1. Missed the live Ask the Expert event?
    Catch up on the conversation about fertilization strategies for success with the experts at Koch Turf & Ornamental in the Fertilizer Application forum.

    Dismiss Notice

SEO .. Top Search Rank ... Greatest Enemy / Threat ?

Discussion in 'Digital Marketing' started by mdvaden, Feb 19, 2014.

  1. mdvaden

    mdvaden LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,946

    RE an old YP discussion, someone posted about the value of top search ranking. This not only reminded me of how futile top ranking is for the full assortment of website owners, but that ranking may well be an enemy now.

    For a conversation foundation, it's indisputable that as, say, landscape sites changed from the first 5 in a city, to possibly 100, 200 or more sites, striving for the first page or results 1, 2 and 3 is really a struggle. It's even a gamble.

    One could argue there is "value" to top search ranking.

    That made me realize that value may not even be the way to look at it.

    As the web gets saturated, all the rest of advertising becomes more relevant and more valuable to the general assembly of business owners. Not the few, but the entirety.

    That means that for those who have been clinging onto the top few search results as their meat and potatoes of business, it's possible that losing it could be detrimental if that's what they rely on.

    If SEOs make their living at it, it's surely detrimental if they can't get people to keep paying them to struggle for what becomes an increasingly smaller percentage, and a greater gamble, day by day.

    So from that point of view, which is really quite factual, SEOs and top search rankings can be very threatening to some who depend on it. Basically, adversarial, compelling, threatening. Even if there is some business rolling in. That's because uncertainty continually remains, and no permanent promises or guarantees can be placed in writing like contract.
  2. PaperCutter

    PaperCutter LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,996

    If you're referring to old school interruption marketing like postcards, print ads, commericals, I don't agree. People tune out a lot of advertising because there's just so much of it. Sure, if what you're offering on your website looks no different from what the next ten guys are, maybe three rounds of doorhangers is what gets the homeowner's attention. But the web is, all things considered, a pretty wide open space to decide how you tell your story.
  3. whiffyspark

    whiffyspark LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,507

    Oh boy.

    This is going to be good
    Posted via Mobile Device
  4. tonygreek

    tonygreek LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,867

    But, what if the rest of non-web advertising, apparently valuable to business owners, is viewed as valueless by the consumer?

    If Bob's Mowtopia is ranked on Page 3, and I'm searching Google for a lawn care guy, I don't care how many Yellow Page, EDDM postcards, bags of grass seed, radio ads, and door hangers he gets out, he's not going to be on my radar. How is that valuable to business owners?

    Now, if you want to own another lead gen medium, own referrals.

    Of course. If Amazon dips to Page 2, their sales go down. The Lawn Doctor got a severe, manual penalty from Google last Spring. They went from Top 5 results, in pretty much any place they operate, to page 12. Think their franchisees felt that? Absolutely.

    Detrimental to who or what? I feel like you're dipping in to the pejorative use of "SEO". I disagree, but you seem to be basing this on...something? In the same way you pay your accountant to stay on top of tax law changes and new deductions, legit search marketing consultants stay on top of the ever-changing search results and online marketing vehicles.

    I referenced this in your other thread, but what percentage of restaurant owners do you think know that Google is experimenting with showing you their menu selections and pricing, all within the Google search environment? I'd wager on less than .1%, more so than I would 1%. I can order carryout and never touch PadThaiEmporium.com. That is not inconsequential information to have. Knowing what Google displays allows businesses to shape what people see.

    The reality is, DIY or not, people only need to be better than the vast majority who have done exactly nothing to get on page 1 or 2, especially if you're not in a major metro area, and even then, it's not impossible. It's why I get frustrated when people ask for site reviews and rank help and, when I check, months later, they haven't changed the easiest, most basic things. So, Im not concerned with the 100 or 200 sites you referenced. I'm concerned with a handful of them. That's it.

    Could Google change it all tomorrow? They change the game on an almost weekly basis. As Joe Consumer, I may not recognize it. I just work with the results they serve me. Call them Google Blinders, if you will, but I can guarantee I'm not seeing a Yellow Pages ad or hearing your radio ad.
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2014
  5. inzane

    inzane LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,478

    How important is it to be in the 7 pack of results on google? I'm ranking above it now.. but i can't seem to stay in the 7 pack at all anymore. was in A spot for what seemed like 6 months or so, then i "dissapeared" I will show back up in A spot for mabee a half a day or so sometimes. I got other listings that stay above the 7 pack like my yelp listing which really stands out, so i seem to still get calls. Its been a busy week for estimates atleast. I know i'd feel it big time if i went to second page. I don't care how many holes i burn in my socks putting out doorhangers, i just don't get the same amount of calls as i do from the net.

  6. mdvaden

    mdvaden LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,946

    That's a good question

    Personally, I used to think of it as critically important. But then I reviewed how much time it took to keep there, and the number of websites to compete with multiplying 10 times.

    At least in my case (think each person needs to answer for their own) ... I found referrals picked up steam, some printed material worked good, and repeats were solid. Enough so, that is seemed more valuable to maintain website content, but not contend for internet ranking anymore.

    But keep in mind, if the web works great for you, and you rely heavily on it, if number of websites multiplies in your area, what you see now could change overnight. And that's where my post is aimed at. Its not just whether it's working. But does it take on the nature of being like your jailor. Like now you are in, but you can't get out.

  7. mdvaden

    mdvaden LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,946

    Totally different.

    This paragraph is what I'd call the SEO-vision of looking at something.

    I pay a CPA. Same one as years ago. In that time, websites multiplied 8 times or more in Oregon.

    In that time, competition for page one of search results became, obviously, against 8 times more companies. And in 10 years, maybe 20 to 30 times more. More and more companies, and the SEOs, all aimi to shoe-horn companies into the top page or top 3 results. It's indisputable, that in all this, nobody knows exactly what Google, etc., will do.

    Now ... the CPA ...

    The tax laws are pretty much etched in stone. Public record. Me, and other website owners, can all pay our CPAs, and they complete the task for every one of us. We can all get out tax forms complete, signed, and to the destination of the IRS office. In a sense, we ALL end up on the IRS Search Results page, their mailbox.

    Honestly, trying to compare SEOs with CPAs or tax preparers in relation to website ranking, is very close to what my OP is about. It does not serve website owners. I think it confuses them, because it's clearly different. Almost like slight of hand.
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2014
  8. tonygreek

    tonygreek LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,867

    Interesting take.

    Imagine how heavy those Yellow Pages would be if the advertising was free? Who would they decide who goes on the first page?

    Then why would you bother hiring a CPA? Tax laws etched in stone, level playing field, and all that...

    In a rush to assert "slight of hand", you seem to not understand that I repeat, time and again, anyone can rank a web site. Anyone. Most choose not to follow through. Quite frankly, I find it amusing, yet odd. All of the etched in stone tax laws, I mean, ranking info, is out there. In fact, I teach people how, right in this very forum.
  9. whiffyspark

    whiffyspark LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,507

    You're in Oregon. Ask jim Lewis what he thinks about this. He'll write a novel for you.

    He says he doubled his company size just through his search results
    Posted via Mobile Device
  10. Ben Bowen

    Ben Bowen LawnSite Bronze Member
    from PNW
    Messages: 1,178

    Yes, in a competitive market, SEO can become a zero sum game- if you have a narrow (and naive) definition of success. If all you care about, understand, and measure is rank for a handful of keywords then you will quickly become prisoner to your own efforts.

    However, if you have a deep and nuanced understanding of the way your website, online reputation, real world performance, and SERPs work together- then you will never feel that way. Page 1 for "[city] landscaper" means nothing. People find you searching with all kinds of terms. They ask questions of the search engines that can not be answered by your home page. They go to Google, Houzz, Yelp, etc. They check reviews. Read "About" pages. Check your Twitter feed. Browse portfolios. They don't just search for a paver contractor, they research pavers. You can reach, influence, and connect with people at all these points.

    Hire someone. Do it yourself. But it works and Google is not going to stop surfacing quality answers to valuable queries any time soon.
    Posted via Mobile Device

Share This Page