It’s happened again. I got another one of those emails. Somebody claiming to have ‘inside knowledge’ that could help me beat the competition. They all share a common theme…. “We work with/ are friends with/ once worked with / are a trusted partner of/ sleep with Google, or people who work there. The implication is that these people can help you to rank higher than your competition because they are in possession of information that others do not have.
If you get one of these emails RUN AWAY!
They are at best treading a fine line between legal and illegal in their claims. Google does not have ‘trusted SEO partners’. SEO is an annoyance to Google and to other search engines. Google made it as big as they are by providing better (for better read more relevant) search results than the competing search engines. They did this by building algorithms that catch people trying to ‘cheat’ their way to the top of the rankings and not showing them prominently – or indeed at all sometimes.
Google publish webmaster guidelines. This is a list of what they deem to be acceptable behaviour when it comes to SEO. What it boils down to is that they want website owners to publish useful material for their human visitors – not search engines. What this essentially amounts to is a cap on what is acceptable in terms of SEO efforts. Breach that cap and your website can fall like a rock into complete obscurity.
Any company that offers SEO services and is willing to claim that they have some association with Google is not likely to be ethical enough to use practices that will not get your site into hot water. They are preying on ignorance.
In my last post I mentioned that I am not an electrician. There are cowboy electricians out there. Luckily there are also regulations in place to ensure some standards (even though I bet some of you can tell me some stories!).
On the web, and particularly with SEO there are no common standards to adhere to. There is no SEO qualification (not by a recognised body at least). There is just experience and results. This lends itself very nicely to the sort of people who like to take your money in return for little or nothing that you think you are paying for. In the real world we call them con artists.
How do you know your SEO consultant is not a con artist cowboy? I’ll get to that in a future post. For now though, the easiest way is to talk to several SEO consultants. There are quite a few SEO consultants in Ireland. Some are very good, some are excellent, and some are good at talking, but not so much at producing. By that I mean offering things like directory submissions, which frankly don’t hold a lot of weight these days (although they did years ago).
Please don’t be fooled by the “Google Trusted Partners” line though. That is a blatant lie.