I’ve gained and lost an equal number of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) clients due to my reluctance to use scaring tactics in SEO. Many so called SEO experts use the unknown of SEO to scare clients into paying vast amounts of money where it just isn’t needed. It’s not just the waste of money and unethical business practices that I’m against; the advice given and activities performed by these ‘snake-oil’ SEO peddlers often harms the client in regards to SEO.
Fake SEO promises
People are generally loss-averse so the simplest way of getting someone to buy a service is to scare the client with the unknown and offer a remedy for that unknown. In SEO terms this may be a statement like ‘ there are some real problems with your Website and the Search Engines will penalise your Website but we can help remove these problems and get you to number one on the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) which will make you a tonne of money’. Of course, this kind of statement is absolute rubbish (see Kahneman for more about loss aversion and behavioural economics)!
I really love the following from a recent SEO Post from Bing:
We’ll start out with a quick stop to note what SEO is not…
- Fast – the work and results take time to complete and see in action
- Guaranteed – remember, you’re not in control of the algorithm
- Once & done – things change over time; algos evolve and so must your site
- Free – time is money, as the saying goes – SEO takes time
See also 10 SEO Myths Reviewed by Bing.
What really matters in SEO
SEO is actually fairly straightforward but it does take sustained effort and ‘doing the right things’ over and over. Using great SEO optimized Website software such as WordPress is a very good start but also keeping up-to-date with the latest changes with the Search Engine algorithms is also important. Google for example made 86 changes to their Search Algorithm in June and July 2012 alone so keeping up to date is a big job in itself. The world of SEO is changing constantly but the fundamentals stay the same; have quality content that Search Engines are able to understand.
What’s new in SEO
The principles behind what made the Google Search Algorithm so ground breaking way back remains more-or-less the same (with a few exceptions illustrated below). What has changed is what influences the principles and how the principles are weighted in achieving ranking in the SERPs. For example, the number of inbound/incoming links to a Website is still important however there are many variables in this calculation nowadays; now the quality of the Site linking is considered as well as where on the Page the link appears in addition to the words used as the linking anchor text and so on.
On the newer side of SEO is the influence of Social Media; For Google SERPs, Google+ is the most important of Social Media whereas Bing/Yahoo use data from Twitter, Facebook and Foursquare in the main. Page load speed is also a growing and very significant factor in the SERPS and Google and Bing have noted as much.
Please, don’t get conned into paying a fortune for inaccurate and unneeded SEO advice. Use common sense and have quality content on your Site!