Sunday, September 17, 2006

Weekly recap and special offer for small businesses needing SEO

It's been a fun, crazy week. I've fixed and restored many Web pages on Xenite.Org that I had long despaired of finding time to fix. I've worked long hours on some search engine optimization projects. I've attended some huge dance classes. And I've had fun with friends and a special someone.

I'm going to make it an official announcement now: I have a new girlfriend. She is fantastic. She's fun to be with and laughs at my jokes. Some of the time. Anyway, I'm taken, not looking, happy, and lucky to have met someone when I wasn't looking or expecting to meet anyone. Isn't that the way "they" say it always happens? But enough about me.

Ed Schipul asked me to rework my blog report about the NetSquared Houston meeting and post it at the NetSquared Web site. So if you don't mind a sense of Deja Vu, check out Tuesday at the Pub With Netsquared Houston.

I was also asked to do an interview for an SEO news resource. I waited a couple days longer than I should have to send in my informaton, but I'm hoping the interview will still be published. I wasn't trying to be fashionably late. I just ran out of time earlier in the week to do everything.

Mine is not the most popular voice in the search engine optimization community. I feel like the babysitter who went off to change the baby's diaper, saying, "Okay kids, be good until I finish this." Well, changing that diaper took a year or two and when I came back the kids had trashed the house. Sense and sensibility have been replaced by maniacal theories and outright gibberish. So, yes, I've been ruffling feathers since starting to speak out again on various SEO forums early last year. A lot of really stupid ideas have been adopted and passed around as good, reasonable search optimization practices.

Let me put this as delicately as possible: If you approach an SEO specialist who says your new content-rich Web site won't hit the top ten search results in less than a year, you need to find another SEO specialist. That's just irresponsible laziness. Low-content sites, bad content sites, boring sites -- yeah, they'll need a long, long time to rank. But the average business Web site that says, "This is our company, this is what we do, this is where we came from, this is who we are, this is how to contact us" -- that kind of Web site doesn't need to wait six months, twelve years, or a two years.

I don't care if you're in insurance, real estate, and travel. If you're not just creating another affiliate link spam site, but are honestly creating a Web site about a brick-and-mortar business, you can rank well for various competitive queries in 2-6 months. Any idiot SEO guru can claim it will take longer based on experience. I claim it takes no longer than 2-6 months based on experience.

So, enough about SEOs.

We went dancing Saturday night. Wait...I've been dancing all week. I can't remember as far back as Monday, except that I think I just registered a lot of student. Dance-Passion is now offering Hip Hop, Country Western, Ballroom Dancing, and Salsa dance classes. I registered 50 people for one class and Gloria had to bring in 8 guys from another class to help balance out the mix. There are so many women who want to learn how to dance, guys need to stop wondering what they will do with their lives and get down to a dance studio and take six months' worth of classes.

It doesn't matter what dance style you choose (well, I strongly recommend a partner dance, rather than something freestyle). What matters is that you become good enough to lead a beginning dancer so that the women think you're a good dancer. They'll ask you to dance if they know you are better than they are. Trust me. I've been there. It happens. And it happens to other guys, too.

I put together an SEO resume. I don't really do the resume thing. I've more often gotten jobs because people knew what I could do. When I worked for Basis International, Ltd. writing technical papers, articles for their magazine, offering advice and second-tier support, and doing technical presentations on road shows, on-site consulting, and at conferences, I usually got 1-2 job offers a week. Unfortunately, many of Basis' customers have moved on to other programming languages. I no longer look for Business Basic jobs because the industry is, in my opinion, dying. Companies are tired of losing vendors. And the great innovators of Business Basic have pretty much retired. A new generation of innovators are focusing on other languages.

So I put together an SEO resume. I had to wonder how good it would look, since most of of what I do is confidential or (to be bluntly honest) pro bono. Yes, I do free search engine optimization analysis. If someone contacts me and says, "Michael, why do you think my Web site isn't ranking?", I'm more likely than not to share an opinion.

Of course, most of my pro bono opinions are not written up in 50-page reports. But I don't keep track of the people who write back to say, "Michael, thanks to your advice, my Web site rankings have improved!"

I should have, but I've always done the consulting on the side to augment my income and just enjoy helping people. When I worked for Basis I didn't have to track billable hours or figure out where the next project would come from (although if they had listened to me and paid more attention to the customers they were losing, maybe I would have been more inclined to stay around).

I don't know what the future will bring. I've been unhappy in the insurance field. Every time I did research on a potential prospect I would look at their Web site and think, "Ew. I could improve that with my eyes closed." I've been wondering if I shouldn't start calling local businesses and saying, "Hey, I had to find your Web site for a previous job and you just really don't know how to be found. Let me help you for $200.00".

A $200.00 special on Basic Business site SEO. If I could interest enough companies, I could hold a half-day seminar and show them how to instantly improve their performance. Maybe if 100 people show up I'll have something left out of the $20,000.00 to pay my bills.

Small business Web sites are typically so badly designed from an SEO point of view that I could spend a year earning just $200 a day and not hit the same industry (much less the same region) more than once.

But telemarketing SEOs have pretty much made it difficult for small business operators to trust the next phone calls. I've read many a horror story on SEO forums about people who received phone calls where they've been promised the moon.

Look, for $200.00 I'm not going to make your site the most famous in the world, but if you sell lug nuts to people in Tacoma, WA and want to be found on the Internet, I can tell you how to do that for $200. Throw in another $200 and I'll even get you some trusted links on related content pages (but don't mistake that for an offer to buy or sell links -- I don't do that).

Offer ends September 30. Let me know if you're interested in SEO Services. To get the $200 rate, you have to mention this blog.


Blogger Kate said...

Congratulations Michael..I wish you all the best..:)

4:51 PM  

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