admin March 7th, 2007
By Jennifer Laycock - March 15, 2005
With so much information being spread around the Internet via message
boards, emails and articles, it's no wonder that people have a tough
time sorting out myth from reality when it comes to topics like search
engine marketing. Add to this the fact that certain bits of information
(say the inability for engines to spider dynamic pages) can move from
being a myth to being a truth almost overnight.
Nonetheless, there are a few myths that seem to continue to be spread
and that often pop up among small business owners that are trying to
get enough of a grasp on search marketing to hire a professional to
help them with their site.
Top Rankings can be Guaranteed by a Professional SEO
As with most forms of advertising, web site owners that are looking to
hire a professional SEO often wonder what type of results they will
receive in exchange for the fees that are charged to optimize their
site. SEO customers often ask optimization firms if they are able to
guarantee their work.
Money-back guarantees are often promoted as proof of SEO firms'
abilities. You may have received email advertisements from companies or
individuals who claim they can guarantee you a top ranking in the
search engine listings if you hire them to optimize your site.
The reality is that search engine algorithms change frequently and
professional SEOs do not have any say in what these changes are.
Realistically, no one can promise that a site that is No.1 today will
remain in the No.1 spot after the next update. Achieving and sustaining
top positions is an ongoing battle of trial and error, success and
failure. There are no guarantees. Professional SEOs that follow "best
practice" techniques realize this and use quality traffic, not site
ranking as proof of their success.
So what should be made of companies that promise money-back guarantees
for optimization services? They should be judged carefully and the
guarantee should not be taken at face value. The guarantee is likely
the result of one of three scenarios:
1.) The guarantee is offered on non-competitive phrases. Anyone can
rank a site in the top ten for a phrase that only faces competition
from ten other sites. Unless your site is optimized for phrases that
will deliver targeted traffic to your site, a guaranteed top 10 listing
will do nothing to contribute to your site's success.
2.) The company offering the guarantee is a fraud. As with any
industry, professional SEO has its share of shysters. Just because a
company claims to have a money-back guarantee doesn't mean that they
will follow through on that promise. If the company demands full
payment upfront and promises a money-back guarantee, consider it a
double warning against doing business.
3.) The company really is THAT good. There are some professional SEO
companies that are so good, that they make this promise and stand by
it. Although they may occasionally have to make good on their promise
of a refund, the price charged for services from these professionals is
usually enough to offset the cost of the few refunds that they may
issue. Be warned, these types of firms are the exception, not the rule.
Once I've Reached No. 1, My Work is Done!
Some webmasters may feel that once they have managed to optimize their
site and achieve that No. 1 ranking for their most important keyword,
the work is over. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Search engines change their algorithms and ranking methods constantly.
It's a rare site that manages to ride out the frequent changes and
updates while remaining in the top positions. The listing that is
ranked No. 1 today may be knocked out of the top ten listings tomorrow.
Maintaining a No. 1 position and growing the quality and amount of
traffic that is delivered to your site takes constant monitoring and
planning. Keep in mind that as your site moves into the No.1 position,
you leave unlimited numbers of web sites behind you that are now vying
for the position that you hold. If you want to continue to stay ahead
of them, you'll need to continue to work on adding appropriate and
optimized content, building incoming, targeted links, and exploring new
ways to tweak and update your site so that you can remain in that top
Hidden Text Will Help Me Rank Better
One of the most popular and enduring SEO myths is the idea that
webmasters can improve their ranking by hiding keyword-rich text and
links in their page code in order to increase their keyword density.
Many years ago, webmasters decided that a great way to increase
the keyword density of their pages, without having to sacrifice
the look or content of their site, was to add keyword text to the page
that was the same color as the background. After all, search engines
don't view web sites the same way humans do, so it made sense that they
would read and index the text without the human visitors ever having to
As with any SEO "trick," it didn't take very long for the search
engines to catch on. Search engine spiders have since learned to match
HTML text color with the background color so that they might detect
this method of keyword stuffing. Nearly all major search engines now
publicly denounce hidden text and cite it as grounds for removal from
In addition to hidden text, the rise of link popularity as an essential
factor in most search engine's algorithms has led to the inclusion of
invisible links. Webmasters will often use single pixel .gif files to
link to other web pages in an attempt to artificially increase their
link popularity score. Once again, the search engines have discovered
this method and have publicly announced their intent to penalize web
sites that make use of this method.
SEO Leads are not as Good as Traditional Leads
Traditional advertising companies often warn clients away from search
engine optimization services because they do not fully understand the
way that SEO campaigns work and they are reluctant to recommend
services that they have not properly experienced.
Many believe that search engine optimization is simply about driving
large numbers of users to a web site. They feel that these users are
not as likely to become customers as individuals that have been reached
by more traditional advertising methods.
The reality is that SEO leads are among the highest quality leads that
can be delivered to a company. Proper SEO is about putting your web
site in a position that allows it to be found at the exact moment that
a web searcher is looking to buy. Search engine optimization does not
deliver the casual visitors to a web site, it delivers an individual
who is looking for you, who wants to do business with you and who is in
a mindset that makes them most open to what you have to offer them.
Proper optimization effectively pre-qualifies traffic by promoting your
site for the exact products and features that you have to sell. A
properly optimized web site that sells used Volvos in Dallas will
deliver users that are looking to buy used Volvos in Dallas. Analysis
of search engine optimization campaigns often reveals higher returns on
investment than any other form of traditional advertising.
FFA Pages Will Help Improve My Link Popularity
As link popularity becomes an increasingly important component in
search engine algorithms, webmasters continue to search out new ways to
gain incoming links. With a limited number of directories to submit to,
webmasters in competitive industries often find they have a difficult
time securing incoming links that will allow them to outperform the
For this reason, many webmasters have spent time singing the praises of
Free For All (FFA) pages as a way to boost your incoming link count and
traffic. There are several problems with this theory.
1.) Few people even look at FFA pages. The majority of traffic to FFA
sites comes from webmasters looking to submit their site, not from
surfers looking to find your site. In addition, most sites that are
submitted to FFA pages come from automated software, making it even
less likely that a human being will view your site listing.
2.) Links on FFA pages have a limited lifespan. FFA pages are designed
to carry a designated amount of links on each page. This means that as
more sites are added, the older sites are deleted. Because links can be
added and dropped so quickly, there is rarely time for a search engine
to even pick them up.
3.) When it comes to link popularity, relevancy counts. Search engines
are designed to not only locate and count links, but to judge the
importance and relevancy of links. Thus, 200 links from FFA page that
lists 100 other web sites that have nothing to do with yours will not
be counted with as much weight as one link from a popular web site that
is relevant to your site.