We’ve talked about this issue a bit in past posts, but since this topic keeps coming up, it’s definitely worth reiterating how common mistakes can lead to some pretty major consequences. Since there is about a 50% chance you’re making at least one of these mistakes, please read this post carefully. Some of the consequences are severe, so it’s best to avoid them if you can. If you have any questions about these costly online advertising myths or how they can hurt you, don’t hesitate to call. The PG team is always happy to help!
Campaign Hopping Redux
We’ve previously mentioned why it’s not a good idea to bounce from one SEO campaign to the next every couple of months, but today we’re going to go a little more in depth about the potentially major damage to your business that this can cause. When you move from one Internet advertising company to the next, hopping to a different one every few months, a trail of outdated information typically accumulates. In short order, you will have acquired a handful of addresses, eight or ten different phone numbers, and even a couple of variations on your company’s name. That’s no big deal—everyone has old contact info and such on the web, right? Well, actually it is a pretty serious problem for your company, because when it comes to Google, it really is the difference between life and death! Picture it as a courtroom. Your company is on trial, with Google as the judge and your SEO company as your lawyer. If you tell the judge eight or ten different stories, you’re probably headed nowhere but jail. If you have five different lawyers telling the judge multiple stories, you’re going to jail. On the other hand, if you consistently provide the judge with accurate, logical information with the help of a single expert lawyer, you’ll be able to go home to your kids at the end of the day. You have to care about having conflicting info online because Google cares. You may not like it, but when it comes to search results, Google is the judge, jury, and executioner. If you don’t play by their rules, you’re, unfortunately, going to suffer the consequences.
Choose Your Online Advertisers Carefully
This is not to say you can only ever use one SEO company for all of your online advertising. But you do have to be careful about which companies you choose and which types of campaigns you’re running at the same time. Let’s continue with the courtroom analogy from above: The U.S. legal system allows you to hire one lawyer while still using a co-counsel or two. That’s because they work together as one entity rather than separate bodies. In the same way, you can hire one SEO company (as your “lawyer”) to manage local and organic campaigns and still engage a different company (as “co-counsel”) to do a PPC (pay-per-click) campaign. Because the PPC campaign deals with the sponsored link sections of Google, there is very little overlap in the local/organics area and few, if any, conflicts will arise. For more details on this topic, check out this earlier post.
However, if you’re working with several SEO companies, and they do give Google conflicting information, you’re setting yourself up for a wide range of problems and penalties. In most cases, when they come across different addresses, phone numbers, and other mismatched info for the same company, Google will decide that you’re a spammer and simply stop believing anything—and everything—you tell them. The outcome is a severe reduction in potential success any time you start an Internet advertising campaign with a new company. If you’re even less fortunate, you may find yourself facing penalties from Google. Penalties can be tied to any of your identifying information, including your website address, phone number, physical address, company name, or a combination of these. That means your rankings could be capped at page 2, page 5, or even page 50, so you may as well kiss the prospect of a first-page ranking goodbye! Now you may be thinking that your business will be okay as long as you don’t do anything wrong personally, but think again. As soon as any one of the companies you hired for Internet advertising acts against Google’s guidelines on your behalf, your company can be banned. And, sadly, this situation can be nearly impossible to fix, costing you significant time and money. Trust us—this is NOT something you want to happen to your business. The moral of this story is that even the best SEO company can only swim upstream for so long. Before you’re going to have a chance at success with future campaigns, you must clean up the mess previous advertisers left behind on the web. And you’re not alone: More and more businesses are finding themselves dealing with this reality.
The great news is that you don’t have to fall victim to this potentially devastating problem. The easiest way to avoid it, in fact, is just to do your homework!
- Research every online advertiser you’re considering doing business with. Do a web search for the company’s name coupled with words like “scam,” “complaints,” or “reviews” to get a preliminary feel for whether they can be trusted.
- Ask for references, and then make sure you actually call them. For a reputable company, it should be easy to provide four or five solid references for you to speak with. But you also have to take a moment to call the references and get their direct input. These folks are business owners just like you, and they’ll be your best resource for reliable information and an honest opinion about the SEO company you’re considering.
- Keep tabs on your online footprint. As the owner of the business, you—and only you—are the one who can truly own up to this responsibility. By being an active participant in any online advertising campaign, you can stay on top of what information is being connected with your company on the web.
Get a WebFax™ Report
Prospect Genius has just started offering a new WebFax report service to help with the problems outlined above. In the same way most people wouldn’t buy a used car without seeing a report detailing the facts about the car, you won’t want to sign up for an online advertising campaign without a WebFax report about your company! Our WebFax report will show you all of the different information that exists online for your business: phone numbers, addresses, company names, and websites. This can be the first step in eliminating current problems with your Internet advertising efforts, or it can simply help keep you aware of your online presence. Take control by taking an active role in protecting your business and safeguarding the success of your online advertising—call us today to get your WebFax Report!