A few years ago, we started a landscaping business. At that time, we recognized the importance of having a strong online presence but did not understand what that fully entailed. We knew that we needed a good website. We knew that we needed to rank on search engines, especially google. That was the extent of our knowledge, however, as we didn’t know what “good” meant nor did we know how to actually become visible on google.
So Many Choices. Who to Trust?
One thing we noticed right away was how difficult it was to choose the right marketing company. There were so many to choose from and not knowing any better, we didn’t know what to gauge them on. Do we go with someone from Victoria? Do we hire a marketing company that focuses on our industry? How do we even know if they are what they say?
Our first SEO (or Search Engine Optimization) guy was a two men team. They had a regular and seemingly authoritative presence on a popular landscaping forum. They seemed very knowledgeable, friendly, and trustworthy. They had a blog that further cemented their authority in the online marketing domain and we decided to go for it.
We had good initial contacts and one of the things communicated was the urgency of things as we wanted to get the business off the ground as soon as possible. It was suggested by them that our website needed to be redone and that this was going to cost us $1500 USD. It was also suggested that we change our domain name, that is our web address. Trusting their professional advice, we agreed to all of this.
They sent a large change log file that seemed to indicate a lot of work being done. However, we later found out this was not the case.
It turned out that much of the change log was complete fluff. The majority of it was inconsequential and did not take more than a few seconds. We also found out that the domain migration had negatively affected our ability to rank as in google’s eyes, it had made the website look new and untrustworthy. After 3 months, we had not even been indexed by google, meaning our website was still invisible.
Better Luck Next Time?
After firing these guys, we went with another company. The owner had gained our trust by offering free advice with zero expectations of being paid or hired at any point.
In the beginning, they did very well. However, starting in the second month, and as time went on, less and less was being done. Promises were made and broken. For example, we were asked to increase our budget by 60% with promised results. This did not materialize.
Around this time I had started educating myself to better understand what was going on, what was missing, and what needed to be done. It was through this process that I realized that beyond the first month, important pieces had been neglected.
Taking the Reins
Finally, in December of 2020, after around $6000 of wasted money, I took over working on my own website. Within two weeks, it was finally visible to google and the general public. I stopped wasting money on online advertising and saved thousands of dollars. Within 2 months of these changes, I had become visible to people in my local neighborhood in Victoria BC and started gaining clients without spending a cent on ads.
Over the next year, I learned more and better ways to improve not only my website but also my local presence so that more people would find my site. I learned to target specific groups of people in specific geographical areas, how to communicate to search engines that this was my intention, optimize the ability for the search engines to find out what my business is about so they can best serve it to the right people, build the trust and authority of my online presence so that we are listed more and higher, target the right keywords and with more keywords to increase our overall presence, make our website operate faster than all competitors, and so forth.
The slow and steady rise in Impressions, Domain Rating, and Referring Domains that the website has seen are indications that the website is becoming more visible to more people and gaining trust with google, meaning higher ranks, and more visibility.