Please read this article to get a real grasp of the SEO industry and how you can avoid the embarrassment of having bad SEO.
If you are operating on the Web in any type of market, optimising your website for the search engines is a fundamental requirement for success. If you’re not ranking well in the search engine result pages (known as SERPs), then nobody is going to find you.
You see before hitting up Ebay, most of your customers will do a search on the product or service they are looking for and clicking at least one of the top ten search positions. If one of those is your website, then you’re more likely to make a sale. The everyday person can comprehend this, but the everyday person isn’t an SEO expert and has no idea how to actually get ranked. The nature of the Internet means everybody is out to make a quick buck, and there are hoards of spammers and scammers posing as SEO experts, preying on new businesses looking to get in to the search engines. This usually results in:
- Reputable businesses getting overcharged for shoddy work
- Search engine results moving barely any places, often ending up lower down in the long run due to spam methods
- Quality SEO companies losing money as businesses get fooled by scammers that promise the world, and
- Businesses ending up with a negative view on all SEO companies, and search engines end up with a negative view on the businesses that appear to be trying to spam the search engines.
It’s a big circle of scamming and mistrust, which can be avoided if those looking for SEO go to the right places.
So What Do I Look Out For?
There are some signs to look out for when looking for an SEO company that should sound alarm bells. Firstly if they claim that they’ll get you the top slot on Google for your keyword, run a mile. The harsh truth is that this can never be guaranteed because there are hundreds of factors outside of an SEO experts hands that go into determining the top spot. Furthermore, rankings are by nature, dynamic. A #1 ranking today can be a #5 ranking tomorrow and a #2 ranking the next day.
Proper SEO is designed to improve rankings on a range of carefully researched keywords, build targeted traffic, increase conversions and grow revenues. Imagine if a #1 ranking was that easy… everybody would be number one!
You should also look out for overuse of jargon or the term “secret method;” (there are no secret methods, and if there is, they are employed by spammers and will get caught eventually). If they can’t give you useful reports, open information about how they get you up the rankings, or references of past sites they’ve worked for, then they are likely to be dishonest companies.
Some Bad Methods
It is debatable what the most effective methods of SEO are, but there are definite cases of “Bad Methods” of SEO, that will more likely harm your website than help it. If a company advertises an automated link building system between other clients then you are likely to get burned. Search Engines can tell if lots of different sites are all interlinking in order to boost their rankings, and will penalise such sites as link farms. Linking is extremely important, but it should be done between related sites (in the same niche) and only if it benefits the readers.
For example a DVD selling website might link or be linked to by a DVD review website; however getting a link from an online drug pharmacy to a DVD review website looks like you are just trying to boost your rankings. You should also read up and become familiar with terms like cloaking and Blackhat SEO, because these can only do harm to your site in the long run.
It’s Getting Bigger
As everyone moves at least some part of their business online, SEO is becoming bigger, but also more risky. Even small business help sites are claiming to help with SEO, when in reality they just submit your site to search engines (which is an obsolete method of getting ranked), and list you in some local directories, that are not read by anyone. This is not SEO and the word is becoming diluted, not only by small time scammers, but fat cats looking for a piece of the pie.
SEO is not an afterthought. It should be the primary goal of your online business. So instead of getting charmed by scammers or taken for a ride by companies using the SEO term incorrectly, do some thorough research and find a proper firm that is willing to answer all of your questions, show you results first hand, and actually explain to you what SEO is.