April 23, 2012

Rachel Strella

Optimizing for Search Part II of II: Beware of the ‘SEO Expert’

Yesterday, we gave you a glimpse of what you can do to optimize your website and profiles for search as well as what a directory listing site such as Yellowbook will do for your rankings.

Today, we continue the interview with John Webster. We’ll discuss the different blogging platforms, what to look for when hiring an SEO professional, and information about social bookmarking. 

I know you recommend WordPress as a blogging platform. However, Blogger is owned by Google so why wouldn’t you recommend Blogger for SEO? 

Blogger will rank as high as a free WordPress site.  However, a website that uses WordPress as a content management system is different.  In that case, you own that website and can optimize accordingly. You have the freedom to build it as you see fit and can change course quickly when search algorithms change.

If a business decided to hire an SEO professional, what kinds of things should they be sure that the professional can do?  Is there anything that a business should be aware of? 

An SEO professional from should be able to do the following:

  • Show you what keywords your competitors are using to rank better than you and WHY
  • Advise you on the things you can do to increase your rankings
  • Show you ways to create backlinks to your website
  • Submit your business to directories you are not listed in
  • Offer you a site map for Google

Run away if this person says either of the following:

  • I am going to "keyword your website.”
  • I am going to guarantee you the first ranking on Google.

At most, a quarter of a website's rank comes from the structure and content on the site itself. So an 'expert' that is going to come in and stuff your site with keywords is at best serving a portion of the 25% the site has control over AND at worst they will actually pull down the ranking by making the ‘keywording’ of a website look unnatural. Search engines want to deliver the most pure search results possible, so they frown upon site that appears to game the system. If you are going to hire are an SEO expert, make sure that they are renowned and are backed by their results.

An 'SEO expert' should be well versed in the complete pie: content, structure, keywords, and credibility. The vast majority of SEO companies ESPECIALLY lower cost programs focus solely on content and keywords, losing focus of the credibility part. Credibility/authority is the vast majority of a page's "score.” 

How do social bookmarking sites such as Digg fit into the SEO puzzle?

Social bookmarking was kind of ahead of its time. Back in the mid 2000’s, social bookmarking was a great way to generate backlinks to your website. Everybody would go and ‘Digg it’ or ‘Stumble It.’ Changes in search engines made that practice go out of vogue. With the rise of websites like Pinterest, social bookmarking has become more popular.  They’ve become popular not because they necessarily help your search engine ranking but rather because they allow you to be found in alternate ways.

Google figured out the ‘gaming’ of the system and now people are actually using these sites as they were intended to be used.

Any final words?

Write good content…often! Fill it with keywords about what you do and hang in there. Most people who rank better than you have been doing it longer than you.

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4 comments on “Optimizing for Search Part II of II: Beware of the ‘SEO Expert’”

  1. I have never been a big fan of using a free blogging platform such as Blogger or WordPress.com. Something about giving control over every aspect of one's site makes me a bit nervous - you never know when Blogger or WordPress will think you are a spam blog and pull the rug right out from under you. Self-hosted WordPress sites are the way to go, IMHO!

    You mean nobody can guarantee a site will rank #1 in Google? Geez, and here I was thinking that ocean front property in Arizona was for real! 🙂

    1. Hey Marshall,

      You make a good point! Like Facebook or any other social media, these blogging sites can just decide to 'shut their doors' Then your content is forever lost!

      As for the other comment....;)


  2. Just a tidbit

    93% of people use search engines as their first point of research.
    Only 30% of clicks go to paid search results.
    75% of people do not click past the first page.
    60% of clicks go to the top 3 results.

    source is http://sitepoint.com

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