One day we hired a local Atlanta small business to do a construction project in our home. The company did a good job. Great job I would say. I can’t tell you how impressed I was with the quality of their work.
While there, the owner overheard that we are working with some of our Atlanta SEO clients. He asked us why his website never comes up in Google local search after paying this big SEO company every month.
He told me when he asked his SEO company about the lack of results, they kept telling him to pay more money. I offered to look at his website. From a quick look I found a lot of problems with his WordPress site. Some simple and some more complicated issues that could be fixed. It breaks my heart to see such a talented guy struggle so online.
I have heard a lot of cases like this over the years, local SEO practitioners applying their preset list of sometimes outdated solutions. But you can’t treat melanoma with skin cream. You have to dig deep to find the root of the problem. Serious search performance issues are best treated from the inside out.
Everyone loves using the word SEO. PPC agencies, web designers, local search directories and just about any type of digital company can offer SEO services. Even Wal-Mart once offered SEO. You’re not always going to get the most experienced and highly trained expert staff digging for the root of the problem.
The term SEO is used a lot like the term organic in organic foods. To casual shoppers, organic fruit or vegetables mean that it hasn’t been exposed to pesticides. To more health-conscious consumers, it means looking deeper into whether or not the dirt is pure, where the seeds came from, how weeds are controlled and a whole lot more.
A small business owner may not know enough to ask questions about sitemaps, structured markup, redirects and so forth. It may be that the client just keeps paying the monthly fee and getting the report without getting results. In this case no one ever addressed the root of the problem.
How I Helped
After taking a deep dive into our guy’s site I started seeing the story unfold. A web designer, no doubt with good intentions moved his old static site onto WordPress. This would be a noble and smart move in most any situation. But, the web designer had not addressed the old URLs. They remained on the site and indexed in Google search results.
I knew redirecting all of the URLs was a priority. Our team also found lots of other technical SEO problems impacting the client. We also addressed keyword, structure, content and even user experience issues, identifying over 30 SEO fixes.
This turned out to be a not-so-profitable client engagement because we found so many issues that needed attention. One thing we’re learning about working with small businesses is that you must be able to deliver results on a limited budget. I’ll admit we’re still figuring this one out.
After years of not seeing results, finally within a month our guy can see his site in the first and second page of Google. I felt so happy and fulfilled after seeing him getting the kind of exposure he deserves in search results. This is the real reason why I want to help small businesses with their local SEO. We want to lift the good guys because they deserve it. They offer great products and services and take pride in what they do.
Published 07/13/15, Edited 05/21/17.
About Suzana Rowland
Suzana Rowland's experience in banking and technology help keep Leverable financially fit. She specializes in providing solutions for local Atlanta, GA SEO clients. She maintains a frugal fashion blog that emphasizes faith.