Friday, February 25, 2005

The Phone Call

Every other month my phone rings and the voice on the other end tells me one of my web sites is not showing up in the search results. They tell me they can fix the problem. In fact, they will guarantee that my page will jump into the top ten search results within 30 days. They promise that through the use of optimized landing pages (doorway pages) and proprietary techniques, I will quickly see my page in the top ten.

When you hear someone promising a guaranteed top spot in search results, it’s time to say goodbye, gently hang up the phone and get back to work—which I did. And they called right back. So I ask to be put on their no call list, and that seemed to work for about 60 days—then they call back again using the same script.

It does not matter how many times they call back, NEVER hire a search engine optimization (SEO) firm that guarantees a top position. No one can offer such a guarantee. There are too many variables they can not control, ranging from the search engine's algorithm to your competition.

What will you get if you hire a firm like this? There are a couple of possibilities:

• At the best you might get a web page optimized for obscure key words that no one uses. It’s easy to get top ten positioning for keywords that are targeted by only a couple hundred web pages—and it’s of no value. The reason why no one’s targeting these keywords is because no one is searching for them.

• At worst your page will appear in the top ten search results on Google for your targeted keyword. Through the use of doorways pages, text hidden in JavaScript and CSS, redirects, hijacked web sites and other techniques that Google has banned it is fairly simple to get any web page into the top ten—for a month or so. But then Google catches on and not only does your page drop out of sight, but your entire web site gets banned by Google. The result is your business setting new records for low sales.

The best way to get to the top of the search results, and pull qualified customers into your business, is to create a web site with:

Lots of useful, unique, quality content (text) that uses your targeted keywords

Targeted page titles and descriptions

Plenty of incoming links (because of your high quality content)

Well designed pages that address the user’s needs

Good offers and calls to action

…and don’t use frames or Flash pages, unless you know wxactly how the search engines will deal with them (just don't use them).


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