Get started with SEO
Many people these days in the digital space is an SEO (or search engine optimisation) expert.
Firstly for those who don’t know what search engine optimisation is, it is simply (or not so simply) optimising your website for readers as well as search engines. The art in doing this is writing content for your site without making it obvious to the reader that you are trying to influence search engines to favour your site in the search results page. Search engine optimisation is relevant for Yahoo, Live search (Microsoft’s search engine), Google and other smaller search engines. Google gets the lions share of search and would be the best starting place for your SEO education.
Recently I received a few unsolicited emails from a woman who claimed to be able to get our client’s website onto the first page of Google’s search engine results page (SERP).
I immediately jumped onto Google and tried multiple versions of this company’s name, I even Googled “SEO’ and “search engine optimisation”. Nothing relating to her business appeared. I answered her back asking her how good could her work could be if she doesn’t even rank in the first five pages on Google’s search results. (This is a simple and crude yet effective test) . She ignored this comment and continued in her reply email to sell to me the benefits of using her agency for optimising my site!
Listed below is an example in America of how consumers can be misled by false promises by search engine optimisers. In this instance a judge penalised the SEO firm.
SEATTLE — The state attorney general said yesterday Redmond-based Internet Advancement must pay penalties for failing to get its customers top placement on major search engines.
Internet Advancement, which also goes by 4GreatBuys.com, must refund customers, pay $24,432 to the state for costs incurred and a civil penalty of $25,000.
The company had promised to get its customers ranked in the top 10 to 20 results on the search engines for $980 to $1,500 in set-up fees and monthly fees of $79.80 to $89.95.
The case involved “search engine optimization” services, which attempt to get businesses high placement in search-engine results.
“Internet Advancement misrepresented its success rate, promised more than it could deliver, then refused to provide refunds to customers who didn’t get what they paid for,” said Attorney General Christine Gregoire.
She said the Attorney General’s Office, the Federal Trade Commission and the Better Business Bureau received more than 100 complaints from customers around the country.- The Seattle Times
If a company is as good at SEO as it says say, ask them to show you where they rank! Enough said, the cowboys (and cowgirls) often don’t rank.
So how do you go about choosing a company that will be able to assist you in achieving your search engine optimisation goals? It is my intention to help steer you through this minefield.
Now whether you want to pursue SEO seriously to apply to your company website or are just needing to understand what SEO is, the best place to go for starters is to visit Google’s webmaster/Siteowners help page and download their search engine optimiser guide.
I recommend everyone read this guide to understand what SEO is all about. This guide will give you enough confidence to speak SEO talk and ask the right questions of the SEO companies you approach. Dave Chaffey from Econsultancy has suggested that if a SEO consultancy refuses to tell you their methodology in doing SEO, walk away. There are some “black hat” operators that have unethical methods of boosting your rankings but these can be to your detriment in the long term as the search engines continuously change their search algorithms.
BTW: My bible for search engine optimisation has been Econsultancy’s Search Engine Optimisation guide. At around 300 pages it’s not a quick read and this is the real stuff if you are serious at getting your feet wet.
I hope you get much benefit from this