A little while ago, I had a discussion with a business owner about the fact that his website wasn’t living up to his expectation – he was looking for a new web agency – one that could live up to what he demanded of SEO and online marketing folks extraordinare.

However as he talked it became increasingly clear there was a larger problem. Not only had he been through several different web developers over a couple of months, he’d also recently hired and fired an SEO firm. He fired them 6 weeks after hiring them when they didn’t achieve front page rankings for all his key words in a hugely competitive trade market.

So what was the problem?

  1. Well he had eight domains, most of them with identical content.  And from a Google perspective, that was really bad. In fact, that’s likely to get you slapped by Google to the back of the proverbial page list.
  2. All eight websites were poorly laid out, lacking in anything that connected with their customer
  3. None of the websites had a phone number front and centre
  4. He had no means of tracking any of his results on any of his websites because no-one had installed Google analytics and he never asked how people had found him when they called.
  5. When the SEO people suggested he trim the number of websites and update them to be more functional and more appealing but he didn’t want to spend the money

and I could go on.

And yes, all of those issues caused him problems.

But really the main problem was his expectations. He kept expecting that his website was going to ‘bring him business’ – without him actually doing anything further than just having one. He’d bought into the myth of  SEO and online marketing. In his mind all he needed to do was have a website and business would beat a path to his door.

And that might work if you’re selling product online and you’ve built an audience, but not if you’re a local tradie with little else by way of marketing – it’s not likely to be a very successful strategy.

When we do SEO and online marketing for a client, we talk about it being more of a slow burn process – it’s by no means a silver bullet. It takes time to establish your site as a ‘worthy’ site in Google’s eyes. And the days of throwing bucket loads of money at it to get to No1. overnight are long gone. That ship sailed with Google’s Penguin and Panda updates of 2011 and 2012. And rumour has it that Penguin Mark II is coming soon.

SEO and online marketing is a great tool to bolt onto your marketing efforts. But it’s a bolt on. As is a website. It CANNOT replace getting out there and actively marketing your business. That can be networking, asking for referrals, direct mail, magnets, cold calls (yes they can still work), surveys, social media, speaking, advertising, blogging, partnership promotions, events, special offers or a mixture of any/all of the above.

But it’s important to get your ducks in a row. If you’re going to use promotional methods to drive traffic to your website – at least have a website that’s worth driving traffic to. Just like if you’re trying to drive traffic to a retail store have it be worth visiting. Something Australian retailers are just coming to grips with.

So make sure that you’re giving your tactics and strategy the time they take to work. Real results take real time – so be patient.

As Rachel Hunter, former Pantene model extroadinaire once said, “It won’t happen over night – but it will happen”.

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