There are many benefits you can receive from a professional Search Engine Optimization consultant, expert and or company. Throughout the world many professionals offer a variety of services to help improve a website. Unfortunately, there also exist plenty of unethical so-called SEO experts looking to cash in on your needs to improve your website’s performance to gain more traffic. Although the majority of SEO practitioners are dedicated, competent professionals, there are those shady characters that use deceptive practices that are only directed toward separating you from your money.
What are the Signs?
There are several warning signs that should alert you to a SEO scam including:
• Email messages – These come unannounced and unsolicited but seem as if you may have requested information and sometimes are worded like:
“Thanks for your recent inquiry about optimizing your website for higher search engine ranking…”
• Be wary of “Guaranteed No.1 Ranking” – There’s no such thing. Many so-called SEO companies and consultants claim to have discovered or created a method for obtaining first page ranking on a number of search engines. None of the top search engines like Google or Yahoo accept payment for rank listing.
• The company or individual you are investigating has either no website of their own or, if they do, it is not highly ranked. What’s up with that?
• Offers to sell you keywords to improve your ranking.
• Uses “temporary” throwaway domains or “doorway” pages to “fool” search engines for but a few days to create an illusion they are working effectively on your behalf.
• Uses paid-for ads convincing you that you’ve gained valuable search engine ranking. Paid for advertisement may very well show up on the top page for a given search engine word used. However, this is not a search engine result. Be wary of this technique. Anyone can do this.
An ethical and professional SEO will offer a number of services to help your website perform better including:
• Free site evaluation
• Redesigning for search engine friendliness
• Keyword research
• Content redevelopment and creation
• SEO training
• Website Marketing
What Do Search Engines Do?
Looking for a particular topic, product, service or information on the web is accomplished simply by entering a word, phrase or question in the search box on the front page of a service like Google or Yahoo. Once the user enters a word, hitting the submit button redirects to a page with results for websites ranked in relevance to the word used in the search. On this page you’ll find both organic and paid for results. Organic results are web pages that have direct relevance to the search request whereas you will also find on any given results page paid for advertisement. Do not let the two get confused. Search engines do not accept money for ranking results, so never let any so-called SEO expert tell you otherwise. If asked to “pay” to get a particular ranking, or if the offer is for a “Guaranteed Page 1 Ranking,” run quickly the other way.
What Gains Search Ranking?
An SEO expert understands how search engines work and knows what attributes a search-engine friendly website should posses. Some of these would include the use of text in all images and video where the “Alt” description is filled in with plain text. Other correct practices might include no content duplication, use of keyword rich titles, plus many more techniques that are effective.
Know What to Not Choose
Used the same search engines to find quality information about just what SEO is to make a decision when hiring a company or consultant. There are many quality articles available through the Internet that offers an unbiased explanation of how SEO can help a website owner. Check these out before hiring.
But, Hire Soon
The best time to acquire the services of an SEO expert is in the beginning of a design or redesign project. Before your design activity gets too advanced, make sure your website is developed with search engine friendly aspects in place. This way, you will not have to revisit this situation later on if you are not getting the search engine results you want – or need.
Ask the Right Questions
Make sure you ask revealing questions when interviewing a prospective SEO company or individual that include:
• What successful campaigns have you completed”
• How to you measure effective results?
• What are your website development skills?
• Do you run an expert blog site?
A great idea is to ask your prospective SEO expert to give you a professional run down on a random website you draw up for review. Ask about the good and poor aspects of the site in connection to effective search engine ranking. Always look to see if the SEO person checks a site’s links, looks for it on the search engine and other tell-tale signs they do know what they are doing.
Fake Experts Abound
One of the largest scams on the Internet is getting people to part with good hard-earned money for worthless services and products. Be wary of any services, products and information that people want to sell that will guarantee you a number 1 ranking on any search engine. You will pay good money for poor results. There is NO way anyone can guarantee a number one ranking. But, there are deceptive practices that will provide an illusion that you can get these rankings. Also, don’t buy the offer to submit your site to every existing search engine in the universe for a fee. You can do this on your own. There are a number of free online services to mass submit your site. Also, the top engines that claim more than 80 percent of the Internet’s search activity offer easy ways to submit your site. Don’t fall for this scam!
Conducting Business Out in the Open
Your prospective SEO expert should be an identifiable, as well as findable, entity that does not operate with an alias at a P.O. Box or anonymously on the Internet. Look out for companies that use techniques such as throwaway domains or doorway pages designed to provide a temporary illusion for gaining high page ranking. These practices are cons that once initiated are quickly “shut down” after you’ve forked out money. You should always ask for a detailed SEO plan that you can review to see what parts of the program do what. If you encounter such aspects as site submission, linking to an SEO person’s own sites or his customer sites, plus offer to create “special” pages or use special URLs, this is a clear indication of faulty, if not criminal, practices.
If you believe you have been duped, file a complaint with the state attorney general and through the Federal trade Commission.
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