Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Paying for SEO: The Scam Revealed

I met with an executive last week who runs a very established business here in Cincinnati. As we talked about website opportunities and online marketing, he mentioned that he was paying for SEO (Search Engine Optimization). While SEO is important, it is not something you should be paying for. It should be built-in with your website--no extras needed. Companies who charge for SEO are literally running a scam. Our web designer Angela Deniston is an expert on the subject, and her comments are below.

** SEO is a tool that makes you more visible on the internet. For example, when you type in a search term on Google, the better your website's SEO, the higher up on the list your name appears. This way people don't have to dig to find you--you're right on top.

Top things every business should know about SEO
In a world of constantly evolving technology, it’s easy to trust any “expert” who comes along claiming to know the ins and outs of unfamiliar acronyms. Web guru Angela Deniston breaks down the SEO process and defines what every savvy business owner should know when dealing with SEO providers and web designers. Please find below a sampling of SEO basics best practice advice for a CEO looking to avoid con artists.

How important is SEO to doing business today?
Extremely. There is a lot of competition out there -- you could have the best looking website in your industry, but it doesn’t matter if no one knows it exists. The “if you build it they will come” mindset is a huge misconception among the less internet savvy. A good website is supplemented by good PR and high SEO results.

How much should an SEO campaign cost? Any guidelines?
Nothing. It should be inclusive to building the site, and completed as the designer constructs the site. There are a lot of scammers out there charging thousands of dollars to implement something that takes little to no time to do. It should only cost how long it takes you to implement -- especially if you’re on an hourly rate. Whether your site is 2 pages or 200, if it is constructed properly and implemented as you go, it should not cost any more than your time.

How can a CEO avoid getting ripped off if they decide to go outside the company to get this service done?
Ask the right questions and for proof of their results. If you’re paying an SEO service, ask for some type of report – evidence of bumping their client’s sites up. And don’t believe it is anybody’s “intellectual property”. You can find this information for free all over the internet. A few other selling phrases to watch out for:

- “We’ll submit you to thousands of search engines.” There are less than five the general population actually uses. And if built right, you don’t even need to ‘submit.’
- “We’ll optimize your meta-tags.” As search engines evolve, less and less rely on meta-tags.
- “We’ll do fresh content.” Unless they are your advertising or PR agency, they wouldn’t know what to update! Usually they’ll just overuse keywords and place irrelevant articles.
- “It’s only $10,000 a year.” You can build and continuously update an entire website for $8,000. What could they possibly be doing for $10,000 a year--or more?

1 comment:

jimmyjam said...

Thank you for this valuable information.

I had a friend of mine who runs a web building company try to scam me on this very thing...quarterly SEO charges. I had already paid him in-full for the actual web site development.

I exchanged some work for the first quarter's SEO thinking I would have to have it done...whatever it is at least once. But agreed I could not pay after that; however, he still kept billing me for it!

Unfortunately this damaged our relationship greatly. I used to respect him because of his knowledge and that he has an MBA. Now I know it boils down to $$$ GREED and that he would even take advantage of me, his best friend.

Thank you for confirming what I have believed all along.