#SWAAYthenarrative

SEO Is Not Dead. If Anything, It's Booming Now More Than Ever

Business

It's getting harder and harder to crack Google's algorithm, but it doesn't mean that Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is dead. If anything, it just means business owners and brand managers have to train their sights on hiring SEO specialists who actually know how search engines work and can adapt to their ever-changing algorithms. instead of those who insist on using outdated formulas to try and increase your brand's ranking on search engines.

In sum, here are some of the best reasons why investing in an SEO strategy is (still) a good idea in 2020.

Pretty Much Everyone Does the 'Google Check'

To date, Google is still the most visited website by a mile. Everyone does the 'Google check' before they do anything -- may it be purchasing something for the first time, trying out a new diet plan, or even going to the doctor, people are going to check it out first before making any final or purchase decisions.

So, if you want your business to be found and established as a trusted resource by Google, you're going to not only have to invest in SEO but also implement other online promotion tactics[1] to increase your online visibility.

Being a trusted resource by Google will do wonders for your brand, so never discount search engine ranking when trying to bolster your online presence.

SEO Generates Qualified Leads

If all you really want is to drive more traffic to your site, you can cut a lot of corners by simply baiting people to click on links to your website. That should do the trick, right? However, it's likely that increased traffic is not solely your end-goal -- it's just a means to a more important end, which is converting those clicks into paying customers.

Unfortunately, there are no cutting corners for conversion, although a sound SEO strategy can definitely make it easier for your brand. An SEO specialist can make sure your visitors land on the right pages, get the content (or the answers) they're looking for, and can buy, subscribe, sign up, or inquire about your services without too much hassle.

Better Local SEO Leads to More Conversions

In case you haven't figured it out just yet, not everyone can be an SEO expert. It's one thing to be capable of stringing together a couple of words to write a good article or story, but it's a whole other ordeal to know the target market by heart.

For best results, you have to prioritize local SEO professionals, since they are less likely to provide you with a generic, one-size-fits-all strategy to gain more leads.

For example, if your business is based in the Kansas City area, you're going to want to look for Kansas City SEO companies because they're not only in the vicinity of your business but they are poised to create more meaningful connections with potential clients because they're local. They'll have more of an inkling about the kind of people you're doing business with and can provide the necessary services you need.

Page 2 of Google is Where Dreams Go to Die

It is worth reiterating that the competition to land on the first page of search engine results is fierce. With millions of content getting churned out from all around the world on a daily basis, users can't be expected to sift through everything before making a decision on which result to click on.

More often than not, it's page one or oblivion, and when talking about the business you built from the ground up, you will surely only settle for the first.

Customers Have Developed an Aversion to Paid Content

The same SEO strategies that worked without fail five years ago are no longer applicable today, as exemplified by a case study done by consumer brand Olay.

Customers are no longer falling for generic ads that do not provide valuable information or at least new knowledge to them. In fact, most customers have developed a discerning eye that automatically rejects or ignores anything that resembles a targeted ad.

To combat this, you need an SEO strategy that focuses on customer experience, needs, and preferences, before slowly building up to the sale. SEO is not an exact science by any gauge, but it is by far the most reliable, quantifiable, and long-term strategy you can employ to keep your brand top of mind for your target customers.

So as you can see, SEO is definitely not dead… it's actually one of the top forms of marketing to date. It's just that it's not an easy concept to implement or learn, so it's always best to hire an SEO professional to get you the results you desire for your business.

3 Min Read
Business

Five Essential Lessons to Keep in Mind When You're Starting Your Own Business

"How did you ever get into a business like that?" people ask me. They're confounded to hear that my product is industrial baler wire—a very unfeminine pursuit, especially in 1975 when I founded my company in the midst of a machismo man's world. It's a long story, but I'll try to shorten it.

I'd never been interested to enter the "man's" world of business, but when I discovered a lucrative opportunity to become my own boss, I couldn't pass it up—even if it involved a non-glamorous product. I'd been fired from my previous job working to become a ladies' clothing buyer and was told at my dismissal, "You just aren't management or corporate material." My primary goal then was to find a career in which nobody had the power to fire me and that provided a comfortable living for my two little girls and myself.

Over the years, I've learned quite a few tough lessons about how to successfully run a business. Below are five essential elements to keep in mind, as well as my story on how I learned them.

Find A Need And Fill It

I gradually became successful at selling various products, which unfortunately weren't profitable enough to get me off the ground, so I asked people what they needed that they couldn't seem to get. One man said, "Honey, I need baler wire. Even the farmers can't get it." I saw happy dollar signs as he talked on and dedicated myself to figuring out the baler wire industry.

I'd never been interested to enter the "man's" world of business, but when I discovered a lucrative opportunity to become my own boss, I couldn't pass it up.

Now forty-five years later, I'm proud to be the founder of Vulcan Wire, Inc., an industrial baler wire company with $10 million of annual sales.

Have Working Capital And Credit

There were many pitfalls along the way to my eventual success. My daughters and I were subsisting from my unemployment checks, erratic alimony and child-support payments, and food stamps. I had no money stashed up to start up a business.

I paid for the first wire with a check for which I had no funds, an illegal act, but I thought it wouldn't matter as long as I made a deposit to cover the deficit before the bank received the check. My expectation was that I'd receive payment immediately upon delivery, for which I used a rented truck.

Little did I know that this Fortune 500 company's modus operandi was to pay all bills thirty or more days after receipts. My customer initially refused to pay on the spot. I told him I would consequently have to return the wire, so he reluctantly decided to call corporate headquarters for this unusual request.

My stomach was in knots the whole time he was gone, because he said it was iffy that corporate would come through. Fifty minutes later, however, he emerged with a check in hand, resentful of the time away from his busy schedule. Stressed, he told me to never again expect another C.O.D. and that any future sale must be on credit. Luckily, I made it to the bank with a few minutes to spare.

Know Your Product Thoroughly

I received a disheartening phone call shortly thereafter: my wire was breaking. This horrible news fueled the fire of my fears. Would I have to reimburse my customer? Would my vendor refuse to reimburse me?

My customer told me to come over and take samples of his good wire to see if I might duplicate it. I did that and educated myself on the necessary qualities.

My primary goal then was to find a career in which nobody had the power to fire me and that provided a comfortable living for my two little girls and myself.

Voila! I found another wire supplier that had the right specifications. By then, I was savvy enough to act as though they would naturally give me thirty-day terms. They did!

More good news: My customer merely threw away all the bad wire I'd sold him, and the new wire worked perfectly; he then gave me leads and a good endorsement. I rapidly gained more wire customers.

Anticipate The Dangers Of Exponential Growth

I had made a depressing discovery. My working capital was inadequate. After I purchased the wire, I had to wait ten to thirty days for a fabricator to get it reconfigured, which became a looming problem. It meant that to maintain a good credit standing, I had to pay for the wire ten to thirty days before my customers paid me.

I was successful on paper but was incredibly cash deprived. In other words, my exponentially growing business was about to implode due to too many sales. Eventually, my increasing sales grew at a slower rate, solving my cash flow problem.

Delegate From The Bottom Up

I learned how to delegate and eventually delegated myself out of the top jobs of CEO, President, CFO, and Vice President of Finance. Now, at seventy-eight years old, I've sold all but a third of Vulcan's stock and am semi-retired with my only job currently serving as Vice President of Stock and Consultant.

In the interim, I survived many obstacles and learned many other lessons, but hopefully these five will get you started and help prevent some of you from having the same struggles that I did. And in the end, I figured it all out, just like you will.