as a dusky maiden of uncertain virtue massages shoulders that see daylight every other Tuesday. He types at mysterious code at 200 wpm, presses Enter and chuckles softly to himself. He picks up the phone, calls a number in Shoreditch and says "It is done. Transfer the money".
A very clever startup starts to see its pages rise in Google over the next week. Engineers in Santa Clara feel a tremor in The Force, but find no obvious cause.
The thing about Helmut is: you can't afford him. His waiting list is 6 months long. He might also find you ... boring.
Meanwhile, London cleaning-firm owner-managers get their Prozac prescriptions topped up after Clive has had his way with their websites.
So what's the solution?
As the rodents say on television, "simples".
Just ask for their CV.
Not the word document; get a list of sites they've worked on before. Then call their owners. That will get rid of 95% of SEO gurus.
Hire someone who will do things for your business that will attract paying customers. Then the SEO will take care of itself.
Work out how to make your offering remarkable. Then the sales will take care of themselves.
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