SEO, SEM and Social

Over the last decade business owners have built a website with the idea of getting extra business, especially as they try to compete during tougher economic times.

There’s a growing trend of ‘Smart Business Owners’ that seek the help of online experts to make their websites perform well on the web, ensuring they are actually able to compete with millions of other websites trying to catch the attention of potential customers and clients.

Reality Tip #1 – ‘In today’s business world, without any online solution, a website will simply end up lying around the Internet without anyone ever noticing it.’

Is Search Engine Optimisation the Golden Key?

One of the more common online solutions is seen in search engine optimisation (SEO), whose main goals include ranking a site and attracting more traffic. But any skilled SEO company realise that these are 2 small parts of a bigger puzzle and the main objective is to use other elements of SEO.

Search engine marketing (SEM), and recently, social media are two solutions that contribute to SEO and the success of a business website.

Different Thrusts, Same Purpose

SEO, SEM, and SMM, Effective online marketing strategies

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), Search Engine Marketing (SEM) and Social Media Marketing (SMM) are usually treated as separate entities, but in reality, all these three are part of a solid overall online strategy.

Effective online marketing happens when you make use of all avenues to reach out to customers and turn site visitors into paying customers. SEO, SEM and SMM are some of the key avenues to take.

The trick for the online marketer is to understand ‘how to’ integrate all three of these different strategies, adjusting and fine-tuning the marketing move based on the type of business.


Simply put, SEM is paying for your site to be listed on search engine and online directories. You can easily identify them with the small ‘Ads by Google’ or on the search engines you’ll notice they’re a different colour.

 SEO and SEM as seen in Google's search results

The idea behind SEM is quite a contrast with SEO as it’s usually based on a ‘Paid Per Click’ model. You would normally set a daily budget and once it runs out your online presence disappears till the next day.

SEO on the other hand is ‘Earned’ in the respect that it usually takes longer to get to the top, but once you’re there, you stay there (with ongoing maintenance).

SEM and SEO are not conflicting entities. In fact, they should really be used hand-in-hand, each helping the other to improve the site’s online presence.

For instance, if there are keywords that are generating a lot of leads through paid search only, you may have to put more effort into optimising them for your organic search. The same goes for SEM.

If you are finding some keywords generating leads from organic search results, you can intensify your marketing by using those keywords for SEM. This will help you make sure that you’re not missing out on any potential revenues from SEM.

In summary, when used together they can turn your site into a money making machine

Reality Tip #2 – ‘Avoid placing all of your eggs in one basket…’

Making Social Platforms Work for Your SEO

Social media is really the in thing right now.

Statistics show more and more people are engaging in social networks, and as a result social media has (and will increasingly) become an integral part of online marketing and SEO. Google have officially announced that they use ‘Social Signals’’ as a part of their algorithm.

In Google’s own words:

‘Yes, we do use [Twitter] as a signal. It is used as a signal in our organic and news rankings. We also use it to enhance our news universal by marking how many people shared an article.’

And Also:

‘We treat links shared on Facebook fan pages the same as we treat tweeted links.’


Social Butterfly Dog

The Best Suited Social Strategy

The right social strategy will also ensure you are attracting visitors through social platforms, but it will also support your SEO activities.

Although Google are proving to pay special attention to Twitter and Google +, there is also no single winner in social media that you should be prioritising. Just because Facebook has the highest number of subscribers in the world, does not mean you should only be making your business social there or give in to the notion that Facebook is king.

Many online users prefer one social network for another. Some social networks are geared towards a certain group of people and for certain industries.

If you have very eye-candy products, decors, DIY related services and other picture-worthy products and services, you can be successful socialising on Pinterest and integrate that with Facebook and other social networks.

If your business is targeting professionals and businessmen, you can find them well-connected in LinkedIn. They could be on there looking for the exact services that you are offering.

Facebookers like checking in online, so your motel or hotel business could get extra leverage as users thumb up your services and product offerings.

Evaluate and plan your social media engagement first before you go invest time and money. 

Make sure that you are making the most of the social media platform and that they are positively contributing to your overall SEO strategy.

Holistic Makes All the Difference

When looking to improve your online presence, the most important criteria you will need to consider is if the expert you are hiring uses a holistic approach to SEO.

SEO is not only about making your website appear good on search engines. It also has to do with the overall performance of your site.

You could be doing well on search, but may be failing to translate that success into real revenues.

Is your site transforming visitors into customers? Does your site have the right prompt for potential customers to contact you? And does it have an aggressive and effective social presence to engage and encourage customers to talk about and avail of your products and services? All these can easily be regarded as separate thrusts, but in fact, they all should be conceptualised as parts of a whole.


Your SEO, SEM and SMM must be thought of as interactive parts of the plan.

SEO, SEM and SMM are all parts of the puzzle

It could well be that you are doing great on social platforms, but when visitors and customers go to your site, there are a lot of navigational hiccups that are discouraging users to continue doing business with you.

If you are putting all your money into SEM and ignoring your website, the paid search investments are useless.

 Reality Tip #3 – ‘Even your focus of your online presence to get the maximum return…’

Online strategies are also not the same for all businesses. They must be planned according to the business type, so there are no strict rules that you can follow.

Ensure your Online Strategy is measurable allowing you to eliminate ineffective methods and fill in the gaps when necessary.

If you take anything away from reading this understand a holistic approach is more important when getting the maximum return for your business online.

Finding a Good SEO Company for Your Website

So you have a company website and you are looking for SEO… because you’ve heard about it and you heard that it’s important and stuff. The fact that you are looking for an SEO service could mean you have little idea of how it’s done or how it works. Or perhaps you simply do not have the time to handle this rather time-consuming task. Another case: you’ve hired an SEO person before, and it didn’t do well, so now you have to save your site.

If you have little idea about SEO, then it could be troublesome looking around. It’s like hiring someone but you don’t know the qualifications to look for. All you know is that the SEO company has to make you do well on Google and other search engines.

What You Need to Know

Many people think of SEO as “making a website rank high on search engines.” Whilst there is an element of ranking involved, in the last few years it has really evolved to become more about traffic and engagement. This is where it can start to become confusing especially with many SEO services varying in the services they offer. So how do you hire someone and what should you be looking for?

you can't just magically rank your site

First, getting ranking in the search engines doesn’t simply happen as a result of waving a magic wand. You can’t say, “In a month or two, I want my website to be at the top of Google search result” and expect it to magically happen. SEO is a combination of specific consistent, continuous activities designed to show the search engines that your site is good enough to appear in their pages.

Think of hiring an SEO as consulting work. An SEO specialist is there to help you improve your sites overall image and to identify elements for improvement. When working with a consultant they should first of all identify potential improvements for your website.

These areas may include:

  • The site’s design and structure
  • The use of content on your site
  • How the search engines see your website
  • How visitors are engaged by your website

SEO is not about getting spikes in site visits; it has more to do with giving your readers, customers and potential customers the right web experience. The better your site improves in this aspect, the better you will do in search. And good SEO can help you achieve this.

Before searching for an SEO company, it would do you good to research a little about search engine optimisation so you will know what to look for.

As you can see by this video from Matt Cutts, Google actually wants to work with SEO companies.

Do You Need to Hire an SEO Expert, Really?

If you are not a technical guy, then yes, you’ll need to hire an SEO expert. You might not know if there are errors on your site, if your hosting is secure, if there are broken links or redirects, if the site is loading too slow or if it is being crawled by the search engines in the first place.

Another important element of SEO is how others connect (or link) to your website. With the growth of Google the number of people trying to find a ‘Quick Fix’ has also increased causing a lot of negative techniques that have caused many sites to be penalised.

More than ever, it’s critical to ensure any SEO company is focussed on a ‘Clean Online Footprint’. A good SEO company will have specific strategies that will target this.

It is possible to learn these things, just like anyone can learn plumbing, but it would take a lot of work, experimentation which may not end well, especially if you are inexperienced.

Beware of the Bad Guys

The trouble with finding an SEO expert is that the industry is filled with guys that cut corners promising amazing results. Beware of amazing promises of amazing results done in lightning speed that are too cheap. Treat it just like a financial investment. The adage “If the promise is too good to be true, then it probably is” applies here. If you are promised #1 ranking in Google search, that you be a warning sign to you.

beware of guarantees

As time goes on and the search engines get smarter, old school techniques do not work as effectively as they used to. If you use an SEO company that is using the same ‘short cut’ methodology as 2 years ago then there’s a good chance you’ll get your site penalised and might even be taken out of Google’s index.

SEO old trick – keyword stuffing doesn’t work anymore

Google Makes the Rules

One thing that makes Google successful online is the ethics they try to inject into the industry, making them more trustworthy. For quite some time, it has been a battle between Google and the corner cutting SEO’s, with Google policing the SEOs and the SEOs always seeking to trick the search engine.

A good SEO for your website will abide by search engine’s rules and not go around them for the easy win. Google is constantly improving its algorithm to improve search results so your SEO company of choice should always be updated with such changes.

Where to Look

Google an SEO company and see how they rank. If they are any good then they should appear in good positions within their own serviceable area. For example, you may want a company within your area so you can easily contact them.

You want a business that you can call or email and expect a timely response during your business hours.

Another good way to look is through your network. Find good recommendations from people who have hired an SEO in the past. If you are in business-oriented social networks like LinkedIn, you can ask for recommendations from your contacts. Make a shortlist of the SEO companies you’re interested in and start investigating.

Questions to Ask

It would be good if you can do a bit of research on SEO before hiring someone. That way, you will have a background about the kind of service you wish to hire.

questions to askHere are some of the important things you can ask your shortlisted SEO candidates:

  • What are their strategies for SEO?
  • What is their experience with businesses like the one you are running? Ask which companies they have worked with.
  • How will they be reporting to you for you to know how your site is doing?
  • What are their marketing techniques that can help your business grow?
  • Ask for a timeline of tasks

Ask Their Clients

One good way to assess how good the SEO Company is by asking their clients and looking for real video testimonials. Are their clients happy with their service?

What is the average time frame they have worked with their clients?

What sort of results have they achieved? It should be about more then simply getting a site ranked. What other areas have they helped clients with?

In reality they may not be able to make everyone happy, but they should have a good list of happy clients.

Choose Wisely

Don’t go with an SEO specialist simply because of their low price.

In many instances a cheap SEO company should wave in front of your face like a red flag! There are many scammers around and you could become a victim if you are not careful.

It’s easier to get a site ranked the right way than it is to fix a site that has been heavily penalised due to corner cutting SEO.

Make sure you do your research and ask the questions listed above. This will be the difference between establishing a solid long term online presence and potentially getting banned.

SEO Techniques and Trends

MarketingSherpa have just released their 2012 Search Marketing – SEO Edition report, outlining past and future trends in SEO.

As a teaser to the report, they have also released an excerpt, highlighting several key SEO findings within over 1500 organisations.

Main reasons people Engage in SEO

The top reason people are investing in SEO is to increase traffic, which in a way is what you would consider to be the most important element of a website. In reality the most important reason to engage an SEO firm is to increase the leads and conversions through your website.

Even if your site is only attracting a few 100 visitors per month, if your campaign is highly targeted within your industry and you’re getting business through your website, then I would call that a success.

We recently started SEO’ing a site that attracts over 50,000 visitors a month, but the conversion to lead or customer was very low. By implementing a few on-page conversion strategies, we are slowly converting their traffic to leads to customers.

SEO Tactics to Rank

If you are new to SEO or you are considering DIY SEO this will give you an insight and may help you to understand why you should outsource this service. The graph below indicates the SEO methods in use and the level of difficulty through the use of each technique.

Keyword research is the second most commonly used tactic and rightfully so. Your keyword research will determine the success of your overall strategy.

A point of interest is that content creation is the most commonly used strategy and considered to be the most difficult strategy. This really does hit home that ‘content is king’, especially in light of the recent Google Panda updates.

SEO growth over the next 12 months

The following graph is broken down into 3 different sections; Trial, Transition and Strategic. It shows the level of investment expected in SEO over the next 12 months. Businesses within the Trial phase using SEO are generally run in-house, spending money on wages and staff salaries, with Transition and Strategic outsourcing either all or components of their SEO.

Further more, Transition and Strategic companies are continuing to increase their SEO budget, understanding the solid Return On Investment (ROI) in relation to dollars spent.

This also rings true with a number of our clients either previously performing the SEO tasks themselves or assigning the task to one of the members of their staff. Due to the nature of SEO, many of these tasks can be performed on a larger scale and with more consistency at a lower dollar investment.

ROI for SEO – Do the Maths

Really think about this last point and do the maths. Consider assigning an admin person with 10 hours a week of consistently performing SEO tasks (article writing, link building etc). If you are paying this person $45,000 per annum based on a  40 hour week, then you’re essentially investing just under $12,000 a year on SEO.

For a similar (or lower in many cases) level of investment you’re able to outsource this service, and have a dedicated team of people working on the strategic direction of your site working close to double that amount. They are also specialised in the art of SEO and have their finger on the pulse of all current and future trends. Hmmm… A No brainer?

As you would expect, a large number of our long term clients sit within the Strategic section and are constantly looking at increasing their ROI through other mediums like email marketing campaigns and social media.

SEO and the Wild West

This report shows that SEO is still in it’s infancy, with a lot of opportunity and growth available for many small to large business. It’s still the ‘wild west’ online and this report shows SEO’ers are taking positive steps towards standardisation.

The investment for the report is $397 for the .pdf version and is a good read for anyone that has an interest in SEO trends.

To download the report for a $100 discount, download the excerpt and fill out the form on the last page. You can download the excerpt from here –

SEO and Social Media – Is this the Missing Link

For the last 2 years, Google have pro-actively integrated social media (especially twitter) through ‘Google Realtime search’.

It shows the strength of social media, especially when comments are re-tweeted and in certain circumstances, shown in the Search Engine Results Pages.

Sounds like a good idea for a person searching on a certain topic? If a particular subject is trending at any given time and the social world is interested then Google will tell you about it in their results. This is great!

On the 3rd of July they decided to stop using Twitter as a factor in social media trends with no real explanation. As you can read in this post by Cyrus Shepard in SEO Moz the theoretical intention is to start using Google+ as the social medium to replace twitter. Here’s the article here –

In Cyrus’ article it shows a few examples of social media and its direct influence to the Search Engine Results Pages. The image below from this article demonstrates an example of pre 3rd July.

Will this impact my SEO and should I panic?

While this certainly demonstrates the importance of social media in any online campaign it doesn’t mean you should go out and set up a million campaigns and get a tonne of Google +1’s to your homepage. Aside from the fact that this is ‘black hat’ you’ll eventually get caught.

What it does demonstrate in some instances the importance of a solid social media profile and that it can potentially influence your position in the search engines. If you are serious in your online presence should you ensure you have a solid social platform? Maybe… in reality it could be overkill and you could end up spending a lot of time and money with your BDM or team member performing tasks that won’t actually give you any real measurable results.

Truth told, we are certainly recommending to certain clients that they look at their social media presence, especially if their SEO competition does the same and is doing it well.

Take a look at your competitors and see what they are doing. Like most Search Engines, in order to rank you don’t have to ‘do it all’; you simply have to do it a little better than your competition. By ensuring you’re keeping an eye on your competition (using social monitors) you’ll understand if now is the time to react, or if you should invest your time in other activities that offer a better return on investment.

A nice Niche for Search Engines – Google’s, What Do you Love?

I recall reading a book discussing the fundamentals of Google. The book was
written by Mark Malseed in 2005, and was called ‘The Google Story’.

One of the main points of the book I recall was discussing the structure of a
Google employee’s week and how they are encouraged to develop their own projects
one day a week.

Over time if you project was interesting enough it would be integrated into
Google’s overall offerings.

I have no doubt Google Maps, Froogle (now Google product search) and a multitude
of other offerings from Google were as a result of this method of encouragement
and development.

One of the latest projects just released is ‘What Do You Love’ (can be found at, which is a cool way of showing many different online mediums in
one summarised area on a particular topic.

You can see the full story on their blog here –

They explain it to say ‘A while back, a few of us wanted to make a little tool
that we could use to show just about anybody more of what Google makes. That led
to some simple ideas, and then a few more ideas and ultimately, to a challenge:
how we could connect people to products they might not know about and may find
useful, but make the discovery relevant to them and keep it fun.

Playing about with that challenge produced a website—What Do You Love?—that we
hope meets at least some of the challenge by demonstrating how different Google
products can show you different things about any particular search query.’

This tool reminds me of iGoogle, which is the tool that you can customise to
bring back specific information when you are signed into your Google account.

The difference with this site though is it’s offering of other interesting
snippets of information including Blogs, Patents, Images, 3D, Books, latest
news, and many other cool features.

A useful add-on? From an SEO perspective, visit the site and type in your
business name. This will give you a nice cross section of what’s out there in
relation to your business. Even better, type in your product or service and see
what comes up.

Could you could use this as a cool tool to track your competitors. Hmmm

Resource – Official Google Blog –

Make Your Marketing Juice Worth the Squeeze

If you’ve had a website for a while and have been trying to get more business from it, then you are probably acutely aware of how difficult this can be to achieve. Your existing customers know about you, and can probably find you using a Google search if they type in your business name, but why aren’t new customers finding you more often? If you are asking yourself this question, the most likely answer is that your website is not showing up on the front page of Google.

There are many factors involved in making this happen for your business, but here are a few of the simpler processes;

Informative Articles

Articles are a fantastic platform for educating an audience about your products, service or industry. You can discuss things based on your expert opinion, your interpretation of facts & figures or even your personal ideas about a topic. One of the greatest positives about articles is that you can publish them for free on many sites on the internet so this process is free save your own time and writing savvy. You should always include links back to your website, at least from the “bio” boxes the article houses allow you to include with your article upon publication.

Press Releases

Writing press releases is one of the best ways to improve your position in Google while at the same time promoting your special events, offers, and company information. They are a very clear marketing tool and should be used to promote and improve your branding, create “relationship” positions with potential customers and let readers know who you are. Ensure you include links back to your website from keywords within your text. This will strengthen your internet position.


Creating a blog and submitting regular interesting posts is another great method of increasing your brand awareness on the net. Each post should be about a topic directly related to your business or can tie into your business in a relevant way.

Social Media

Facebook and Twitter are the most well known platforms for social media marketing and it’s free to setup an account, so take the time to do this.  Most businesses these days are making use of this mode of marketing and many consumers use these platforms to find products and services for themselves. Social media can be great for business branding so make sure people “like” you on Facebook and you develop a list of people to market to.

These activities are just a few of the things you could be doing to improve your position on the internet and with Google. We know that this can sometimes seem like a daunting activity to undertake (and it is!) which is why we recommend that this isn’t taken on lightly. Just as each individual business owner is an expert in their own field of work, Online Specialists are the experts in our own field of Internet Marketing and Search Engine Optimisation. Online Specialists include all of the aforementioned activities and many more intricate functions within our programs. This gives our clients the highest possibility of get to the front page of Google, plus we GUARANTEE to make this happen. Contact us today for a free overview on what can be done to improve your websites position in Google.

SEO Tips To Rank High In Google

SEO TipsI don’t know about you, but I get extremely excited when I see my new keywords at the top of Google for the very first time.

There are many SEO tips that I could share with you to help achieve this result but the biggest tip of all is that making big changes in ranking is primarily done by what is called “off-page optimization”.

Off-page optimization really makes a HUGE difference in your site’s ranking. Properly planned off-page optimization will make the difference between your website not ranking in the top 100 pages and ranking #1 on Google!

So, what is off-page optimization anyway?

Off-page optimization basically consists of all of the ranking factors that are NOT located on your webpage, that the search engines look at when ranking a website.

These include:

  • Which websites link to you
  • The number of websites linking to you
  • The page title of the website linking to you
  • The Google page rank of the site linking to you
  • The anchor text used in the link linking to you
  • The number and type of links linking to the website that’s linking to you.
  • The number of outbound links on the website that is linking to you
  • The total number of links on the website that is linking to you
  • Whether or not the websites linking to you are deemed by Google as an authority website.
  • The IP Address of the websites linking to you.

More Off-Page SEO Tips

In order to optimize your website for any keyword you need to analyze the off-page optimization techniques of the top 10 ranked websites for your keyword. The goal here will be to copy exactly what they’re doing, and then do things slightly better.

You want to give Google exactly what they want, by making your off-page optimization as close to the top ranked websites as possible, but as I said, if you do slightly better then you’ll edge them out and rank higher.

So just how do you do this? Well, it’s actually not as easy as it sounds. The reality is that you need to use a bunch of software programs that allow you to ‘reverse engineer’ the off-page factors of the website(s) you are wanting to outrank. My advice is your better off leaving this to a trained SEO professional unless you are an internet geek that is technically orientated.

Final Off-Page SEO Tips

Off-page search engine optimization comes down to basically one thing, which websites are linking to your websites and how they’re doing it.

This includes the anchor text used in your link, the title of the page your link is on, the page rank of the page your link is on and the “theme” of the website your link is on.

By now, I’m hoping you see how important the off-page SEO factors are that will get your website to the top of the search engines. Yes, it is a lot of work and it something you need to work on all the time, not just once. Because once you get to the top of Google results you want to make sure you stay there. This means that the link building and content creation work on your site must never stop.

If you would like to get a free SEO analysis and report of your site done then click here now.


SEO and World Peace!

There’s nothing quite as satisfying as getting a client in the top spots for their keywords, especially when we hear how well their business is fairing during economic downtimes.

Not only does it prove you know what you are doing as an SEO professional, but more importantly, you’re making the online world a better place by ensuring people browsing Google are finding the most relevant results. It’s sort of like you’re assisting in creating a Search Engine Results Utopia.

As I write this I can picture the comment from the movie Miss Congeniality when they asked each of the contestants ‘What does the society needs most?’ as each entrant replied with the same cliché line ‘World Peace’. Although world peace would be great, imagine an online world where people searching for their keywords are presented with exactly what they are after, first time round. This in my mind would be the online version of world peace.

World Peace Can’t Happen Overnight

Just as I understand world peace doesn’t happen overnight, I also understand creating a ‘Search Engine Results’ utopia also takes time and persistence. Google are constantly updating how they measure website rankings and although the basics are still the same, it’s safe to say the easiest way to get your website to the top and to stay there is through good old fashioned elbow grease.

This elbow grease I mention is in the form of a consistent series of repeated actions that you implement in a most boring repetitive fashion. At times it’s as exciting as watching grass grow, yet if you complete these steps you will slowly see your site emerge at the top.

These steps are the important and ensure the industry continues to grow and the Search Engines are able to refine their processes to give the end user the best result possible.

Can I Just Snap My Fingers And Appear At The Top Spot ?

In simple terms, there’s no magic pill when it comes to SEO. You may have heard that you can just waive a magic wand and appear at the top, but in all seriousness anyone who promises that kind of tom foolery will end up causing more long term damage than good. In other words; when on holiday you may experience a brief oceanfront visit as your concierge takes your bags to your room, but ultimately you’ll end up with the crappiest room at the back of the resort. Make Sense?

It simply takes Time!

How Long is Too Long?

Any good SEO company will explain the process they follow to achieve your desired result. The tricky part is whether you feel confident that they’re not just pulling your leg and telling you what you want to hear. For more information on what to look for, check out Eva’s post titled – Beware of Dodgy SEO Companies.

Putting that aside, we always say to clients not to expect any results for the first 3 months. When I say results I mean a good level of traffic and an increase in rankings. After all… we’re mixing together a fine selection of ingredients to bake a website that sits at the top of the search engines.

6 months and $470,000 on the bottom line

To protect the names of the innocent I’m not going to mention names (take a peek at our testimonials page… hint, hint) in relation to one of our clients that experienced a healthy return on investment when we worked together on their SEO campaign.

This was a property management business that engaged our services as SEO specialists. Their campaign (as with every campaign) involved a lot of foundation work and took a healthy amount of time before they dominated the Search Engines.

There were a massive number of little tasks that needed to be performed and once these tasks compounded the end result was an excellent return on investment. A $470,000 return to be accurate.

As you would expect this result wasn’t immediate but once everything lined up the site took off and the rest is history.

SEO and World Peace

Although SEO can’t fix world peace it can bring us one step closer to more relevant search engine results and ensure businesses that are proactively updating their website with quality content will emerge at the top.

If you approach SEO with the intention of making the online world a better place and put in a lot of elbow grease you’ll find your website will be in it for the long haul. You never know… maybe one day when we create Search Engine Utopia you’ll to enter ‘World Peace’ into Google and the answer will show up first time.


To get a free SEO and Google Places Analysis for your website and find out where your site is currently positioned in Google then…

click here now and simply fill in the short form at the top of the page.

Beware of dodgy SEO companies

Each day as I get out of bed I think to myself… today is going to be a great day! Why wouldn’t it be? After all, I work for a great company, I project manage a great group of clients and overall, I love my job. But as with all good things, there are also some challenges that pop up every once in a while. My pet hate is having dodgy SEO companies contacting my clients offering cheaper services – this tends to put a dampener on my day as these sorts of companies create a bad name for other legitimate businesses within our industry.  As one of these companies contacted one of my clients this week, I thought that I would blog about this topic.

So how can you tell if the SEO Company you are approached by is genuine?

Well, there are a number of factors that you should look at. These can vary considerably however in general a few commonalities apply. The main determining factor is to understand whether the company you are intending on working with uses blackhat vs. whitehat SEO techniques.

What is blackhat vs. whitehat SEO?

The term Blackhat applies to SEO techniques that are designed to manipulate the search engines, on the other hand, whitehat applies to techniques that comply with the search engines set of optimisation rules. Whilst blackhat techniques can at times achieve immediate results, more often than less, they tend to have long-term negative effects on websites. In many cases, websites that have been optimised using blackhat techniques can end up banned from Google’s index.  A perfect example of identifying a company that uses blackhat techniques is offering a guarantee to get you to the top spot of Google quickly.

I have to tell you, some of the big guys were affected by Google’s latest algorithm update. JC Penny and and Forbes were all recently affected as a result of inferior SEO techniques.

At the end of the day, it’s important to ensure you are looking out for the signs of a genuine SEO business.

How to Spot the Legit from the Dodgy?

There are a few tell tale signs of a dodgy SEO company.  The top three include:

1.  How many and what keywords will they optimise your site for

When we are working with a client we will generally select between 4-8 highly targeted keywords that actually attract search volume. A dodgy SEO company will tell you they will optimise your site for more than a dozen keywords or may also tell you they will get you to the top spot for an almost impossible keyword.

If you wanted to check up on the suggested keywords, you can look these up using the Google keyword tool. This is a free tool that shares the volumes for keywords. If you search for a keyword and there are more than 20,000 searches a month and you are paying less than $1,200 a month than it’s very unlikely your keywords will ever see the light of day.

2. It’s really cheap

Another dead give away is the price. We had a client that was receiving a very solid level of business through our work together, yet they decided to get a little greedy and left us to work for a company that charged a quarter of the price we charged. Needless to say, we started working with one of their competitors. The business that stopped working with us, totally disappeared from the search engines.

To get a website to the top of the search engines, over the long term you need to invest a good chunk of time and it involves a series of consistent action.  These consistent actions end up earning the top spot in Google for your keywords. In order to gain results, inexpensive SEO service providers revert back to dodgy blackhat techniques. These techniques generally involve outsourcing of inferior services such as poor quality link building, blogging, copying content from other sites and so on.

Like most things in life, you get what you pay for.

3. They offer a Guarantee to get you to the top

It normally works the other way around when it comes to offering guarantees in business, but in the SEO world no one can offer a guarantee when it comes to ranking. Let’s be straight on this. Even as a very experienced SEO I can not offer any guarantee that I will get you on the first page, or in the top 3.  Our track record has proven we can achieve this time and time again, but we still do not offer any guarantee. Just as weatherman can predict the weather, there are so many other factors at play that you simply can’t control (fortunately we have a much better track record than weathermen).

On average, it takes a company 6 months to catch on and to stop paying for these services. By this stage, you would have probably paid something along the line of $3000 plus. Now multiply this by 200 or 300 and you will see why you were contacted in the first place. Did the dodgy SEO shut it’s doors at this stage, I don’t think so… they probably built a new site, and started the process again using different company name.

In summary, when selecting your SEO Company, read up on SEO and make sure that your company of choice is genuine on all levels. Query them on their methods, check out their testimonials and reviews, find out about what techniques they use and most of all, trust your gut feeling. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

How Do I Get My Website To Perform

Getting your website out there is very similar to setting up and running your own business. Like any successful operational business, you need some form of ongoing marketing. There are a number of different marketing options available including word of mouth, referrals, newspaper ads, direct mail, radio advertising and a range of other effective methods.

Any business that wants to move forward through the internet needs to have more than just a website … they also need some sort of Internet Strategy, whether it is SEO, PPC, Video or Social Media.

Let me back that up with an explanation …

Why aren’t I getting any enquiries through my website?

The ‘Numero Uno’ comment I hear from business owners today is – “When my web designer built my site I thought it would instantly bring in visitors and make me money”. Not only do web designers need to be more upfront about what the result (and lack of) will be from their web design, it can be very disheartening for a business owner that has already gone through all the struggle of building their website only to find no-body knows of its existence or is even using it.

Many website owners end up loosing interest and push it aside. When the rare visitor eventually stumbles on the site it lacks the true feel of what your business has to offer and could end up sending the wrong message to your potential client.

My Own Embarrassing Experience

Like Michael Jordan, I’ve made more mistakes than I’ve had successes. Fortunately; every mistake I’ve made has lead to an even greater success. My first journey into self employment was in hospitality; more specifically I purchased a restaurant.

Before I opened the doors I did the hard yards. I chose my menu, fixtures and fittings, hired a team of people and all the other fun tasks in setting up your own business. I spent literally hundreds of hours getting everything ready, squeezing every ounce of my heart and soul into small details of the business. I was very excited on my very first day when we opened the doors, expecting a horde of people to come piling in to order meals and coffees.

Within the first day reality kicked in as I stood there for most of the day to make a cracker sum of $50.00 (most of which was my family coming to visit). I truly felt sick by the end of my first day when the impending embarrassment kicked in. I honestly thought I would just build it and they would come.

Why You Need To Market Your Website

My ego was hit like a tonne of bricks when I realised the hard work I had invested meant nothing without marketing activity.

My first experience in business mirrors the harsh reality for a lot of website owners. The reality is unless you have some form of Internet Strategy in place, you’ll end up with an underperforming website that could have the potential to bring in a large majority of business… that is, if people knew of its existence and were able to locate it.

How Can I Let Visitors Know About My Website?

Whatever your strategy if you would like your website to supply you with sales and/or leads it’s critical to have a strategy in place to achieve that result. Like my naïve restaurant story, if you build it they simply don’t come.

Obviously I am biased and am going to say an SEO company is the best way to achieve that result, yet there are times when SEO isn’t necessary the best solution. Seeking advice of an experienced professional will ensure you are on the right track and will assist you in the construction of a solid online presence to rake in those visitors to boost that bottom line.