It's difficult to see the benefits of SEO in it's initial stage... find out why you should stick with it...
You pay your money, and then... nothing happens... ouch! But we're here to tell you why you should persevere - and trust your SEO agency to deliver results.
A Cursory Tale From Our Own Experience...
For many years before I started offering SEO as a service, I was a doubting thomas. I ran an online shop selling clothing between 2004 and 2014.
It was challenging, make no mistake.
We started off on Ebay and had some success there. Then Ebay decided what they wanted was larger businesses and promoted those companies selling volume over the smaller businesses.
Many people like I tried to continue. Then we had issues with packages going missing or customers saying they never received them (even though they had and signed for them). Ebay took their side and simply closed the case. Our arguments were ignored.
It felt like that, at every turn, Ebay was out to screw us.
Unfortunately we were highly reliant on Ebay to begin with. That's why we stuck with it, even though we could see other sellers like us simply closing up and leaving.
Our own website was beginning to get some visitors, but not enough at that time to sustain a business. We'd pretty much put all of our eggs in one basket. It was our first business and we were learning on the fly.
It was becoming uneconomical to continue on Ebay. The fees were increasing and our sales were decreasing.
We scaled the business back on Ebay and turned our focus on to our website. But at that time we had no clue how to increase visitors and scale the business.
So What Next?
That was us... too many questions and no-one to turn to.
Out of the blue, we got a phone call from Google promoting Google Ads offering us a free £50 if we paid £50. They helped us craft an advert and, well, we did ok.
We were not going to break any records or challenge Amazon for world supremacy, but we were at least getting orders.
But then we got caught out...
Not long after our adverts went live, we started getting approached by companies offering to craft better, more impactful adverts. There was a minimum spend, but we had the resources to cover it. We were given "previous results" from other businesses to show how well they had done. We were impressed.
In for a penny in for a pound! Lets crack on and win more business!
... errr, ok, this massive influx of orders was "just around the corner". "Hang fire with it a little long, lets tweak the adverts, bump up your budget!" We did. We lost more money.
Another company approached us, showing us ways we could use AdWords in a different way. With nothing to lose at this point we hopped aboard the new AdWords bus.
Different company, same results. If honestly felt like we were banging our head against a brick wall.
Our own site was ticking over - we were managing to convert customers we had from Ebay and AdWords over and started email marketing with promotions. We started getting traffic.
But the site still wasn't pulling in the numbers. It was becoming make or break time. Then, I found out about SEO.
I wish someone had told me about the benefits of SEO in 2004.
If they had, perhaps we would had made a lot more money. However, we only learnt this late in our business life - and we found a really good SEO guy called Adam Croft (he's now quite a famous writer - check him out via his website).
It's fair to say we were sceptical. We were used to so many new dawns, it was difficult to trust anyone. Adam took the time to speak to me and told me what we could expect. We never had a huge budget, but with what we had he said we could have an impact.
We really were at the end of our rope. Last chance saloon. It was time to take a final risk.
After a month, we'd seen nothing. But Adam had warned us about this. Told us to stay patient. Traffic would come. Towards the end of month two we began to see growth. Marginal, but the first impact we'd see from the site in some time.
By month three, orders were beginning to pick up. By four months, we began to see real impact. So much so, we increased our budget.
By the end of the first year, the only time I was using any paid advertising was to supplement the website during the Christmas period (traditionally our busiest month). We were happy and things were good.
Time to do a little dance...
Yes, things were good. Orders were coming in and we began to make some money for the first time in a few years. Again, we're not talking mega money, but enough to make a judgement call.
Push on or cash out.
We'd seen more competition entering the market. Our margins were being squeezed. But we'd built a brand we were proud of and customers on the whole liked.
It was then we made a fatal mistake (sorry Adam!)...
The Curse of Success...
We got approached by another SEO company. They promised to get us more traffic on a smaller budget. Figures were shown, we met and discussed it. They seemed genuine (and I am sure they were).
We jumped ship. Partly by necessity - we were making less profit but getting more orders. But although our rankings were steady, the influx of cheaper competition was putting us under pressure.
I really wished we hadn't. We'd been bitten before with promises and we unfortunately never learned our lesson. We moved to the new company and after 12 months of sticking with them, our traffic was decreasing.
They assured us they were doing more for us but we couldn't see where. Link building was not increasing. The site visitors dropped. Competition was pinning us down. Christmas came and our sales were down over 35% on the previous year.
It was becoming unsustainable. We started offering ridiculous promotions just to get sales.
After Christmas came and went, we returned to Adam but the damage had been done. That year had seen our competition out manoeuvre us and their SEO campaign was more successful. It wasn't that the SEO that was in place was not working, far from it.
We just no longer had the energy or the resources to fight bigger more agile companies - but I'd learned.
The Moral of this Story...
Simple. We had a good thing going. One that was working and one that we had really seen the benefits of SEO. We put our trust elsewhere and, although all of the good work was still in play, our competitors found a better strategy than us.
Ultimately, the SEO was still bringing us orders. It was the market that had killed us coupled with a bad year due to a poor decision on our side.
What I learned...
I learned how to do my own SEO. And I've learnt the real benefits that a proper SEO campaign can bring. I set my own website business up in 2014, focusing purely on website design and onsite SEO and got some really great results for local business.
Too many of whom were simply being ripped off by big companies, companies they felt they could trust. Directory companies offering cheap templated websites and monthly "campaigns", disguised as google indexing static pages.
Unfortunately, circumstances led to me having to close that business down in 2017. But I've returned focused with Dream Web Design and ready to help small businesses in Southport and across the UK to succeed.
And you're reading this because...
Of SEO! We don't do any paid advertising. All of our business growth is through SEO and our own elbow grease. And if I am busy with customers for a week or two, guess what?
Yep... that SEO work is still working for us in the background. Growing our visitor count. Bring more traffic. Helping our business grow.
So take our advice. Hire a great SEO agency (perhaps us?) and see how we can help your business succeed. We're not rip off merchants and we'll treat you with respect and keep you updated every step of the way. That's our commitment and guarantee to you. We're already helping customers just like you right now grow their business, let us help you.