A client called me to ask about an offer he got from a company that specializes in search engine optimization (SEO) and wanted to ask if he should take the offer. He forwarded me the promises that the SEO company was making so I could see what they said they could do.
The sales pitch was extensive and filled with a plethora of buzz words like “long-tailed search” and “organic searches” and “content marketing”. I had to chuckle. I’ve been in the web development business nearly 20 years and even I had a hard time slogging through the jargon to figure out what the company was offering to do!
Bottom line: hold onto your wallet. If you don’t fully understand the terminology and what the company is going to do, don’t sign away your funds. Save your money and your sanity and make sure you know the basics before you hire a so-called “professional.” A very good article can be found here on Google that will help you understand more.
One client came to me after signing a contract and spending $1500 with an SEO company. They made a pressurized sales pitch over the phone and she bought it. They promised her “links from quality websites” which amounted to links on other sites the company had worked on (keeping it internally in their network), and the links were either not anywhere we could find them, or they were on sites that in no way would be considered quality. For example, she is a stand-up comedienne and writer. There were links to her site (listed on a page simply called “Links”) on a site for dog grooming in Ohio, tree trimmers in Ontario, and a blog site for a button collector in the Midwest. How would those be considered “quality links”? Those sites had nothing to do with her line of work. The other things they promised her were so nebulous there was practically no way you could verify that they had even been done.
A little Google search for the name of that SEO company revealed hundreds of complaints from unhappy clients and several lawsuits against them for fraud in various states. Due diligence can go a long way.
I’ve had clients who spent a fortune getting their websites marketed. Only a couple of them could point to ANY benefit from that expenditure.
Cover the basics. Make sure your site is able to be indexed, loads quickly, and has a steady stream of fresh, relevant content, and chances are your site will place well in the search engines. SEO is a tool to enhance your site’s placement so it can be found in the searches more quickly. It’s the icing on the cake, not the entire cake!