SEO myths and how to ignore them
You’re paying someone to optimise your website, and you’re going to be top of the Google results – hoorah!
Except you’re not for long. And even if you were, it’s worthless. You just blew your marketing budget. As the internet says: “o noes!”
SEO, short for Search Engine Optimisation, is an invention of the 1990s. It means you pay someone and they play lots of tricks to get your website in the top X results for a certain search.
It was invented before the dawn of social media, when you had to rely on searches for results and sales. It was invented before Facebook became a daily ritual for billions of people.
It’s utter nonsense if you live on the Isle of Man and you want to promote your business to locals.
How it works
Here it is: nobody knows how Google’s algorithm works.
Yup, that’s right. Not even the biggest, smartest, most expensive marketing companies can figure out how Google ranks its results. You want to be in Google’s top 10 for a particular search? Good luck.
Say you want to be number 1 for “Isle of man plumbers”. You can hire someone to try. It’s expensive, and maybe it’ll work.
That is, until your competitor hires a company to do exactly the same thing and hijack the results. SEO is a moving prize you’ll never keep for very long.
Consider: what if people aren’t searching for the phrase you requested? “Isle of Man broken toilet”? Fine. But “Isle of Man drains”? “Isle of Man pipes”? “24 hour plumber in Douglas”? Tough luck – SEO targets exact searches, so you’re spending money on a target you can’t even pin down.
And you can’t begin to guess what people search for.
Case in point
Here’s a very good example. A man with a van who wants his WordPress website optimised for search engines. How much will that cost?
Well, that’ll depend on what you’re looking for.
“Isle of Man man and van”? “Isle of man van ferry”? “Isle of Man furniture delivery”? “Isle of Man cargo”? “Isle of Man freight”? “Someone to deliver my Ikea order”? “Cheap”? “Reliable”? “Speedy”?
Each of those will cost, as SEO people get to work trying to build a Google score for each set of words or phrases.
And the irony of this: where did this business try to find SEO experts?
Facebook – not Google.
The awful truth
SEO marketing on the Island has been rendered near-worthless by social media.
That man with a van didn’t Google “SEO experts Isle of Man”. He didn’t care about the SEO-optimised top 10 results from a search engine.
He went to Facebook and asked if there was somebody who could improve his search engine results.
And there’s the point: if you’re asking Facebook to find a service for your business, why assume your customers aren’t doing exactly the same thing?
Welcome to 2016
Yes, way back when, SEO was important because people relied on search engines to provide answers. That, though, simply isn’t the case any more.
As the man with the van did, people log on to Facebook and ask for personal recommendations. Facebook is word of mouth writ large.
Who cares who’s in the top 10 Google results if your friend tells you there’s an awesome alternative?
That’s why they call it social media. You need a product or service? Ask Facebook.
And the best thing? You don’t need to pay for each keyword you want to rule. You don’t have to worry about competitors spending more than you on questionable black-hat SEO tricks.
I trust my friends on Facebook far more than I trust SEO-optimised websites on a Google search.
A local search, for local people
Word of mouth is king on the Isle of Man. If your business is marketing off-Island, then SEO is important to you and you should take it seriously.
But really, if you’re a small business serving the Manx market, then you should be advertising where your market is.
That means social media and the local press – there are different destinations for different market segments.
But it shouldn’t mean a sole trader spending precious marketing money on SEO tricks!
If you’d like to find out how you can market your business effectively on the Isle of Man, click here to find out about our upcoming seminar on Monday, October 3 that’ll show you how you can get your business into local news sources!
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