I seriously don’t know why so many small business owners get taken by so-called SEO companies. “I need you guys to get me to the number one spot on Google for the word ‘Shoes’.” I tried to suppress my laughter. That’s exactly what a salesperson told my client over the phone just a day before. He trusted me to make good on his promise.

 

“I need you guys to get me to the number one spot on Google for the word ‘Shoes’.”

 

You see there is this common misconception about SEO (Search Engine Optimization) – that you can just do a few things to your site and rank high on Google for anything that you want.

 

Obviously, it is a smart idea to try things to get your website found on search engines to drive more traffic to your site. With new sites going up every day it’s more and more difficult to be found and noticed online. But the salesperson he was talking with was not from a reputable company. They might be brands you trust, but you should know what they mean.

If you take a look at the search results below for the ‘Shoes’ keyword you’ll notice quite a few different kinds of results – I’ve color coded them to make it a little easier to see what I’m talking about. The yellow boxes represent the Google’s Advertising slots. Most of the time these are very obviously labeled as ‘Sponsored’ results. Anyone can purchase these ads and, for the most part, they are sold on a per-click basis.

 

The blue section is the local search section. Google is very focused on local search results as most people access the internet from their mobile phones it’s important for them to get local search right, and this is their answer to show me shoe stores near me or in this case 150 miles from me. It important to note that these are organic search results – information that Google has found on the internet in order to display accurate search results to its users. These are not paid-for advertising.

The Red section is what is considered the actual search results. This is what people think of when they think of looking something up on Google. In fact, study after study proves that the first space in that red section (in this example occupied by shoes.com) is the most clicked result position on this page – one study states that this position accounts for almost one-third of all clicks of a search result. This is what a good Internet Marketer would consider the number one position on Google. This is where you want to get your website listed for the most keywords. In fact, typically the top three positions here get clicked on more than the rest of the page combined.

A colleague and I decided to call the salesperson who promised our client the number one position for shoes on Google. We had our client talk to him and ask some questions, but most notably, was his company just buying the top positioned sponsored search result? Which he admitted and followed up with statistics to prove it was a good idea. While purchasing ads isn’t particularly bad, I’ve done it for clients before, it was the deception that spun us for a loop. And this wasn’t the first time or the last I’ve heard companies doing this sort of thing. There are many well-known brands out there that, in my opinion, swindle hard working small businesses.

Purchasing search ads and developing a content strategy to get your website to those high ranking positions in the red box go hand in hand. They actually can help each other out. If you are a business owner and are working with someone to help your SEO ask them if they are just buying ads. Because if they are, they are not doing SEO for you.

Be vigilant, ask tons of questions. Find out what long-term benefits these companies are offering. The internet is still somewhat of a wild west and there are people and companies willing to exploit it.

 

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