Selling SEO – Creating Awareness – Part One

One of the things I enjoy most about my job is the sales process – Introducing people to what our company does. It doesn’t matter if the individual I am speaking to is an individual web site operator, or the CEO of a major hosting company, most of them do not understand what Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is or does. That’s not to say they do not understand search engine listings are crucial to ebusiness, but there is still something of a general notion that “if you build it, they will come.”

This notion goes a long way to explaining why out of the 150 million domain hosts in use, less than 15 million have any metatags. Of the 15 million, most only have a <title> and <revisit> tag. When a search engine claims over 1 billion pages indexed, those are pages from within the sites that are visible. An overwhelming majority of the 150 million sites in use as of Jan 1, 2002, are totally invisible to all search engines.

Admittedly, there are some Domains which are private and are set to be invisible to the engines on purpose, but there are many website operators out there who still do not know how to prepare their site for SEO. Don’t feel bad. There are just as many people working in the hi-tech industry for whom this is still an area of great mystery. A little while ago I did a search for “Accountant” in two major engines. Only ONE of the major firms (KPMG, E&Y, Anderson, PWC) showed up in the top 100 results – PWC Bulgaria. If they are not showing up there, they probably do not show up under accounting, financial planning, financial management, audit, tax advice, tax return, etc… For any independent accounting firm, this is great news – they market is wide open, but it really just goes to illustrate that even the biggest companies, which regularly spend hundreds of thousands of dollars annually on ads, don’t realize a simple and effective SEO strategy will get them the equivalent of Yellow Pages listings in every appropriate category Worldwide.

I repeatedly come across many of the same myths in my sales conversations. I have decided to list out some of them, as they may be questions some of you have wondered about, but never asked:

Q. Won’t My Website Get Listed Properly Eventually?

It’s very unlikely that your web site will be found, let alone properly indexed if you do not prepare it for the engines, and

promote it to the engines. If a tree falls in a forest does anyone hear?

Q. I Bought Submission Software and Services. Isn’t That Enough?

It’s enough to get you started, and to give you a step up on the people who do nothing. But just having a title, keyword and description tag is not going to be enough, unless you are in a market so unique that you have no competition. Under the term “alaskan fruit pies” McDonald’s Thailand is number 3. The reality is, you, or most of your customers will have some competition. The software you bought or downloaded probably is a great submitter, but does little or nothing for optimizing your website for the search engines. It tells the search engines your website is there, but it does little to ensure that when they come to visit, they will be able to see anything useful by which they can index your site. Search engine algorithms change frequently, and without warning. Also, the secondary search engines come and go daily – so you might think you are submitting your site to 100’s of engines, but most of those may no longer exist or do no more than add your email address to a thousand spam collection sites. A piece of software you download or install also needs regular maintenance, patches and upgrades to keep it current. A web based service like Metamend is always up to date. When we update and upgrade our core system, the service is upgraded for all our clients universally. We do the work you gain the benefits.

More Q and A in Part Two – Next Issue…