July 16, 2011

Beware of SEO Snake Oil Salesmen

There is much confusion among business owners regarding SEO guarantees. Many business owners want some sort of guarantee that their site will rise the search rankings if they allocate money to SEO. It makes sense. If you are allocating thousands of dollars a month to SEO, you want an assurance that the dollars will generate a healthy ROI. WARNING: Be very careful with these guarantees.

A guarantee that your website will be more prominent in search engine rankings sounds like a great thing right? Well, what keywords are being targeted? If the targeted keyword is your company name, your company website better be at the top of the rankings (as long as the site was built properly). Typically the guarantees made are not as bold as they sound. SEO firms that make guarantees will target obscure keywords that no one is searching for. Being highly ranked for a keyword phrase that is being searched zero times a month is not going to help your company be more prominent on the web. I strongly urge business owners to steer clear of any SEO firm that guarantees a high ranking for keywords on Google. It's simply an irresponsible claim.

There are claims that SEO partners CAN make and really should be focused on - increased traffic and conversion. A good SEO firm will help boost your website traffic - the number of visitors on your site. You can determine how your website currently ranks globally by visiting http://www.alexa.com/. Your Alexa rating will show your website rank compared to all other sites globally. For instance, Google is ranked #1 in the world in traffic, Facebook is #2, Bop Design is #200,000 (still very high). A good SEO partner can help increase the number of visitors to your site by ensuring your website is more prominent in keyword searches your ideal customer is truly searching for.

Another important SEO component is conversion. Website traffic is great but is it ideal traffic? If you are attracting ideal prospective customers and your website is compelling, then you will have a high conversion rate. As you attract ideal leads to landing pages on your website, it's critical that there is a "call to action" on each page. Therefore, a prospective customer knows how to take the next step. Your website can include landing pages targeting different keyword searches, so the web searcher is immediately on the website section appropriate to him/her.

As you look for an ideal SEO partner for your business, make sure to focus on website traffic and conversion. Ask a SEO firm about their process and make sure they show it fully mapped out. Also, ask for references to other clients that can talk about their success through SEO.

Jeremy Durant
Principal, Bop Design

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