In July 2012, I attended the Salon de la Com in Pailles. I was mainly interested in agencies involved in web/graphic design, programming and search engine optimisation. I found one company which is very famous here in Mauritius; they’ve designed some big websites and they’ve got strategic partners as well. Anyway, I wanted to know about their SEO services, so I went to their stand and a girl working for them asked me if she could help. When I told her what I was after, she said that she doesn’t know much about it but her colleague would be able to help me.

So the colleague came over and I asked what SEO services their company was offering. He told me that they only do search engine optimisation if they build the website themselves. He said that the structure of a website is really important and that’s what matters to search engines like Google. Granted a good structure is important so that navigations are user friendly and the content is organised semantically. However this is only part of SEO, referred to as On Page Optimisation and the other more challenging part is Off Page Optimisation and that’s where link building and social media promotion comes along.

Since I wanted to know about the techniques that the company uses for SEO, especially link building, I told the chap I wanted to optimise a website of mine and would not mind having them redo the whole site if that’s what it takes for them to do the work. Confident of himself, he told me we can know instantly if a website has been well SEOed and he took a title from a webpage on my site and google it. To much his disappointment, he found the webpage was indexed. He tried another 2 webpages and reluctantly said that my website is already well optimised. I told him the on page side of things is fine but I wanted to rank better for the keywords I’m targeting.

He told me everything revolves around good content and he’s not totally wrong. However if you and your competitor both have extremely good content, then how are you going to outrank him? I believe SEO is the answer for that but the chap was not convinced that 2 people can have equally outstanding content. His views on SEO is that you should write good content and that’s it; it will rank by itself. This is loads of crap. Honestly! I’ve seen website with really outstanding content that are either not ranking or are being outranked by some other witty publisher with a moderate piece of information on the same topic. This is all to do with quality link building and actively promoting your content on social media platforms.

Our friend from the well known company doesn’t have a clue about SEO and yet is offering such services to the public. Many people do not really understand the basic concept behind search engine optimisation and they may be tempted to go with such companies because they’ve already made a name. However, you will no improvement if anything at all regarding traffic to your website because to me the person is a conman.

A good search engine optimiser must be able to tell you how he’s going to go about doing link building for you, where he’s going to get the links from and roughly how long it’s going to take for you to achieve top rankings. If they say they can’t disclose their “secret sauce”, then they are obviously hiding something and most of the time it’s not a good sign. Although no one can really guarantee top positions in Google, an SEOer must be able to increase your website’s rankings gradually through safe practices. Note that in 2011, Google released a Panda Update and in 2012 the Penguin Update and if the person you’re hiring to bring in more traffic to your site does not have a clue what those 2 updates are, then I’d advise you to run a mile because not only will you be wasting your money but your current rankings might be affected as well. Many people have used SEO services and have suffered great loss because their rankings have either disappeared or they’ve lost significant amount of traffic due to grey/black hat techniques.

28/Aug/2012

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