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Truth And Fiction of Search Engine Optimization For Websites

 

Search Engine Secrets For Website Owners

 

Shane Michael (Freelance Journalist) Shane.Michael@LocalNewsDay.com
Updated 2 hours and 14 minutes ago

 

So this month, my favorite editor here at Portland's Local News Day assigned me to get a story on the “Truth And Fiction of SEO For Websites”. Hoping to make a good national story that I can market to The Associated Press I spent a little more time than usual researching this subject matter. Luckily I knew where to turn for help on this because of another story I had done a little while back on the ITEC Computer Show which had come to town. I hired an outside expert named Levi Turner to help me. Levi has worked and consulted for the largest of all the search engines and teaches SEO novices the basics of SEO nationwide for a hefty sum.

As we sat down and talked we came up with a plan to talk to all the SEO Companies pitching their services on the Pay-Per-Click(PPC) side of Google. So to Google we went and typed the word “seo” and what comes up? About 20 SEO companies saying everything from “For $499 we will stimulate your website…”, “For some tidy fee we will do this…”, and “We are the best…” over and over again. I can now see why consumers would get confused.

I mean why does a website need SEO anyway?


Well, the answer is this. There are about 80 million and counting websites on the World Wide Web and of those about 40 million are companies trying to advertise their products and services. Virtually no one minus the sixty and over demographic or the sales people with the near hopeless job of pitching ads on the phone books, pick up a phone book. Most consumers and businesses now rely on the Internet.

 

As a business, how do you make your company’s website stand out amongst the millions of others? That is where SEO comes in. SEO experts configure the coding which you never see on your website to allow Bots, Crawlers, and Spiders from search engines to read your companies message and rank your site. The higher the ranking, the higher the likelihood your website will come up first on a search engine. That is not easy and that is not all they do. These experts must constantly submit your website to the hundreds of search engines, be ambassadors to the search engines for a higher trust level, create links back to your website from other websites, update blogs, RSS Feeds, register site maps with the search engines, register your site with hundreds of web providers, do constant website submittals that list what your company does and how it does it, and they have to one up your current competition. Then if that weren’t enough, they have to provide a service called “Reputation Management” which controls how negative information on the Internet affects your business and its ranking.

Without proper SEO your website is actually invisible and lost in the center of virtual darkness where no one will see it. Probably on page 146 on any Google search.

So how do I find the right SEO Company for my business? This will surprise you.

Levi and I went to work on the twenty companies we found earlier on Google. Using a domain Levi had kept unused for several years and a website he had developed years earlier, we went about getting information and quotes from each of the companies we found. This search ended with some very surprising results. We found a critical flaw with every company we were able to contact. Most of these companies on the PPC side of Google were pitching services from India and Pakistan and we found them to be liars and virtual scam artists.

 

We initially asked each SEO provider for referrals for clients they provide services for. I mean if you do so well at promoting websites, your referrals should come up on the first or second page of a Google search right? Not so fast. The referrals most gave us actually did come up near the top of Google on most searches for their company products. However, with further research we determined that these sites actually were clients of other SEO companies. After all this research we decided to go with two companies we found actually did the SEO work for these referral companies. They weren’t even on our original list of SEO companies. We couldn’t verify any of those SEO campanies on our original Google Pay Per Click company list actually had a client in the top SEO standings or even knew anything about proper SEO techniques.

After all that, we narrowed the new list down to two entities that Levi and I determined actually knew what they were doing and weren’t trying to scam the unknowing SEO consumer base. The first being Mike Monahan at SEO Technology Masters, a Portland based company. The second being Beau McClure from SEO Management, a Florida based company. The two seem to be virtually identical in their skill level and the size of their client base. The main differences? A big difference in price and slight difference in marketing philosophy.

We sat down with our proposed website on virtual conference calls for presentations from both Mike and Beau to see what they had to say about our website and the proposals they had created for us to review. Their presentations were both very similar and both seemed to identify exactly the same issues with our website. Everything seemed similar until we got to the cost of what they propose.

For full SEO services, the SEO Technology Masters offered us a package with a monthly fee of $259 per domain and $99 setup charge. This package also includes a website analysis and a Search Engine Optimization Plan (SEOP) to outlay how they intend to get us great results. Also included was a monthly PPC ad campaign for both Google.com and Bing.com. I might add Mike also offers a “Basic Package” for only $139.00 per month but only includes a Google ad campaign.

SEO Management offered us close to the same package for $1400 per month and $750 for a website analysis with only PPC Management. Only management of an add campaign is included in their packages. If you want PPC on Google.com or Bing.com, it is an additional fee.
Both Levi and I were surprised by the difference in price. In fact after researching we couldn’t find a valid reason for the huge price difference, other than SEO Management costs more to run being in Florida verses Oregon. I will note that after querying Beau on this high cost he agreed to include the website analysis for free if we signed up for a long term contract.

 

Mike Monahan from the SEO Technology Masters told us his marketing philosophy, “I don’t like to leave anything to chance. I do well at marketing a website but there is always the guy who does one better in a given month so I include a monthly PPC campaign. It leaves all my customers happy seeing their name come up every time they do a search and they get guarenteed results. And every month they get a high level of traffic to their websites. I buy so many PPC (about 10 million per month) it costs me less [to place the PPC ads].”

 

Levi and I both came to the conclusion that SEO Management and SEO Technology Masters are both great companies and your website will be marketed well using either company. If cost is a factor however, SEO Technology Masters is your best bet.

 

Oh, and on another note. If you want to see a really cool search engine, try Bingle.com. And double your results.