Tag Archives: capital

SEO is Dead. Long live SEO

Every couple of months we see a new post decrying the death of Search Engine Optimisation (SEO).  There’s actually some very good reasons for these posts, but when you’ve heard the boy cry wolf for over a decade, it can get old.  Yet these days, I think they’ve got a point…

Black Hat & White Hat

Let’s be clear – black hat SEO seems to be doing well.  It’s mostly white hat’s that have been hammered by Google.  If you did everything they said you should do, you can still find yourself in a really hard place – unable to develop the authorship, the link profiles, the relevance and authority that you need by playing their game especially with new properties.

On the other hand, going down the black hat route is fraught with danger.  Make a mistake and you can wipe out – completely.  You could lose everything you’ve built up, or worst – build up in anticipation (or with current sales) and see it all disappear in a blink of the eye when Google catches you.  Not a great thing… I’ve seen it happen before.

So, is SEO dead? Is white hat SEO dead?

Just A Name Change

Not really. What’s happened is a name change – a rebranding.  Now all the white hat SEO’s are calling themselves ‘inbound marketers’.  They’ve expanded their game, from pure manipulation of on-page content and on-page information to include things like content creation, Public Relations and events and the like.

It’s not new – it’s been happening for a while now, but the focus has continued to expand so much with the changes Google has forced us on all that it’s now the thing.  You can’t drive links in anyway other than via PR or good content creation.  You have to plan for some real ‘whiz-bang’ in your marketing now, or else it’ll just die.

It’s possible to do it other ways, to do it slow and quiet; to get guest posts and to reach out to bloggers and the like.  Yet, that’s still PR – just in the guise of link building.  It’s certainly made start-up costs much, much higher.  Now, you’ll have to be willing to shell out real money to get content and views; all in the hope that somehow it’ll get you what you need.

The game’s changed, and frankly; it’s not for the better I think.  Capital needs have definitely gone up.

Terms, Paying on Time and The Emergency Fund

When you can, get on terms.  It’s probably one of the best ways of improving a business cash flow. There are 2 ways to get on terms actually – one directly with a supplier, the second via a credit card.  The best option of course is to have terms with a supplier who then charges your credit card – but few businesses will do that.

However, one thing I’ve noticed being on terms is the  number of suppliers who call me up to thank me for paying on time.  I feel it’s just good business practise – but it’s obviously striking enough of a difference that my suppliers are grateful for it.

My personal view is that you should always pay on time, because it gives you leverage.  And leverage is nice when you want to start negotiating for new terms / rates.  It helps you get rid of specific onerous terms because you have given them (at very little cost to yourself) something important to them – payments on time.

A recent example is our web developers.  They asked for payment for hours worked; I said okay.  Initially, they wanted me to pay the 2% fee for a credit card; but I requested they remove that as I was paying on time and they agreed.  And just like that – a 2% savings.  Not a huge amount of money; it’s only $60 or so but it keeps them happy and I’ve still got another 30 or so days to pay off the bill as it all goes on my credit card anyway (and rewards!).

However,  one thing you do need to keep an eye on if you intend to pay everyone on time is your casfhlow.  Specifically, creating an Emergency Fund.  Whether it’s a Line-of-Credit that you can tap (when needed) or actual capital; you should always have an emergency fund for when cashflow is just a little tighter than you expected or some new expense crops up.  Like personal finance, an emergency fund is necessary; important and all too often forgotten.