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 Is Search Engine Marketing Right for My Business?

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Number of posts : 1850
Age : 55
Registration date : 2008-03-08

PostSubject: Is Search Engine Marketing Right for My Business?   Fri 11 Apr - 22:06

Perhaps youíve redesigned your website and are wondering if search engine marketing (SEM) or search engine optimization (SEO) is right for your business. Or maybe you donít trust most search engine marketing companies to do what they claim they will do. Maybe you feel like you are running in place, spending money on SEM but not seeing the results you anticipated. Or you feel abused because your site is re-optimized every time you work with an SEO company and still no results.

This article will help you recognize the legitimate, ethical SEO and search engine marketing companies as opposed to those who are making unsubstantiated claims. Armed with this info, you will be able to sort out the claims an SEM company makes and drill into the claim enough to expose the truth.

One of the most common errors businesses make when approaching search engine marketing, and all marketing for that matter, is holding an improper view of marketing.

Most businesses view marketing as an expense rather than an investment, probably because most organizations do not have a marketing plan; or, if they do have a marketing plan, they are afraid to execute it. Either they do marketing on an ad hoc basis or they simply have not taken their planning seriously. In my opinion, this is why so many illegitimate marketing companies are thriving in today's market place. They know that there are enough businesses out there who are unprepared and without a plan that they can get at least one round of cash out of them.

When a business understands that marketing is an investment, they begin to think about their goals and plan how they can best use their budget to achieve those goals. Creating a successful marketing plan is hard work, but it is worth the time and effort because the return outweighs the investment by far. Marketing is buying customers.

Now, with the proper view of marketing in mind, how does one discern the claims of an SEO company? Here are some of the most common claims I hear:

We do search engine optimization, too."

"We update meta tags and do search engine submissions."

"We guarantee top 10 rankings in the search engines within a given time frame."

We do search engine optimization, too."

This claim often comes from a web design company that does some aspects of search engine optimization but does not keep up with the changes in the algorithms and does not really do what it takes to gain top rankings. You get roped in on this claim because they do a great job at web design or whatever it is you paid them to do, and so you assume they are equally skilled at SEO.

In many web designersí minds, search engine optimization entails doing some keyword research and then updating the meta tags accordingly. A simple task and it probably doesn't cost much, but your site remains low in the search engines and traffic does not increase as you expected. This is not what a successful and ethical SEO campaign is about at all.

To get proof of their claim, ask this company to show you some current sites that they have gained top rankings for in Google and Yahoo for a competitive keyword. If the keywords they use don't seem very competitive to you, or if you don't see several sponsored ads for these keywords, don't buy it. The companyís claim is not legitimate.

"We update meta tags and do search engine submissions."

I recently received a call from a New York company who is becoming known for search engine submissions. Not knowing that I was a search engine marketing professional, they tried to convince me that all I needed to do to gain top rankings in Google and the other search engines was to hand submit my website every 29 days. I could not believe the claims they were making. They think that a search engine is like the media. . .submit, submit, submit until the search engine remembers your site. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Submitting to search engines is a thing of the past. Todayís search engines will find your website and index all its pages periodically as long as it is linked from a web page already in its database. So, getting in the search engines is no big deal; the real issue is gaining top rankings for your important keywords. Ranking high in the search engines has everything to do with ethical SEO techniques and link building.

The company that claims they can get your site ranking at the top by updating the meta tags and submitting it regularly is either deluded or they know they can convince people to buy their services because most people donít know better. Run, donít walk, from such claims.

"We guarantee top 10 rankings in the organic search engine results."

Most people know now that no one can guarantee a top ranking in the organic (or natural, non-advertising) search engine results, but I still hear this one and it is tempting to buy such a guarantee.

Letís think about this: who can guarantee a top ranking in Googleís organic results? No one can, no company can - nobody but Google alone. Now this company will probably try to substantiate their claim because they have a

'partnership" with Google. Donít believe it! No company has a partnership with Google that influences how Google ranks sites in the organic listings. The only "partnerships" Google and Yahoo have with SEM companies are always related to their pay-per-click advertising service, not the organic or natural listings. Yahoo does offer a pay-for-inclusion service but that again does not affect how they rank the sites in the organic listings.

Search engines are continually adjusting their algorithms so they can provide quality, relevant results for their users and eliminate the sites that try tricks to get a higher ranking. Most of the time, these algorithm adjustments do clean up the results, but even Google has been known to get rid of a good site along with the bad ones. This can be expected with several billion websites to manage; given time, the good sites usually come back. Be wise when you encounter outlandish guarantees like this from an SEM company.

Have you thought, "I have a great website, but no one knows about it. Is search engine marketing right for my business?"

If you are looking for a legitimate search engine marketing or search engine optimization company, here are some ethical SEO indicators you should look for:

Explains what they intend to do in terms of making changes to your website to gain higher rankings.

Relates why keyword research is so important to the overall goal and strategy of targeting your online market, and how copywriting is critical to gaining audience response as well as good rankings in search engines.

Knows that ethical SEO technique involves both on the page and off the page optimization, much more than simply updating the meta tags. They know about and avoid "black hat" techniques like keyword stuffing, doorway pages, hidden text, duplicate content and cloaking. Search engines can detect these types of tricks and they have been known to filter out the websites that employ them.

Understands how link-building makes a big difference in gaining great rankings and can avoid associating your website with "bad neighborhoods" that penalize your rankings in Google. Link spam penalties include being removed from the search engineís database or directory, being assigned a Zero PageRank or PR0.

Are not pushy about selling their services and can explain where the money goes.

Often works with other marketing and web professionals, especially those who see the value of having search engine marketing done for their clients in a professional manner.

Uses ethical SEO techniques, web design, marketing, development and link-building strategies that are considered best practices within the search engine marketing industry. Can they assure you that their search engine optimization methods will not result in your site being penalized by Google, or end up with a Zero PageRank (PR0)?

Provides search engine ranking reports periodically so you can see how your rankings have improved for specific keywords.

Search engine marketing could be right for your business if:

You know that your target market is online.

Your website is designed, written and navigates in a way that communicates effectively with your target market.

Your product or service is a good fit for the Internet.
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