I’ve been doing a lot of reading up on Search Engine Optimization (SEO) over the last couple of months. I find it an interesting field with lucrative potential. Naturally, I find myself being aligned with the Lighter side of The Force, thus more interested in the ‘ethical’ search engine practices.
The reason behind all of this is that I had a web design client who got tangled up with a shady SEO firm and spent a lot of money for services that could be summed up as ‘Spam’.
Just read this to save yourself a lot of money and headaches:
From “Beginner’s Guide to SEO“:
If you choose to outsource to an SEO firm, be well aware of the many pitfalls that await the uninformed. SEO has classically been an industry that has attracted many untrustworthy and dishonorable firms, resulting in an unfortunate perception from many. Pay particular attention to the following:
- Manipulation & Search Spam – Overly aggressive tactics can get you banned from search engines.
- Link Exchanges & Free-for-All Links Ã¢â‚¬â€œ While the promise of easy link building through link exchanges or link farms is tempting, these tactics often achieve subpar results. Natural, organic inbound links from sites that your competitors canÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t get links from are the best way to rank well in the long term.
- Optimizing Pages for Search Engines vs. Visitors Ã¢â‚¬â€œ Professional SEOs should have specialist copywriters who can craft well-written pages that attract both users and search engines. Repetitive keyword use (as noted above) is largely useless, but compelling, intelligent dialogue is a great way to get both searchers and engines interested in your content.
- Guaranteed Rankings Ã¢â‚¬â€œ Guaranteeing rankings is often one of the first indications that youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re dealing with a less-than-reputable firm. No SEO can guarantee rankings, because the search engines are responsible for the results and are constantly changing. Be wary, too, of promised success at Ã¢â‚¬Å“thousands of enginesÃ¢â‚¬Â (remember that the top 4 account for 95%+ of all search traffic), daily submission (completely unnecessary) and other Ã¢â‚¬Å“tricksÃ¢â‚¬Â or Ã¢â‚¬Å“secretsÃ¢â‚¬Â. Great rankings come from having great sites with quality links Ã¢â‚¬â€œ no tricks or secrets required.
- Investigate Ã¢â‚¬â€œ The firm you work with should be able to provide references, preferably from both customers and industry folks that will let you know their skill and ability. Use your best judgment here Ã¢â‚¬â€œ if a review or response seems canned or fishy, it probably is.