The problem is one of economics.
The days of (relatively) quick and easy website ranking through SEO are over.
Back in the good old days of 2010 and 2011 an SEO agency selling Small Business SEO packages could provide real value by making required SEO adjustments to every page on your website.
Often that was sufficient for your website to obtain a high ranking on Google. Back then the Internet was less crowded, there was less online competition within every business niche, and the Google search algorithm was simpler.
Following a few simple SEO guidelines didn’t guarantee a high ranking, but it happened often enough that this activity was bundled into small business SEO packages.
These packages were offered for between $250 and $800 per month, depending on how many pages were on your website.
Now fast forward to today.
The Internet is much more crowded, there is stiffer online competition is almost every industry and industry niche, and the Google search algorithm has been through hundreds of minor and dozens of major updates, with Google pushing us all into a direction they feel is best for their business.
So exactly what is Google’s business?
Advertising sales, plain and simple.
90% of Google’s revenue in 2014 was from the sales of advertising (which is slightly down from 92% in 2013).
Just like TV and radio networks, what they’re selling is our attention, and in order to sell our attention they first need to get our attention.
TV and radio does this with shows. Google does this with search results.
Better Search Results = More Viewers = More Advertising Revenue
In the same way that TV and radio spend vast amounts on the creation of shows, Google spends vast amounts on improving the quality of their search results.
This brings us to Google’s intention and the direction into which they’re pushing us all.
Google’s intention is to produce “better search results”.
But what is “Better”?
Most people do not realize that Google defines this in extreme detail. The summary of the document in which they define this is 43 pages long.
In the language of Google, “better” mean “more useful” to the person doing the search.
Ranking your website today is a matter of publishing quality content, and creating what is called “domain authority” for your website. You create domain authority by publishing content people find useful enough to link to, comment upon, and share via social media.
This process is often called Content Marketing and is sometimes called Inbound Marketing (as it draws people in).
First this takes time (SEO is not a get rich quick scheme despite claims made to the contrary), and most importantly it takes a steady stream of fresh quality content published to your website.
This steady stream of fresh quality content can not be hired out for $300 to $800 a month. For that money you get a trickle of thin content people don’t find useful.
As a Small Business Owner What Are Your Options?
- Find the money to hire a quality agency (starts at about $2,500 a month).
- Learn how to do it yourself (invest time, save cash).
- Learn how to do it, and sub out specific tasks.
Doing it yourself does take time and effort, no doubt about it, but when you don’t have the money to hire a quality agency, does it make sense to hire one of less quality?
If $300 to $800 a month doesn’t generate enough quality content to work in any reasonable amount of time, does it makes sense to go that route at all?
Or do you need to adapt to the reality that no matter what business you’re in, a part of what you need to do every day is publish interesting and useful content, primarily to your website? Then to promote that content through the use of email and social media?
Don’t worry. You won’t “boldly go where no one has gone before”, but rather you’ll be joining small business owners who now understand that SEO and Content Marketing is a small business core competency.
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