By Braden Walker
If you are anything like me, you were more than likely raised on the fact that honesty is the best policy. Its what most of us want, especially in business dealings. I want to know that the people I am working with are being honest and forthright with me.
If I hire someone to do a job, I want to know that it will be done right and I want to know exactly what was done. I want that assurance in knowing that everything I need to know, I know. This unfortunately isn’t always the case and in the SEO world and web marketing it definitely isn’t always the case.
The SEO and web marketing world is like the wild west. You’ve got the good, the bad and the ugly. As far as volume is concerned, the bad and the ugly tend to reign supreme. There are more scam artists and frauds in the SEO world than you can shake a stick at, but most of the time, if you know what to look for, they are pretty easy to spot.
So the question that has been addressed quite a bit lately by some of us in the campground website industry is, “Is SEO a scam all together?” The answer is NO. Web marketing and SEO is a very real and important aspect of your advertising and marketing.
Are there scam artists out there, yes, but you don’t throw the baby out with the bath water. Ranking high in the search engines for the search queries you want to be found for isn’t always easy, but it is essential to businesses in today’s world. If I am on the road and looking for a campground in Austin, Texas, the first place I’m looking for information is on my iPhone searching Google. That is where the industry is and has headed and if you aren’t showing up and your website isn’t mobile friendly, then you are losing out on clientele.
Some web designers will try to convince you that you can’t trust any of these so called SEO experts and you need to just trust your instincts. To say that is like saying you can’t trust a single doctor in diagnosing whats wrong with you, just trust that you know whats wrong with you. THAT IS CRAZY! There’s a reason we have medical experts and there’s a reason we have SEO experts — it’s so that you don’t have to be an expert in something you might not fully understand.
So, here are three truths about web marketing to take away from this article:
1. Not all web designers and developers are SEO and web marketing experts.
There are quite a few web designers out there that are great at web design and do a great job with the look and feel of a website, but you need the engine in the machine to make it run well. Its kind of like having a Ferrari with no engine. It looks great, but no one is going to see it because its stuck in the garage. SEO is the engine to your website and that is why it is so important.
I can’t tell you how many websites I have seen that look great, but will never rank for what they were built to rank for because they are not properly optimized. Unfortunately quite a few web designers become quite defensive when someone comes along and wants to help a website rank well, because it looks poorly on them that the site was not built to its potential. This isn’t always their fault, it just depends on what was promised when they took on the job.
So the best thing you can do as someone who needs a great website, is to ask the right questions and know that the site is not only going to look great, but be fully optimized to Google’s standards.
2. Not all websites provide a good return on investment.
A website that does not look good, is difficult to navigate and does not have great calls-to-action on their website will never give the return on investment that is needed even if it is ranking high in the search results.
The reason for this is that you can have a well optimized site and, yet, if it is difficult for someone to use or unpleasant to look at, they will leave the site as soon as they get there. This is called a bounce rate and exit rate and the lower this number is, the better. You can attain this information in Google Analytics, which brings us to our final truth.
3. If you aren’t tracking what your website is doing in Google Analytics, you will never know what kind of ROI your website is creating.
Your website is suppose to be your 24/7 salesperson. You wouldn’t hire someone to do sales for you and tell them to never report back. This is unfortunately what quite a few businesses are doing with their websites.
Google Analytics is free to everyone and all you have to do is sign up. They give a ton of pertinent information and remove the guessing game and the “just trust your instincts.” Most of us in business need to trust our instincts with a few things, but we need hard numbers in front of us to make key decisions, otherwise we are more than likely going to be on a sinking ship.
You need to see what your website has done with each change and find out where your web traffic is coming from. So if you don’t have Google Analytics installed on your site, get it installed. If you do have it installed, but aren’t looking at the reports, look at them. These are invaluable tools that Google has given to all business owners and anyone with a website.
I know that the web world is quite treacherous and scary for a lot of business owners and even for some web designers and web marketers, but it is essential to the success of most businesses. You need someone to trust and someone who stays up-to-date with all the changes that are happening on a daily basis. My advice is to talk and do business with those who are showcasing just that. Those who are educating and looking out for your businesses best interest.
Braden Walker is the senior web developer for TXAD Internet, an SEO consultant to the campground industry. They specialize in SEO, web design, and all things online marketing related. For more information or to get in contact with TXAD Internet, visit txadinternet.com or call 817.426.9395.