Big Omaha SEO & Web Design's blog highlights issues revolving around small to medium sized business' local / Omaha SEO and online / search marketing.
Happy new years! I have been too busy with client work to blog in a while, so I thought I’d do a bit of a hybrid year-in-review, of both how we’re doing here at Big O! SEO, and how the industry has been evolving (mainly Google – where the majority of search action is).
There have been a ton of changes in the search engine optimization world over the least few years – especially when it comes to local small business SEO. To the majority, who aren’t adapting quickly enough, of those who sell SEO services in Omaha (as well as the same in literally every market I’ve looked at but one), and especially to their clients, this hasn’t been a good year.
On the client side, it’s now to the point where SEO is getting far too complicated to compete in a competitive space unless you’re unusually web savvy for your average small business owner. As for search engine optimizers, too many of the Omaha area SEO companies haven’t keep up with the times. This has been great for us – it’s allowed this little upstart company, who has kept up with the times, to go from nowhere to (by far) the top ranking local SEO agency within the span of a few short months. More importantly, and unfortunately for the people who paid for work from many of these other companies, many of these people saw their search rank plummet (almost all of my clients with existing sites have come to me with this issue).
In every case, a little digging revealed that they were dropping because some of the SEO work they’d had done in the past no longer worked, and in some cases – even was dragging their site’s rank down. The SEO world still is very much like a wild wild West – there are so many SEO hacks – who I’ve dubbed ‘Snake E-Oil salesmen’ – and your average small business owner (or anyone with a website that wants to get more organic search traffic) in the market for SEO work for their sites just can’t be expected to know how to spot a solid local small business SEO company.
I take a look around at the product lines of my competitors (especially locally, but also in some poking around nearby cities that I’d like to expand into), and see those same link schemes that Google has been saying isn’t kosher for years, but the last few years has begun to really go after. I might as well come right out and call them spam, because that’s what they are, yet these Snake E-Oil salesmen are still asking for hundreds of dollars per month for this garbage, masquerading as professional local small business SEO packages.
We go the other direction – focusing mostly on a client’s website, because that’s what any SEO company worth it’s salt would focus, if they’d been paying attention to the direction Google, Yahoo & Bing have been and are headed.
Over the last three years or so, I’ve gone from a hobbyist that learned the ropes of SEO in my free time to help bring traffic to a few websites I helped build, to someone who did a bit of search engine optimization on the side, then decided to put my shingle out and now am doing it full-time and even have had to train a handful of freelancers to help me keep up with the work coming in. I’ve been very lucky to have found something that I thoroughly enjoy (each new site is like a new puzzle for me, and I’m quite fond of puzzles), and can make a decent living while helping local small businesses grow.
As I alluded to above – over these same three years, Google has gone from saying that certain “black hat” SEO tactics were not acceptable, to actually figuring out how to peg them and punish sites who use them. They’re getting better and better at this every year, and any SEO company that complains about it is one of those that you should run away from. Those of us who actually know what we’re doing cheer on Google’s efforts, because they overwhelmingly reward sites that try to be informational resources – sites that produce quality content, over those who try to take shortcuts and cheat their way to the top.
Personally, I’m quite lucky that my competition has been so lackluster. There are agencies in town that service bigger companies that I’m sure are good (if you can spend five digits), but those who focus on local small business SEO services in Omaha and surrounding areas haven’t adapted.
Not that this is an excuse for them, but just as my life and business has seen major changes – it’s true that there have been tectonic shifts in the search engine optimization game of late, especially for local small business SEO. Besides downgrading and/or punishing sites for using the link schemes I mentioned above, and focusing on quality content, we’ve seen the rise of new and deeper forms of meta data. Google and company are getting better and better at rewarding conversational language and use of semantically related terms, rather than keyword stuffing, which usually hurts rank now.
As I say a majority of pages on this site, the local SEO proof is in the pudding. If the other companies that do local small business SEO services in Omaha were very good, this site would be languishing on page two for our target search terms. My site hasn’t been around as long, which has an effect on rank, and we haven’t had nearly as much time to build a backlog of quality links or social media following. It makes no sense that we’d be where we are, unless the competition is lackluster (or worse).
Don’t take our word for it – head over to Google and search ‘omaha seo’ (the highest trafficked and most competitive term – and hence most sought after) or ‘omaha seo services’, ‘omaha seo expert’, etc. We’re number one on most, and in the top 3 for every term that gets any traffic – far better than any of our competition, across a wide range of related search terms. We’ll do the same for anyone that comes through our proverbial doors, by doing the very same thing that we did for our site.
I could quite easily pivot, like most successful SEO companies that I’m aware of do, toward bigger clients, and leave small businesses behind. I’d make a heck of a lot more per client, my profit margins would skyrocket, I wouldn’t have such long hours, and frankly have more of a social life (haha). But I’m dead set on going the other direction. I just feel a lot more kinship with small business owners, and my inner workaholic gets fired up at the challenge of taking the road less travelled.
Instead of moving up the food chain, we’ll be expanding capacity so we can help more small businesses (and increasingly medium sized businesses, and bigger businesses that have local branches), bringing on more good people, teaching them what I know, tapping into their talents, paying them well and in the process do a better job than I could have possibly done on my own for clients when I started this whole thing out of my living room.
For me, the happiest part of this holiday season (apart from spending time with best friends and family) has been sitting down to train local freelancers that I’ve recruited to help with what I do, so we can expand our local small business SEO services menu and reach to more small businesses struggling to get found online.
That’s really what it’s about – getting found. It’s our tag line for a reason – we’re laser-like focused on following local small business SEO fundamentals, because I see this huge gap in the market where most small businesses have to choose between good search engine optimization work for their small business, or choosing a company that offers SEO services in Omaha that just plain isn’t very good. I know we can do better, because we are already doing better, usually for less money than our competition – especially the ‘Snake E-Oil salesmen’ in the market.
No shortcuts, tricks, gimmicks or cheats – just like any other part of growing a small business, the best way is all about quality, depth of industry knowledge, knowing your audience and focusing on what works in the long term. We’re twice the Omaha SEO agency we were a year ago, and rip rearin’ and ready to get to work helping you with our targeted local small business SEO services in Omaha, or wherever you are.
Happy New Year everybody,
Solomon & the growing Big O! SEO team