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Search Engine Marketing Ethics: Don't Believe The Hype

By Jack Humphrey (c) 2006
Tale Chaser Publishing, Inc.

Getting to the top of the search engines, and staying there, is an ongoing process. This does not mean it is expensive to stay at the top. In fact, in most cases, it's rather affordable. But beware, there are pitfalls along the way to search engine Zen.

The old adage, "If it sounds too good to be true", applies to SEO (search engine optimization). There are many companies that will promise top results using less than ethical methods. Including slick salesmen that will convince you that all the top sites cheat the search engines in order to stay on top. You will run into web site owners that mask keywords to get top positions making it sound very tempting to follow in their foot steps.

Don't be fooled by such hype. These are short term solutions that can lead to a permanent ban in the top engines. Once you are banned in Google, Yahoo, MSN or ASK, you may as well dump your site and start over. If you're looking for long term success on the internet, don't cheat the search engines.

One of the cheats I have been seeing lately is masking content with "noscript tags". The noscript tags are used to define an alternate content (text) if a script is NOT executed. People have been taking advantage of this and filling it with content that visitors don't see, but the search engines do. While this does work, it is short term and believe me when I say, you will be caught. You will have no warning, no second chances. You will wake up one day and your site will not be found.

There is no phone number to call, your emails go unanswered, and traffic to your site drops off overnight. Your income dries up and it's all over. It can take six months or more to undo the damage and, in some cases, it's permanent. The major search engines are always on the lookout for new cheats. When found, they will program the search engines to drop the sites using these methods. Without warning, you're gone. Also, don't forget, your competition watches your site and is looking for ways to rank higher than you. Your competition may report your unethical methods to the search engines.

If you're planning to be around for the long haul and want some success on the internet, then you need to be ethical in your promotion. Unless you have daily time dedicated to studying SEO and making the needed changes, you should contract with a reputable SEO company. You need a company that studies the SEO industry on a daily basis to keep on top of what it takes to rank at the top for the long run. A company that is above cheats and quick fixes. A company that offers solid optimization that can keep you on top of the search engine results. A company that will take the time to target your specific audience to get you visitors that are interested in your product or service.

Many SEO companies will promise thousands of visitors a day. Unless those visitors are interested in what you have to offer or ended up at your site and did not find what they searched for, they will remember you. They will remember that you did not have what they wanted. They may leave disappointed and your good name will have a black mark next to it. Don't get sucked into damaging your image by slick salesmen.

When looking for a company to handle your SEO, first and foremost, be comfortable with the people you will be directly working with. They will need total access to your web site and server to make the needed changes. At times, the verbiage of your site may need minor changes. A word or two may need to be changed to improve keyword density. You need a company you can trust with your company's image.

In today's business world, you must have a web site. After all, your competition does. Your site must be marketed ethically and monitored daily. Changes must be made ASAP when conditions change. Hire a professional to handle SEO. When your business is booming, it's too easy to put SEO on the back burner. Before you know it, your rankings will have dropped from top to bottom, as well as your bottom line.

About the Author: Mark Hochhaus co-owner of Technet Internet Marketing has been developing web sites and optimizing for search engines since the early days of the Internet. To keep abreast of his lastest articles, visit: Technet's SEO News Blog: The Optimizer.


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