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Is Your Online Marketing Team Doing You a Disservice?

25 Jul 2014 | Posted Under SEO
By Carl Weiss

I am many times confronted by prospective clients who are dazed and bewildered by online marketers who make themselves seem important by spouting cyberbabble when asked even the simplest of questions.  I don’t know if they do this simply because they are dyed-in-the-wool computer nerds that speak a language all their own.  Or maybe it’s because they want their prospects to think that all SEO experts are part of some secret cabal. All I can say is that it undermines the job that I and other legitimate online marketing professionals have to do.  More importantly, when I question most of these clients about what it was that they were paying for, they look at me like deer in the headlights.

Do you need to speak in tongues to do SEO?

While intoning mantras like SERPs and Keyword Density may sound impressive, what it means to 
How to Search Engine Optimization
generating online visibility is absolutely nothing.  (As far as I know, you put SERP on your pancakes.) When it comes to making your website sticky, well that is another matter altogether.  In the first place, Search Engine Optimization has changed so radically in the past few years that it is hardly recognizable as such.

Go back five years and ninety percent of everything you needed to please even the most finicky search engine was on your homepage.  (The other ten percent being backlinks.)  Today, only twenty five percent of what the search engines use for ranking is contained on-site.  The other seventy five percent is contained offsite, including blogs, social networks, videos and podcasts. 

While it is still important to include meta tags (code contained at the top of the page that identifies the site’s content) and alt tags (used to identify images), it is just as important to provide both the search engines and prospects with everything they need to make a buying decision on the homepage.  Gone are the days when people will spend five to ten minutes clicking around your site to decide whether or not to do business with you.  Statistics show that you have less than two minutes to dangle the bait and reel in the fish.  So if your website contains twenty five links, if the prospect has a tough time finding your phone number and/or address, or if they are confused in any way, they are history.

 Magic Bullets to Online Success

If you want to turn clicks into cash, then what you need are the following 5 items in plain site above the fold:

1.      Phone Number – Nobody wants to click onto a subsidiary page to find your contact information.  That is so old school.  Make sure your phone number is highly visible at the top of the page if you want to do business with anyone online.
2.      Address – With all the cybercrime going on people need to know that your business is on the up and up. This means they want to see a physical address.  If you don’t want to be taken for a fly-by-night operation make sure your address and google map are in plain sight.
3.      Intro Video – Since 99% of the people that click onto your site have never done business with you and since you have less than 2-minutes to get their attention, why not commission an introduction video that introduces you and your staff, tells prospects why they should do business with you and asks for the sale?
4.      Testimonial Videos – Want to turn your best customers into your best salespeople?  Create a short video interview that lets them tell the world what kind of experience they had with you. 
5.      Unique Sales Proposition – Many times when prospective clients ask me what they need to do to start selling more products and services online I tell them they need to provide prospects with an offer that will make them want to give your business a try.  (It doesn't always have to be a discount on the price either.  Intangibles such as a white paper or e-book can be a great way to generate the initial sale.)

 What you need to ask anyone before you trust them with your site.

Like it or not, when you trust your online marketing to an outside agency, you are putting your business’ 
future in their hands.  Should they make one wrong move you could find your website delisted or even blackballed.  If this happens it could take months or even years to climb back onto page one.  Below are ten questions you need to ask any online marketing agency before you sign on the dotted line:

1.      How long have you been doing online marketing?
2.      What services do you provide? (Web design, SEO, blogging, social networking, email marketing, video production)
3.      How many clients do you currently have?
4.      What kind of guarantees do you offer?
5.      Can I view some videos testimonials?
6.      Can I contact some of your current clients?
7.      Has your agency ever won any awards?
8.      How often can I expect to hear from you once I sign up? 
9.      How long do I have to continue using your service?
10.  What do I do if I am dissatisfied with your services.

By having a clear understanding of the responsibilities of both parties, as well as being able to verify whether or not an agency that is vying for your business can get the job done, you will not only be able to sleep better at night, you will have something tangible to show for the effort.  Now please pass the SERP.

Carl Weiss is president of Working the Web to Win, a digital marketing agency based in Jacksonville, Florida.   You can listen to Carl live every Tuesday at 4pm Central on BlogTalkRadio

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