Search Engine Optimization (SEO): Buyer Beware!

Search Engine Optimization (SEO): Buyer Beware!

Search Engine Optimization (SEO): know before you buy! We see a lot of pre-packaged, so-called “standardized” online marketing packages for SEO as well as “quick fix” SEO solutions. They should be avoided at all costs. Not only can these waste time and money — it can actually hurt your website in the long run.

If you are thinking about working with an SEO company, they should be transparent, have a clear track record, offer customized planning and pricing and long-term planning.

Here are some services to avoid and why…

1. Pre-packaged or bundled SEO solutions. Pre-packaged SEO is not a viable solution to grow your business in this day and age. In the late ’90s and early part of the millennium, it was possible to “blast” links pointing your website to hundreds or even thousands of websites and see long-lasting results. Some SEO agencies will still offer this practice as part of their pre-packaged solutions, but be weary of the problems that can come from it:

  • Leads aren’t qualified: Not all website traffic is the same. Pre-packaged SEO eliminates the all-important experimentation aspect that separates the professionals from the rookies. It is critical for an SEO agency to outline and continuously tweak the online-marketing strategy to increase website visitors into sales.
  • Temporary results: If links to your website are also being blasted to other websites, you may see results — but these are only temporary. After a while, Google’s algorithm will catch on to your website’s “unnatural link building” and penalize your website search-engine rankings back to ground zero.
  • Blacklisted website: If you are part of a long-term pre-packaged SEO solution, there’s a great chance that Google will blacklist your website so that it doesn’t even show up in search when people type in related keyword.

2. Manual submission services. Submission services are geared toward publishing your website out to search engines, directories, article networks and the like. With the intertwining of SEO and social-media signals (Facebook likes/shares, Tweets, etc.), it is critical that your SEO service provides sound business and market strategies, high-quality content and attract links from other people — as opposed to link-spamming practices. Adding a blog and building authority is a good option. Think strategically about this, do the research and add the tactics into a plan.

3. Guaranteed first-page rankings. When it comes to guaranteed rankings, it is typically a scam. Why? Even if they can guarantee the results to your company, what happens when a competitor wants the same keyword? Who receives priority? Does it turn into a bidding war? What if you lose the bid? Will the SEO company delete your links after their program is over? Guaranteed rankings are not something that should ever be promised. The best way to achieve first-page rankings is to do a technical audit on your site, which your SEO provider can perform for you. From there, getting on page one is also dependent on your industry and your competitors, and your budget.

4. Insider knowledge claims. There are many companies who claim to know someone at Google or to have insider information about the formula. Many employees at Google do not know all the exact details of the algorithm, so it would be impossible for someone on the outside to know. The only insider knowledge for a great SEO professional is based on ongoing experimentation and keeping current with Google changes and updates.

5. Paid advertising sales. The sales pitch sounds amazing. You sign up and tell your friends about the incredible offer, “first-page rankings in hours,” only to quickly learn that they were not offering SEO services, but rather paid advertising services. They claim that it affects organic rankings (it does not). And, most folks know the difference between paid advertising and organic search results when performing a search.

6. Too much focus on “technical SEO.” Services from questionable companies often include the importance of technical aspects of SEO. These companies will offer to have your meta tags fixed, add H1 tags and update your sitemap. They claim that just by fixing all the technical issues you’ll get quick rankings and traffic. While these technical tasks are part of it, an experienced SEO firm will outline issues and plans for both technical and strategic reasons. A real partner for search-engine results must include customized, strategic plans that work for your business and market.

They should work closely with you to understand your business, sales, conversion strategies, content strategies, website tracking and page effectiveness, PR, marketing and overall growth plans.
Good firms become an essential partner in not only providing guidance, but planning, executing and reporting with your team. This covers all the technical details as well as working to reach your online company objectives.

When you’re ready to enter a new working relationship, be sure to understand that achieving first-page rankings with long-term results will take time. If anyone tells you differently, they are not a professional SEO provider. Your new SEO partner will need your help along the way and this will require you to provide information and feedback. The responsibility for success lies largely with you.

How do you find a good SEO company?

Prior to doing business with any SEO agency, ask if they have provided SEO solutions in your market, but most importantly, if they have examples or references they can give you. They should be happy to provide them, along with a process for how to reach your specific goals under specific timelines.

Need more information? Let WBN Marketing help you find the best SEO solution! Call 239-592-0060 or email us now.