I hate SEO. Not just a little bit. A LOT. Here’s why:

I own a PR agency in Wilmington, NC and have worked in public relations for 30 years. I have a long and varied portfolio of successful case studies to demonstrate my ability to help get clients in the news or help them stay out of it. My proficiency has enabled me to employ a number of very talented people over the years, earn a good living and help people grow their businesses.

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I Hate SEO

I have a website at www.talkinc.com that articulates the scope of my services and includes testimonials from a wide variety of satisfied clients. I contribute to my community, belong to various clubs and groups, and stay abreast of my industry. I’ve invested considerable time and resources into developing the Talk brand both online and off.

But according to Google (and other search engines), that’s just not good enough. To be considered “relevant,” I should budget a minimum of $1,500 a month for an SEO consultant and another $1,000 or more in Google ad words. I must spend two or more hours A DAY blogging (two blogs per week of 700 – 800 words each), sharing, tweeting, Facebooking to promote myself and Talk, Inc.

If I do all that month after month, Talk, Inc. will appear at or near the top of searches for public relations, crisis management and issues management in the Carolinas.

Few small business owners I know have that kind of time and money. Most of us, thankfully, are too busy taking care of our clients’ needs and staying abreast of our industry.

In addition to my work responsibilities, I have a husband, two dogs, friends, social commitments and a workout regimen that I value deeply. I’m not willing to give any of this up to be a better blogger.

And no, I don’t want to hire a ghost writer to draft my blog, Twitter and Facebook posts. I write all of my own copy for clients and for Talk. How could a ghost writer authentically represent the Talk brand? Then there’s the added expense of hiring a writer.

I value Google and its ability to bring the world to my fingertips. But the false marketing that results from our efforts to remain relevant to Google’s search algorithms is distressing. I call it false marketing because it is often formulaic, rarely authentic and only done to satisfy Google’s voracious appetite for content. The best and most effective marketing is based on expertise, results and relationships.

SEO is expensive and exhausting for small business owners. I think I’ll stick to doing a great job for my clients and building authentic relationships with business leaders and referral sources throughout North and South Carolina. The ROI is substantially greater and the process much more satisfying.