All things NOT being equal. The Boutique SEO Firm – Hiring a Hitman

by Dave Curtis on 10/17/2013

in Branding, Business Issues, Every Day SEO, Ideas, Marketing, Small Business SEO


In the beginning having an Internet Web Site was "The Big Equalizer"

In the beginning having an Internet Web Site was quite literally “The Big Equalizer” – those were the DOT COM days.

Sometimes I’ll tell a prospective client their budget isn’t large enough to prime the pump.

When large corporations hire SEO firms they may typically get an SEO firm with dozens or even hundreds of creatives and SEOs working simultaneously on multiple areas of a full Search Engine Optimization campaign.

In the beginning having an Internet Web Site was all a small company needed. It was for a short time literally “The Big Equalizer” …until large firms started getting tough and hiring talented computer geeks using scientific methods of optimizing content on the sites in such a way that it would make any site so optimized consistently show up first in the search engines, which crushed any competition that didn’t have any optimization, leading to the DOT COM bust.

So, granted, while smaller budget businesses with only a few or a few dozen employees can’t compete with large corporations, there are things that can be done to put smaller firms much further ahead than they are, but a senior SEO has to perform a lot of work (technically precise, time consuming) and farm out certain bulk grunt work to known good 3rd parties.

That said though, when I, as a “boutique” SEO (aka a Ronin Samurai without a corporate master, SEO mercinary, sniper with a scope) am asked by prospective clients “how much?” my answer to them of “Thousands, not hundreds” shocks a lot of the smaller business owners. It shouldn’t though – most particularly when you’re competing beyond local area small business web sites. Nobody blinks at the sticker price before purchasing a new company vehicle because it is an investment with a slow but lifelong return. Yet the business vehicle of a web site (optimized and deductible as an advertising expense along with business cards and brochures) isn’t seen as an asset but as an expense, when in fact, a website is no different from a salesman; even the best salesman won’t have very much effect though if you put him in a back room and he never greets the public. SEO is what gets your site to the public.

So if you’re competition is only other local restaurants (pretty tough nowadays too with all the AT&T and other web advertising sites and all sorts of customer rating services on the web) it’s still nowhere as hard or expensive as if you were selling online and mailing commonly purchased popular brand name products available everywhere.

For example, let’s say you wanted to break into the tooth paste market selling someone else’s tooth past, or even start up a new brand and wanted to become known nationally. Even if your budget was $70,000 to maybe $200,000, it would be far too miniscule to make a dent.

However, if you’re competing in a smaller niche that is not over glutted by bargain brand big box store and discounted brand label outlets you may increase your bottom line significantly IF (IF IF IF – three very important things) your Search Engine Optimizer 1) Knows what he or she is doing and has a multi-step-plan and timetable and 2) you precisely follow the rules and timetable laid down by the SEO and don’t sabotage it, and 3) if your market copy writing is any good (Is your site’s message enough to sell your products the way a good salesman would?

So finally, since “The Big Equalizer” of simply having a web site now requires Search Engine Optimization to play on a more even playing field, why have a web site at all unless you’re ready to start making serious money from it? The DOT COM Bust remains in effect for all sites without optimization to this day. The donkey cart was once the way to do business too when everyone had a donkey cart, but once internal combustion engines came along, the DOT DONKEY Bust made anyone who was smart realize they had to invest in something with an engine. Search Engine Optimization. It’s an investment.

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