I get a dozen emails a day from SEO companies guaranteeing to put my website on the first page of search. I’ve talked with some of these services. They are not cheap and they are extremely risky for your business.

Attempts to “game” the system could make your business invisible to search. Seriously. If Google sees that you are manipulating the system to push your business up in search, they can delete your site from their database. And yes, they do it. That would mean your site would not be listed by Google even if the name of the site was put into a search form!

When I work on marketing for clients, I always let them know upfront that the process is a slow one. That’s because you must earn real ‘hits’ and build ‘time on site’. You can’t do that overnight by cheating.

Much of the work can be done by the client once they understand the process so it needn’t be expensive. The gains are long lasting if the client continues to work the program.

Look at what Google says about SEO services:

Things to avoid

Don’t fill your page with lists of keywords, attempt to “cloak” pages, or put up “crawler only” pages. If your site contains pages, links, or text that you don’t intend visitors to see, Google considers those links and pages deceptive and may ignore your site.

Don’t feel obligated to purchase a search engine optimization service. Some companies claim to “guarantee” high ranking for your site in Google’s search results. While legitimate consulting firms can improve your site’s flow and content, others employ deceptive tactics in an attempt to fool search engines. Be careful; if your domain is affiliated with one of these deceptive services, it could be banned from our index.

Don’t use images to display important names, content, or links. Our crawler doesn’t recognize text contained in graphics. Use ALT attributes if the main content and keywords on your page can’t be formatted in regular HTML.

Don’t create multiple copies of a page under different URLs. Many sites offer text-only or printer-friendly versions of pages that contain the same content as the corresponding graphic-rich pages. To ensure that your preferred page is included in our search results, you’ll need to block duplicates from our spiders using a robots.txt file. For information about using a robots.txt file, please visit our information on blocking Googlebot.

If you want to improve the search position of your business, play by the rules.

Chris Reich