SEO: The Real Deal vs. The Raw Deal

This is a Public Service Announcement: Be careful when selecting a SEO firm for your website and / or company. SEO has become such a major force in internet marketing that naturally the frauds and those out to make a buck have emerged. Unfortunately, they are giving the reputable SEO companies a big black eye and damaging the industry as a whole. I don’t want you to be fooled by these wannabe optimizers, so I am going to show you the difference between real SEO practices and shady SEO practices. I want you to have this information so that you won’t be scammed when you get ready to start your SEO campaign.

Beware the Miracle Worker

When an SEO company or individual tells you they can guarantee you a nearly instantaneous front page ranking on Google, run for the hills. Anyone worth his salt will tell you that it is nearly impossible, and at the very least unwise, to guarantee any kind of specific results for SEO. There are just too many variables involved. Even if the trickster is able to get you on that first page for the keyword you want, it won’t last long. His unethical practices will be discovered by the search engines, and the result could be disastrous for your site when it disappears from the rankings altogether. Legitimate SEOs will tell you that they believe they can increase the traffic to your site, and move you up the search engine rankings, but that it will take time, and results are not guaranteed.

How the Bad Guys Do It

For the record, let’s just call this shady SEO. It also been referred to as black hat, and just plain wrong. These are some of the techniques they will use to get you those (false) search engine rankings.

  • Invisible text and links – This is where they will embed keywords and links into your website using a color of text that matches the background color of your website. Impossible for visitors to see, but easy for search engine crawlers to see and index. Getting caught equals removal from the search engine rankings altogether.
  • Backlinks from nowhere – Hundreds or thousands of backlinks they will promise you. What they don’t tell you is that these links are from sites with little to no relevance to your own. Worse than that, they may be from link farms specifically designed to provide these worthless backlinks. Backlinks with no relevance to your site will actually decrease the relevance of your site to the search engines.
  • Command and Control – Illegitimate SEO companies will take complete control of your campaign from the beginning and leave you in the dark till the end. They will choose your keywords, not keep you up to speed on how your campaign is progressing, and flat-out lie about the results you aren’t getting. If they do communicate with you, it will usually involve a lot of technical jargon and mumbo jumbo to keep you out of the loop. They will always tell you how hard they are working for you however.

How the Good Guys Do It (White Hat SEO)

  • Working with you, not without you – Legit companies will bring you in on the ground floor of your campaign. You will be involved in choosing the right keywords for your site, and choosing the strategy. You will always be updated as to the progress of your campaign and be provided with detailed reports of what has been changed, what the results were, and what you can expect in the future.
  • Slow and steady wins the race – Real SEO companies will make sure you understand that seeing results from the optimization of your website is a process, and will take time. They will constantly change the strategy and modify tactics as necessary to keep your campaign moving forward. They will choose your most relevant keywords and begin to structure the pages of your site around them. They will find sites on the web that are relevant to your industry, and search for ways to obtain backlinks from them. They won’t take shortcuts, and they will produce results that last.

Clearly, mounting a SEO campaign is a calculated risk. If you choose the right company for your needs, the reward can be great. I hope I have given you some food for thought, and that you will be wise when you choose who to entrust your website and business to.

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