Originally Posted By: Don West
This post was automatically imported from our archived forum.
Here’s a long one for ya. It’s the only one I’lll ever contribute here.
Jeff is right. More importantly though, and SEO professionals know this, is WHAT people ACTUALLY search on. For example, I can guarantee you that at best 3 people in the last sixty days searched on "certified home inspector Pennsylvania". Jeff was one of them.
How do I know this. Easy. Wordtracker.com We web developers depend on it to optimize a customer's site. You can sign on there for about $7 and spend a day. You'll get an eye-opening education. What we really use it for though, is to learn if the customer even has a remote chance of taking advantage of the search engines. Bad news guys. Most companies won't be able to make a dent in their ideal market by relying on search engines.
What you'll quickly realize is the cold hard truth about search engines and their true value. The first two pages are as deep as most people have to go to find what they want. There are millions of pages trying to get on those two pages. They ALL research their keywords at Wordtracker, find the ideal phrases for their business and market, and set about optimizing for it.
For this industry, "home inspection" is the top searched phrase in the last 60 days at 766 searches. All other search phrases, whatever you can imagine related to home inspection, fall behind that.
Except for "radon". It's at 1338. But to optimize a home inspection site around "radon" would be difficult. You absolutely MUST have relevant content to the keywords you've chosen. Writing about home inspection services and building "radon" into the copy effectively, would be obvious to readers that you didn't really know WHAT business you were in. Radon mitigation and testing companies are the ONLY companies that can capitalize on "radon" in the search engines. All other companies, like home inspectors, would have content too diluted with home inspection poop to rank as "highly relevant" in the engines to "radon".
That's why so many sites dissappeared from Google. There were tons of SEO pros who had decided being a "pro" meant figuring out how to cheat or fool the search algorithms the search engines rank with. And it came back too bite 'em in the a$%
. I'm telling you. SEO folk are doomed. The search engines have no intentions of letting them continue to fool them. it's bad for the search engine's results.
All search engines are moving to the mentality that "content is king". Why? Becase they are in the business of providing RELEVANT results to searchers on those first two pages. If they fail at that, they fold up and go home. That's their livlihood. If you don't get good results at Google, you go to MSN. So Google HAS to provide the MOST RELEVANT results. And they have been doing so consistently for years. That's why they are on top. They know their business. And frankly, they don;t give a damn if Jeff's site fell off the earth because there are more relvant sites to "home inspection" than Jeff's. For instance, NACHI, ASHI, etc. MSN HOTBOT, none of them care about Jeff or me or you. They care about presenting THE MOST RELEVANT SITES related to "home inspection". Period.
They (all engines) determine relevance by analyzing the content (copy) on your pages. But that's not the end of it. They add a LOT of weight to your relevance by analyzing how popular your site is. The main factor in determining popularity is how many OTHER RELEVANT SITES link to yours. Your page titles, Meta tag page descriptions, and Meta tag keywords also play into it but you will kill your rankings if those keyword phrases are not present in your body copy in a relevant way.
Don't fell bad or like I'm chiding you. I'll never rank under web design or web development or any other web related search phrase because it's too competitive and I'm too small. Do I care? No. I market MYSELF instead. It's the only option I have. I use my web site to help me do that. And brochures, and public speaking, and teaching short little "quick classes" at local churches etc.
Now---With all that academia stated---here is "what really matters"---
If you are an individual home inspector, you will NEVER rank highly on "home inspection" without spending mega bucks. And even then, there is no guarantee those rankings will convert to scheduled bookings. Why? Do you think all 766 of those searches live in your area? Hell no! they live all over the world! Are you gonna fly to california to do inpections?
So wake up people. Search engines are NOT the home inspector's answer. As a matter of fact, rely on them heavily and you will simply go out of business.
Marketing YOURSELF, YOU, is the answer. Face to face contact with the public, with realtors, with ANYBODY relevant to your business. Be the inpector in your region that the public KNOWS. Educate the public by teaching a continuing education class on home maintenance. When your students need an inspector, who do you think they'll call? NACHI? NO!! they'll call you! Use your web site to give you a professional image at a low cost. That's what it does best. Let it be the hub of all your OTHER efforts. It's ideal for that. NOTHING does a better job in that regard.
I'll pull no punches with you. I'd love to have your business but that's not why I'm writing this. I'm writing this because so many small business people are being fooled into thinking that search engines bring you tons and tons of business. They DON'T! Professional appearance, quality of work and HEY! Unbelieveable! While I'm writing this, the guy who sold us our Toyota Camry 5 years ago just called me to wish my wife a happy birthday! Today's her birthday. What timing! What a shining example of what I'm saying. You can bet we'll by another Toyota from him when the time comes. Hands down. This is not B.S. It just happened.
Anyway, take your business to a cheaper service if you like. Just make sure you get a good looking, effective communication tool for the money OK? That's the ONLY thing a web site does well. It's also the ONLY thing a web site does BAD if it looks like an amateur did it. Clip art, background music, waving flags, twirly gigs in each corner--you're driving business AWAY with your web site. And you'll never even know it.
Nothing's changed guys. The web helps a lot but you still have to sell yourself. Really more than ever. The web is just another tool to communicate, ON A LOCAL LEVEL, what YOU have to offer. The big guys own the search engines unless you are lucky and operate in an unusual niche market that nobody else is capitalizing on. The web helps you appear to be a "big guy" if you do it right.
Sell yourself in a professional way. Make YOURSELF known to your market. Look good, look expert, look like the best. Nothing says "I'm an amateur" better than amateur work and amateur promotional materials. DO NOT SKIMP ON ADVERTIZING! DO NOT TRY TO FOOL THE PUBLIC! People are too damn smart for that. They're just as smart as you are.
I'm done now ![icon_smile.gif](upload://b6iczyK1ETUUqRUc4PAkX83GF2O.gif) Now go and promote yourselves......Hell I may have shot myself in the foot....Oh well. ![icon_smile.gif](upload://b6iczyK1ETUUqRUc4PAkX83GF2O.gif)