having a web site on the Internet is
"If you build it...they will come"
makes for a great baseball movie but
it just doesn't apply to a web site.
More realistically, the truism is
"If they can't find you...they will
never show up."
Most small companies are on the
Internet because their competition is there and because
practically everybody is there. Therein lies the
problem. The Internet is so popular...there are so
many web sites on it, related to any topic you can
imagine, it is not uncommon to find hundreds of
thousand, if not millions of result pages in a search
engine when you search for a common term.
Studies have shown that the
typical web searcher will look
at the first page of results
when he does a search with a
search engine. He may look
at the second page and even the
third but statistically, no one
checks beyond the third page!
A few obstinate souls may dig
deep into the search engine
results pages but for the vast
majority, if they don't find
what they are looking for in the
first three results pages, they
will go back and start a new
search with more refined search
does this say about your
website? If you are not
placed within the first three
search engine results pages,
you, basically, are invisible to
the vast majority of Internet
searchers. It's that
Search Engine Optimization
involves a lot of work and can
command high prices. It is
not uncommon to see companies
advertising, up-front, that
their services will cost $2,000,
$5,000 and even $10,000.
This is for a 6-month to one
year renewal term. For the
companies whose main business
comes from Internet contact, it
is worth it.
Because of these prices and
because of the many businesses
willing to pay them, a number of
have popped up offering
guarantees to get you listed at
the top of the search engines.
"We'll even get you to #1 in
Google!" they say.
Offering you a full money back
guarantee, the naive business
owner may think: "How can I go
business owners have a domain name that is the same
as their company name: Sam's donuts has a website
www.samsdonuts.com. Because of the
unique nature of this name, a search for "Sam's
donuts" will, typically, result in that domain name
being listed as #1. This generally
happens automatically anyway. It is, however,
of little value because you are looking for web
searchers who don't know you (that's why they are
using a search engine to find a donut shop).
If they know your name, they probably already know
your URL. You are paying these SEO operators
big money to get something that you would have
gotten for nothing anyway!
of these SEO entrepreneurs have developed their own
search engines. These are obscure,
never-heard-of lists of websites. It is easy
for them to place your listing at the top of a
category in these lists. A #1 position on a
search engine that nobody uses, only benefits the
SEO entrepreneurs because now they have fulfilled
the terms of their guarantee and you can't win if
you sue demanding your money back.
The wording of these guarantees is written very
carefully so that they can easily prove that they
have fulfilled their promise even though your web
site traffic hasn't increased at all.
Guaranteeing a top placement in Google "for your
targeted keywords" is usually accomplished by
enrolling you in a pay-per-click, Google Ad-Word
campaign. This is fine until the bill from
Google arrives and you find out that your fee to the
SEO company doesn't cover it.
do you keep from getting ripped off?
Demand to talk to former and current customers.
Ask for a list and contact them for a review of the
about a website analysis and review. Do they
even do one? How can they know what you need
without analyzing where you are now?
specific questions and try to get a feel, through
the answers, if these are people you'd like to do
business with. Do you get a funny feeling that
something may not be just right? Trust your