Vacheh Joakim

Let Me Talk You Out of Doing SEO, Please!

As a general rule, at this point in the development of search engines, many businesses should say away from SEO services.

There are, however, certain businesses, in certain positions which can benefit from monthly SEO services.

Most other businesses, if in the market for SEO services, should only consider one-time on-page optimization from a reliable optimizer or optimization company.

SEO is not magic!

Don't fall for guarantees or slick sales tactics which promise top ten rankings. No one can guarantee such results; however, knowledgable SEOs can promise improvements in rankings--they just can't predict the extent of improvements.

If you are considering SEO, please email me or call me so I can talk you out of making a mistake, assuming SEO is not the right choice for you and your company.

If you'd rather not listen to me lecture you about SEO, you can read some of my thoughts about SEO here:

Search Engine Optimization

Search engine optimization (SEO) services can be one of the most frustrating services to shop for, and the results are almost never what clients expect. This is usually because they have improperly set expectations, which inevitably results in dissatisfaction with the service they receive. This is partially the fault of the client, but more often than not the bulk of the blame lies with the SEO service provider or consultant.

The problem arises from lack of education about the topic, and here is where it is the service provider's responsibility provide adequate and accurate information about what search engine optimization is, what is possible to accomplish using white hat1 SEO techniques, and most importantly what the limitations of SEO are.

This last element of the education process, that is, the limitations of search engine optimization, is where ethics comes into play. Almost all search engine optimizers know the limits of their capabilities, and that of SEO as an Internet marketing tool; however, where they falter is in imparting this information to the people seeking out their services. There is ultimately one reason why this happens: The desire to close a sale.

No matter how ethical you think you are being, if the potential client does not learn from you of the true nature of search engine optimization, and its limitations, then you have already started down a slippery slope from which it is going to be extremely hard to recover. The lack of knowledge about the limitations of SEO is why most of those who have engaged the services of a search engine optimizer have eventually been disappointed. There is an intrinsic weakness to the field of SEO which is the main reason why those offering the service often find themselves in a situation where they have to choose between signing up a client, or scaring them away by giving them a realistic explanation of what SEO can do.

The Problem with Search Engine Optimization

There is an inherent problem with search engine optimization which is that the service is so intangible, the results so impossible to guarantee, and the progress is so slow-moving that those who buy the service are very likely to be disappointed in what they get. Worse yet, there is no way to avoid this completely, because even if those who offer the service set expectations properly, will still be faced with the question of why a specific ranking which was predicted at the beginning of the project has not materialized within the estimated time-frame. This reality, however, does not excuse the search engine optimizer from attempting to set the proper expectations for every potential client.

At the same time, those seeking out SEO services, must realize that the nature of SEO is such that even if they receive perfect advice, or a perfectly optimized website from the search engine optimizer, that the rankings they were hoping for never materialize. SEO is a process of improvement without an actual final destination--technically a top position for a search term is a destination, it is never final. Because it is never a permanent achievement that will allow anyone to rest on their laurels.

There is also another problem, the clients, even when told the reality of things, retain the false expectation that a search engine optimizer will be able to deliver them top rankings no matter what. Worse yet, more often than not, they have a false impression of their own website’s standing in relation to top players in their industry. Every search engine optimizer has inevitably come across the client who thinks that is the competition to his recently launched ecommerce site, or that is the competition to her recently launched auction site.

Can SEO & Ethics Coexist?

The answer is of course 'Yes!', and a resounding one at that. We always have the choice of going about our profession ethically, even if it means losing the opportunity to work on some projects. No one can be perfect, but there is no reason why we cannot try to come as close as we can, when it comes to dealing with clients in an ethical way. I don’t want to see anyone waste their hard-earned money on services that have not been clearly explained to them, so my top priority is to outline as well as I can the realities of search engine optimization, and my capabilities to deliver results.

1. White hat search engine optimization is the type of SEO which conforms to the requirements and guidelines set by the search engines as they relate to site quality and acceptable methods and techniques of improving the rankings of a website.

FAQ About Search Engine Optimization

Search engine optimization (SEO) is as much art as it is 'science'; however, there are certain basics and constants that do not change. As a starting point, the below questions (and answers) can serve to lay the basic foundation for understanding SEO.

What is search engine optimization?

Search engine optimization is the process of improving the organic search engine rankings for a website or a web page through the use of on-site as well as off-page techniques.

What kind of results are possible with search engine optimization?

Depending on the quality of your site (or the time and money you are willing to put into making your site competitive in value) no top ten listing for a keyword is beyond reach; however, the important thing is to find the right keywords for your website and goals. Simply trying to rank for the most competitive keywords in your niche is generally not the best place to start. It is very important to have a sustainable campaign so that you don't become disenchanted with the process, since SEO is a long-term solution.

How much does search engine optimization cost?

Like most things, you get what you pay for, and bargain-hunting is going to end up wasting your investment. At the same time, you don't want to overpay for services, so due diligence when it comes to hiring a search engine marketing professional is very important.

Which is better, SEO or PPC?

Pay-per-click and search engine optimization are two completely different disciplines; however, they both work best when done in conjunction with one another. Having a properly optimized website can definitely help improve the quality of your website as far as PPC is concerned. And having a PPC campaign can help with testing keywords and discovering new opportunities which will then in turn help improve the SEO strategy.