I confess I do look for shortcuts, but choose them wisely! Like one-pan dinners or leaving my tennis shoes tied. I would never recommend a client work with a faceless internet provider of SEO LOCAL LISTINGS/CITATIONS that locks them into a 6 month contract.
A lawyer friend (now client) was using SwissSong (made that name up so I don't get sued) and when she called them to get a better sense of what she was getting for her $600/month, SwissSong: 1) did not and could not provide ANY reports, 2) answers were vague and from very inexperienced “agents”, 3) she saw zero results from her investment – my client is fairly savvy and knows how to check things out, and, 4) the worst of it - - I really don’t think SwissSong ever registered her business in any major directory. I checked and could not find it anywhere.
SwissSong refused to cancel the 6 month contract for $600/mo. My friend ended up cancelling the service after six calls and finally reaching the CEO. He said that once you cancel, SwissSong CANCELS all directory listings (supposedly 200). That is ridiculous! It would take so much work to do that and might not even be possible. I think they never did the directory listings.
Adding more pain to her experience, we learned that HER actual Google business listing was locked to SwissSong. It took us 4 weeks to get control of it (Google was very helpful) and we placed ownership with her.
The appeal of SwissSong-like online SEO services is that they make the client’s life so easy. They are the short-cut! You just need to pay the invoice and never worry about the program.
NOT! - - like all marketing tactics, it should be an ongoing collaborative process to get REAL RESULTS. No one knows your business better than you and results come from you and your marketing partner working closely together.
Before contracting with any online service, do your due diligence. Ask for references. Google them for reviews. I found truly frightening reviews of SwissSong on mythreecents.com.
A little more about Local Listings/Citations:
Organic SEO (search engine optimization) refers to the methods used to obtain a high placement (or ranking) on a search engine results page in unpaid, algorithm-driven results on a given search engine.
Value is that the results are lasting, but it is a much slower build. It takes time for the search engines' web crawlers to find each listing and credit it to your website.
When doing a Local Listing program through an agency ask to review the final master Citation, which includes all your contact information, business description, keywords, photos, and more.
It takes about 5 to 6 months to get a business listed in all the major directories. Only 20 or so can be done each month. If too many are done in a month, search engines don't like it and will be suspicious of the validity/value of the business.
If the service you are using offers a “custom website” be very sure what that means. It might be a 3-5 page website that looks very much straight out of the can - - their standard template, void of the personality of your business. Additional pages and customization will come at a surprisingly high price. VERY IMPORTANT – if you discontinue the service, YOU’VE LOST YOUR WEBSITE. I’ve heard horror stories of clients that were told “yes, you own your website” but later they learned “yes, you own the website, but I own the code, so you cannot take it to any other webmaster/hosting.” You’ll be shackled to them indefinitely. Your website is a critical business asset and you should have complete ownership and control.
When it comes to investing marketing dollars in your business, work with a partner that you can collaborate with. Someone you know is experienced, professional and there to ensure your money is invested wisely.