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General Search Engine Marketing Issues Forum

Needed: 'Reality Check' article on placement

 8:31 pm on May 25, 2000 (gmt 0)

OK, here's a problem I keep seeing over and over; many small to mid-size businesses are stuck in a 1996 web mentality which can be summed up by the phrase "build it and they will come." They have never heard of battling for placement and believe "Top 10" is a given, just do it once and forget it.

Those of us that prowl these SE forums recognize the knowledgeable ones in the SEO biz, but those names aren't exactly household terms to those we need to convince. We need an article in Business Week, The Standard, USA Today, etc. that gives an overview of what it takes to get in front of meaningful traffic. If anyone knows of such an article, or happens upon it later, please post the url here.



 10:16 pm on May 25, 2000 (gmt 0)

Re: "build it and they will come." They have never heard of battling for placement and believe "Top 10" is a given, just do it once and forget it.

I thought that was only a problem of the 'backward brits'. Rather glad to hear you've still got it over there too.

I would also value an article of that ilk.


 11:07 pm on May 25, 2000 (gmt 0)

I ask them to pick their top 10 keywords, then go do a search on each one via altavista and record how many results come up for each. I've done that with many clients and the top 10 noise gets very quiet real quick.


 11:08 pm on May 25, 2000 (gmt 0)

re: you've still got it over there too.

There may be a vague realization of the problem, but it is certainly not mainstream. I am reading more and more articles which address this at the tech and/or large-scale marketing levels, but I don't believe most of the small commercial sites really associate themselves with the problems of e-commerce in general.

I blame much of this "just build it" mentality on the continuous mass-marketing and hyping of web presence by registration services and also some Fortune 500 companies that are touting e-commerce "solutions." Some television commercials come to mind which particularly rile me. The reality of a hard slog to market isn't very pretty, so it is conveniently written out of the marketing pitch.


 11:19 pm on May 25, 2000 (gmt 0)

re I ask them to pick their top 10 keywords, then go do a search

Brett, you are a pro, by the time they come to see you, they are likely to have an inkling that there is something afoot. You are right, that works on a one-on-one basis, but I need something to illustrate the problem at a presentation to a group of web neophytes. BTW, here's a good punchlist that was contributed to a litte site I keep on this "reality" subject http://4geeks.com/gen/businessrealitycheck.htm

For a soundbite, I use "the world's largest, most disorderly classifieds." That seems to give some an idea of what it takes to be found, but a cover story in Business Week would make true believers out of them PDQ.


 1:55 am on May 26, 2000 (gmt 0)

I hear ya Brett.. I do the same thing. I expalin my position up front ALWAYS. First questions is: What keyword(s)e you interested in? and what engine? This usually stops them cold! But it's true, most people think top 10 is easy.. and it is, if you want something no one wants (lol). The real problem are people that "promise" the world to their clients, then never even come close.. Then again, some clients just WANT!

Oh well...It's a cool game..Got to be in it to WIN!!


 5:12 am on May 26, 2000 (gmt 0)

I looked for an article that I thought might be what you were looking for, but was unable to find one from a "Big name" source. I suspect it doesn't sell well to report that marketing on the web includes an ocean of lost websites.

Better to keep the topic hot by making everyone believe in the gold rush mentality. Of course if you can put up with some misinformed gold diggers (clients) selling them picks and shovels can be very lucrative.

[edited to fix silly spelling erorrs]


 8:07 am on May 26, 2000 (gmt 0)

You are all right - the hype is everywhere. I've seen/heard promises from web design firms believing their own hype so much it convinces the unwary/unknowledgable. Yes, I think I know the adverts - it's all too easy.
I also like to add, while we're on the subject of hype, I have two examples of sites at extremes to each other - one site achieves 100,000 hits per month (small site selling collectors items) - the other gets about 300 to 400 hits per month. Which one gets more business from the web? The hype makes the client beleive its all too easy and traffic is the key. Sure traffic plays a part, but the real key is a paid invoice.
Although both sites are in different businesses entirely, and both are in the top ten, as a marketing person, I know there is much more to it than a top ten, especially if targeting useless or generic keywords.
I beleive in focus, focus, and focus again and certainly don't believe the hype. And, it takes time, effort, re-evaluation and focus again.

OK, I'm going to write an article on the subject - let's see how many journanlists are interested. I bet a "real world" article will get less attention than a "hype" article. Give it about three months and see how it goes down.


 1:41 pm on May 26, 2000 (gmt 0)

re: Sure traffic plays a part, but the real key is a paid invoice.

Ah, you're talking Conversion... now you are really moving into an area where the client may be in a state of denial (or shock). True, traffic isn't going to cure a poor concept or sell a product that noboby wants --well, OK, auction sites tend to disprove that last point. Anyway, look at the flip side of the reason to wave a "Big Name" article; suppose you've been successful in jacking your client's site to the top slots, now you have to continually prove that you did something.


 5:08 pm on May 26, 2000 (gmt 0)

I have to justify every invoice I submit and I like to think that my clients appreciate the work I do for them. Most of them don't say they appreciate it, but at least they pay my invoices.

Joking apart, getting back to the thread, tyhe large amount of work involved in "doing it right" is not understood. $50 submission programs make a mockery of the true activitiy and work that is involved.

Enough - I've got some sites to optimise!


 5:32 pm on May 26, 2000 (gmt 0)

My take on this (as a perspective client trying to "go it his own" at the moment) for whatever it's worth, is you gotta start somewhere. If you get lots of hits then you can next assume it's the website design so you go fix that. If you still get lots of hits and little sales, then it may be safe to assume you need to find another market or another product! But it's GOT to start with traffic. Personally, if I had more money to invest in my business, I'd have just gone commercial all the way and said to heck with the SEs. I surprise myself being as big an advocate for a non-commercial internet as I am, that I'm trying to break into e-commerce in the first place! Shame on me. As for other clients, I see nothing different going on than the same game that's being played for centuries, just that now the playing field has gotten enormous. PT Barnum would be proud!


 11:05 am on Jun 8, 2000 (gmt 0)

Consider this: we have a site (of our own) that is currently averaging 100k a day. We also have a site that is highly laser targeted on a minor specific niche that sells a highly profitable product and averages 400hits per day (not k, just 400, with about 75 uniques). Which one do you suppose makes more money?

Last fall when ads were flowing like water, of course the bigger site did breath taking income ($150k from sept1-dec31 - $1100-1600 a day) - right now, it is struggling to do $75 a day. The smaller site couldn't keep up last fall, but right now is making double what the bigger site is doing. That is what se targeting and user identification can do for you.


 11:45 am on Jun 8, 2000 (gmt 0)

Loving this thread!

My soul responsibility has been taken ownership of the key performance indicators (session/enquiries & enquiries/bookings)for a group of travel companies for the last 15 months.

As I have progressed, I have managed to solely take responsibility for one thing - generating qualified traffic -period.

Gone are the days of having to stand in front of a board and be accountable for explaining discrepancies between bull**** assumptions and current conversion stats. Anyway - when you find the reality check article - let me know. I often get the "just tweek a couple of pages and submit - how difficult can it be" comment.


 6:44 pm on Jun 11, 2000 (gmt 0)

Well... this isn't exactly what I had in mind (it seems to give up on SEO), but it does make a few of the key points, and it also harps on the need to advertise the site
ClickZ article


 2:35 pm on Jun 19, 2000 (gmt 0)

not a "brand name" article, but worth filing away here
Time to Consider a Web Search Specialist


 11:44 am on Jun 20, 2000 (gmt 0)

I really enjoy these boards. Thanks to you all, I am getting a education.

You guys have probably already thought of this, but I wonder if an "association of search professionals" might not be appropriate. The way I see it, an association with a basic "charter" that has a set of
standards (and rules)that everyone has to live by would add a quite a bit of legitimacy and strength to those of us that are members. Clients, bosses and, I think, the search engines themselves would have to take notice. If it is press released properly, this might be the "boost" needed.



 2:45 pm on Jun 20, 2000 (gmt 0)


Glad you enjoy these boards. IMHO, it's one of the last forums with the "right attitude" --not too caught up in its own omniscience yet aware that its being keenly read and used.

As for the "pro" association. It's a idea that will surely come, if it is not out there already, but many of us wear so many hats that I'm not sure we would feel qualified to sign up as a specialist.


 3:54 pm on Jun 20, 2000 (gmt 0)

Association. Try AIM-Pro [aim-pro.com]: Association of Internet Marketing Professionals.

Seth Wilde [webmasterworld.com] who posts here often is involved with them.

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