The claims of many SEO companies make me see red. Let me explain.
If your business has a website, you probably get emails like this.
They normally come from a business in India or the Philippines. And they typically follow a theme.
They claim special knowledge of Google’s methods. They guarantee you a first page result. You get all the free business you can handle.
And here are the reasons it makes me see red.
Firstly, free is not free. Somebody gets paid to do the work. And Google changes all the time, which means you’ll keep paying them to do it.
Secondly, it’s a long term strategy. It might take 1 – 3 years to yield any result. If your market is really competitive, the time-frame might be never.
Thirdly – how do they know what works? Your success depends not on getting traffic to your website, but on getting qualified traffic.
SEO companies optimize for search volume. They don’t know which of these searches creates a paying customer. And … they don’t care. They only promised you page one on Google.
For me, the fourth point is decisive: you don’t have control.
The method Google uses to calculate search results is called an algorithm.
Google changes its algorithm frequently, so what works today might not work tomorrow.
So, let’s sum up Search Engine Optimization.
It requires investment.
It’s longer-term to never.
It might produce visitors without any paying customers.
You don’t control which searches you appear for.
Or how your website looks in search results.
And it might work today and not tomorrow.
I don’t believe that SEO is a business strategy at all.
It’s a roll of the die.
But it gets worse.
Google has something called a webspam team. If they think you are trying gain advantage by gaming their algorithm, they’ll drop you from their search index completely.
You vanish, just like JC Penney did a few years ago.
Even with their resources and national profile, it took months for them to get back onto Google.
Don’t get me wrong.
There are things you can, and should do, to make your website more visible and easier to understand by search engines.
It’s great if they like what you do, but it should not form the centerpiece of your online strategy.