The best place to hide a corpse is on Google’s Avalanche Creative page two, which is why the Grand Rapids-based SEO consultant takes a empathic, people-centric approach to helping companies step into customer faces.
Founder Lance Beaudry was very interested in creating websites in the early 2000s. Although he describes himself as a social person, he often skipped social events for projects he was working on.
“It was pretty much dropshipping before dropshipping was a thing, graduation slide shows,” Beaudry said. “The most exciting thing for me was building a website for a company to try and attract people to the site and make some money.”
Beaudry escaped site building, however. After seeing his mother fail in entrepreneurship, he didn’t see how he could succeed as a web developer. After high school, he went to Grand Valley State University for a teaching degree.
“I love teaching. I love breaking things down, but on the way there I couldn’t remember creating a website and starting a business, ”said Beaudry.
He credited the purchase of a $ 20 book that reignited and honed his website building skills. He got a landscaping job straight out of college, but the hard work made him realize that he didn’t want to do this for the rest of his life.
In the evenings he learned how to code and create websites for people and even made it a good sideline.
In particular, he built a website where small to medium-sized churches could develop their own mobile app, ranked high on Google, and taught Beaudry the importance of SEO.
“Use Google to learn SEO – there are tons of people willing to share good information about SEO,” said Beaudry. “Tons and tons of trial and error – that’s what most SEO experts I know today learn. It’s good to google, which is kind of ironic. “
In the case of his church app website, Beaudry provided information about the possibilities churches have when creating apps and what advantages they can get from their own internal app. If people were looking for these options and benefits, Beaudry’s website would be the first result they would come across.
Beaudry eventually sold the website he developed, but success led him to business SEO consulting. His wife Rayanne was working in the nonprofit sector at the time, advising her husband on business practices.
“She’s been a freelance worker most of the time,” said Beaudry, laughing.
“After doing a lot of freelance work, I decided I like this,” said Rayanne Beaudry. “We just got to a point where I thought, ‘This is what I want to do. I can help you grow this business. ‘”
With Rayanne on board, Avalanche Creative has tripled its sales and team within two years, even amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I started working with freelancers just before Rayanne, and once Rayanne was in … within a year we had three full-time employees,” said Lance Beaudry.
SEO is becoming increasingly important for businesses as they promote themselves, said Rayanne Beaudry. The economy is experiencing a change of work and generation. As more and more young people move into decision-making roles, they go to Google first to find resources.
“The old way to get attention may be to go to a trade show, get on the supplier list, talk to someone on the phone, but now when someone is looking for a landscaper or other BTB resource they go to Google, ”she said. “We saw that last year with the pandemic. Everything went online. If you’re not using your website as an active lead generation source, you are missing out. “
SEO is also one of the few marketing activities that multiply over time, added Lance Beaudry. While businesses can certainly lose visibility if they don’t do good SEO, Google’s front page is free real estate.
It’s also less sales-centric and more people-centric, he added. Companies that use SEO well will first educate their customers about their services and teach them to come to them when they need help. For example, Avalanche helped a local landscaping company, Superior Groundcover Inc., write a blog about DIY spray lawns or hydroseeds as many prospects in Michigan were looking for hydroseeds.
“Why would we want the company that provides hydroseeds as a service to blog about how customers can do this themselves? Well, these people … they haven’t made up their minds yet, ”Lance Beaudry said. “You’re just trying to figure out what it takes to do it yourself. If you give the facts – don’t sell Superior’s services – just tell them how to do it yourself … they will come to the conclusion that, ‘Oh, this company really helped me understand that I am not doing this myself would like to . Maybe I’ll call you. ‘”
Proper, people-centric SEO isn’t just about tricking the search engine into putting certain keywords into a page. It’s about helping the end user find exactly what they’re looking for.
“A lot of SEOs will panic about updates to Google’s algorithms, but we’re really not worried about that,” said Rayanne Beaudry. “Ultimately, Google is trying to help searchers find the best content, and so are we. If you are interested in helping the end user and creating the best experience for them, you don’t have to worry about Google algorithm updates. They will only be in your favor. “
Vanity metrics aren’t a sign of good SEO practice either, added Lance Beaudry. Just because a website has a lot of traffic doesn’t automatically mean more customers for the company. It also means nothing if a website is ranked number 1 for a keyword that no one is looking for.
“It looks good. It makes the business look good, but it doesn’t mean generating new business,” he said.
Another successful customer Avalanche has supported is White Lake Dock & Dredge, an environmental dredging and shipbuilding company in Norton Shores. Avalanche helped the company rank above FEMA and Wikipedia when it Googled for the keyword “rip-rap-rock revetment”.
“When the shoreline eroded and people’s homes fell in the lake, they called this company to prevent this from happening,” said Lance Beaudry.
While landscaping makes up a good portion of the avalanche services sector, the majority of its clientele work in the healthcare, manufacturing, and software industries.
“We try not to be too specific on any industry. It keeps us curious, ”said Rayanne Beaudry.
“I would say this is one of our greatest added values,” said Lance Beaudry. “If you googled ‘Hydroseeding SEO Specialist’ you wouldn’t find many – well, you would find our website (laughs), but that’s our added value because we’re SEO agnostics. We can train our team to become experts in very niche industries. “