Learning SEO to Survive

I first entered the world of internet marketing and SEO in 2009. I was part owner of a telecom agency and I knew we needed an effective presence on the web and decided to explore what was possible.

First, let me explain how competitive the telecom industry is. Despite what’s available to residential consumers, there are hundreds of business telephone and internet service providers. Any company can install a switch in one of the phone company’s wire centers, tap into their local access lines and the public switched telephone network and they’re a phone company. Integra, a company that most people have never heard of, has 70 sales reps walking the streets of Phoenix every day, looking for new business. CenturyLink has that many people telemarking to business customers at any given time.

My company is CarrierBid and 99% of business people have never heard of us. That makes sales calls even more difficult because most people don’t want to listen to a sales pitch, much less listen to you explain who you are and what you do, and then a sales pitch.

I knew we needed a way to make it so people would call us instead of the other way around, and the only way I could think of was to have an effective presence on the internet.

We had a website that had not triggered a single phone call. I needed to do something.

I went on Meet Up and discovered Roy’s seminars and started attending them. My company hired a consultant to help us with SEO. The consultant asked us about keywords, changed our meta tags and submitted our company to various directories. Still no phone calls. I have the Google analytic reports from back then that show that we were averaging only 150 visitors a month.

I decided to take Roy’s weeklong SEO training course. In one of the exercises, Roy reviews websites submitted by different members of the class. I submitted my company’s website and it got sautéed. Roy pointed out at least five problems with the site in a couple of minutes. The biggest issue was we were using Flash. Because Flash was on our home page, not only was the site loading slowly, Google couldn’t see past the first page. My company was paying the SAE consultant $250 a month, and he never told us that Flash was hurting our site’s performance. We fired those guys.

I had my work cut out for me. Starting with almost zero technical knowledge, I learned WordPress and created a new website. I studied keyword research, determined what keywords to focus on and where to place them on my pages. I started blogging (I authored 80 posts in 14 months). I submitted directory submissions and created backlinks. I set up social networking sites and connected them to my company’s site. I created a Google Places page. I did a lot.

It’s been 14 months and our website is receiving more than 1000 hits per month and we regularly receive requests for quotes. I’m still learning and still need to do more. That’s the thing about websites, if you don’t work on them consistently, you’re website will basically disappear.

Roy told us in class to treat SEO like it’s a video game and play it every day. I think that’s the mentality you need to experience success. The great thing about SEO is that it doesn’t cost a lot. You can try new things and all it costs you is time. If you tried to do the same thing with other forms of advertising you could quickly spend yourself out of business.

Finally, if you’re a business owner it’s important to learn SEO, even if you don’t plan on practicing any of the principals yourself. If you rely on other people you’re not going to know when you’re receiving your money’s worth or you’re being ripped off. My company was throwing $250 a month away with the SEO consultant we hired.

Start with Roy’s seminars, read up on SEO on the internet and participate in online forums. SEO and the internet are the future; the choice is yours, embrace the technology or struggle.

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