SEO is a huge, booming industry that at the same time lacks a substantial amount of standardization. Let me use an analogy here to help you understand what I’m getting at.
If you go to hire a carpenter to remodel the interior of your home, you can check to see if he’s licensed, right? You could also ask him for some pictures of his work, what professional associations or organizations he belongs to and how many years of experience he has. If he’s own a business, you could check the BBB rating and look up reviews online. By the time you check all of the facts about this carpenter, and maybe a couple others, the right one to work with becomes clear.
Not so with SEO! There are really no respected “SEO” licenses or certifications used broadly across the industry. Also, because SEO is so technical and dynamic, you really can’t physically examine the results of a company’s work. Not to mention, there are so many other variables per website that come in to play (budget, platform issues, corporate restrictions, etc) that it makes it nearly impossible to compare one SEO’s work against another.
When you talk with different companies, you could hear wildly different opinions on what tactics you should implement to improve your web visibility. Some make these claims just to make the sale, while others are simply mistaken or outdated in their approach.
What’s worse is that you never know what’s going to happen until you actually try it… which could cost you large amounts of time and money… and create a HUGE mess!
In an effort to help you avoid hiring a “bogus SEO” I have prepared a short list:
4 Claims and Tactics SEO Companies Use that You Should Avoid
While different companies will suggest various strategies and tactics, there are some claims and tactics they recommend which you should avoid focusing on at all costs. Here are some of those:
1) Focusing on organic rankings as your final results – Increased search engine rankings are always a good thing, but how valuable are they really? If your SEO company helps you rank for many terms, but you receive few customers from those efforts, is it worth it to pay that company’s fee for those rankings? The real goal any SEO company should help you achieve is a great ROI on the dollars you spend with them.
*Don’t forget about our previous post: Why Tracking Your Organic Search Rankings Will Drive You Insane
2) Emphasizing keywords, not user experience – Your site does need to target certain keywords that have a high likelihood of converting. However, if keywords appear too often (“spamming”), that detracts from the message you attempt to convey to the visitors of your site. Within the content of your website, you should focus on the value you offer your visitors and how you can help them solve the problems they have. The keywords should appear too, but only where they seem most natural.
*Remember: The user should ALWAYS come first, SEO is second.
3) 1000’s of links, forum posts, and blog comments – Some companies promise to give you an outrageous amount of these types of links. At first glance, this seems good because your instinct is to think “more is better.” However, the algorithms have changed… a LOT. Several years ago, Google liked large quantities of links, but now Google focuses on quality. Links are still extremely important for increasing your search rankings, but now it’s more important they come from quality websites topically related to yours. A small quantity of quality links will help your site more than a large quantity of poor quality links. In fact, a large quantity of links like this can actually get your website penalized.
*Marketing Tip: If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.
4) Large quantities of on-site content – Some SEO’s claim the more pages you have on your website, the better. Others recommend certain word lengths on each page, because they believe 1000-word articles outrank 500-word articles. In reality, content is viewed similarly to links by Google: quality trumps quantity every time. If you want to, think of it this way: a quantity of quality content works best.
*Reminder: Content is still King, but it has to be the RIGHT content: 1 Gigantic, Huge, Monstrous Reason Why Quality Content is Necessary for your Website
Proceed with Caution Before Working with Any SEO Company
Because SEO lacks so much standardization, you’ll hear many ridiculous claims from the companies you approach, and these are just a small sampling of such claims. If you start hearing your SEO company talk about using these tactics, you might want to consider moving on. Your search engine rankings, and your bottom line, will thank you for it.
Shameless Plug for Eminent SEO
We have had the opportunity to work with thousands of websites over the years. As the algorithm updates have dictated updated strategies, Eminent SEO has quickly adjusted to accommodate. Because we have access to thousands of website back-ends and analytical data we can generally anticipate a change and update our strategies before the general public makes sense of what is happening with just one site…
In other words: Our strategies are lasting, yet dynamic and built to grown with the algorithm changes.
Call us if you want to talk more on SEO. We love this stuff. (800) 871.4130