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Did you come across with people on the Internet who were promising you the Holy Grail of making money, getting out the carefully guarded so called "Secret Formula", the "Cookie Cutter Method", "from Rags to Riches way", the "Superfast, guaranteed way to get on top of the search engines" and a lot more?

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What do SEO companies fail to tell you?

Added by Kevin B on Tue, Oct 06, 2009, 04:15 PM

This post is about a company called http://www.seohaus.com. It could be about any company that pushes its SEO services very hard though.

As a small business owner you probably already shopped around for new ways to advertise your product or service. And you probably found many SEO companies promising you that all you need is their wonderful SEO service and your site will be on the first page among among search results in no time.

I would like to use a little word of caution here before signing up with them.

Even though as many SEO companies state, search engine optimization is NOT the most effective way to go for a brand new website that just starting its web presence.

It is true that only 40% of the traffic lands in Adwords and 60% comes from organic search on average.

It is also true that most organic search traffic goes to a tiny percent of all existing websites and all these websites has one in common: they are ranked very high in link popularity and relevancy and in many cases belong to large corporations (when I am talking about the most commonly used search terms).

But for a beginner website SEO alone is not enough and website definitely cannot be optimized for the most common search terms because that is just a waste of time. Why?

Because a beginner website in no way can compete with a website that is ranked high for the most common search terms in a given industry. The highly ranked website has a very high page rank (PR score) (many high PR sites provide inbound links and it probably has thousands of deep links) and it was probably started years ago. There is absolutely no way for a new website to compete against this by using SEO alone.

Example:

World Class Transmissions. The only thing they ordered was SEO service from us, but no other Internet marketing and maintenance service was provided to them. We advised them against ordering SEO alone, but they insisted. That was their choice, and we did offer them the freedom of choice instead of trying to shove a package down on their throat as many of our competitors try to do.

So, yes they have a website, but they have NO INTERNET PRESENCE whatsoever. The good news is that our system is very flexible and we can always go back to them and ask them if they feel their site is doing its job for them and we can always improve their situation if they want.

To make things even worse for a new website from the SEO point of view:

Search engines change their algorithms on a regular basis and they keep it a secret. What is an algorithm? A process or a formula that is implemented in the search engine to determine which web pages are the most relevant for certain keywords that searchers type in. The previously mention Pagerank (PR Score) is a significant part of this algorithm that determines the final ranking of all competing website on the SERP (Search Engine Result Page). What does this mean? The websites with high pagerank already have competitive advantage against those who just started (because the starters usually start with 0 pagerank), thus they will automatically be ranked lower on the final SERP for a given search term that the searcher typed in.

These search algorithms are patented

and carefully guarded and almost all marketers can only make educated guesses what criteria the algorithms are based on. Now the search engine company discloses certain information to guide marketers and to encourage advertiser competition, but they never disclose all of it because this would give unfair advantage to those who have the most money and the vast majority of people (including the search engines) want to keep the Internet open and free.

These algorithms are constantly changed and refined to produce better search results.

What results are considered better? It is an entirely subjective matter and even though search engines do their best to standardize the notion 'better', in reality it all depends on the mindset of the searcher. Of course, they use sophisticated methods and real live testers to try to figure this out, but the results are still far from perfect. That is the reason why the algorithms are constantly being changed, tested and refined. One day a website can be among the top search results for a given keyword, the next day it can show up only on the 3rd or 4th page (which practically equals with zero visitors).

 Thus keywords and landing pages must be constantly tested until the result producing keywords are found.  

The best place to test them is Google Adwords as they are providing the interface for scientific advertising which savvy marketers started to use even in the early 1900s. In the 21s century Google provides the testing platform that is based on the same old concept Claude Hopkins and his team invented. Today Google  uses the tremendous leverage provided by the Internet to get test results in much faster for their advertisers.

Once the producing keywords are found, the website can be optimized around those keywords and the likelihood that the site will be dropped from first page position will be much lower than the likelihood of a website that did not do any testing before their SEO.

Therefore, search engine optimization should be the ultimate goal AFTER the right high ROI producing keywords are found. Once these keywords are found, most likely the SEO will be effective, but it is still going to be a rsiky business as Google, Yahoo or Bing can change their algorithm at any time that would throw out the optimized web pages from top positions.

Now, of course, on-going SEO can be performed and constant improvements can and must be made during the testing phase and even later.

Every business owner has an idea of what keywords they should use when advertising their business and initially the site can be optimized for these keywords. However, these keywords might not be productive (most likely they will not be at all because of the reasons mentioned in the first paragraph) because they turn out to be either too expensive or way too competitive (example: mortgage companies, travel agencies, real estate, online trading).

With careful initial research we can find keywords that might produce very well even initially so the testing phase can be significantly shortened. This careful initial testing coupled with higher bids in the Adwords system gives the backbone of our

AOA which has one purpose:

significantly shortening the time of finding the keywords that yield good ROI.

Can a beginner site start from a pagerank other than zero? 

Absolutely. This means that they have to obtain links from high pagerank websites. This way their pagerank will be higher than zero even when they start. A not well-known site can obtain these links by purchasing them and there are many SEO companies out there who are actually, buying and selling links (backlinks from a high pagerank sites or many high pagerank sites) (as this company also seems to be doing). However, this practice is not only unethical (because it puts unfair advantage for those people who have more money, but not necessarily have the best product or service), but also considered illegal in the eyes of Google as these link farms directly threaten Google's core business which is to provide unbiased and relevant search results for the searchers using Google's search platform.

So Google is doing whatever it takes to stop the linkfarms

that sell links and they ban the owners AND their clients forever from Google's search results. And still over 70% of the people search on Google, so a potential client of a company that sells links can risk automatically losing 70% of its internet traffic that would have come from Google's organic search. Selling and buying links is a shortcut for a startup company to obtain high pagerank in an unethical way, but just like spam or other black hat techniques it is very risky and quite expensive (especially when you get caught).

The following page tells me a very important thing: very specific keyword phrases that they use for optimizing a given site shown in their examples.

http://www.seohaus.com/rankings/

We could technically analyze each of their example sites in Domain Tools and Wayback Machine to see how long they have been in existence, but

how many of this company's average potential clients would know about this possibility and would actually do it?

The main thing it tells me how many results they got. OK, that is great. I am not saying that the results are bad because the more webpages a company is listed on the higher its reach and the better its web presence is, but these results omit the most crucial factor:

the actual date

when these results were produced and included on the SEO company's website.

As I mentioned earlier, search engines often change their algorithms and on one day they deliver x number of results for a given keyword, on a later day they could deliver much more or much less (depending on how Google validates the pages that contain the results). For example: one company can produce 5 million result pages on a given day, but when Google finds out that 90% of these result pages were pages belonging to a link farm and the links were all purchased Google bans all these pages from the results causing them to drop to 500,000.

Major blow,

but we do not know that (especially non-experts do not know that) because the website that sells their SEO still shows the results before Google 'slapped' them out. One of their example companies is doing great for the 'luxury electronics' keyword phrase (this is a good niche keyword phrase), but they are doing not so great for the 'bottle water supplier' term. They say that they are on page one on Google, but in fact they dropped to page 2 (but still not page 1 as they state on their site) which is still not bad and maybe just temporary if they know what they are doing.

Also these clients of theirs seem to be bigger companies who can afford paying them more for ongoing optimization and probably for a lot more.

All in all, this seems to be a decent Internet marketing company with a little bit of misleading in their sales. Please check out the Myetus Marketing Process to see what needs to be done for a beginner website (zero visitors, no e-mail list) to get started. No SEO for a reason.

Please take a look at the Myetus Marketing Process by clicking on the link below:

Myetus Marketing Process

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