I have recently been receiving tons of emails concerning Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Before I write much further, let me be very clear that I believe SEO is very important to a website, however… There are some fallacies about SEO that need to be addressed that you must consider. As well as some questions you need to ask.
When someone says, “My site is optimized” what does that mean?
I am amazed how easy it is for people to say that their site is “optimized” and expect people to know what that means. When you say you are “optimized” you are “optimized” for what, a word, a phrase, two words, two phrases, three, four, are they all on the front page of the search engines? I hope you are doing better than just a few terms.
High ranking can be a dangerous thing, be careful before you start putting yourself out there.
One of the biggest mistakes made in the SEO game is that people get their websites high up in the search engines for specific terms or phrases however their websites are actually not ready for “prime time”. For instance, have you ever done a web search and selected the first organic listed inquiry only to find that the website did not have the real information you wanted? Was it frustrating? Did you go back to see if they eventually would have the information you wanted? Probably not. You need to make sure that you know that you are really providing the information your consumer is looking for in the way they are looking for it. If you have not spent time doing this you may be doing more damage than you know.
Make sure your SEO Company is not trying to “trick” the search engines but is playing by all the rules.
I have seen so many SEO companies make claims that they get people to the top of the search engines. (Whatever that really means) However, there methods of doing so are that they believe or they may have found a loop hole that for a period of time works. The danger in this is that once the search engines catch on to these loop holes they start penalizing you for using these methods. Although you may be completely innocent from your stand point, the SEO company that you used has made you guilty. Occasionally, this can cause you to be so penalized you get dropped from organic search. Make sure whatever company you use is always above board. If you don’t know, then consult other companies to discuss these methods. If you are not sure who to trust, I would highly recommend consulting with Brad Carroll at www.dakno.com. He is probably one of the best above board, knowledgeable people I know. His advice to my clients and me has been invaluable.
When an SEO Company guarantees results, make them be specific about the guarantee.
I have received a myriad of emails recently with companies guaranteeing their results for front page positioning. Let me be very clear on this issue. There is NO ONE who can guarantee anything with regard to organic positioning on search engines. Search engines DO NOT, I repeat DO NOT tell companies the secret algorithms that effect how they pick and choose where a website will be on the search engines. If you choose to go with a company that makes this claim, (and I hope you won’t), then make sure you get their guarantee in writing. Furthermore, insist that for every day your website is not on the front page you expect a financial return. I find that the best companies will not give these guarantees because they know their limitations. Good SEO companies should be able to improve your ranking for specific terms, but only so far.
When you choose an SEO Company get a “non-compete clause” in your contract
I know that SEO Companies are in the business to make money, but so are you. How is possible for an SEO Company to guarantee results for your website if they are working with your competition? They can’t. It’s just not possible. You need to make sure that whoever you use is willing to give you a “non-compete” with your competitors. You may have to spend more money for this type of a clause, but as someone who has one, it is well worth the peace of mind knowing that my SEO Company is not promising results to the local companies that I am competing against for the same business.
Search engine rank does not necessarily translate into more business.
I saved the biggest issue for the last. There are two philosophies. One is the “law of numbers” philosophy. It says that if I drive enough people to a website the eventually some of those people will do business with my company. The other philosophy is what I refer to as the “Interactive Trust Connection” philosophy. It says that if my website is providing information that the consumer is really looking for, in an easy way, where they want to interact with the website, they will also interact with me, and hence want to make a connection with me. I am a subscriber to the latter philosophy. I have seen many websites have great numbers as far as people go because they have great search ranking. However, they do very little business, because they do not have a website that really engages the consumer to interact with the website or them. On the other hand, I have seen websites with just okay search engine ranking for several words and phrases, but do tremendous business because when a consumer comes to their website, they can find everything they want, and when they don’t, they feel comfortable contacting the owner to provide the information because clearly an effort has been made by the owner to try to give the consumer what they want. In essence the website has built trust with the consumer. Search Engine Optimization Companies can increase your traffic, but they cannot guarantee an increase in business they just hope you do. Please, please always build your website from the consumer perspective, not your own. You must think like your consumer, not think that you know what the consumer wants, but in fact what the consumer really wants from their perspective. It won’t be easy but you will find you will attract a better, more qualified consumer, they will feel like they win, and so will you and that really is the best for both parties.
…and that’s another prescription for your internet health and your internet wealth!