We frequently get inquiries about search engine optimization, or SEO as it’s casually come to be known.
Generally these requests fall into two categories: people who know what they need who simply do not have the time or desire to do it themselves, and people who have no idea what SEO is but definitely know they want it (usually because someone told them they needed it).
Unfortunately, even for those that have a basic grasp of what goes into optimizing a web presence for search engines, there are a lot of misconceptions not only in regards to what it requires to be done effectively but also exactly what it can provide.
To help dispel some of these myths and help you make informed decisions about the direction of your online marketing we’ve put together the following considerations as red flags when looking for search engine help:
You’ll be number one in NO TIME!
Sorry, it doesn’t work like that. Even if you have a ton of cash to throw at Google it won’t happen tomorrow – and even if it did it would be at a gross cost to your budget with very little focus towards your target audience; the more lasting organic placement takes time.
Guaranteed Page One Placement
First, anyone who guarantees placement on Google or any other search engine is generally lying. Algorithms are constantly changing; Google themselves have stated nothing is guaranteed and there are no special partnerships that alleviate that.
Furthermore, many companies will guarantee page one placement, and honestly provide it – for search terms no one is looking for. You see, it’s easy to rank well for keywords no one is competing for like “Purple Zebra Hacksaws”, but that does zero good for your “Boise Idaho Web Design” company.
Make sure when they say they can get you to that mystical nirvana-like place called “Page One” that it’s for things people are actually searching for!
Be wary of any SEO whose main strategy is “updating your meta-tags”. This is fine to do and is part of the foundation of good optimization practices, but it will not make or break your site visibility. In fact, almost all meta-tags are all but ignored in modern search engines (Title, and Description retaining importance only because their text is used in search results).
A proper organic strategy should include on-going updates of keyword and link rich content that is syndicated to social media in order to create a reciprocal flow of traffic, off site link building campaigns, and local audience engagement leveraged by social media.
Only Working On Site
While there is plenty to do on a website itself, these days good SEO comes in many shapes and sizes, and rarely is it something that is done exclusively ON your website.
Your site is the hub of the wheel, and all traffic should channel back in it’s direction; as such there is a lot of good optimizing that actually takes place on social media and on other platforms other than your site itself.
Adversely, be cautious of any SEO program that relies heavily on off-site techniques like link directories, banner ads, or ad retargeting in place of good on-site content.
SEO Services Like Magic – They Make Your Money DISAPPEAR!
Most of all just be smart. Talk to the people before you hire them – not the SALESMAN, talk to the tech that’s going to be doing the work and make sure they know what they will be doing. Most of all make sure YOU know what they will be doing.
There are any number of companies glad to lock you into a yearly contract at $300/month to do your “SEO” and then provide very little information, or results in regards to what it is you’re actually paying them to do.
In some cases merely running monthly reports will cover the cost of their services, but in other cases months go by with no actual services provided other than processing your credit card. Listing your site on a directory is a one time event, after the first few analysis reports optimizing your meta-tags is a infrequent task, so unless they are creating content or managing your pay per click ads you need to know what exactly it is you’re paying for.
We don’t say these things to discredit others. We don’t say these things to tell you how much you should use our SEO services (god, we’re already swamped!).
We say these things because this industry is RIFE with shysters and snake oil salesmen more than glad to take money from the unaware businessperson without conscience and return nothing for the indignity other than souring that person to receive help in the future from someone who might actually be able to provide it.
Stay woke faithful readers, be wary, but be bold. We’d be honored to help you realize your vision for success – get in touch when the time is right.