Strategic Internet Marketing Takes Time :: RANT

I do a lot of freelance projects concerning search engine optimization ( SEO ) and link building. I get more projects on these topics than I do for email marketing, pay per click, RSS, or anything else… combined.

One thing I have learned is many customers have a very bad idea, or no idea, of what actually goes one behind the scenes of getting good rankings on search engines and building links back to your site.

I’ll admit that I have taken low bids on projects like these as well.. and it always seems that no matter what I am paid, the client thinks that I take on their project, do my magic in about 5-10 days, and that they will be placed in the top 5 results for a given term in Google in that time frame.. and all is done.

I haven’t had one client that understands that Internet marketing ( especially in the areas of SEO and link building ) takes time and maintenance. Sure you can do pay per click campaigns or paid link spots and start to see the results pretty quickly.. you can do some email marketing and see results within the same day with the right tracking.. and you can even submit your RSS feed to Technorati and other such services and see the results the same day, but when you link build and do SEO / SEM work, it takes time, time, time, and some skill.

I get on several freelance sites like rentacoder.com or scriptlance.com and see several projects each day where someone needs 500 PR5-6 one way links pointing back to their site for a given term in less than 7 days.. and for a maximum bid amount of $250. I also see projects for SEO work on a site, or several sites, that the client wants a top 5 listing in Google and Yahoo for around $300 in less than 15 days.

What do these people expect? The best part is I see tons of freelancers promise they can do what the poster needs, in less time, and for less money than the poster expects. I have seen for myself several bids put in that say the freelancer can do the job for $15 and in 3 days.

I am almost sure that the $15 bidders win, and in 3 days have the basic needs met of the client.. some basic SEO on the site and links built.. but of what quality is the work? All too often, I also find posters that say they have had bad experiences on rentacoder and scriptlance and want to ask you a zillion questions about your methods before picking you the winner of their project. Again, what did the poster of the project expect in 3 days and for $15?

First off, how can anyone research over 500 qualified PR5-6 sites for a given keyword, find contact information, email the contacts, negotiate the terms of the link spot, add the link, record the information, verify the link is up, and get back with the project poster in less than 3 days?.. and all that work for $15? I tell you how, it doesn’t.

Same for SEO services, no way are you going to get to the top 5 results in both Yahoo and Google for a given phrase or keywords in 3-4 days on $15. It is near impossible to research what related words you need, optimize all the pages and rewrite content on all those pages, submit them to the search engines, wait for them to be spidered and indexed, and see them in the top 5 in both search engines in less than 15 days.

It takes time people..

It takes time to research your keywords and their related phrases and keywords.

It takes time to research your competitors and see what they have been doing.

It takes time to actually start diving into your code and making the changes needed to optimize your pages one by one for each term you give us.

It takes time to setup the missing pieces like sitemaps, directory structures, navigation, robots.txt files, and anything else your original developer left off.

It takes time to rewrite all your content copy so that it is relevant for the search engines.

It takes time to submit the URLs of your site correctly to the search engines and directories you need to be in after we researched where you need to be.

It takes time to wait on emails you send to other sites for a link trade.

It takes time for the search engines to spider and then index the URLs we gave them.

It takes time to start seeing your efforts in the search engines as they slowly move up in ranking week by week and month by month.

Then after all of that, you have to maintain the spot you want to be at, or need to be at. It’s not a one time shot and your at number 6 result forever.. you have to maintain that spot. You have competitors that will want to move above you and your ranking for your traffic.

You won’t get that done in 3 days, and you’ll be lucky to get than in 45 days.

You almost have to think of your Internet marketing plan like most people think of marriage.. it is truly a long term commitment where you have to work together and communicate to get the results you want and need.

Do you really think now you can get all you want in 3 days, and for $15? If you do, then go for it.. but when you post your project again and I bid in a realistic price and time line and you start telling me ” I have had a bad experience already with SEO on {sitename}” and start asking me a zillion questions about my methods and what I do, remember how you got here in the first place.

Nobody is going to spend all that time for $15, no matter how much the US dollar converts into another currency. It takes time, time, and skill to get it right. If you find someone to do this in 3 days and for $15, you will not be getting what you need to achieve the rankings you want.

Another thing that kills me, these project posters that have been burned in the past, still post again.. at the same site, with the same project.. but finally set a real time line and a semi-real price.. but they want to escrow your funds until they see the results themselves.

Now, knowing it takes time and effort to get you in the top 5 for Google and Yahoo, why in the world would I do all this work for you.. and have my funds set in escrow because Google and Yahoo might be backlogged with indexing your site? What about things beyond my control.. like your domain name being sand boxed by Google, or your host’s IP for your site has been flagged as spam/cheater from Yahoo?. You might not ever be in the top 5 in either search engine and that means I will never get my money.

There is never a guarantee in Marketing… you can not promise someone they will be any ranking in any search engine ever. You have no control over what Google thinks is relevant or anyone else for that matter. So why would I risk not getting my payment for services that no one can guarantee anyway?

This problem doesn’t exist just on the freelance sites, but everyday and everywhere. I have clients that find me without me looking for them that also have this same mindset that they can get what they want, and get it fast and dirt cheap.

If I were to give a good minimum time line for an effective Internet marketing strategy concerning SEO and link building, it would be at least 3 months. Some people might argue more or less… but 3 months should be a good starting point for many sites and keywords. This allows time for research, trial and error, waiting on others who effect your work, actual code writing and copy / content writing, and reviewing the results and stats from your efforts.

At this point, any changes that need to be made can be put in place, which requires time again. You have to remember someone is spending 3 months or more on your web site marketing plan, so you need to pay them accordingly for their time.

If you really don’t have the money to pay someone what their worth, maybe piece it out.. hire one person to just research your keywords and competitors.. then when you get more money.. hire that same person back to start optimizing your pages.. when you get more money saved up.. hire a person to only submit the URLs to the various search engines.

Keep doing this until your plan is complete. This isn’t a great way to get your Internet marketing plan going.. but at least its a start.


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