My Wife Naked, or, Why You Shouldn't Hire an SEO-Only Company

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SEO: If your company has a website (what company doesn't?), you've undoubtedly wondered how to make it more effective at attracting leads and/or customers and growing your business.

The first step is to get more people to visit your site, and since most web traffic comes through organic search (and most of that comes through Google), it's important to optimize your site for search engines.

Today, search engine optimization (SEO) is what the phone book and classified advertising were in the 20th century: the best way to ensure your target customer can find you when they want to do business.

SEO is a bit more complicated than a yellow page listing, so you may need help getting it right. But the worst decision you can make is to hire a company that only does SEO. Here's why:

Not all traffic is created equal.

A few years ago, (BF - Before Facebook) I wrote my first blog as a way to share the mundane events of my life with friends and family. I was surprised by the number of strangers who took an interest - in things like my cat's toilet habits and how hard it is to find parts for an old grey-market Mercedes. But my biggest surprise came when I wrote about my neighbor's pool guy looking over my fence, and speculated he was trying to see my wife naked.

My blog traffic immediately jumped from a few dozen visits a day to tens of thousands.

If I'd been selling pictures of my wife in her birthday suit I could have cashed in. Unfortunately, she wasn't amused by the idea, so those tens of thousands of visitors left just as disappointed as the pool guy and I quickly deleted the offending blog post.

If your website is search engine optimized only to increase traffic, it's like offering naked pictures you can't deliver.

Most SEO companies won't intentionally optimize your site to attract people seeking porn, but if their only business is driving traffic to your website it's possible that very little of that traffic is looking for what you produce and sell.

I recently was invited to consult with a company that was unhappy with its conversion rate (the number of website visitors that became customers). The company had hired an SEO firm to optimize its website and bring in more traffic.

It took me less than five minutes to discover that most of its incoming search engine traffic was looking for things the company didn't provide. Its contracted SEO firm had optimized the site for the latest "trending" search phrases and the website's traffic had soared, but someone looking for "Lady Gaga Concert Tickets" isn't likely to buy anything on a website selling car parts.

You want your website optimized for the search phrases your customers are likely to use when they need the product or service you sell. If you sell parts for German cars, you might optimize for keyword phrases like "1985 280SL parts" or "rebuilt Mercedes transmissions."

Sexy doesn't sell in SEO.

Those keyword phrases aren't as sexy as "my wife naked," but they're far more likely to help you grow your business and turn your website into a effective sales and marketing tool.

One visitor who sticks around and buys your product or contracts for your service is worth more than tens of thousands of visitors looking for tickets to see Lady Gaga - unless that's what you sell.

Coming next: Penguins, Pandas and Link Farms - Don't get Google Bombed by Your SEO

By the way, if you sell parts for vintage grey-market Mercedes - drop me a line. If you showed up here looking for pictures of my wife naked, I apologize, again.

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Topics: Digital PR, SEO

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