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Tuesday, January 30, 2007

If Results Aren't Guaranteed, Why Bother with SEO?

Continuing on yesterday's article about SEO guarantees: If the results of true search engine optimization can’t be guaranteed, why bother?

First and foremost, research shows that 70% of search engine click-thrus occur from the natural results. Pay-per-click provides instant positioning, but your click-thru rate on PPC ads will be lower than what you’d achieve by being on the first page of search engine’s natural results.

Internet users consider the natural results to be more credible than PPC ads located on the same page, which explains the higher click-thru for natural results. Another benefit is that search engine users clicking on your link enter your site with high expectations that your company provides what they’re looking for.

Your search engine optimization efforts usually provide long-term return on investment. Once your site is positioned on the first page of the search engines, it’ll usually stay there for some time. Whereas with PPC, you’ll need to keep paying month after month to retain your ad position.

Monday, January 29, 2007

What's wrong with an SEO guarantee?

Ten years ago, our company would routinely guarantee that we could position our clients' web sites at the forefront of the major search engines for important keywords. Today, we'd never think of doing such a thing.


Why?


In the early days of SEO, actually, before the term was even coined, very few companies understood the importance of search engine positioning, let alone what techniques could be used to improve it. At the same time, there were still relatively few sites competing with each other for keyword positioning, making SEO a simple and very rote process for us.


The landscape has changed significantly since then. Where there might have been 150,000 pages competing for a certain keyword, there now could be 15 million. Search engines have become much more sophisticated, requiring marketers to jump through many more hoops to have their pages deemed as important content. And, SEO firms abound, creating a much more competitive market for site positioning.


From our experience, SEO firms that today offer guarantees provide a promise to do something that ultimately is of little value to the client. They guarantee to position a client on X number of search engines for X number of keywords, with no promise that the results will show up on Google, Yahoo or MSN or for high-traffic keywords.


They also promise to "resubmit" their client sites monthly; again, a worthless proposition as search engines no longer require any sort of submission to index a site.


So, how do you determine what to believe from a company offering such guarantees?


You don't. You just run -- fast, and far away, with your hand on your wallet.