The problem with so many people providing services relating to website building is that it is hard for the novice to determine who knows what they are doing and who just talks a good game. Nowhere is this more evident than when it comes to SEO Services.
SEO, or search engine optimization, uses a myriad of techniques designed to improve a site’s placement within the search engine results. Where things get complicated is that many techniques that can gain a site a quick boost in the results can lead to the search engines later banning the site for using “black hat” SEO techniques.
Black hat SEO’ers make use of techniques that were once acceptable and have since been banned by the search engines or use techniques that were never acceptable. Black hatters gamble on not being discovered and hope to make short term gains and even quicker profits. That’s all well and good when the site they are gambling with is their own, but too many unsuspecting website owners hire these folks to help promote their sites and end up paying for their own site’s demise.
Don’t get me wrong, there are professionals out there that do a great job of promoting websites using “White Hat” techniques. The problem lies in that many find out too late they hired the wrong people.
One of the biggest secrets of SEO professionals is the use of directory submissions. One of the most well-known SEO professionals, in a misguided attempt to put the genie back in the bottle, has made very loud and public statements against the usefulness of directory submissions. What many don’t know is that this “professional” owns many directories and frequently submits his clients to some of the other large directories along with his own. Many are guessing he is losing clients to the many cut-rate and discount directory submission services that have sprung up in the past year as well as the site owners figuring out how to do it for themselves.
I own two directories, Crafty Tips Arts & Crafts Directory and Pet Site Guides, and of all of the unusable and unacceptable submissions I receive, a great many of them come from SEO companies. Their clients pay them to submit to X number of directories and whether or not the sites are accepted doesn’t seem to matter. Part of me feels sorry for the site owners, but another part of me wonders if they even care.
I went so far as to email a site owner, who’s site would have normally been accepted into Crafty Tips were it not for their not following the submission guidelines. The contact email for the submission was for an SEO firm. I emailed the site owner directly. My response – silence. My thought was “Hey, whatever, throw your money away.”
To make a long story short, my advice is to do-it-yourself. Find webmastering forums and study the SEO sections. Look for niche directories that specialize in listing sites like yours. (If you have a crafty website or a pet site, be sure to start with mine – they’re both free.)
If you have some money to spend, perhaps hire a content writer who is versed in SEO techniques to help you – you get a two-fer that way and they won’t be touching your site’s code which is where many so-called SEO professionals get their clients into trouble.