Sabtu, 08 Agustus 2009

[] Leprechaun Repellent and Guaranteed SEO Companies - The Disturbing Link

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Disturbing Link'

When researching SEO companies, it is tempting to choose any company willing to
offer guaranteed SEO services. It is human nature ? people love a guarantee.
This holds especially true for purchases where the buyer is purchasing something
outside of his or her area of comfort. When companies first consider pursuing
search engine optimization (SEO) as a potential marketing channel, particularly
when there is an ongoing cost involved, they get a sense of comfort from
purchasing "guaranteed SEO." Unfortunately, with many SEO companies, this
confidence in the guarantee is ill-placed.A lot of questionable SEO companies
offer what I like to refer to as a "leprechaun repellent" guarantee. In other
words, it's a guarantee that is easily attainable ? if you purchase such
services and are not subsequently harassed by a pesky leprechaun, the guarantee
has been met. How can you complain?The truth is that SEO companies do not
control the major search engines, and any firm that claims to have a "special
relationship" that gives it sway over the natural search engine results is
simply counting on your ignorance. Fortunately, this does not mean that
guaranteed SEO is impossible, especially when the guarantee has to do with
aggregate results and the methods used to achieve them.What follows is a partial
list of some of the more popular types of guaranteed SEO out there ? some of
them roughly as useful as leprechaun repellent, and some of them actually
meaningful.Questionable GuaranteesThe "Leprechaun Repellent" Keyphrases
GuaranteeMany SEO companies boast that they will achieve a certain number of top
rankings in the organic results of major search engines. This type of
guaranteed SEO can be tempting, especially to those who are investigating SEO
companies for the first time. After all, high rankings are what it's all about,
right? Isn't that the goal?The answer is an emphatic "No." Quality SEO
companies will point out that the real goal is to bring high quality traffic to
your site. It's quite simple to guarantee top positions if you choose
non-competitive or obscure phrases ? for example, "leprechaun repellent." Want
proof? Enter "leprechaun repellent into your favorite search engine. You will
almost certainly find this article dominating the results (caveat ? if you are
reading this article immediately after its release, the search engines may not
have indexed it yet. Wait a week and try again.).It is extremely easy for SEO
companies to achieve high search engine positions for phrases that nobody uses.
Such rankings might impress your friends and neighbors, but they won't send you
quality traffic. They likely won?t send you any traffic at all. It's important
to note that the phrase "leprechaun repellent" is used only for demonstrative
purposes. Many unpopular phrases may not sound absurd. There are surely
countless phrases out there that sound extremely relevant to your business that
are never typed into search engines. Good SEO companies will avoid such
phrases. "Leprechaun repellent" practitioners will embrace them ? it allows them
to attain their worthless guarantees.There is also another aspect of this type
of guaranteed SEO in which SEO companies will guarantee you first place
positions on unspecified search engines for more competitive phrases.
Unfortunately, this type of guaranteed SEO often involves obscure engines that
have very little market share and are not sophisticated enough to quickly
eliminate web pages that use spam tactics. In a few documented cases, the
guarantees involved search engines that the SEO companies actually owned and
operated!There are really only three major search engines at present ? Google,
Yahoo, and MSN. There are a handful of minor engines that are also worth
mentioning, including Ask Jeeves and AOL Search. Any guaranteed SEO should
involve prominent engines, not obscure ones.The "Company Name" GuaranteeThere is
also a common guarantee that shady SEO companies will use that guarantees that a
company will show up for a search on its company name. This, much like the
"leprechaun repellent" flavor of guaranteed SEO, offers no real value. Sure, if
your company name is "Acme," it may actually be competitive ? but chances are
that if your website does not already show up near the top of the search engine
results for a search on your company name, there is an easily fixed technical
glitch that will resolve the issue. Quality SEO companies will address this area
immediately. Moreover, ranking highly for your company name, while obviously
desirable, provides only a tiny fraction of the potential value of search engine
marketing. The real benefit for most companies is that search engine marketing
attracts potential buyers who are not already familiar with the company name.
Unless your company is a household name, it is unlikely that having your company
name figure prominently in the results is going to have a huge impact on your
business.The Pay-Per-Click GuaranteeSome SEO companies will offer guaranteed SEO
services that promise top positions for certain keyphrases on popular engines,
but they are counting on dealing with prospects who do not understand the
difference between natural search engine results and pay-per-click (PPC)
advertising. With PPC, it is very easy to guarantee a number one result, but
this result will appear in the "paid" or "sponsored" results of the engine.
Say, for example, that your company installs custom swimming pools. While a
competitive phrase like "custom pools" might be difficult to achieve in organic
results, the SEO company is not concerned with organic results. All it has to
do is outbid the current highest bidder (using your money, of course), and your
site will show up as number one in the "sponsored" results. Studies have
indicated that sponsored results are held in a lower regard than natural results
by savvy web searchers who recognize them as advertising. Also, as soon as you
stop paying, your ranking disappears.The "Submit Your Site to 50,000 Search
Engines" GuaranteeThere are many variations on this offer, primarily involving
the number of engines promised. Regardless of the number, this is probably the
most pervasive and persistent type of "guaranteed SEO," and it is basically a
scam that preys on ignorance.Companies that believe that they have high quality
websites are predisposed to believe that the only thing holding them back from
search engine success is that the search engines do not yet know that their
sites exist. However, search engines measure quality in a much different way
than a website owner does. A properly optimized site does not need to be
submitted to search engines at all (I refer to actual "spider-based" search
engines such as Yahoo, Google, and MSN, not human-edited directories such as, the Yahoo Directory, and the Open Directory Project). Engines
prefer to find sites on their own.This "solution" offers no real value, except
of course to the SEO companies offering the service. Also, as previously
mentioned, there are not 50,000 search engines ? or at least 50,000 search
engines worth worrying about. Do SEO companies that offer this service meet
this guarantee? Certainly ? they use automated programs to do the submissions.
Is this type of guaranteed SEO worthwhile? Not for search engine positions, but
it may keep leprechauns at bay.Meaningful GuaranteesGiven the preponderance of
"guaranteed SEO" that is meaningless, the seemingly Wild West nature of the
industry, and the reality that SEO companies do not control the results of any
major engine, it may seem that guaranteed SEO can never be a worthwhile
endeavor. However, this is not the case. If you note the examples above, they
are primarily involved in specifics ? top positions, a certain number of
submissions, a certain number of engines. However, good SEO companies,
understanding that they have no control over individual results, should be
confident enough in the results of their work in aggregate and in the safety of
the methodologies that they use to offer guaranteed SEO that lives up to its
promise.The Custom GuaranteeIn very rare cases, certain skilled, experienced SEO
companies will be able to develop for you a custom guarantee derived from the
analysis of your current traffic data, the competitiveness of your industry, and
the status of your site. You will ideally be offered this type of specialized
guarantee from the beginning of your dealings with an SEO firm because it
ensures that you will be achieving targeted, meaningful results based on your
specific situation, rather than on generalities that could apply to any business
in any industry. Some SEO companies may tell you that a custom guarantee is not
possible because they have no direct control over search engine results.
However, SEO companies who have been in business for a while know how to weather
the algorithm shifts and understand that there is more than one popular search
engine. Such a firm will be confident enough to create and back a custom
guarantee for you.The Targeted Traffic GuaranteeSEO companies dedicated to
showing value to their clients will take a baseline reading of current search
engine traffic at the outset of a campaign. While, as previously mentioned, SEO
companies do not hold sway over search engine results, they should at least be
confident enough in their overall skills to promise that their clients will see
an increase in targeted search engine traffic based on popular phrases relevant
to the business. If the firm offering this type of guaranteed SEO charges on a
monthly basis, any month of the engagement where traffic for targeted phrases
does not, at a minimum, exceed the baseline should not be charged. After all,
you are paying on a monthly basis to protect and improve your positions. While
major algorithm shifts that make results on individual results unstable can and
do happen, they rarely happen on all engines at once. You should feel confident
that the firm you are paying has a very vested interest in making sure it adapts
to the changing nature of search engine algorithms, and few things inspire such
confidence as knowing that it will not get paid otherwise. If your prospective
firm is unwilling to at least guarantee that it will send increased traffic to
your website from targeted phrases, every month, it may be time to look
elsewhere.The "White Hat" GuaranteeSEO companies are commonly broken up into two
camps ? "white hats" (practitioners who remain solidly within the search
engine's stated terms of service) and "black hats" (practitioners who work to
unravel the latest search engine algorithms and base their optimization
techniques largely on technology, regardless of the engine?s terms of service).
Both approaches are legitimate ? after all, there is nothing illegal about
exploiting a technical loophole for results. However, black hat SEO companies
put their clients at risk of penalization or even outright banishment from the
major engines. Getting back in can be a long process, and sometimes it is not
possible at all. If you are concerned about potential penalization, get a
guarantee from your firm that they adhere to the stated terms of service of all
major search engines. If you can (and this is rare), get a guarantee that your
site will not be penalized through any action of the SEO firm. This is harder
for a company to offer, since the major engines frequently update their terms of
service, and techniques that are acceptable today can be deemed unacceptable
tomorrow. However, a confident firm that always errs on the side of caution
when optimizing client websites will offer this type of guaranteed SEO services,
since it will not use techniques that have a potential for penalization in the
future.Abusing the Metaphor (Beating a Dead Leprechaun)Guarantees have been
around for at least as long as leprechauns have been hoarding breakfast cereal
and starring in bad horror films. So have guarantees that are essentially
meaningless but sound respectable. A good guarantee should not only appeal to
the base emotion of a potential purchaser, but it should also afford some real
protection that the purchase he or she is making will provide meaningful
results. Many of the most popular types of guaranteed SEO do not, and that's a
shame. The industry already has a questionable reputation due to "leprechaun
repellent" practitioners ? make sure you don't go chasing their rainbow. After
all, it's your pot of gold they are after.About the AuthorScott Buresh is the
CEO of Medium Blue, a search engine optimization company. Scott has contributed
content to many publications including Building Your Business with Google For
Dummies (Wiley, 2004), MarketingProfs, ZDNet, WebProNews, Lockergnome,
DarwinMag, SiteProNews,, and Search Engine Guide. Medium Blue, which
was recently named the number one search engine optimization company in the
world by PromotionWorld, serves local and national clients, including Boston
Scientific, Cirronet, and DS Waters. Visit to request a custom
SEO guarantee based on your goals and your data.

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