Top 10 Reasons Why Trying to Get on the First Page of Google Sucks
or The Saga of My Plumbing SEO Summer
or What Not to Do Unless You Want to Be Broker Than Ever
People come up to me and randomly say things like, ‘How are you?’ or ‘How’s it going?’
What are they thinking?!
They have no idea what kind of a can of worms they are opening, because lately my thoughts are full of Search Engine Optimization (SEO), and they’re not gonna understand, they’ll just stare at me like I am from another planet if I say what’s on my mind. Well, a few days ago I did it. I couldn’t take it anymore. I spilled the beans. I told some unsuspecting, well-meaning acquaintances of mine some of the low-down on my plumbing SEO summer saga. Guess what? They were actually interested. So I thought, you dear reader, might be interested too. How is it going? Well, let me tell you!
- If you build it, they won’t come. I spent 2 weeks straight of 18 hour days trying to learn how to use WordPress as a platform and build a shiny new website, so it would be new and responsive and clean and fun, because Google likes that, and people like that. So, I built it, and then couldn’t move it from my testing server to live without divine intervention from God and Lee Waterman (cue the angelic music). I thought that once it was up, I’d be pretty much done. Uh-uh. That was almost 2 months ago. The crickets are still chirping on my site because we rank at #457, or something like that.
- Key Word Chaos. People search for things online in strange ways, and not in the ways I would necessarily search for them, and definitely not in ways you would normally use them in sentences. If I wanted a plumber, I might search for “plumber my town,” but people also search for “my town plumber” or “my town plumbing” or “plumbers my town” and those are all different key word combinations, get it? Just because you rank for one, doesn’t mean you will show up for the others. If you live in a metropolis with say 30 or so towns around, and hundreds of words that your customers might be searching for, that means your keyword possibilities are staggering. Ugh. I chose only 16 of the closest cities to us, so that’s only like half as much work right? Um, yeah.
- Local Pages Faux Pas. I made semi-duplicate pages for all of the surrounding cities that we could service, because I wanted to stuff some keywords in there so that we could move up in ranking because that used to work back in the old days when dinosaurs walked the internet. Then I found out that you will get drop-kicked by Google for too much duplication, and fast. I had to quickly rewrite the same 900-word webpage in 16 new and fresh ways, but still use funky keywords in sentences that sound like I don’t know how to write in English. I like writing, but that was not fun, and not exactly my best work. I still need to re-rewrite them. For now, I am pretending that they’re not there.
- Botched Back-links. I knew we needed some quality back-links. (That means, somehow get some good external websites to link to our site. Not an easy task. Oprah stopped taking my calls awhile back.) So, we thought, hey! The Better Business Bureau! That’s a reputable link! Yeah, we have to pay beaucoup bucks to be listed, but we’ve already got an A+ accreditation, so that might be good. So, we fork over the fat cash. Turns out that yes, they link to you, but then mark it as “nofollow”, meaning that we don’t get any credit in Google’s eyes for the link. Here we are, still tanking and a little bit more broke. Lesson learned. I got an A+.
- AdWords Aggravation. Oh yeah, we’re gonna have to pay ‘The Man’, Google. They make money coming and going. And without them, we don’t exist. All those results you see near the top and the side that say “Ad” whenever you search for something, those are AdWords and companies are paying, sometimes quite a lot, per click, to be there. So, I craft a couple of strategic ad campaigns and we end up on the front page for a lot of local keywords. But we don’t have a very big budget and some of our keywords cost $20 per click. And then guess who clicks them? People in China trying to sell us sketchy search engine optimization services. Argghh. Now we’re broker than ever, and more aggro with an inbox full of jive. I even got a fake email posing as the IRS today. Nice.
- Facebook Follies. We need people to like us on Facebook, because that supposedly helps your website ranking too. That means I have to pester all of my friends to like us and read my stupid little posts and comment on them. Nobody wants to do that and I keep feeling like I am annoying people, but I have to try. Crickets are still chirping on the website. (Say, did you like us yet?)
- Google+ Guffaws. I also have to somehow get people to follow us and review us on Google+ so that we move up on the local map results for Google. I have no idea what to post there since Facebook is already stretching it as far as posts are concerned. We asked at least 4 friends whom we had done plumbing work for to review us on Google+ since none of our customers have done it yet. Turns out, you have to have a Google+ account yourself in order to write a review, and our friends either didn’t have one or didn’t feel like doing it. Shot down. Still no g+ reviews and still number 19 on the local map. No bueno, since no one ever scrolls that far down.
- Yelp Yearnings. Yelp is cool enough, and we have some good Yelp reviews, although they quarantined half of ours because the people who reviewed us hadn’t reviewed anyone else on Yelp and Yelp assumed they were fake or something. That bites. But we still have 5 stars. Of course we don’t show up in Yelp, because we don’t want to pay them $350 a month to promote us, so they keep us pretty far down, somewhere near Antarctica.
- Angie’s Angst. People have to pay to see the reviews on Angie’s List, so they think that it’s somehow more reliable, at least that’s the way Angie’s List portrays it. What people don’t know is that the businesses have to pay Angie’s List thousands of dollars to get on their first page, so it’s not really unbiased. Tried it, don’t have the budget to try it again. We still have good reviews there and we’re still listed, but again, we’re somewhere near the South Pole.
- Shlogging through Blogging and Vlogging. Supposedly blogging and youtube videos are the way to go to get people to come to your site. Yep, that’s what I’m up to now. Something’s got to work eventually, right?! Hence, my Top 10 Reasons Why Trying to Get on the First Page of Google Sucks is now a blog post, not just my daily reality. Just wait till you see the videos. I’m sure they’ll be epic.
You, dear friends, can help stop my SEO saga. When you need a good man for the job, you are you gonna call? Goodman Plumbing, of course! You can tell all your friends that you love us and they should love us too, the old-fashioned way. Or at least, go click on our website and see what I’ve been staring at. And share, share, share! And try not to be too annoyed with me for posting plumbing things on Facebook all the time. Then, when we’re rich and famous and on the first page of Google, I’ll remember all you little people fondly, how you clicked so freely and saved our site’s rank. Maybe I’ll throw you a Chiclet or something. Ha ha ha…Ok, well, at least I can make myself laugh. Hopefully, if you try this SEO thing for yourself, you can avoid some of my pitfalls. Maybe next time someone asks me how it’s going I will have even more ideas…