Unveiling the Bogus Claims of Bad SEO Firms
The timeless battle between good and evil exists even in the world of SEO. There is an accepted and appropriate way to get your Web site to the top of search engine results pages and there is an unaccepted and inappropriate way to get your site above the rest.
While it may seem harmless to use techniques that are frowned upon by search engines, it is important to know that individual Web sites may be severely penalized for trying to scam their way to the top. Therefore, it is crucial to understand what is considered legitimate SEO (white hat) and what is considered scam SEO (black hat). You need to be aware of black hat SEO tactics as your site will reap the repercussions of the SEO strategies used whether you are aware of their appropriateness or not.
With many companies competing to provide you with services that will “put your site at the top of the search engines” (which SEO can do for your firm), it is important to know what distinguishes good SEO from bad SEO. When searching for a firm to help optimize your Web site for potential customers, there are several misleading claims you need to be aware of.
Claim #1: We will make your site #1 in the top search engines!
This claim is misleading as a #1 ranking with the search engines is assumed to be the goal of SEO. Well, the SEO firm may be able to get your site to the top, but it may be for obscure search terms that do not generate targeted traffic to your site or offer you the competitive edge you need in a highly demanding market. This does not achieve a strong return on your investment if your site is getting viewed by a lot of people who are not looking for your services or products.
Another way black hat SEO firms may get your site listed at the top of search engines results pages is by utilizing unethical SEO tactics. Such tactics include, but are not limited to:
- Keyword stuffing: repeating targeted keywords over and over and providing no relevant content for people once they come to your site.
- Invisible text: placing researched keywords on a Web site using a font that is the same color as the background on the page. This makes the hidden text available to the search engines as they crawl through sites, but is invisible to human browsers.
- Doorway pages: developing pages that rank high for certain keyword searches but are designed to take users to a different site that has nothing to do with keywords they are searching for.
Again, these practices generate traffic to your site, but not necessarily the targeted traffic you need for a successful Internet marketing campaign.
A good SEO firm will help design Web sites that communicate clearly and effectively with the search engines regarding what a Web site is about. If your site is easily indexed and navigated by the search engines, it will be easily accessed and navigated by potential clients. This helps produce highly relevant results for users of search engines and generates a high return on your investment.
Claim #2: Get results by next week!
Black hat SEO thrives on trying to manipulate search engines by exploiting vulnerable aspects of search engine algorithms—that is, the formula search engines use to calculate and categorize Web sites for key word searches. While search engine algorithms do have weaknesses that can be taken advantage of, the fast results produced by black hat SEO firms is not lasting. Search engines eventually catch on to unethical practices and penalize Web sites for their underhanded tactics.
When done correctly, SEO takes time. It takes time to build credibility with the search engines. It takes time to research keywords that target the clients you want to find. It takes time to engineer a site that ranks well with the search engines and provides your potential clients with a positive experience. Remember, your Web site may be the first encounter a potential client has with your company. Make a lasting first impression with the search engines and your potential clients by practicing ethical SEO strategies.
Claim #3: We will submit your Web site to thousands of search engines!
While this may not be a false claim, it again plays on the misperception that the purpose of SEO is to get your Web site the most exposure possible. By submitting your site to more search engines, your firm will get more exposure, right? Yes…and No. Remember, effective SEO uses statistically driven research to produce maximum exposure to your targeted audience. You do not secure a solid return on your investment if your Web site is seen by thousands of people who are not interested in and will never use your services or products. In addition, some of these search engines are so small and used by such an insignificant number of people that you are really not increasing your exposure by submitting your Web site to every search engine that has ever existed.
Also, it is important to understand that there are about three search engines that the majority of Internet users utilize: Google, Yahoo and MSN. These are the places where a significant part of the population go to look for information, services and products on the Web. While it may be beneficial to submit your Web site to several search engines in addition to the big three, submitting your site to thousands of search engines will not produce a strong return on your investment. It is not unethical to submit your Web site to so many search engines, just a waste of time and resources.
While black hat SEO will get you results, it is successful only in the short term. Black hat SEO will not provide you with lasting results and may get you permanently banned from being indexed by the search engines at all. This can be a tremendous setback to any Internet marketing campaign as your Web site will become one of millions, accessible only to those who already know it exists.
If an SEO firm promises any of these results to you run far, far away. Remember, SEO is not magic. It is based largely on statistical analysis and strategic planning. When done ethically, SEO can provide a positive experience for search engine users and generate more targeted traffic to your site. Ethical SEO can provide you with a lasting, secure and significant presence on the Web. Unethical SEO can only offer you fleeting success.
At SonicSEO.com, our SEO professionals adhere to the highest of ethical standards to ensure that your site maintains a significant presence on the Web. Optimize your Web site for maximum exposure to your target audience by calling us today at 888-437-3737.