Much of what used to work to get your website positioned high on search engines doesn’t work anymore, yet there are many SEO Companies that keep making promises they can’t keep to lure you in and take your money. Here at deus designs, we don’t “take the money and run” like many other SEO companies do, and we like to advise our clients to avoid any company that makes any of the following promises regarding what they can do for your website:
PROMISE: Page one, first position ranking
Any SEO Company that promises you this is flat-out lying. Long-gone are the days where you could “game the system” and know that, with a few clever tricks and loopholes, your site would show up in the #1 organic position without fail.
How this used to work: By loading your site’s pages with your #1 keywords, search engines would simply count the number of occurrences of the words/phrases and, seeing a large number of times something was repeated, would come to the conclusion that “this page MUST be important; look how much they talk about (the term)!” Additionally, by loading up parts of the page code with additional keywords (the “meta description” and “meta keywords” tags), a page could be assigned “extra importance.”
How this works now: Search engine indexing bots no longer merely count the occurrences of a word/phrase on a page. Old practices, such as the meta keywords and meta description techniques, are now completely ignored by Google when it comes to search ranking. Google’s bots now evaluate over 200 individual factors when determining ranking of a page and can determine the overall subject matter covered on the page.
Additionally, search engines (especially Google) now take into account not just what you are searching for, but who you are. Your location and your prior searches affect your results. Even your social interactions can affect your results. What this means is that John Doe in New York, NY, will get different results when he searches for “LASIK” than will John Smith in Sacramento, CA. This is by design. Search engines are all about returning “relevant results” for you.
PROMISE: Submission to 100+ Major Search Engines
Many old school SEO companies still list this as something they do for their clients, claiming to increase a client’s visibility in search engines and “make sure you’re found by everyone.”
How this used to work: Many search engines used to have a “submit link to index” area on their site, where you could paste in your website’s URL and request their indexing bots’ scrutiny. After a period of time, their bots would visit the page and index the content. Many search engines had a policy stating that requests for indexing could only be made every 30 days (or so).
How this works now: First answer this question: How many search engines can you name, right now? Probably three: Google, Bing, and Yahoo!, right? Some people might be able to name a few more (Dogpile, duckduckgo). But 100? And if you can’t name them, then odds are you aren’t using them, either. So even if this were a valid tactic, the effort would be wasted.
But, there’s more. The answer to “how this works now” is simple: It doesn’t. The “big three” of search engines automatically send out bots to index the internet now, and they follow links like it’s their job – because it is. And, while there are tools you can use to manually submit your site’s content for ranking/evaluation, over submitting your website to them can penalize your ranking. So it’s best to let them come to you.
PROMISE: 100s of Backlinks per month!
Other websites linking to your website is a sure-fire way to generate more web traffic and to get better page rankings. Many SEO companies are charging hundreds of dollars each month to buy links from websites that will link back to your website – but are the links helping or hurting your rankings?
How this used to work: Buying backlinks, or participating in a “link exchange,” was a good way to get other websites to link to your website. Some SEO companies have standing relationships with sites that will put your links all over their site(s) and page(s) for a monthly fee, regardless of the content relevance of their website to your website.
How this works now: Google has repeatedly targeted what they call “spammy links” with their Penguin and Panda SEO algorithm updates. Spammy links no longer pass PageRank (a Google term that approximates “the pull, weight, or importance” that a page has), and these links can actually drag your site down in the rankings. Specifically, Google makes a point to call out “links you paid for” as being bad for your site shown in this video from Google’s Web Spam Team Leader, Matt Cutts. Google sees buying links as being similar to buying votes and they will penalize or even remove you completely from their index when they discover them.
Google wants linking to your website to happen naturally. So, how do you build backlinks naturally? You create lots of valuable, relevant, and shareable content. Post on your blog, but don’t just post things like “this is National Cataract Awareness Month.” Write an interesting article about events in your practice, a charity your staff supports or advances in your ophthalmic technology or new services. Mention people and companies by name in your post. Then share it through your social media outlets. And when people and companies see your interesting article, they will share it as well – especially if it features or mentions them in some way. These will be seen as relevant links occurring in a non-paid way. While you probably won’t build hundreds of links like this in a month, the ones you do build will have more value/relevance to your practice than any links your SEO company can buy.
If your SEO company is charging you hundreds of dollars per month to buy links, ask them to send you a complete list of every link they purchased. Spend some time clicking on those links and ask yourself, “Does it make sense that their content is linked to my content?” If one of your paid links has 1000s of links back to your website, they are being auto-generated and that is an even bigger no-no according to Google. Tell your SEO company to remove them immediately and don’t believe them when they say removing them will hurt your rankings. It might cause a temporary drop but more than likely, your website will go up in rakings in a month or two after your site is indexed without the paid links and is now in compliance with Google’s SEO guidelines.
Don’t spend another penny on buying links! Just Say No!
We hope you’ve found this informative and helpful. If you have any questions about SEO, let us know. Call us at 281-318-1660.
Author and SEO Expert at deus designs
Jim is an Art Director/Graphic Designer/Webmaster/Web Programmer/Social Media Guy with over a dozen years of experience who enjoys all the latest technologies and methods. Proven experience with refreshing tired websites and providing a cohesive, unified look and direction where needed. In his spare time, he works on side projects like grok42, spends time with his family, and tries to squeeze in some video gaming when he can.