Keep SEO Companies From Cheating You – Part 1
Here is a feature article from Nick Bokhonok who has been creating web projects, Internet marketing and SEO tools since 2000. His expertise is helping people generate good quality backlinks to their site…which is an absolute requirement for getting top search engine rankings in competitive phrases.
In December 2008 Nick released Free Traffic System – free community where bloggers can build backlinks, get free content and push their sites to top pages in search engines. Because of the value provided, this community has grown to over 10,000 members in this short period!
Today the owners of online businesses are even more serious about their fight for the targeted visitors. That is why they resort to the help of SEO companies whose job is to push a site to the top positions in search engines, and thus generate targeted traffic for their clients.
Though there is no global conspiracy about SEO services trying to cheat you, still you must be practical and understand that there is always a high probability of many SEO services to do a low value job and sell it to you as a high value job.
But if you are armed with proper knowledge about WHAT EXACTLY stands behind each type of SEO job in the overall package, it will be a lot more difficult to cheat you and sell you a lesser value as a higher value. That is why in this situation it is obvious that…
Your Knowledge = Maximum Effect from the Money You Pay for SEO
So, this 2-part article has the aim to explain you:
(1) What types of SEO jobs can be sold by SEO services
(2) What exactly is each job about
(3) How it should be done properly
(4) How SEO services can dodge to do it at the best level (still charging you for a top quality level).
Let’s Start with the List of Standard SEO Jobs.
Typically SEO companies offer the following services:
- keyword research
- onpage optimization (or onsite optimization)
- offpage optimization (usually link building)
These services can be sold separately or in one package. Surely it is better if you get all the parts of the SEO puzzle together and have all these services done – because, for example, keyword research is nothing without link building.
But that does not mean you need to hire one company to do all that. For example, if you see that company A has great prices for keyword research, and company B has a better price for link building, then nothing can stop you from paying company A for the research of the great keywords, and then use the keywords found by company A for link building at company B.
So, let’s get back discussing typical SEO services, how they should be done and how SEO companies can try to cheat their clients.
(1) Keyword Research – Quality Standards and Typical Traps
The aim of the keyword research is to give you the keywords for which your site should get page 1 in search engines, receive targeted traffic and convert into profits.
(a) What will be used as a source of information about keywords.
Surely SEO services are not taking from the sky the information about how many times a specific keyword is searched every day/month. They take this info from other services, and this is where you can get into problems.
Who can show you the best information about how many times keyword “make money” or “weight loss” was searched last month? Surely top search engines, like Google or Yahoo.
Unfortunately some SEO services up to now keep using minor search engines as their source of statistics about searches. And this is a problem for you, because tiny search engines do not represent the real picture of search demand. It’s the same to going to a local grocery store in your neighborhood, asking 10 people about their tastes for some specific product and then assuming that the GLOBAL response to the product is going to be the same.
So, if some minor meta search engine shows that “make money” is being searched 2 times more than “save money”, this does not mean that the true picture of global search demand is like this. Only the majors can show you the real info.
That is why my personal advice you is the following – demand that SEO service uses official Google keyword tool when researching keywords for you.
Once again, this is my personal opinion, but this opinion is backed up by years of experience and simple logics – “Who can show better results for the search demand? Who sees a bigger picture? Top search engine of the world – Google!” If the research is done on the Google tool, you will see a bigger picture of interest for specific keywords, and this is important for your business.
(b) *Golden* keywords vs all other keywords.
Ideal keyword research is about finding *golden* keywords for you. *Golden* keywords is not an official term, this is how I personally call them and these are the keywords which have:
- nice and stable search demand every month
- moderate link building competition
Why is that so important to have keywords with nice demand and lower competition? Because with these keywords you can get to page 1 faster and get traffic faster.
But finding this type of keywords is about extra efforts (manual efforts), that is why SEO service can try to give you one of the 2 bad options which are a lot simpler for them.
Option #1 – Keywords with high search demand AND high link building competition. They can tell you “Look how many people search for that keyword! Just imagine how much traffic you gonna get if you receive top position for this keyword!!”
What they do not say is that you need to do a HUGE link building job to get page 1 for difficult keyword. Dozens of thousands of backlinks, or even hundreds of thousands. This will take much time (if you are doing link building yourself) or big money (if you are paying for link).
By the way, as many SEO services also do the link building, it is in their interest to hook you for the tough keywords, because then you will need to pay them very big money for link building.
Option #2 – Keywords with small search demand AND small link building competition. Though it looks that this option is more fair, still this is also a SEO trick.
Yes, for the keywords with small link building competition you get page 1 (provided you do link building properly) a lot faster. And psychologically a client feels great “Wow, I am page 1! Let’s celebrate – time for a party!”
But then you see that the traffic is really small, and it was almost pointless to build backlinks for that tiny number of searches.
Now you understand why the *golden keywords* – with nice stable search demand and low link building competition – are the only ones really worth paying for. All the rest is not playing into your favor.
By the way, I have been talking a lot about link building competition. For those who do not know how to check it – this is simple.
Type into Google search field inanchor:”your keyword here”, like on the screenshot below:
In this example I was searching how many sites are building backlinks for “make money online”, and you can see that Google shows 13,900,000 web pages which are fighting for this very keywords and build backlinks for it.
My personal experience shows that if the number of sites which fight for the keyword is under 1,000, then this competition is really doable within quite a short period of time. Surely my Free Traffic System clients have been taking even a lot tougher keywords, but with tougher keywords you must be prepared for serious link building.
It is not bad if keyword research also offers some stats about intitle (which explains how many pages have a keyword in their title) or exact match (which shows pages having the phrase somewhere on the page, with exact quote to your search). But these factors are not decisive with link building, that is why demand that you see inanchor info for any of the keywords you get, and intitle or exact match are not that important.
(c) How many keywords you will get and of what quality.
Another thing you should ask before paying for keyword research is how many keywords you will get.
BUT, don’t let them lure you into the game of fancy numbers. They can tell you “150 keywords per niche” and this seems to be great.
However this has great number of 150 words has nothing to do with quality. They will simply use the general word from your niche (for example, “gardening”), then they will run Google tool to show all keywords it sees for this niche (usually up to 150 words, but can be more) and will add some stats, like maybe inanchor.
First of all, this keyword research job with 150 words that I described above is automatic. SEO service can charge you $100+ for such a list in every niche, but in reality they are using automatic solutions which you can buy for several dozens of dollars and use lifetime.
So SEO service can try to sell this automatic job which is done by a 3rd party solution as their own handmade job. And you will need to pay $100 or more per each niche. Just imagine how much money you can lose from your pocket.
And – this is very important – this has nothing to do with spotting real *golden* keywords for you. Having even the list of 1,000 keywords, without direct pointing to the *golden* keywords is of almost no practical value for you.
You should have at least 2-3 *golden*keywords being explicitly indicated as a result of the keyword research work.
(d) Sorting out the crazy keywords from the list.
This is a very peculiar subject of keyword research. The problem is that even the best keyword research tools, like Google adwords tool or others, from time to time show keywords in a strange way – with wrong grammar and/or lack of sense.
Yes, people in the Internet do not always care about grammar when searching for something, and Google tool has the right to show it. Still, for the unexplainable reason Google keyword tool and many other tools show very strange searches that are not likely to be done by real people. No matter how bad their grammar is.
Professional keyword researchers should always sort out their list and take these “crazy” keywords out of the list. Otherwise, by mistake, you can focus your link building efforts on one of these keywords and waste your time and money.
Make sure you ask your keyword research service to take away these crazy keywords from your list.
Keyword research plays a vital role in your SEO, because this is where everything about SEO starts. If you pick the right keywords and boost them up with nice link building and onpage optimization – you will get great traffic. If you get bad keywords – all your SEO efforts can get wasted.
Now that you know what stands behind a quality keyword research, you know what to ask before paying the money.
The rest of the tips in the upcoming publication on Terry Dean’s blog.
In the Part 2 of this publication you will read how to make sure SEO services give you maximum quality with onpage optimization and offpage optimization (link building).
Till then, make sure you check out the 10,000 member community at Free Traffic System.Related Entries:
- 5 Cool Internet Marketing Resources
- Using Long Tail Keywords for Profit
- Keep SEO Companies From Cheating You – Part 2
- Wonder Wheel for New Content Ideas
- 7 Adwords Secrets