Sunday, March 03, 2013


Detroit, Michigan  - Years ago I was crawling out of the rubble of 911 I landed back in my home state of Michigan. The message was set clear and it was that nobody was interested in SEO - the mystical art of search engine optimization. Back in those dark days I gave informational talks at Automation Alley to a bored room of under 10 people. Some of those people got up and walked out in the middle of my presentation. I was also thrown out of some marketing groups and told not to come back.... Oy.... so much has happened since then.

These days are different  - however....

Just a few years back I was sitting next to an elderly woman during yet another marketing function. She asked me what I did and I said, "SEO..." to which she replied.... "Me too...." which about knocked me over. This was in addition to her real estate business and some sort of MLM business. Yet this is the case. Maybe its the new and hip thing to say to people. As a guy who went through the trenches and got most of the arrows stuck in my back I can tell you that there was nothing hip about it. This SEO business turned out to be a major learning curve.

But one thing was clear... Michigan was now ready for this type of promotion.


Michigan has been called "blessed" in many aspects and it is. They did not go through the excruciating experience of having their hearts and lungs ripped out in the growing phase of search engine culture. The many tech waves, ( I can count at least 7 of them ) have literally floated over Michigan to ravage the pockets of venture capitalists on both coasts -- and including big cities like Chicago. It was a weird time to be part of that turbulent media circus.

The websites that were created and sold at that time did not make money. Worse, many of them failed to connect to their core audience. The search engines at the time were hit or miss.  We were relying on Yahoo and Netscape. Google was still a ways off yet and would not be considered serious until a few years later. To the hearts of many I am talking about something that happened a gazillion years ago. Things move fast in the online world and the younger generations are going to equate this to ancient history. But as a business owner - in Michigan -- you need to hear it.

The websites that we are creating now get attention. They are built for two things... speed and recognition. They get plenty of attention. These days I get the ambiguous phone call, "Yes, I would like to know more about SEO -- I heard it has something to do with .... (brief pause) ... keywords....?"  Keywords are part of it. In short they are the connective glue to hold the entire campaign together and to bring the shopper close to the supplier, the buyer to the seller and to eventually make money.


This is the news I hear. It is exciting but at the same time it is very frightening. Not every social media expert is cut from the same cloth. It is the breeding ground for narcissism, (HEY LOOK AT ME ... NOW !)  and not everyone in this collective pool of media folk are the same. I found that out as I am building my dream team. There is a lot of fakery going on out there in this great state of Michigan. There are plenty of professionals who have not gone the distance and have taken a business to the forefront of search engines and have actually made them money.

There are two popular views on the subject from the working class. One is that you don't need SEO to create social media and that it is for the birds. The problem with this view is that the media that is created is not often found on Yahoo, Google or Bing. This is a sloppy way to create social media and it is not indexed on any of the search engines. The other view which is one I subscribe to is to create relevant social media with the right kinds of keywords in it to get indexed in the search engines. This creates a support system that gives your campaigns structure and assists in its visibility.

So is it a science?  In many ways - yes. During the rough and tumble heyday of the online rise many people have come to SEO as way to seem hip or cool while simultaneously struggling with another career, (often failing). So you would get a tax guy who does SEO, a plumber who really is an SEO, an SEO who has a heart for mutual funds and the list goes on.... I have remained a media guy my entire career even when things went to the dogs. I was always publishing press releases, web videos, websites, and much more to an unappreciative audience. But that audience is now starting to see the significance of being online and in front of the pack.


A few years ago real estate guys were coming to Michigan to buy old houses on the cheap. They referred to it as, "Shoveling diamonds". The same can be said for the business landscape of Michigan. Since this state did not participate to some of the growing pains in the online world the opportunities to grab more of the online spotlight has never been better. There are opportunities here for companies to make more money in the process because the keywords that they have chosen for themselves are really missing the mark. In short, they are too generic and not specific enough to gather real attention.

There are a lot of "big brother" influences in MIchigan that want to set the record straight on how to do proper SEO but in most cases they are making a shambles out of the entire game. I am including IT companies and the phone company in this broad generalization.

More on this later....

Posted Feb 3, 2013  Ted Cantu can be found at http://www.tedcantu.com

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