If SEO promises sound too good to be true, they probably are.
Every company that sells services will actively look for work.
For some, it’s by attending networking events. For others, it’s by looking for gigs found online. We like to mix in a little of both, but we also happen to be one of the lucky businesses that gets work through word of mouth.
One challenge we face as an SEO-centric business is that we’re competing with the likes of SEO companies who want to take your money and don’t worry about how their black hat practices will affect you six months from now. This is something we obsess over – it’s why we focus on your blog and creating amazing content.
In fact, bad SEO is so common that there are companies out there hired to clean up the messes of bad SEO companies. I get messages from them all the time, and they go something like this:
Hi website owner,
Our client [insert website here] left comments on several of your blog posts, and we’re requesting that you delete the comments since our client is unable to.
I’ve responded to these emails before. Yes, I’ve probably been more snarky than I meant to be. “So, your client hired a company who spammed our site, and now you’d like me to spend my own time cleaning up their mess? No problem – I’ll get right on that!”
Here’s the take-away: There is no magic formula to SEO. The only formula there is to getting your website ranked is by populating your site with magical content rooted in hard work instead of hocus-pocus.
We find that your homepage is not the place for this, but your blog – where you can post hundreds upon hundreds of helpful blog posts – is.
What to Look Out For
There’s a job on Elance right this minute that is asking for 10,000 inbound links per week (with a budget of under $500, by the way). I’m sure the inspiration for this listing is that they’ve seen this service on the web (as have I), and I bet that provider also “guarantees page one ranking,” too.
It’s crap, I say! Pure crap. For the sake of your business, don’t fall for it.
Does anyone believe that these 40,000 inbound links are legitimate? Do they think that Google will index and rank their sites when they see these bot-generated inbound links? If you think that SEO is that easy, then this article that you should print out and post in your office the next time you have an SEO company that promises any of the following.
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“Guaranteed Page One Rankings”
This particular gimmick is one that will only wreak havoc. No SEO company has the ability to modify Google’s search algorithm, just as they don’t have the ability to promise you a page one ranking. Google will list your website based on their terms, not anyone else’s.
What “Guaranteed Page One Rankings” really means:
- We’ll get you ranked on page one for the name of your company. Here’s a bit of advice that I can give you for free – you can do the same thing by simply adding the name of your company into your meta title tags and keywords. The name of your company is more likely than not going to be unique to anything else on the web.
- We’ll use misspelled words and phrases that aren’t grammatically correct as your blog titles. In other words, they’ll litter your site with keywords that are so niche, that only borderline illiterate people surfing the Internet will be able to find it. Sounds promising, huh? Lotta purchasing power there. But you’ll be on page one for those keywords, so why not?
How to actually GET a page one ranking:
Research. Hard-core, elaborate keyword research. Team this up with copywriting and blogging that builds an article or sales page around the keyword and you’re halfway there. Add social media and bookmarking to the mix to drive inbound links to the page and you’ll get a page one ranking. But that’s still only if the keyword is right, the copy is great, and the rest of the world likes your content enough to share it. Keyword research and content will always need to hold hands with inbound links to get the best rankings.
Any SEO company that offers optimization without representation simply can’t guarantee you rank, and I’m happy to discuss this outside with any SEO “expert” who cares to argue.
10,000 Inbound Links Per Month!
Does this sound too good to be true? That’s because it is! 10,000 inbound links per month is about 333 blog comments, forum posts, etc. per day. Whether they’re offering it to you for $500 for month or $50,000 per month, it’s not legitimate. When it’s not legitimate, it’s going to get you penalized by Google, and Google will remove you entirely from its rankings for an indefinite amount of time.
If you’ve looked at your analytics lately, I’m guessing that you get a large portion of your sales and site traffic from Google. Companies have lost millions of dollars and many have gone out of businesses by playing around with black hat tactics like this.
What “10,000 Inbound Links Per Month” really means:
- Our bot is going to post blog comments on random, untargeted blogs with spammy, nonsensical text. You know what you’ll be getting because it’s likely you’ve gotten one of these comments on your own blog. Even more likely, you probably deleted the comment, right? Stinking spammers. Don’t be a spammer.
- You’re going to pay me to make you sound like an idiot. Here’s an example of a spam post on an article about email marketing: “Instruction about horse care and grooming are also basic requirements for attending a horse camp.” Wow, thanks pal! How about, “Kin Ho duduk minum di dapur. Kebanyakan pekerja yang lain sudah pulang.” That’s another good one. You could have all this and more!
How to actually GET an abundance of inbound links:
To get inbound links that Google takes seriously, they must be created manually. That means that 10,000 inbound links would cost you something like $125,000 at an average hourly rate. That’s sounding less magical, right?
Your “magic” ticket is to write great content on a blog. Google loves to index blogs. These days, Google wants to see you get re-shared in social media, and get linked to from places like The New York Times, too.
The only thing those spammy blog comments from a black hat SEO company will get you is an exile from Google.
You don’t get linked to from The New York Times by spending your time on bad SEO. You get there by investing in content and working your team (or our team!) to develop content your customers want to read.
Unfortunately, there’s no fast ferry to Google paradise, but we’re pretty great captains of our own SEOworthy ship. It’s a voyage, not a cruise, though we do know how to make a mean margarita!
Have you had any bad experience with black-hatters? Let us know in the comments, and we’ll track them down one by one for a stern talking-to.