I spent about an hour on the phone today with an SEO consultant. This happens from time to time as they have a bad habit of cold calling me until I talk to them. Truth be told they rarely know more than I do about SEO. Anyway, now that I've patted myself on the back tonight I want to take a moment to explain Google before I explain why I control every aspect of my website.
You see, Google wants you to find the most relevant website. That means it is guessing at what you are searching for. It bases its guess on data from millions of searches. This data is weighted towards urban areas because they have more people, more tech savvy searchers and more search history. Because Integrity Auto Care is not in an urban area, many of the data points that Google uses are skewed with urban data and therefore do not actually provide the user with accurate results. Further, because there is less competition on the web in small towns the game is entirely different.
In fact, it is very easy to skew the search results in a rural area if you know just a little bit about SEO and are willing to load the dice so to say. You see, Google uses many factors to determine if a website is relevant to your search. Some of the easiest factors to game are ratings/reviews, content, page titles and keywords. Because these are so easy to control, the search results in small towns tend to show the auto repair shop with the most crooked SEO firm at the top of the results, instead of the best shop. Kinda makes you skeptical of the shops at the top of the results right?
However, over the past few years Google has been getting better at pushing these dishonest sites to the bottom of the results. In fact, some of those SEO firms have seen their clients wiped off the web...literally. Google has shown that it really doesn't want people trying to trick it and it doesn't really care if it crushes a few websites in pursuit of its goal.
So, my bet is that at some point in the future only the honest websites will be left at the top. The sites that are different, that are the most useful, and that have real reviews. Because I am relying on Google's goal to provide the most relevant results, I expect that my honest little website with a couple real reviews (as opposed to fake or purchased reviews), real content (instead of rehashed auto repair garbage) and a light, airy tone (as opposed to a robot), will float to the top of the results.
So there, that is why I make my own website. I code it, I design it, I write it, and I am not interested in farming any of it out. May the best shop win. Not the best website. :)