Search Engine Optimization (SEO) has become a vital part of modern day business. Your company must be represented very well in the virtual marketplace, but which is most important; how your business is represented to potential clientele or the ability for consumers to find your business in the never-ending directory of businesses that is The answer between the two can, and has been debated over and over again by experts, and there may never be an ultimate answer. There is one thing, however, that easily outranks both SEO and a professional representation; and that one thing is the foundation of your business, it is your bread, your butter, your reputability, it has a direct impact on your bottom line, and is becoming immeasurably overlooked in todays’ marketplace. Great common business practices are, for lack of a better word, essential for every business.

About a week ago I did a search on for “SEO consulting firms in (an unnamed city)”. Naturally, if you were in the market for an SEO consultant you would absolutely want the business with the number one search rank. I called the top ranked firm and there was no answer, so naturally I left a message. I went on to search result number two, and to my surprise: no answer here either, so I left another message. This pattern continued until I reached the sixth result, my calls were finally met with a human voice on the other line. It was almost disheartening to think these companies, whom (ironically) specialize in helping connect businesses to consumers, could not connect themselves to me, a prospective client.

These firms in the top search results had forgotten the good common business practice of not only being available to do something as simple as answering the phone, but also not returning a voicemail. These practices are bare basics in building and maintaining a reputable business. I am not trying to downplay SEO at all, 93% of online experiences begin with a search engine (1), what I am saying is that SEO can not do everything. SEO is not your endgame, it is merely your beginning, and it initiates your first conversation between you and the person buying your product. Without the follow-through of good common business practices, all the search optimization in the world won’t help you do what you are business for in the first place…. closing the sale.