The following is a hypothetical example of a situation that happens daily across North America in offices everywhere: – KRONiS
Okay, so you are losing money fast, everyone is blaming the economy, and your marketing dollars are all you have left to try and save this problem.
Your online goldmine selling one-of-a-kind shoelaces that blew up bigger than Pet Rocks is now becoming a warehousing nightmare and you are running out of ideas fast. Recently you learned that your website doesn’t rank in the top 500 for the term ‘shoelaces’ in the 3 major search engines and you can’t seem to explain it, nor can anyone at your board meeting.
You start to ask your team what the possible solutions to this can be, while someone blurts out ‘We need to start twittering! Does anyone know how to do this?’ Suddenly all eyes are on your intern from NYU who is currently texting his pals about a pub after work. ‘Look he’s twittering right now!’, exclaims your marketing director. At this point you’ve come to this – asking your intern for help with your Internet Marketing. Luckily, your intern was laid off from spending last summer at Yahoo! and although promised a job permanently, things didn’t pan out due to the downward spiral of the hi-tech job market during these pressing times.
So at this point, Chip (the intern) pipes up and asks, ‘Who is running your SEO and what are they doing to target shoelaces?’.
The Marketing director asks, ‘What’s SEO?’ then abruptly says, ‘I mean I have to go’ and heads to his office and the room clears for lunchtime.
Now Robert (the marketing director) decides that he will be the savior and looks up SEO online to find numerous companies who claim to guarantee rankings for your top terms. He’s confused by all the offers out there and the pricing makes no sense to him other than he knows that it will cost a pretty penny.
OFTEN here is when the problems arise. The IT director for the company is currently on vacation and Robert decides to hire an SEO firm for the steal of a $2000 one time fee. Hastily.
8 weeks pass and now there is a meeting where all the directors are in the same room and the CEO (Darryl Droopstick) asks how the ‘SEO’ is going to the marketing director. He responds, ‘We have this excel spreadsheet showing how many people have searched for shoelaces and I don’t quite understand how to read this, maybe you can help Herb?’ Now the IT director (Herb) is cringing at the thought of fixing more company blunders and he argues with the CEO that they don’t need SEO, they just need to automate all the (brace yourself) ‘Meta tags’ and ‘Meta keywords’ for shoelaces, that he knows how to do it and that Robert is wasting company money.
After the smoke clears, the CEO is back in his office, he opens up Google and types in ‘shoelaces’. BINGO #1. Their website is ranking #1. He calls up his wife to say, ‘Honey, we are finally #1 in Google for searches on shoelaces, our problems are solved!’.
The next week the sales figures come in and wouldn’t you know it. The graph has never been worse and layoffs could be imminent if something isn’t done soon.
‘I don’t understand it, we were #1 for ‘shoelaces’, what happened? We’re number one right now, how come no one wants to buy our products anymore, are we just a passing fad? Honey, why is this happening, is our website that bad?’
Here’s where Darryl’s wife says the kicker: ‘Darryl, I can’t find you anywhere on Google’. He is confused and says, ‘But I type it into Google and we are number #1′. She continues to argue with him that she can’t find them anywhere online.
Just then Chip walks into Darryl’s office wearing a Girls Gone Wild t-shirt to ask if he can take a week off for Spring Break in Daytona as he didn’t realize that ‘slack-week’ was coming up this soon. Darryl hangs up and reaches out to Chip exclaiming, ‘Chip, what’s happening, we’re number 1 still aren’t we? Look I type in shoelaces and we come up #1!’
That’s when Chip asks, ‘Are you still logged into your Gmail account?’
(Note: if you are logged into Gmail, your Google results will be personalized based on what Google’s personalized search service deems most important to you — hence Darryl’s own company appearing at the top of the results while he is logged in to Gmail.)
Darryl realizes that he is logged in, as he checks his online dating emails here daily, and quickly clicks ‘sign out’.
He types in ‘shoelaces’ and frantically searches for his company website, to no avail. He immediately calls Herb, the IT director into his office and starts yelling and screaming about SEO and shoelaces. Darryl then types ‘SEO’ into Google and starts calling firms one after another, frustratingly asking how much it will cost to get rankings.
Chip, still waiting for his vacation request, pipes up and says, ‘My friend Mike interns at an SEO company who does really well. We should give them a shot’.
NOW THIS IS HYPOTHETICAL – there is no Chip, there is no Cheating Darryl, and there was never any Herb. – But just play along…you’ll see where this is all going.
The next thing you know our SEO team gets a call from Robert and we agree to help them with their target of the term ‘shoelaces’. We end up on the phone with the CEO who praises his IT director (who was able to hide his online activities successfully from his wife on several occasions) and listens to whatever he says. We pitch them an SEO package and then sign a contract and begin work.
During the kick-off call, we are told that everything must go through Herb, who doesn’t want anyone having access to the server and will not allow changes to the site unless they are his ideas claiming that he ‘knows SEO’ and that all we are good for is obtaining inbound links.
- What’s my point?
SEO is not just ‘Meta tags, keywords and automated database driven titles’. IT people often feel that they know how search engine spiders work and that they can ‘beat the system with automated ideas’.
The real key to SEO is having someone manually maintaining your site, working WITH your IT team and targeting the appropriate terms for your business, while continuously growing your website to become an authority in your niche .
Dear CEOs: while we SEOs appreciate your confidence in the abilities of your programmers and IT department, please know they aren’t studying the daily ins-and-outs of the constantly changing world of Search Engine Optimization. We are. Please respect this and help us help you.
An analogy to think about: Mechanics may be able to fix cars, but it doesn’t mean they will be the best drivers.
Let a professional SEO handle your SEO strategy and allow them the privilege to work WITH your IT team who will only benefit and learn more about SEO during the project.
I’ll leave you with this quote, ‘If you know how SEO works, then you know you need someone to manage it for you’.
I hope you enjoyed my story…
Oh and Chip, have fun in Daytona and don’t get arrested. They need you at the office.