I have a confession to make: I’ve never paid for Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and as things stand today I probably never will. Chances are neither should you.
My opinion will probably upset a lot of folks and, in particular, SEO providers and businesses.
A lot of people make a lot of money out of SEO, and some people swear by having a professional look after it.
The thing is, the definition of SEO is pretty flexible, and some of what your SEO provider does may be very bad, some of it may be very sensible and correct.
Recently a friend asked me if I could remove a “Google ban” from his business website. He told me Google had blacklisted his website because of something his SEO provider had done. He’d dropped off the search results despite paying lots of money to be ranked at the top.
Sadly only Google and time can fix the problem his SEO provider has caused.
You see, Google spends a lot of time tweaking their search engine to be accurate – that is, to deliver pertinent results to the search request you have made.
Old-school (bad) SEO was about tricking Google into thinking your website is more relevant that someone else’s.
When Google finds out that a result is not really pertinent they change their algorithm and the offending website no longer pops up in the results list.
Believe it or not Google is trying to make its search results as honest as possible. The company’s business and future depends on it. It is that simple (Google’s algorithm, on the other hand is very complex, highly secret and quite dynamic).
Want more articles like this? Check out the SEO techniques section.
A lot of SEO provider sales pitches are about “guaranteeing” that you’ll show up at the top of Google searches. To me this is just a lie for two main reasons:
1) No one can guarantee what someone will search for but they can trick you by showing a search that puts you at the top of results.
2) These people aren’t in control of what results Google (or any other search provider) deliver.
This means that now and into the future your website will need to be honest and consistent. It will need to present information in a genuine and humanly readable and understandable way.
This doesn’t mean that there aren’t things you can do to make your website more Google friendly.
A simple example I use to explain what I mean is the use of photos and images on a website. Most people name their files/photos poorly. More often than not a photo will be left with the name the camera gave it like DSC0236.jpg. Can you tell me what a photo of that is? Neither can Google. If, on the other hand, I called the image “David Moores calico cat eats a mouse.jpg” then everyone knows what is going on.
Of course there’s lots more going on under the hood of your website where more information and legitimate clarification can go on to make it much, much more Google friendly.
THIS is the stuff that any good SEO provider will help you with in the future (if that isn’t what you are getting already) and it should not cost you a fortune on an ongoing basis. It should be pretty much a once-only service.
These days many CMS websites will help you do SEO on your own. They’ll prompt you to add the things that will help your results.
Of course, if you still want to boost your results, in my opinion you are better off paying for a Google or Facebook ad than you are an ongoing SEO “strategy”.
In the end, if you are honest, people will find you.
Have you had success (or the opposite) with using professional SEO services?
Are you suffering from Search Engine Overwhelm (SEO)? If so, read this article.