Small business: “We don’t have to be on page 1 of Google? Are you nuts?”

There’s nothing like a digital bombshell to make someone choke on their Skinny Latte. But choke the lovely Howard did, when I said he was nuts to try to get on to Page 1 of Google.

“What the f*** do you mean? We’ve just spent thousands on a fancy new humdingering all-singing fully optimized website and SEO consultancy and you’re telling me it’s not necessary?”

htwb-google-2016Poor Howard’s eyes were bulging by now, but of course wasted money to him is about as welcome as a t*rd in an ice bucket. He is an accountant.

Not all small businesses need to fret about the GoogleGansta

I know. The ultimate crime. Not only have I just sneered at the Emperor’s New Clothes; I’ve told him his birthday suit needs a good press.

But back to Howard wiping his tie down.

“Howard,” I simpered. “Up until now, what has been your most successful way of getting new business?”

“Well, referrals.”

“How much business from referrals?”

“Er, most of it.”

“And what about leads from your website?”

“Well, not many.”

“Were those leads any good?”

“Funnily enough, no.”

Are the people who search for professional services on Google the clients you really want?

Howard blanched.

“Are they genuine prospects or are they tyre kickers?”

“What’s a tyre kicker?” (Reminder: Howard is an accountant.)

“Time wasters, crowd surfers, competitors, that sort of stuff.”

“Funny you should say that.”

Why would people searching for your type of help locally be tyre kickers?

“Not sure.”

“Because you have no way of knowing why they’re searching for your kind of help, and in fact whether that’s their ultimate goal anyway.”

“Is there no way of drilling down all this search stuff so that only the right enquiries get to us?”

“Yes, I can recommend someone who uses re-marketing and paid search techniques to help small businesses achieve that.”

“But what about in the meantime?”

“Never mind Google. Let’s get back to basics…

How should I market my professional services business, Google or not?

Here’s where I slit my own throat.

Speaking as a content strategista, business writer, and all that, I should have made a major move to Howard and insisted that only my magnificent re-writing of his entire website and other marketing communications would transform his business from a highly successful accountancy firm into, a, er, highly successful accountancy firm.

So where was the marketing come-on?

That moment came when two more Skinny Lattes arrived on the table and Howard looked beseechingly into my eyes for guidance.

“Howard, don’t fret about Google. Are you busy with business networking these days?”

“Here’s the sugar. Yes, it’s going well.”

“Thanks, don’t do sugar. Here’s my advice and it won’t earn me one penny.”

“If I were your accountant I would NOT advise that approach.”

“That’s why I’m poor and not your ideal client, Howard. Never mind. Get this:”

Marketing and SEO suggestions about Google

writin-g-tips1.Yes, Google placements are important. No, Google placements aren’t important if your business does not depend on Search.

2.Analyse from where your business enquiries come. They may not all be from Google.

3.If your business depends greatly on local referrals, stop worrying about Google. Referral marketing is very valuable. Get out there, keep up your F2F business networking, and do more of it. It’s comparatively cheap and if it has been working well for you so far, why the **** aren’t you doing more of it?

4.Along similar lines, capitalise on your F2F networking by organising events that will reinforce your brand and your expertise. Have a look at this article.

4.By all means maintain a presence on Google (via your website) but don’t let it become an obsession. Various SEO and related businesses prey on small businesses and offer help that’s not always needed.

5.Don’t think I am trying to diss SEO experts and other consultants who genuinely DO know how to help: I don’t. But beware those who cause nice guys like Howard to choke on their Skinny Lattes.

What other suggestions can you share to help readers take a realistic view of Google?

Please share!