What to watch out for when ordering your SEO

Beware the pitfalls! Search Engine Optimisation is a specialist service, and you may be taken for a ride by companies or individuals who simply don’t know any better or are deliberately misleading you. Are you really getting what you’re paying for? Firstly, let’s look at what SEO is NOT.

Search Engine Submission is NOT SEO. Many companies advertise that they will submit your website to thousands of search engines once a month, under the heading of SEO. This does absolutely nothing to improve your rankings on any of the biggest search engines, most notably Google. In the past six years in the industry, we have not once needed to submit a website to Google. If the job is done properly, Google will find your website by itself, and continue crawling it at regular intervals. Anyway, if your website doesn’t have good quality content, Google will eventually drop your rankings into obscurity, perhaps even dropping your website out of its index completely.

Search Engine Marketing is NOT SEO. SEM comprises paid ads, normally pay-per-click or pay-per-thousand-impressions. It generally works on a bidding system, with the highest bidder getting the best advertising spot. Okay, this is a simplified way of putting it, because there are more factors determining the ad ranking. But the bottom line is that you pay for the ad, which means the bigger budget generally gets more business. Anybody can register for their own Google Adwords account – you don’t have to be a specialist.

A Search Engine-Friendly website is NOT full-service SEO. Although it is a good start, it is only a very small part of it. Search engine-friendliness for your website simply means that Google is able to crawl and index your website. It does not mean that the content and other elements are optimized and maximized for Google. There are hundreds, if not thousands of factors that make Google like (and rank) your website. Many of these factors happen off-site, through factors outside of a mere search engine-friendly website.

Next time you speak to your SEO provider, ask them to clarify exactly what they mean under the heading of SEO. Then maybe give Integriweb a call to verify whether it is the Real McCoy.

About the author: Chris van der Walt is a Pretoria-based SEO consultant with more than 10 years hands-on experience in the field. Chris is sole proprietor at Integriweb Pretoria East.