Updated: Aug 26, 2019
I have a confession to make, I’ve never paid for Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and I suspect I probably never will.
Chances are you probably shouldn’t either.
My opinion will probably upset a lot of folks and, in particular, SEO providers and businesses.
A lot of folk make a lot of money out of SEO one way or another. Some people swear by it.
The definition of SEO is pretty flexible. Some of what your SEO provider does is very bad, some of it is very sensible and correct.
A while back a friend got in touch with me and asked if I could remove a “Google ban” from his web site.
He told me Google had blacklisted his web site because of something his SEO provider had done. He’d dropped off the search results despite paying lots of money to be at the top of search results.
Sadly only Google and time can fix the problem his SEO person has caused.
You see, Google spends a lot of time tweaking their search engine to be accurate...to deliver pertinent results to the search request you have made.
Old school bad SEO was about tricking Google into thinking your web site is more relevant than someone else’s.
When Google finds out that a result is not really pertinent they change their algorithm and the offending web site no longer pops up in the results list.
Believe it or not Google are trying to make their search results as honest as possible. Their business and future depends on it. It is that simple (although Google’s algorithm very complex, highly secret and quite dynamic).
A lot of SEO sales pitch is about “guaranteeing” that you’ll show up at the top of Google searches.
These are lies for two main reasons:
No-one can guarantee what someone will search for but they can trick you by showing a search that puts you at the top of results.
These people aren’t in control of what results Google (or any other search provider) deliver.
This means that now and into the future your web site will need to be honest and consistent. It will need to present information in a genuine and humanly readable and understandable way.
This doesn’t mean that there aren’t things you can do to make your web site more Google friendly.
A simple example I use to explain what I mean is the use of photos and images on a web site.
Most people name their files/photos badly. More often than not a photo will be left with the name the camera gave it like DSC0236.jpg. Can you tell me what that is a photo of? No, then neither can Google.
If, on the other hand, I called the image “David Moores calico cat eats a mouse.jpg” then everyone knows what is going on.
Of course there’s lots more going on under the hood of your web site where more information and legitimate clarification can go on to make your web site much, much more Google friendly.
THIS is the stuff that any good SEO provider will help you with in the future (if that isn’t what you are getting already) and it should not cost you a fortune on an ongoing basis. It should be pretty much a once off service.
These days many CMS web sites will help you do SEO on your own. They’ll prompt you to add the things that will help your results.
You should review what your CMW web site provider recommends for your SEO on a regular basis. Because, as I’ve already pointed out, the rules of the game keep changing. As your content changes so should the things you do to present an honest and accessible result for search engines.
Of course, if you still want to boost your results, in my opinion you are better off paying for an ad than you are an ongoing SEO “strategy”.
In the end, if you are clear and honest, people will find you.
David Moore – PC Wrangler @ I Hate My PC
IMPORTANT: Most people don't realise that even before you potentially waste money on SEO, your web site isn't going to be found unless you tell Google and the like about it.
You have to submit your web site to the search engines so they can index it.
Read this article here to find out how to submit you web site to the various main search engines: https://ahrefs.com/blog/submit-website-to-search-engines/
Do this, do the free SEO I describe and then see what you think of the results :-)