Being in the Waterproofing industry I'm constantly interacting with other companies online. Innovated designs, solutions, some fail, some don't. There are many licenses that are needed by companies to work in the Waterproofing, Foundation repair, Radon Mitigation, Asbestos removal, and other home improvement industries. Recently, I wrote a post about how improperly licensed waterproofing companies are putting the consumer at risk.
SEO, Web Site Optimization, and Getting Ethical:
Today, I'm talking about the people in the back room, doing the marketing or taking over the public distribution of the branding of these companies online.
I recently made a more personal opinion post on Ezine's Members forums about what I've been running into.
The Problem: Companies are jumping the Gun to get out ahead:
New companies, wanting a leg up, and even older companies needing to create new leads and sustainability in a down economy are taking SEO (Search Engine Optimization, a branch of Web Site Optimization) and other website optimization specialists and bringing them to work at their Headquarters. Lovingly called "In-House SEO," it became a special topic at this year SMX.
The problem comes not from the planed "currently running" SEO; it comes from the SEO and web site optimization that's implemented BEFORE the company is actually ready to do business. Some optimization and SEO companies have become so efficient, and there's so much information out there on the Internet, that even business owners are jumping in and pulling their weight. Again, the problem is that businesses are doing this in anticipation, making the sites live, and the sites rank well right off the bat, but the business is left in the dust trying to catch up.
Consumers need to step up their "Pre-Shoping" to protect themselves:
Consumers need to be aware and need to take note of this. Not all websites lead you to qualified people. Some websites are intentionally designed to fish for leads and then source them out to companies for a fee; this is the way these sites make money.
If a site is qualified, you can take the name of the company (sometimes listed in full at the bottom of a site) and actually find the license of the company listed in that state's Department of Public Safety or Department of Consumer Protection.
It is so important for consumers to be doing the right research when finding waterproofing and foundation repair contractors.
Many states are fighting large numbers of "seasonal" contractors who migrate from state to state and do work with improper licenses, and un-intentionally stealing work from local state licensed carrier contractors.
Protect yourself as a consumer: Ask for License Numbers.
Protect yourself as a consumer: Double check the name of the company or owner of the company against the databases at the Department of Public Safety or Department of Consumer Protection.
For business owners: DON'T JUMP THE GUN! Get your licenses first, operate the right way in your state, and THEN gather business from online and other referral processes. Doing business online doesn't leave you exempt from state or federal law.