So you say you want to rank #1 on Google? Read this first.

Get me on Google now!

Every customer of ours, everyone of them wants to be ranked #1 on Google. I’m right there with you, so do I. My company has been successful in ranking our customers on certain keywords and are making progress for them on other keywords. But it takes time, and it takes money. So does everything in business. It even took Google a while and millions of dollars to become the most used search engine and they are only at 66% of the market share. (Microsoft sites including Bing- 15.3%, Yahoo 13.8%,  3%,  AOL 1.5%). Hiring a company for four months and then saying we’re not seeing enough movement is a complete waste of your marketing dollars.

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They call it “Organic” for a reason.

Farmers don’t grow your produce over night. They plant in the spring, water, and feed all sumer and harvest in the fall (for a majority of crops anyway). All along the way they adjust to weather and drought conditions, insects, and other natural factors. The ultimate goal is the best yield possible for their efforts. The next year they do the same thing again, and each year they grow a little more.

The same goes for your website and Search Engine Optimization. Google and its competitors are constantly tweaking their formulas and like farmers we are constantly adjusting to those changes. No company out there can honestly gaurantee you fast results. If #1 Google rankings are vital to your business, you are going to have to make the investment and stay committed. It’s part of business as usual today just like owning a cellphone and a computer.
SEOMoz, an online Search Engine Optimization resource posted a blog this week about “snake oil sales” in reference to the growing trend in customers looking for overnight page ranking successes, and the kinds of companies willing to take their money. Notice I said “take their money”, not perform the service. Here are a few of the best paragraphs from the article: (read thefull article here)

(4) Ask About Tactics

We’re a very results-oriented business culture, and that’s great. You should ask about metrics and ROI and know what you’ll get for your money. Just don’t let empty promises of results gloss over the details of what specific tactics the vendor plans to use. It’s not just about whether they use “white-hat” or “black-hat” tactics – it’s about whether they have a plan at all. A qualified vendor should be able to map out what they’ll do, and they should be able to explain why they choose to do it that way. It’s also about accountability – if someone tells you what they’re going to do, you can check later to see if they did it.

(5) Find Out the Risks

All SEO carries risks, no matter how “white-hat” it is – most notably, the risk that you’ll spend your money on something that provides no benefit. Every vendor should be able to ballpark the risks in their approach – if they start saying things like “We only use Google-approved methods,” keep pushing. Rules change, and the best SEOs know how to adapt. The ones who think their methods will always work (just because they’ve worked so far) are the ones whose clients get slammed by algorithm updates.

(6) Plan Status Updates

The worst thing you can do is to set a vendor loose, check back in six months, and realize they’ve done something completely different than you expected. Actually, there’s something even worse – when you check back after six months and they can’t even tell you (or won’t tell you) what they’ve done. We see this all the time in link-building – someone hires an SEO firm, rankings drop months later, they suspect the vendor was to blame, but they have no record of what that vendor actually did. I’ve been involved in the kind of detective work that happens at this point, and it isn’t pretty.

Treat your vendor like they’re part of your in-house team – you don’t have to micro-manage, but you should demand accountability. It’s good for both of you – as a conscientious vendor, nothing’s worse than going in the wrong direction for months because of bad communication. I think an Agile approach (borrowed from the software development world) works well – do short, frequent check-ins, agree on some kind of documentation (like a shared document with link sources or tasks), and adjust as needed.

At Stratosphere Studio, we use Hubspot to perform, manage measure and track your Search engine performance and we work with you daily, weekly monthly to help you meet your goals.