How to identify the search engine optimisation cowboys

Many search engine optimisation (SEO) companies or internet marketing consultants will gladly take your money on the basis of false promises.

If you hear a search engine optimisation company or internet marketing consultant promise you any of the things listed below be wary, be very wary.

Guaranteed Search Engine Positions

It's impossible for a search engine optimiser to be able to guarantee search engine positions. The analogy of a stockbroker is a good example, stockbrokers cannot guarantee how future markets will perform and the same is true of search engine optimisers. We don't know what future search engine algorithms will be. (The search engine algorithm is the mathematical formula that search engines use to rank websites.) These algorithms are constantly evolving as search engines seek to provide their users with the most relevant results whilst not allowing anyone, the spammers, to exploit the system.

The only exception to this rule, of course, is pay-for-placement listings. In which the advertiser can choose their position by changing their bid. A higher bid gives a higher ranking and vice-versa.

The majority of SEO companies that advertise guaranteed search engine positions use spam techniques to try to achieve their "guaranteed placements" on the whole these guaranteed placements are never reached or if they are only momentarily. The definition of search engine spam is pages or sites created deliberately to trick the search engine into offering inappropriate, redundant, or poor-quality search results.

Permanent Search Engine Positions

There is no such thing as a permanent search engine position. The position of websites in search engines fluctuates as much as the UK weather! The search engines indexes' are constantly changing with pages being added and removed constantly.

Genuine link popularity takes considerable time and effort to build and will not only increase your search engine rankings but will also create valuable, quality traffic to your website.

Unfortunately there are SEO companies that may promise you instant link popularity. This is more often than not generated through link farms which are outlawed by search engines. Any benefits that may be reaped from this increase in link popularity are always short-lived as search engines identify the link farms and remove them from their indexes quickly.

Using techniques such as this to promote your website may hold huge consequences for you and could result in your website being blacklisted; removed entirely from the search engine index.

You Don't Have to Change Your Web Site

It is of the utmost importance to take into account search engine friendly design and site architecture at the earliest stages of a website project. It is important to write the copy for the website with the keywords/keyphrases your target audience types into search engines otherwise your website won't achieve good search engine visibility. If you did use keywords and keyphrases on your website's pages, were they used prominently and frequently enough so the pages appear focused? This must hold true not only from both a crawlers' point of view and your visitors' point of view as well.

Be prepared to modify your content in places to gain the highest impact, such as HTML title tags and visible body text, headings, paragraph tags, hyperlinks, table cells, ordered and unordered lists, etc. Modifying meta tags alone won't make your site appear more relevant.

A site should be designed with at least one navigation scheme search engine crawlers can follow and a URL structure they can easily index.

Create New Micro-sites

Never let your search engine optimiser create micro-sites that are hosted on their own server or domains as part of their search engine optimisation strategy. These micro-sites often contain thousands or millions of illegible doorway pages, contain redirects to your pages, are cloaked from human viewing, participate in free-for-all (FFA) link farms to generate artificial link popularity. These are all spam techniques.

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Michael Walsh by Michael Walsh