Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is generally portrayed by marketers as one of the most effective tactics for generating leads or sales from your website. But while most marketers understand the importance of SEO, many see the process as a highly technical, almost mysterious discipline that’s best left in the hands of experts.
So it’s no surprise, that many small and medium-sized business’s look to outsource their SEO to trained professionals. A simple Google search for SEO firms will turn up thousands of vendors, offering incredibly fast or first page results for attractively low monthly fees or even a simple one-time purchase.
Be careful, Many of these “professionals” and SEO experts are counting on clients’ SEO ignorance to get quick cash without delivering long-term, sustainable SEO improvements. Even worse, some of the practices used by SEO firms can actually hurt your business in the long run.
#1. Is the promise “Too Good to be True”
When company’s outsourcing their business’s SEO, it’s a huge leap of faith – business’s spending marketing dollars need to show a return on that investment. It stands to reason why company’s are tempted by firms that guarantee top rankings or specific traffic increases, or claim they’ll improve your position in as little as 30 days.
The fact is, reputable SEO firms don’t offer guaranteed #1 rankings, fast results, or any other promises that sound too good to be true.
First of all, Google warns against making such promises in its search marketing guidelines, saying, “No one can guarantee a #1 ranking on Google.”
Search rankings can be very unstable, and subject to a variety of factors such as the location (of the person searching) and whether they’re logged into Google and are using personalized results.
Rankings should be considered but not the overall metric for performance. It’s more important that the search results drive relevant visitors that take a desired action – such as signing up for an email newsletter or making a purchase – once they land on your page or website.
SEO is not a quick-fix marketing tactic to deliver results in a matter of hours or days. Instead, it typically takes a diligent, ongoing process that gradually improves your site’s rankings over the course of 6-12 months.
A good SEO project can take two to three months to begin showing a real impact, depending on a number of factors such as the age of your site, the number of quality inbound links you already have, and the competitiveness of keywords. The real test is to show continued growth after the 2-3 month and through a 12 month cycle.
Anyone promising you big-time results in just a month is probably overpromising or worse: They could be using shady SEO “Black Hat” tactics that might deliver a quick bump at the expense of long-term search engine visibility.
Check back for on-going SEO tips and myths.