SEO (search engine optimisation) can be a scary thing, mostly because it’s a huge unknown. It’s not just an unknown for business owners though. There are a lot of elements to how Google ranks your site that even the professionals don’t fully understand. A lot of the time it comes down to trial and error. What you don’t want is someone working on your site that tends towards the error more, that may potentially do long term damage to your site’s search engine reputation.
The following are some of the lies that some SEO companies tell you in order to get your business.
I can guarantee you rankings
Nobody can guarantee something that is out of their control. If Google started offering SEO services they could claim it, but everyone else is playing the numbers game and hoping they hit more than they miss. If they are honest it should be ‘we will make all endeavours to get your site to rank’. But that doesn’t sound as good on a brochure.
Some companies structure their packages to only pay once they achieve a certain rank for you. This sounds like a guarantee right? Let me tell you, the goals will be as low as they can possibly get you to agree to and once they achieve them they will have you locked into a contract, paying month after month for very little work done beyond that point.
Taken from Google’s guidelines
No one can guarantee a #1 ranking on Google.
Beware of SEOs that claim to guarantee rankings, allege a “special relationship” with Google, or advertise a “priority submit” to Google. There is no priority submit for Google. In fact, the only way to submit a site to Google directly is through our Add URL page or by submitting a Sitemap and you can do this yourself at no cost whatsoever.
There just aren’t any guarantees (that are worth it). Be warned.
We will get you lots of links, that’s all you need
Getting lots of links to your website is a crucial part of demonstrating the influence of your website to Google. You must focus on quality over quantity. If someone offers to get you thousands of links to your site without you having to a lift a finger, your alarm bells should be ringing.
Mass bought links tend to come from offshore freelancers or freelance websites at a seemingly too good price. They are generally links that hold no value what so ever in the eyes of Google, and in some cases will actually cause Google to penalise your site for attempting such a deceptive tactic.
Lots of links can be achieved, but you would typically need a very viral piece of content that actually attracts genuine interest in your site. Or perhaps you offer a valuable resource on your site that over time attracts many links from relevant websites. This is a true link building strategy.
We do everything by the book
Google sets out its guidelines for how to optimise your site. However Google doesn’t care about the SEO companies. They care about two things. Their search users and their paid advertising product Adwords. It is for that reason a good SEO will look at tactics outside of the guidelines. I’m not talking about breaking the rules with dodgy tricks, but there is a lot of research available on how to influence rankings that Google doesn’t publish themselves.
By the book is a good start, but there is a lot more you can do.
SEO is the only marketing you need
SEO might get traffic to your site, but then what? Was the traffic actually interested in your product? When they got to your site did you provide what they needed? Were they ready to purchase then and there or did you need to execute some kind of follow up marketing?
SEO is only a piece of the digital marketing puzzle. It probably has the most potential to bring your business gains long term, but unless it’s rounded out with a wider strategy you may be wasting marketing dollars.
We know the algorithm
I’ve heard this so many times it’s no longer funny. Nobody except Google knows their closest guarded secret, the algorithm. For everyone else we can only analyse and speculate.
There’s a great site for monitoring shifts in rankings called Algaroo which actually shows that Google is constantly updating its algorithm. There are some obvious major change points, but for most of the time it’s up and down like a yoyo.
Don’t get sucked in
It can be like buying a used car when searching for an SEO company. Lots of promises, lots of lies. For the average business owner it’s going to be tricky to filter the shoddy ones out, but with some of these points I’ve discussed up your sleeve you might be in a better position to ask some hard questions.