Be Careful Who You Hire to Optimize Your Web SiteSeptember 10, 2006
I got our friend Curtis Cloutier from Webolutions (www.webolutions.com) to read our previous post called “Advertise Yourself – the Flat World Way.” I then called him up and interviewed him about SEO (that’s “Search Engine Optimization” which translates to “I want my web site to come up first when people do a Google search“) and Google Adwords (which are those little text ads on the right side of the screen). Everyone we meet these days wants their web site to be #1 on Google searches. Uh-huh. Curtis is a lot more politic than I am, but he and his company know a Google’s worth of stuff about both SEO and Adwords.
Curtis has a way of cutting right to the chase – and using better analogies than I could ever come up with. I asked him about all those offers I’ve been getting offering to teach me SEO and Adwords in a weekend workshop, one-day workshop or even, I kid you not, one that just came in my mail which said they would teach me everything in just a 3-hour, half-day workshop!
Curtis offered, “These skills are complicated, Michael. Many companies employ full-time employees and spend thousands of dollars just to keep themselves up-to-date on both. It’s a little like being a carpenter. Could you go to a one-day workshop and then build a house?” I love his carpenter analogy because a really good analogy means I don’t have to write anymore – I can shut up – because we get it.
He also offers a great test that anyone can use anywhere (not just Denver – Webolutions is in Denver) to help pick a web design company that also offers top search engine placement. “Just do a Google search in your city for “web design Dallas,” or “web design Baltimore,” for instance.” We took him up on it for Denver – and Googled “web design denver” – and the first result was, yeah, you guessed it, Webolutions. “If a company is offering to get your web site optimized to come up high in search engine results, they had better be able to do it for themselves,” he said. Try that test on your web company! And definitely, try it next time you hire someone new.
Incidentally, remember those folks who want to teach you how to optimize your own web site – in a jiffy? A couple things to remember. First, bigger companies employ squadrons of folks just to do this little task of web site optimization. Beyond that, Google is working day and night to counter the scammy tips and tricks of the folks teaching you how get your site artificially pumped up to #1. There are legitimate ways to optimize your site – but do you want to be an expert in that – or an expert in your own business?
By way of full disclosure, Curtis and Webolutions do not design any of the Golden Compass or Hidden Treasures web sites or blogs (kinda wish he did!). He is, however, a friend who works for an honest company in a category that is full of thieves, scoundrels and pretenders – and he knows a whole lot about getting your web site to #1.