Written by Jase Clamp Tuesday, 16 August 2011 13:09
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. It's the practice of doing things to and around your website that optimizes it to rank higher in search engine results. Many people are aware of SEO but knowing that it has something to do with tags is about the extent of their knowledge.
The purpose of this article is to help you undrestand how not to get burned by companies who are promising a great deal in the arena of SEO for for maybe only a few hundred dollars.
A true story
I was speaking with a client recently. He had asked us about SEO and we'd referred him to our number one provider who we always refer people to for SEO. The gentleman contacted our SEO referal but was discouraged by the truth. He was told that it would take months to build up a first page ranking in a primary search phrase and was also told that the effort would equate to $2-3,000.
So like any good consumer, our client shopped around. In the world of SEO there is a large quantity of companies promising immediate, first page results, for only a few hundred dollars. Most of these companies have compelling marketing and can even produce examples of high rankings they've achived. Our client engaged with one particular company for $650. The company promised a first page ranking in at least three designated phrases in 1-2 months. Our client paid for the service and was told by the SEO provider that they would be logging directly into his website to make adjustments. Our client give the SEO provider our contact information so that we could help them get logged in. The SEO company never contacted us to gain access to the website and never logged in or made any changes. 2-3 months later our client followed up. The SEO company swore that they'd completed their work.
The only other explanation that I could come up with was that perhaps the SEO company had "built some links" to point into our client's website. I did a "backlink search" and found no new links. The evidence seemed to point pretty clearly to the fact that our client had been completely ripped off. It would have been better if our client had put that money in the shredder:
Like night and day, an SEO service that actually provides results!
Compare the above story to an experience that we had recently. We know a lot about SEO. We blog about it frequently. We've researched dozens of SEO firms in order to provide good referals to our clients. We've even spent money on different firms in order to really test out their services. Recently we engaged the SEO company that I mentioned before. Working with our primary contact there was very different to experiences we'd had before. The one thing that really stood out was that he took a lot of time on us. He took time to understand what we were trying to achieve. We designated one phrase we wanted to rank with and one page on our website we wanted to come up for that phrase. He went back and forth with us almost a dozen times suggesting changes to this one page. His work on this one page spanned months of time. He'd always check where we were at and follow up with us. We were busy but he was very fastedious about following up with us and pushing us to move forward with the project. He didn't just leave it on us. He even went beyond the optimization of content and advised us the design of the page. He truly wanted our page to look good and to convert visitors to that page into customers. Finally after some time, we reached a first place ranking.
I was very happy with the experience of this SEO service and I was convinced that it was time and attentiveness that made the difference where other SEO services had failed before.
Being an educated consumer helps you not get scammed
The first way to help yourself is to learn some SEO basics. It may only take you about 20-30 minutes of reading but it could save you 100s if not 1000s of dollars.
For example, most people don't know that SEO is split into two main components optimizing content (e.g. tagging) and generating backlinks.
I find that the majority of people only know about the first aspect, yet most professional SEOs will tell you that optimizing internal content only constitutes the minority of the weight that search engines place on search engine ranking. The majority of emphasis is placed on backlinks, or links pointing back to your website.
In an article called, debunking the tag myth, I explain that companies who are just going to optimize your content and add tags, may not achieve any results for you.
You may be wasting time and money with them. In another article called "a backlink is worth a 1000 words" I further explain that Google models it's search results very similarly to the way humans guage "word of mouth" to evaluate the credability of a business. In essense, the more backlinks you have from reputable websites, the more buzz Google sees about your business on the web, which increases your ranking.
We'll submit your site to 20 search engines and get you 1000 links!
There are firms (mostly overseas in places like India) that will sell you a one-time SEO solution. The claim above is similar to claims they make. First of all, there are only a few major search engines. The one with the largest market share is Google. The concept of "submitting a site" is pretty foolhardy because the way Google finds websites is by crawling the internet. If it knows of a website and crawls it, and finds that it's linking to your site, that is how it discovers your site. It does that quickly. When we post content on winworld.com, sometimes its available on Google within a couple of hours because they crawl our site frequently. Google has immense power of discovering new information on the web.
Please do not buy 1000 links. This will hurt you so much you may never be able to recover your ranking. What these companies do is submit your link to any website out there. Often times the SEO company themselves owns the website and manages it as a large "link farm." Google knows about these sites and having your link on these sites will actually demote you. We've even had clients who've used these services have their site completely black listed because these link farms sometimes contain viruses and you can be blackend by sheer associate.
How it really works - it's like the real world
Please understand that SEO is not some get rich quick scam you can pull. Get rich quick schemes may have short term gains but they have a long term loss when people figure them out. If you started a business in a city and scammed people for their money, you might gain in the short term but you'd go out of business pretty quickly.
SEO is like the real world. To start a business in a comunity you have to work at it. You have to provide a quality product and service and generate word of mouth. On the web you have to have a quality website, you have to add to it regular with resources that are truly helpful, slowly you will become more well known and will start to get more inbound links coming to your website.
Again, Google's algorithms are based on human behavior. If we as a people have methods that help us to evaluate businesses and Google's main value proposition is to return quality recommendations to us, Google will try to be as human in it's evaluation as possible. What this means is that if there is any trick in the book to gain false or rapid rankings, Google is going to try and rule that out.
A real SEO can work with you to help you gain traction in your ranking but know that it will take time and consequently, will cost more than $100. Expecting the world and only paying $100 is like opening a store on a back street and being surprised that you're not flooded with customers the moment you first open your doors.
To read more about SEO, click the following link to be take to the SEO section on our blog: More SEO articles
written by Sandy @ SEO Service, May 22, 2012