Hi Old Dog,
A couple of web companies have approached me to do SEO. Why would I need SEO?
- Robert, Landscape Architect from Williamsville
Hello Robert, and thanks for the question.
For a long time now SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, has been a buzzword amongst marketers. SEO has existed as long as people have been looking for information and services on search engines like Yahoo, and Google, and moved away from the phone book and classified ads. You've probably heard that "SEO is dead" or that agencies can "make you rank #1 immediately". Navigating through the rumors, the half truths, and the outright lies is difficult, especially considering most small business owners don't have the time to stay SEO savvy, when they are trying to keep the lights on.
In the case of your business, landscaping, SEO can be a valuable tool for bringing in potential customers with hopes of them becoming new customers. In order for customers to find you, your business needs to be seen on Google, Bing, Yahoo & other search engines for the specific services you are offering.
The easy way to think of it is like this; most successful landscaping businesses that are in it for the long haul build their business by providing quality work and building a solid reputation. In the world of search engine rankings, you will need to provide a high quality website with solid content to build your online reputation and thus your rankings.
There are agencies, like ours, that specialize in creating a site that will provide a user with an optimal experience, and provide the types of information that are relevant to your work, in this case it's landscaping.
In order to match your site with potential customers, you first have to understand the way people look for landscapers. Since "landscaping" is a broad term, you will also need to decide what location you want to focus on so you are not paying to be found in Alaska when your business is located in Western New York (I have seen it happen many times before!)
You may also want to narrow your targets, if you did not want to be found for services like "lawn mowing." I once worked with a customer that offered commercial lighting services for large businesses and the company he contracted with had his business ranked for "light fixtures," and "light bulbs," and wound up getting calls from consumers and not businesses.
In that case, the owner's site did rank well, just not for terms that made sense, or would wind up helping him find new customers.
Like landscaping, people can try to do SEO on their own or use cheap alternatives, but if a business owner really wants to be found for terms that will result in increased business they need to work with an agency that will deliver quality services is always monitoring your web presence to make sure things are working.
One last thing Robert, SEO is a long-term strategy to increase rankings. There are no short cuts that won't eventually backfire, so while you are waiting for your rankings to improve there are other tools you can utilize to promote your services. But I will save that for another day.
- Old Dog
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