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The Truth About SEO Claims

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Dec2009 24

By now you’ve probably received an email from a company you never heard of claiming that they can get your website to show up #1 in Google.  Their claims sound too good to be true:

“Show up #1 in Google”

“Increase traffic 1000% overnight”

Despite what anyone might tell you there is no way to guarantee you will show up #1 in Google.  Period.  Anyone who makes such a claim is doing you a great disservice.  Let’s think about this for a moment.  Any search engine – be it Google or Yahoo or Microsoft or anyone else – determines rankings through complex algorithms that are guarded and known by nobody outside of these companies.  This is a fact.  The search engine controls these algorithms and, in turn, are in control of your search engine rankings.  No outside organization can guarantee how these search engines will rank you.  They have no influence.  None.

Companies that make these promises are often shifty.  In some cases they will get your site to show up #1 for a keyword that nobody ever searches for.  You may jump for joy, tell your coworkers (perhaps even call your friends and family) but you’ll soon realize that this keyword brings little traffic to your website even after several months.  In other cases these companies simply build links to your website by black hat (frowned upon) methods to artificially raise your ranking for a keyword.  However you then run the danger of being banned from search engines entirely.

You have to be careful out there.  The truth is there is no easy way to show up in the organic, non-paid search results in any search engine.  If there was don’t you think everyone would do it?  Rather than look for the quick fix take some time and follow these steps:

Identify keywords

Before anything else you need to identify your keywords.  Keywords should be relevant to the content of your website and be capable of bringing traffic to your website (meaning people actually search for your targeted keywords).  If you are in a competitive market, look at your competitors websites and see what they are targeting.

Work keywords into content

Once you have your keywords defined you must work them into the content of your website.  Yes, there was a time when keywords could be stuffed in hidden tags and produce results but those days are long gone.  Search engines are sophisticated now.  They read the content of the website just as a person would.  If your keywords aren’t dominant on your website don’t expect many results.

Build inbound links to your website

One of the most important pieces of the organic search optimization puzzle is building inbound links to your website.  Inbound links act like votes in the eyes of search engines.  However it isn’t entirely a quantity issue.  Quality of the inbound links counts a lot here.  Say your website sells kites.  Having a link from a highly ranked website related to kites will serve you far better than a similarly highly ranked website not related to kites.

Track results and make adjustments

Search engine optimization isn’t like painting a house.  You can’t simply put the effort in and forget it for a couple of years.  Quite the opposite, in fact.  With all efforts the results should be tracked (using a combination of your analytics tool and specific search engine optimization tools) and adjustments should be made on a regular basis (I recommend monthly) to fine tune your rankings.

Conclusion

When it comes to claims made by search engine optimization companies my general rule of thumb is this:  If it sounds too good to be true it probably is.  (Actually now that I think about it I apply that rule to most everything!).  Rather than looking for a quick fix, follow the four steps above to improve your search engine rankings without running the risk of being banned from search engines.

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