Our clients frequently call me about hot Internet marketing deals they’ve been offered. Those that promise to get their Web site ranked on the first page of Google. Others that promise boatloads of visitors will beat a path to their home page. Frequently these deals pitch a flat-rate and guarantee overnight results.
I certainly see the appeal of these deals. They’re quick, they’re easy and they require no work or sustained effort. Sounds sort of like those ads that promise, “Lose 50 Pounds in Just Two Weeks!”
Indeed, judge these deals against the old maxim: “If it looks too good to be true, it probably is.” Then, disregard “probably”.
One of the difficult truths of Internet marketing for home improvement companies is that real improvement happens as a result of sustained effort. And it’s not free. With dozens of major factors affecting your search page rankings and Web site traffic, there are unfortunately no simple answers or quick fixes.
But that doesn’t stop the scammers from making their pitches. So, I decided to do my part and de-bunk some of their claims.
“Rank on Page 1 of the Search Engines!”
What does this really mean? Nothing. Anyone can have Page 1 rankings in a day. Just think up keywords that no one in the history of the Internet has ever used and put them on your Web site. If I put the term “Todd Bairstow is a muscular, handsome genius” on the homepage of my Web site, I will rank on the first page of the Google rankings within a week. Unfortunately for me, no one is typing that phrase into the search engines—and that means it’ll do nothing for my Web site traffic.
The important question to ask is “What are the keyword search terms for which I’ll rank on the first page?” I guarantee that it won’t be for the term “replacement windows”. If your lucky, you’ll end up ranking high for terms like “XYZ Company replacement windows winston salem NC.” Which is fine, but how many homeowners type THAT into Google?
“Get Tons of Free Traffic”
Don’t get me wrong, free traffic is fine. But as a home improvement dealer, the only visitors you really care about are homeowners in the geographic area you serve. Most of the “free traffic” these deals promise is from hordes of people in foreign lands or from distant computer servers masquerading as human beings.
Think about it: does your home improvement company really need visitors from Lichenstein? Not unless you’re keen on foreign expansion into politically-challenged European backwaters.
“Build Hundreds of Backlinks for Free!”
Backlinks are hyperlinks from other Web sites to yours. The common wisdom is that backlinks are good for improving your Web sites rankings on the search engines. Unless they are bad. Huh?
It works like this. Google doesn’t count every backlink to your Web site. And they weigh the quality of the Web sites that the links are coming from. A link from Boston.com (i.e. The Boston Globe) counts a hundred times more than a link from a Friendster page in Thailand.
Moreover, search engines increasingly view backlinks from the questionable sources as spam, i.e. many of the backlinks that these packages deliver. And that can actually hurt your search engine rankings, rather than improve them.
“Results in 1-7 Days!”
Yikes, this is the one that really fries my eggs. No one can promise real results in that short amount of time. If they claim they can, they just aren’t telling you the truth.
The hardest lesson for home improvement companies to learn about Internet marketing is that improving search rankings and Web site traffic takes time, and consistent effort. If you launch a brand new Web site today, you’ll be in the “Google Sandbox” for 4-8 months, where your Web site won’t rank at all. The age and history of your domain and your Web site mean a great deal to your search engine rankings. And because each Web site is different, opportunities and challenges for improving their search engine rankings and traffic vary as well. When it comes to search engine marketing, no one size fits all.
Now, I know that there’s always a temptation to make the easy, inexpensive choice and purchase one of these packages. Their advertising is indeed alluring in promising the results you want. Unfortunately, they just don’t deliver.
As P.T. Barnum once said, “There’s a sucker born every minute.” Don’t let it be you.