Just last week, I was on the phone with Amanda (not her real name). Amanda is a healthcare provider in private practice, serving a local market.
A few months ago, she got herself into a contract with a Search Engine Optimization (SEO) company (which will remain nameless, although it’s tempting). Thankfully, her contract is almost up.
In the meantime, though, she paid the company substantial monthly fees and basically got taken to the cleaners.
Are All SEO Companies Frauds?
Before I go any further, there are plenty of honest, reputable SEO firms out there. In fact, I can throw rocks at one from my office (not that I would, mind you). But the landscape of search engine optimization is littered with trash like the company that bamboozled Amanda. I wish hers was a story I’d never heard before, but the fact of the matter is that it’s more the rule than the exception.
They promised her first page rankings in Google in exchange for their outrageous fees. They took control of her website (which they will tell you is a requirement for them to optimize the site), and then they began to do damage.
The next thing Amanda knew, the home page of her nice clean website was cluttered up with keyword-stuffed, nonsensical blather that would have scared off any real patients if they’d made it to the site. Further, it made her look like a babbling idiot.
But they got the site to the first page of Google for one of the important phrases they identified… temporarily, anyway. After she undid their graffiti, she contacted me.
My first question to Amanda was, “What kind of contract did you sign?”
Sometimes you have a way out — a guarantee that allows you to get back all or part of your investment. She didn’t think she had that right — and even if she did, she had neither the time nor the money to invest in legal services to get her money back.
The Problem with SEO
It always sounds good to get to the first page in Google. And trust me, if your website is ready for page 1, it is a good thing.
But when you focus only on one piece of the puzzle — the rankings, in this case — you run the risk of creating the wrong success. Ultimately, what Amanda wanted was new customers (patients, in her case), not an ugly mess that would’ve destroyed her hard-won reputation when people got to her website.
So the problem with a contract like hers is that the company she worked with didn’t bother to help her focus on the real goal. Instead, they sold her on the rankings and sacrificed the other elements that would help her successfully attract new customers.
The Real Need
Most small businesses still lack a solid, written strategy for attracting new leads & prospects. Over the next couple of weeks, we’ll be talking about how to set up your strategy and make it as effective as possible.
Need fast help? Our Website Performance Assessment may be for you. This in-depth analysis of your website looks at 16 points within the 4 major areas that affect whether you get results or not. You receive a written report and a 1-hour phone consultation during which we go over the findings together. The bottom line: you will have an actionable plan for exactly where to focus your energies to achieve results. We can only offer a limited number of these each month, and this month we only have room for 5 more. Get started here.