How to Spot the SEO Cowboys

On June 29, 2012, wrote:

When you commission SEO work, you need to know that what you’re getting is worth the cost. This field can seem complicated to outsiders, but that doesn’t mean you can’t establish standards for the kind of work you want versus the kind of work you don’t. For you, there is a big difference between good and bad search engine optimization. And it’s not just about results either. The Internet is all about spreading data instantly, so if you align your business to something unethical, the news can travel fast. These are some simple tips to help you pick an optimization company.

Avoid Dated Black Hat Methods at All Costs

Firstly, it can help to understand the basics of what this service gives you. You use this method to improve your search engine ranking. To do that, you have to appeal to the algorithms that dictate a search engine result: usually by having a higher number of links to other sites, which in turn must have a high number of links.

The ways to go about building a link network is split into ‘black hat’ SEO and ‘white hat’ SEO. Black hat involves tricking the engine with things like banks of links on sites which are ‘cloaked’ from Google’s security bots. White hat involves carefully building up content for users around the web, and attaching relevant links to that content.

Not only are black hat tricks unethical, they’re also ineffective these days. Google penalizes sites that use these methods of marketing by removing their search engine ranking, meaning the site is effectively invisible to searches. This has happened to BMW and JC Penney, so it’s not something you can hide from. This is why, if you hear about an SEO company that ‘guarantees’ results, implies they can hack the system, or hints at ‘tricks,’ you should avoid them. The words you want to hear are ‘strategy’ and ‘good success rate, no guarantees.’ That suggests a legitimate campaign.

Quality Content Is King

The content that’s created for white hat SEO promotion needs to be of high standard. Google has recently cracked down on articles that are written ‘for search engines.’ This means articles and blogs that are stuffed with keywords but devoid of any real interest, or even basic readability. Marketing on the web is getting more sophisticated, and cowboys that make things up as they go along won’t get results anymore.

Finally it’s also a good idea to look out for people that integrate other forms of Internet marketing into their SEO work. Social media marketing and blog promotion, for example, are making a lot of headway. If these approaches are used in unison they can really make a site stand out to search engines – for all the right reasons.

About the author: This post was written by Liam J Haroldson – a Manchester based SEO and habitual blogger.


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