More and more small businesses have websites which are performing less and less well in the context of increasing competition. So every week I’m being asked: What can you do for my website & SEO?
Just last week I got six requests to “please take a look at my website and see what you can do.”
What Can You Do For My Website & SEO?
Today I shared my thoughts for improving website performance with one of those potential new clients.
He felt my recommendations were “more of the same,” and was very unhappy that having gone through four different web/SEO folks in the last year, his traffic and Google results were still getting worse. I’m not surprised! He’s spent a lot of money with those people, yet his website enquiries have continued to decline.
My recommendations were still valid though, and I stood by them. I explained that they weren’t in fact more of the same because whatever those folks had done, there was still a lot of room for improvement. Some quite basic things were wrong, which was why I could offer several specific recommendations in a short review, which I did free of charge.
But to him it sounded like the same message he’d heard before, and there was no guarantee that if he went ahead with me the results would be any different.
Why Do Things Keep Getting Worse?
In this case it wasn’t just increasing competition. In spite of the work already done on his website there were basic errors and plenty of opportunities to improve things. But I was honest with him, web marketing is very volatile, increasingly competitive, and there would be no guarantee from me that I can achieve what he wants.
I can’t guarantee results from short term changes, and I think it is a mistake to work on that basis (for client or myself – as explained shortly).
This can all get a disheartening and this was evident in his frustration with what others had failed to achieve. I have to question their competence though, because my brief review of his website suggested that while they may have done some valuable work, there were several important things that had been done poorly or missed altogether.
I’m writing this up because I think this is an increasingly common story. People spend money with an expectation of results, but the quality of website designer & SEO out there is so unreliable and difficult for them to judge. So it is too easy to end up being short changed (putting it politely). Some are just not good at web marketing and SEO, others are out to make a quick buck.
It is hard to find the right person for this kind of work when there are so many people who can tell a good story, but don’t really know what they are doing. I have to add though, that it is a challenging business for those doing the work too—things are incredibly competitive, the area is very complex, and new developments come along frequently which mean it can be hard to keep up.
On the other hand, there are certain basics that any website designer or SEO should know are important, and it is quite rare (less than 10% of the time) that I review a website and find all these in place.
The Most Important Thing You Can Do
The most important advice I have for anyone looking for help improving your website results is in two parts:
1) Don’t pay by results. If you do, you are asking for a short term fix, followed later by a Google penalty and sullied website reputation. (For more on this see SEO For Newbies.)
2) Instead, find someone who sees you and your business as the start of a long term relationship. Start small with them and don’t expect miracles. Over time build a trusted relationship with them, and of course keep an eye on the results. So that if you still aren’t getting what you believe is good value, you can decide when to move on before you have spent too much on someone who isn’t up to the job. Hopefully though you’ll find “the one” and you’ll get where you want to go in the longer term.
Its the same way with your website’s relationship with Google, and every other kind of relationship if you think about it. If you just jump in at the deep end you may well drown. Better to learn in the shallows, steadily build trust and confidence, and in time you’ll get where you want to be.