This is an entry in our HALLoween Blog series. Each week leading up to Halloween 2010 we will treat you with internet marketing topics that have a fun and spooky flare.
Photo credit: therapycatguardian
We’ve all seen them. Those pesky emails that pop into our Inbox and read something like this:
“99% of our clients’ websites are ranked #1 on Google and we can do the same for you.”
“We would like to get your website on first page of Google. All of our processes use the most ethical ‘white hat’ Search Engine Optimization techniques that will not get your website banned or penalized. Please reply and I would be happy to send you a proposal.”
I know that all of you are pretty spam-savvy and understand that these unsolicited emails are just that: SPAM. Still, I thought it would be important to break down exactly why these emails are inaccurate and misleading.
The Red Flags
- No one can guarantee a #1 ranking on Google, or even guarantee a rank on the first page of Google. Google changed its algorithm at least once per day in 2009; even the best SEOs in the industry can’t predict what Google will change next and how it will impact rankings. Rankings fluctuate constantly, especially on very competitive terms. Google’s only promise is to deliver searchers with the most relevant results possible and there are no other guarantees. A #1 ranking today could be a #46 ranking tomorrow.
- Many of these companies that are promising top spots on Google are doing just that – but they are doing it with Google AdWords. Sneaky, huh? Anyone can be the #1 sponsored listing on Google if they have the cash to spend on desired keywords. PPC results are not the same as organic (natural) results that are based on Google’s algorithm. PPC is strictly pay-to-play and you have to keep paying to keep playing. Once the well is dry, you disappear from those sponsored listings forever.
- Does anyone else find it spooky that they don’t advertise which keywords they can get you on the 1st page of Google for? It’s likely that the companies will find some very obscure, non-competitive keywords that will take little effort to rank at the top. Unfortunately, it’s of little use to rank #1 for something that no one is really searching for.
Since it’s almost Halloween and I always like to give a little bit of extra candy to all my trick-or-treaters, I’m handing out the following no-nonsense tips treats about how to approach SEO:
Find the Best Keywords for Your Site
The right keywords for your website are those that are shown to be searched for and are relevant to your business, products, and services. These are not necessarily going to be words that you want to be found for or think you should be found for, or even words that you think are “cool”. These words are validated by doing research, checking the competitiveness, and narrowing your scope when applicable. As complicated as it can be, it’s also quite simple.
Give Site Visitors Something Worthwhile
It’s great that a search engine optimization strategy made you visible in Google and people are clicking on your site in search results, but is your site worthy of visitors? Does it have good content and information? Are you keeping your blog up-to-date? Are you giving something away as a “thanks” for visiting your website, such as a whitepaper or eBook? SEO is worthless if people don’t find your site valuable and leave it abruptly as if they saw a ghost.
Don’t Focus Only on Rankings
I know I’ve said this before, but it’s definitely worth saying again. Keyword rankings are not the sole indicator of a successful internet marketing campaign. If no one is engaging with you on your website, there is no one to start a business relationship with online. You have no chance of helping someone and converting them into a client. End of story. When people are coming to your website because of your solid SEO strategy, you need to have them do something like purchase a product, sign up for a webinar, download an eBook, contact you, etc. These are called goals. Without clearly defined goals for your website, you’re losing an opportunity to convert qualified visitors into leads.
Have you received one of these frightening emails filled with vague, false promises? Share your SEO horror story with me!
Read the rest of the HALLoween blog series