Search Engine Optimization is an incredibly important part of running a successful website. The field of SEO is one that changes rapidly, and because of this it can be incredibly confusing for beginners. There are a lot of scammers operating in the search engine optimization world, and if you are not an expert webmaster it can be hard to tell the good guys from the scammers and black-hat SEOs. Here are a few tips to help you avoid the most common rip-off merchants.
Find Your Own SEO Company
Do not, under any circumstances, use an SEO firm that contacts you out of the blue. It doesn’t matter whether they email you or send you a letter in the post, you should not use them. Blanket advertisements are not a hallmark of a good SEO company. After all, if an SEO company were any good, they would rank well in the search results themselves, and have plenty of customers coming their way through Google, wouldn’t they? Spam emails, and letters sent to companies whose addresses they have pulled from domain name registration databases, are marks of a company that is desperate for customers.
Be Wary of Ranking Guarantees
Another thing that no reputable SEO firm will do is promise to get you a specific ranking in a given time frame. If a company promises to get you on the front page for “XYZ keyword” within a certain time, they are making promises that they might not be able to keep. There is absolutely no way to guarantee that you will make it on the front page. Well, no way other than to buy your way into the paid search results, but those results don’t count. Organic search results are fluid. Google’s ranking algorithm is a mystery to everyone other than Google themselves. SEO pros have reverse engineered most of the algorithm, and know enough to understand what Google likes and what they don’t like, but you are competing against other webmasters, and you have no way of knowing what SEO work those webmasters are doing.
A good SEO firm will promise to improve your rankings, and they will try to get you to the front page, but they can only try. Don’t ask your SEO company to guarantee a specific ranking, and don’t trust a company that makes that promise without prompting. Be realistic in your expectations.
Don’t use Black Hat Techniques
Black hat techniques, such as buying links, using automated link building tools, or using networks of blogs set up only for link building, are incredibly dangerous forms of SEO. Google is committed to cleaning up the quality of their search results, and they are clamping down on black hat techniques quite pro-actively. You may get away with some of those techniques today, but when Google catches them your rankings will suffer.
A good SEO firm will help you get sustainable results. SEO is not a one-off effort, and you will need to continue link building and improving your site design. Be consistent and create good content, and the results will come.
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