As I was researching some local results for SEO services in the upstate area, I came across a wide range of services and quality. It was a little scary to think of a business owner wading into this, although my instinct is that most people would go with a service recommended by an associate or business partner.
For some of the smaller areas in upstate NY I came across SEO “firms” on the first page of results that were offering package directory submissions for hundreds of dollars per month – not a bad gig if you can land it, but certainly not a way to make your client rank! I’m fairly sure that some of these firms are just sites that no longer do much work – anyone still submitting massive directory blasts for a client will have some real issues – and fast.
Anyways, this made me think of how to educate clients and business owners. This is always a double edged sword – you can make someone dangerous with knowledge, but the lack of understanding can be just as bad. All things being equal I would rather my clients understand the basics and the current landscape – after all, it’s a function of marketing and they have a vested interest in being on top of what is going on in that segment of their industry (and in general).
As far as SEO and other forms of online optimization go, I usually see Moz referred to as a good place to start. I haven’t looked over their beginner’s guide in a couple of years, but I suppose that it isn’t the worst place to begin. I have this feeling that someone (but, who?!?) could put together a decent guide for business owners as a guide to online visibility. I use that word, visibility, since it isn’t always search engine visibility – if you can find quality traffic from a forum, social media, or other outlet, then great – go for it!
Something that would encapsulate perhaps the top 10-ish ways to gain visibility – onsite and offsite SEO being 2 of those. Off the top of my head I would think that several other topics would be:
- Email collection / targeting (build a list)
- Semantic markup (schema.org)
- Local directories
- National directories
- Content generation
That’s the short list off the top of my head – from there it’s a matter of coming up with what might be the most important. I think I’ll end up taking the list of what matters the most to my clients and write it up into a short PDF for use as a freebie incentive on my services website. Couldn’t hurt, and it would be so much better for them than coming across one of these relic SEO firms that will submit their site to search engine Hades…