Monday, January 21, 2008

Being careful with your Northern Virginia SEO claims

As most professional SEO/SEM'ers know, there's absolutely no guarantee of absolute success with regards to organic SERP (search engine results placement) results for keywords or key phrases, except perhaps in a few unique circumstances.

For example, you've invented a new word - once your publication with the word is indexed, well, you're first in the rankings! At least for a little while, until all the bloggers start commenting about it (like our word "Avonym").

Therefore, our message to customers regarding SERPs is a message of "best effort" with "significant professional expertise and satisfied client testimony" to back it up. It's also a message of "improvement in results" with "excellent customer service and collaboration". Through our distinct efforts, we guarantee you'll see some improvement in measures common to online visibility. We say "distinct", because negative SEO action taken by our client or representatives can actually harm or negate any gains we make, as the SEO service provider.

"Improvement" can take many forms, which we outline from a performance perspective in our contract and follow-up correspondence - for some businesses, improvement is simply being featured in the 1st 7 adwords or local search for their business name (where before they were invisible); for others, it's organic 1st page results (vs. 5th-page results), within 3 weeks, on all 3 major search engines for 10 distinct keyword phrases.

The spidering, indexing and ranking algorithms among the search engines are in a constant state of activity and change, as is the targeted content on the web - that's why most serious business clients leverage SEO/SEM services on a consistent, recurring basis - i.e. several hours a week or month, every week or month, all year long. As soon as your competition sees the SERP results change in your favor, they'll optimize their own language or advertisements - and "poof", there goes your placement. It's like the gas station price wars...

So, making claims like "we're #1 in the search results for Google and Yahoo" for pretty broad industry terms like "northern virginia seo" are indicative only of very fleeting improvement and rapid illegitimacy. These kinds of misleading and inaccurate claims can also have long-term negative consequences - the claim never really disappears from the Internet cache.


Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Local Government in Need of Social Media Lessons

Here's an interesting Government 2.0 story where a local government official complains via email about a real estate blog's veracity, demands material be removed, and refuses to "respond via the blog" - thereby provoking, as we understand all too readily in the Internet Marketing and Social Media industry, a firestorm of comment and much broader exposure of his unfortunate position. A little education and guidance in things like SEO, SEM practices and the wonderful world of Social Media 2.0 may have helped things - and yet may still.