I often receive requests to diagnose and prescribe solutions to remedy the poor showing of a corporate website in search engine results, writes Howard Rybko, director at Syncrony.

The causes of below average rankings are usually easy to discern and appear deceptively simple to fix. As I explain the ‘how’, a row of bright-eyed executives lean forward in anticipation.
Executive responses are usually punctuated by exclamations of enthusiasm and promises of buy-in. Article marketing! Blogging on a daily basis! Tweeting like crazy! Yeah, where can we start!! Let’s go!!
Go where? Nowhere that’s where.
 
The cost is work
Today the task of raising awareness of a Website within a competitive niche is significant and comes with a high cost in terms of both labour and time.
Sadly the Web/search/marketing consultant can no longer manage the entire workload responsibilities alone.
The relatively simple task of directory submissions and plugging in of keywords to optimise web pages can no longer suffice.
The real results come from consistent hard work, from completing non-repetitive tasks that require considerable brain power, from concentration and long term endurance.
This commitment involves drafting press release outlines, crafting expert articles, meaningful blogging and concerted credible tweeting. There is a need for a great deal of time spent reading.
In addition there is Facebook, which also requires a substantial investment in time and ongoing attention.
Put simply, this type of stuff needs two main ingredients – time and expertise – in healthy doses.
 
Two halves don’t make a whole
By dint of being paid for time, the Internet Marketer is semi-qualified, while the busy executives who have the expertise do not have the time.
The end result is that nothing gets done.
 
Single-tweet twits
For every wildly popular blogger out there, there are a million ghost blogs, initiated with an upbeat post or two … and then silence. There are millions of Twitter profiles that stand forlorn with a single tweet to their name, abandoned by their eager executive owners who have moved on to more exciting places.
This makes it hard for an honest Internet marketing person to do a good job.
You can of course tell them the truth. Tell them about the hard work that is required of them. Explain the long term dedication and endurance that is required.  Then the chances are that you will lose the deal.
On the other hand, one has the option to gloss over the difficulties to get the work. This will doom the campaign to lukewarm results because of the almost inevitable lack of commitment from the very eager beavers who gave you the go-ahead in the first place.
 
People commitment
The bottom line is that companies who want to make a difference to their online presence and reputations need to commit to having staff on board who are capable of producing the required output.
They need staff who will be comfortable with spending time replying sensibly to customer/prospect comments. They need people on board who are capable of creating content that will serve to differentiate the organisation from the many posers who pretend to ‘get’ the Internet marketing thing.
Once we secure this level of commitment, we may even reach a point when corporates will send out job descriptions that specify “Facebook Social Engineer with tweeting experience” and, maybe then, they might order their ‘IT Gestapo’ to open their firewalls for FaceBook traffic!
Why? Because the fact is that having a top 10 ranking in a Google search for your industry’s keywords can lead to substantial financial reward.