SEO – Search Engine Optimization – is one of the magic words almost all clients have on their wish list. Unfortunately, SEO is far from being the magic wand some try to make you believe. But let me explain.

Building websites for clients, you always need to be marketing adviser as well as web developer and IT support specialist. I love this diversity about my job and I embrace most of the things I need to deal with.

In order to get a better understanding of marketing I worked through „The Marketing Seminar“ by Seth Godin (nowadays you find the course on Udemy) in 2017. It gave me lots of insights and I truly learned a lot. Sticking with it for more than half a year and discussing things back and forth with other participants made things a lot more tangible.

One of the big insights for me was the way Seth Godin explained about SEO. He uses the term „generic search term“ which describes a very general term for the service/product you provide, like „coaching“ or „smartphone“ or „chocolate“.

Let me quote Seth:

„[Today] no one is easily winning the race for the generic [search term]. …
The way to win is not by spending a lot of money to win the battle for the generic search term, the way to win is to create enough impact that people search for YOU.“

Well, that’s not really new, but that’s it, put in a nutshell.

Myths about scoring with Google

So what does that mean for you and me and the coach next door?

There are a lot of companies out there offering a similar service to what you provide. So when someone searches the web, it is very hard or nearly impossible to find your website on page one for a generic search term. The only exception is if you are offering your service locally.
That is, if you are THE local barber shop, a well-known dentist, or an optician in a medium sized city your chances to appear on page one for the term „dentist“, „barber“ or „optician“ are fairly realistic. But that’s due to the fact that search engines behind the scenes decide to add the location to the search term.

If you are trying to appeal to customers near you, that’s perfect. If not, don’t waste your time and money.

I believe that most of the people visiting your website actually don’t get there because they were searching Google for a coach, a web developer or whatever it is you are offering.
Would you hire a coach or a lawyer you just found with the help of Google? Probably not.

Most of the people who visit your website come because of you. They found you on LinkedIn, they got a tip from a friend or colleague, they met you at a conference. So they either knew the URL of your website or they put your name in the search field.
That’s when Google really should be able to find you. Make sure it does!

So how can I actually reach more people?

Losing the option to be THE #1 might feel like a disadvantage, but I believe it is an advantage.

Yes, you need to get visible, you need to go out there and connect with people. That’s not easy, I know. But this way you are the one in control. You can actively work on reaching the people you want to serve.

Go out there, see which social network suits you and your purpose best, start showing up and connecting with people.

Once people met you and liked what you offer, they will manage to get to your website and check out the details. From this moment on you are not in competition with thousands of others any longer. Now they are willing to invest some time. Use this advantage to really make a difference.