Search engine optimization for small and very small businesses.

Archive for the SEO companies Category

Avoid SEO Smoke & Mirrors

Snake-oil SEO salesmenSometimes I feel like the SEO business is attracting a lot of snake oil salesmen. For some time now, we’ve been advising prospective clients to consider carefully their selection of an SEO consultant. Three postings in this blog provide sound guidance:

Darren Johner had an article recently in Website Magazine on the subject and he offered three specific pieces of advice.

Beware #1 guarantees
When someone guarantees a #1 ranking, ask them what keywords they will be targeting. They may be able to get you a #1 ranking for an obscure search term, but since no one is typing that into a search engine it won’t bring you any traffic and therefore has little to no value.Keep your expectations realistic
Understand that exhausting your resources trying to rise to the top for a common search term may not be your best option. It’s often better to target less common search terms for which you can realistically rank well, and will therefore bring in traffic. Educate yourself on what can realistically be accomplished and set your goals accordingly.

Understand there is no magic formula to SEO
Optimizing a website is a long, slow process, sometimes taking months to show results and with no guarantees. SEO isn’t about a single specific method of ranking well in the search engines. It’s a methodology involving a large number of interrelated pieces — keyword research, competitive analysis, content development and copywriting, link building and more.

Be involved in all steps of the process
Even if you outsource your SEO services you will still need to be fully involved in the process. Some of the steps, such as developing  content or rewriting Web copy may be left to the site owner to complete. Building up quality incoming links is a process that can take years. Regular monitoring of your rankings is another ongoing requirement. In other words, don’t expect to write a check and forget about it.

10 Questions Before Hiring an SEO Consultant

Don’t outsource your search engine optimization without asking these 10 questions.

10 questions to ask a potential SEO consultant before hiring them.1. What Ranking guarantees do you provide?
If the answer is anything other than “none”, look elsewhere.

2. Are you going to make changes to my website?
Changes are essential, but you should retain control over your own site.

3. What is your approach to linking?
Be careful if the SEO consultant uses proprietary link programs and free-for-all link exchanges. Make sure you get frequent updates as well as competitive link research and analysis.

4. What reporting will I receive?
You should receive frequent reports on activity on your behalf and results achieved.

5. What does your pricing model include?
The firm should provide a clear description of deliverables and pricing up front.

6. Why is your own PageRank (or MozRank) so low?
(If it really is low, like 0-3). There may be valid reasons for that, but it helps to ask.

7. Who are some of your competitors?
If the firm isn’t a good fit for you, can they recommend someone else?

8. What are your qualifications?
Learning about the staff and their qualifications can reveal a lot.

9. Can you provide references and successful rankings?
Testimonials from clients are a great way to find out about your SEO consultant.

10. How much will the traffic results cost and when can I expect to see them?
Price alone can’t determine quality SEO work, but you need to know what to expect.

Read more in the full article.

If you’d like an example of proper answers to all these questions, call us.

Will My Search Rankings Drop If I Don’t Pay Monthly For SEO?

Jill Whalen of High Rankings® is an internationally recognized search engine optimization consultant and host of the free weekly High Rankings® Advisor search engine marketing newsletter.

In her recent newsletter, she dealt with a question that some of our clients have asked us. I really like her response!

Question: There is a small business in town that is paying $200 a month to have another company make sure it stays at the top of the ranking lists in search engines. Now if there is no new competition, except maybe a new office every few years, is it necessary to pay them, or could they do it themselves with the guidance you offer on your website?

Answer: There’s definitely no reason for the business to keep paying that money. Unless the SEO company has done something shady, once you’ve got good rankings and have done things right, you won’t suddenly lose them if you stop paying your SEO company. It’s really one of the biggest scams in the SEO industry.

This is not to say that someone shouldn’t continue to make the website better, and also continue to get the word out about it; however, from your email, it doesn’t sound like that is what’s happening.

Much as we at Rank Magic might like a reason to charge our clients a monthly fee in perpetuity, there’s really no justification for that. We always tell our clients that good rankings achieved properly will be persistent for months and years without any need to pay for monthly SEO work.

Top Rankings In Google Guaranteed! Really? Nope.

According to Scott Goodyear at, SEO has a reputation problem. While every web site wants to have a top ranking (or 20) in Google, web site owners can get burned by search engine marketers who over promise and under deliver. Because of this and other issues, some view SEOs as “sharks circling the unwary”; not unlike used car sales people and ambulance chasing lawyers. Scott summarizes his attendance of the “The SEO Reputation Problem” session at The Search Engine Strategies Conference in San Jose and offers a few thoughts on the issue.

Should You Hire A Search Engine Consultant?

SEO Consultant article in Forbes Magazine.As a small-business owner with a Web site, you know that one of the most important things you can do is get your site ranked high on a search-results page at Google, MSN/Live and Yahoo. But how to achieve that high ranking?

You’ve learned all about keywords, link building and unique page titles. The question is, how do you do it? And should you go it alone or call in the hired guns?

“The right answer is somewhere in between,” says Gord Hotchkiss, CEO and president of Enquiro, a search marketing agency, and the chairman of SEMPO, a nonprofit organization serving the search-engine marketing industry. “It needs to be a partnership,” he says. “You don’t want to lose control.”

First, beware guarantees. “If it sounds too good to be true, it is,” says Hotchkiss. “We would all love to have guarantees, but no one has that influence over what Google shows as No. 1. A guarantee is a red flag.” Over-promises can lead to “black hat” practices–like keyword stuffing and link farming–which can get a site banned from search engines. Once that happens, it’s very hard to get back in Google’s good graces.

Naomi Grossman’s article in Forbes explains the pros and cons of doing your own SEO and of working with an SEO consultant. Read the article here.