There are many outfits out there offering to make your website better through applying search engine optimization (SEO) techniques. These offers will make a variety of claims that may seem a bit outlandish. Although you would like your site to rank high with search engines, you need to gain a better understanding of what SEO is before hiring anyone to mess with your website. There are a lot of advantages from the proper application of SEO. However, the potential for damage to your site can be high as well. The majority of these offers are truly legitimate and the services offered can be very beneficial:
- Site Audits
- Free Consultation
- Website redevelopment
- Content management
- Research for correct keywords
Google’s Got It When you use Google and are directed to a page after submitting a word, or words, into the search box, you’ll find results that are both organic and others that are paid for advertisement, One misnomer is that advertising on Google will affect your page ranking. Not so. Google provides a number of resources that allow people the opportunity to improve a website’s performance such as Webmaster Tools, a webmaster blog plus additional discussion forums where valuable information is available pertaining to techniques that will help you optimize your site for better organic searches. These are searches that produce results based on the relevance the search word, or words, has to a given web page. Non-organic search results are paid advertisements. Get Some Knowledge SEO services may include use of buying a variety of different “advertisement-like” services available throughout the web. But before you hire an SEO consultant or SEO
company you can check out the available information at search engine sites like Yahoo and Google to find out just what SEO really is and what you can expect once you have hired someone to help “get you noticed.” If You Buy, Do It Soon The very best time to hire an SEO expert is in the design stage of your website. In fact, you should consider an all-in-one service that not only offers a beautiful looking and greatly functional site, but one that is also search engine friendly. If you already have an existing site, there are a number of techniques an SEO expert can use to help improve its performance. In either case – design or redesign – consider SEO at the onset. Ask and You Should Receive Always prepare yourself prior to interviewing a prospective SEO company with a number of questions to help in the decision-making process that include:
- Can you show me any recent successful SEO campaigns completed?
- What tracking method do you use to measure results?
- What are your technical website skills?
- Do you have a blog site?
Additionally, put an SEO expert on the spot by pulling up a random site asking them to “tear” it apart. Ask what is wrong and what is right with the site. If the person checks search engines, looks at the page code and identifies areas of concern with examples for improvement, then you may have found a non-pretender. Who’s A Pretender? Unfortunately, there are plenty of unscrupulous entities surfing the net for unsuspecting, yet hungry, website owners looking for a helping hand to gain greater traffic. Many of these so-called experts use marketing practices that offer “Guarantees” that simply are false. The greatest one is the “#1 Google Ranking Guaranteed.” Hogwash! There is NO way to guarantee any ranking with Google or any other search engine. Another is offering to submit your site to every search engine in the world. You can do this yourself, especially targeting the top search engines like Google and Yahoo. Submission is as easy as clicking on the “Add URL” link. Other deceptive practices include receiving emails from nowhere that offer outrageous services claiming money-making results. Check Out Transparency When investigating an SEO company, make sure they operate “out in the open.” Be aware there are deceptive practices like the creation of landing, or entry, pages along with throwaway domains, used as redirects to drive traffic to a “permanent” URL, but only exist for a few days. It’s a technique used to temporarily fool an SEO customer to believe the efforts are producing long-term results when, actually, these throwaway domains will be removed before any Internet spam filters will find them. Always ask just what the “plan” would be to help your exposure. Avoid Lots of Activity Come Ons Many unethical SEO solicitations will list a variety of “efforts” on your behalf including joining link services or submitting a site to every search engine on the planet. These people will tell you how comprehensive and extensive this service can be while, normally, these activities do nothing to improve your search engine ranking. Use Search Engine for Education Employ the very same search engines where you seek to gain greater popularity to find articles about SEO you can read to gain additional information to help you make your decision. There are hundreds of article directories that have “independent” authorities where you can gain an unbiased view toward SEO. Paid For Search Engine Appearance Many unethical SEO companies will use a portion of the money you spend to buy you a spot on a search engine. This is advertising, not the result of a search. A “favorite” practice is bidding on pay-per-click keywords where an unethical SEO consultant will temporarily bid high in real time in an attempt to convince you they have great control. This is an attempt to get you to hire them when it is nothing more than a con game. A review of common, unethical SEO activities includes:
- Guarantees – No such thing!
- Deceptive Practices – Use of shadow domains, throwaway domains and doorway pages.
- Using links to their own existing clients.
- Use of plagiarized content.
- Uses ads as a “search result.
- Finds ranking only on hardly used keywords.
- Provides instant ranking in a few days through “false” searches.
- Has own website not ranked anywhere.
- Tries to sell you keywords for your “exclusive” use.
Most are Legit The majority of SEO companies that offer services to website owners are legitimate and quite competent. SEO marketing is a recognized, productive method for gaining greater exposure on the Internet and includes many activities that create a greater degree of popularity including use of the ever expanding presence for social media marketing that is all the buzz today. However, if you believe you’ve been had by a specific SEO company or individual, you can file a complaint with the attorney general in the offender’s state or through the Federal Trade Commission. Google did a very good job of putting together their own guidelines to finding a good SEO firm. http://www.google.com/support/webmasters/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=35291