Michaelby Michael Dorausch, DC

Managing the day-to-day activities of your small business can be tough enough, without having to be worrying about what you’ll have to do to get your website online, and stressing over what steps you’ll need to take to ensure your business appears in search engine results, when people are seeking your products or services.

For the average small business owner, approaching the task of Search Engine Optimization (often referred to as SEO) for online presence of your company, can quickly become a major pain in the neck. To make things more difficult, it’s likely your small business has been pressured by yellow page representatives soliciting online marketing services, telemarketing companies offering lofty promises and guarantees of search engine placement, and even direct-mail pieces with promises of submitting your office website to hundreds of popular Internet directories.

While reputable experts in the field of search engine optimization and marketing can do wonders for the success of your business, you’d be best advised to do some research to avoid pitfalls and potential disasters that could quickly drain your bank account and/or reputation of your business online.

The other day I received another telemarketing call from a company offering superior internet solutions (I believe this was the sixth time). I blogged about this San Diego-based company back in August when a sales representative name Sarah called and told me their company had back end access to Google. This time the call came from a representative named John Vasquez and he was excited to tell me the company was specializing in chiropractic marketing. I found his statement interesting since I host one of the authoritative sites in the industry, and I personally know nearly all of the major (and even minor) players engaged in the industry’s online marketing efforts.

I know what it’s like to work hard at promoting your small business. I’d hate to see anyone get swindled by less than ethical companies involved in the field of search engine optimization, and I’m not alone. In September, I wrote an article about evangelizing SEO and some reputation issues the industry was facing. Reputable professionals in the field, such as Marty Weintraub, recently referred to bad SEO companies as Predatory Jerks. Marty Weintraub’s article is significant (and a recommended read), as the “jerks” specialized in SEO services for lawyers.

Chiropractors, attorneys, and real estate agents all seem to be common potential targets for these unsavory types of Web marketing practices. I’m sure many other industries are similarly targeted as well. There was a popularly discussed article on a search marketing web site earlier this week suggesting Real Estate SEO is a Joke. Regardless of the type of business you are in, there’s much to be learned by reading the commentary on the article, as a number of industry experts such as David Wallace, Andrew Shotland, Jill Whalen, and Matt McGee weighed in with their opinions.

Regardless of your industry, invest some time in doing your homework to avoid any costly mistakes when making choices regarding an individual or firm to work with in the field of search engine optimization and/or marketing.