Just like in many industries, you have your honest companies and shysters alike. The search engine marketing industry certainly has plenty of both. One of the latter just got a $100,000 fine for misrepresenting their clients in a number of ways.
Fellow Search Engine Guide blogger Sage Lewis has a video post that mentions the culprits, and the Washington State Attorney General office announced their petition to enforce a court order against them in November, 2007.
This post isn’t to “out” the culprits, but to hopefully give some tips to non-industry business owners and marketers who get pitched from search marketing firms.
Many (not all) will pitch “rankings” for keywords related to your business and will often offer some sort of “top 10” guarantee. I actually don’t have a problem with this since savvy sales professionals know that’s what potential clients often want to hear. The problem is that rankings simply do not automatically equal net profits.
There’s one word that most of these search engine marketing firms tend to forget:
It seems strange, but it does happen. What are the business overall goals for marketing online?
I hung out with some industry friends tonight and we had a pretty big discussion on SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats). Remember that from beginning college marketing classes? Something so simple as understanding your business SWOTs can definitely help in a search marketing campaign.
There’s another word that is sometimes forgotten in pitches.
This is key. There are plenty of decent analytics packages out there. There are great and worthy ones that can set a price of over 50k a year. Some analytics experts will disagree, but Google Analytics works well for many companies… and it’s free.
Analytics is crucial. It can measure how users navigate your site, how you can continually improve on not just your search marketing efforts, but your usability, design, and development. The possibilities are almost endless. This has everything to do with marketing. Not just search marketing, but marketing in general.