Finding your way through the labyrinth of conflicting search engine optimization information can be confusing and frustrating, no matter how much experience you have. So when you suddenly receive an email in your inbox promising guaranteed results… you’re tempted.
Don’t give in.
First, these emails almost always offer a scam – a way of manipulating the search engine results that either doesn’t work, or can get you blacklisted from the search engines even if the method does work.
Definition of Blacklisted: Denial of access. Getting your website either banned or boycotted in the search engines. Shut out.
For example, the company may promise to submit your site to 1,000 search engines or 500 directories. Sounds good, right?
Scam: Submitting your site to thousands of search engines
The trouble is that there are only four true search engines in existence: Google, Yahoo, ASK and BING (formerly MSN/Live). Every other search site you use pulls their results from the four mentioned above. So, if your site appears in one of the four, it will appear in the search engine results pages, known as SERPs, on any other search engine site.
Scam: Submitting your site to dozens of directories
As for the 500 directories – do your homework. The only directories that are going to do you any good are those that are related to your industry. So if you’re selling handcrafted wooden toys, a wedding directory is not going to help you any. However, a directory of American made toys would be perfect. Or a directory of natural, non-toxic toys may drive actual customers to your site.
You may think that having your site listed in unrelated directories will help your site, after all, what’s one more link going to hurt, right?
The trouble with that thinking is, if you have three high-quality sites linking to you and all other links are spammy, unrelated directories, those links will actually reflect poorly on your site. It’s better to focus on receiving high-quality links from sites that rank well in the search engines and have actual visitors who are interested in what you have to offer.
Scam: Promising the moon
Unscrupulous SEO companies also tend to promise you #1 ranking in a particular search engine for certain keywords. The problem is that the SEO companies cannot control the results that appear in the search engines. What they do to make it appear that you’re getting results is use black hat methods to artificially affect your rankings. This is temporary, at best, because the techniques they use violate search engine terms of service, putting you at risk for getting your website banned from the search engines.
Techniques that are a violation of search engine TOS include:
- Keyword stuffing
- Hidden text and links
- Doorway and cloaked pages
- Link farming
- Blog comment spam
Avoid these techniques, and any SEO scam a company sends you in a spam email and you’ll have more resources to spend on techniques that actually work.
Finally, keep this in mind: Emails that try to sell you something, that are sent in bulk from a company you don’t have any kind of relationship with, is spam and it’s against the law. The last company you want fiddling around with your online pride and joy is one that is willing to break the law to get your attention.
In spite of what the spam says, when you’re optimizing your website steady and slow is the way to go. NEVER do business with a company or person who spams you.