Questionable SEO Practices

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Bobbie Grennier
Bobbie Grennier does Google Search Marketing, My Business/Places Optimization, Google+ Local SEO. Google Local Pro offers Advanced My Business Consulting and Santa Cruz Web Designer, Local SEO, Internet Marketing.

The Rainmaker Institute charged Seikaly & Stewart of Farmington Hills, Michigan, $49,000 for optimization services to increase their firm’s visibility in Google.

That posted by Jennifer Slegg in August 2013, reporting the SEO company called The Rainmaker Institute, had found itself being sued by one of its own attorney clients for basically producing less than promised Google search results for that client.

I attended one of The Rainmaker Institute’s intensive weekends a few years ago and went through all their courses where they explained their version of website best practices, search engine optimization and internet marketing. It was an overwhelming amount of information and how-to sound bites for some 30 attorneys in the room. I was the only SEO professional in attendance. As we got to know each other, the Rainmaker team eventually realized that I knew far more about Google than they did. At one point, they actually threw the conversation to me to explain an aspect of Google related SEO for the whole room of lawyers. Later the Rainmaker team did try to recruit me, but I wasn’t entirely comfortable with some of their SEO views.

I wrestled with my decision not to do more with them because I really wanted to help attorneys do better online and rank better in the search engines, but I’m glad I kept working privately with just a select few law firms because it has been far more rewarding for me personally.

News of this law suit originally broke on Lawyerist by Sam Glover and I have to agree with his take on Rainmaker:

Regardless whether the Rainmaker Institute actually has anything valuable to sell, it’s pitch reminds me of those late-night infomercials that promise to teach you to get rich from flipping houses or selling gold if you will just attend a very expensive seminar at a hotel near the airport. It’s all selling, no substance.

So, I titled this blog post Questionable SEO Practices because of several factors I’m noticing.

First, companies like Rainmaker and Scorpion who have been solely focused on the legal profession are starting to pull back some of their service offerings. And if they’re not, then maybe they should be. It’s become a catch-22 situation where SEO professionals find themselves caught in between Google’s Webmaster Guidelines and their own very litigious clients.

The big question is what constitutes “good” backlinks? And in the face of all of Google’s algorithm changes, how will any SEO professional be able to provide definitive results?  One thing for sure, is that this case will be closely watched by the SEO providers. I found this legal commenter’s point of view very interesting:

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With Google constantly changing their Guidelines and not announcing those changes until after the fact, it leaves the SEO professional between a rock and a hard place… and that’s just how Google wants it.

From the complaint it seems that at issue is the type of links that The Rainmaker Institute was using to link to their client sites. There are mentions of auto-generated links, and the links from what appears to be blog spam, as well as links that were poor quality, with the vast majority of them created through link farming techniques. It seems to have been hit by the Google Penguin updates.

From an SEO point-of-view, links that are good today may not be good tomorrow. Without Google telling us definitively what they consider good and bad links, or what looks spammy to them, whether it is or not… Google holds the cards to its algorithms very close to the vest and they’re not giving away the recipe to the secret sauce. Which is why SEO professionals will tell you that what works today may not be what works tomorrow. Services delivered today, may not on be on the menu tomorrow.

Also at issue was the original content that the company was supposed to be providing as exclusive content. Instead, articles were then republished on multiple attorney websites that it is believed The Rainmaker Institute also worked on.

Many of the Scorpion sites I’ve converted also had lots of duplicate content, but once again what constituted duplicate content to Google back then is not what constitutes duplicate content now. The rules of engagement are constantly changing, even changing hourly in some cases.

A great observation by what I assume is another SEOer:

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So what are you attorneys and law firms to do?

Answer is you do the best with what you’ve got at the time, and when the rules change, you change as quickly as you can. It’s not a static system. It is constantly in flux and so must your SEO best practices be constantly changing to meet the new guidelines; and whatever you feel you need to do to get your business on page one of the search results.

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Search Engine Optimization

Bobbie Grennier
Bobbie Grennier does Google Search Marketing, My Business/Places Optimization, Google+ Local SEO. Google Local Pro offers Advanced My Business Consulting and Santa Cruz Web Designer, Local SEO, Internet Marketing.

Search Engine Ranking – Optimization Strategy

Think of the Internet as the biggest library-like source of information in human history, with one major difference from a actual library. The Internet is not organized, nor is all the information out there credible. This is where search engines come into play and why SEO services, SEO ranking and SEO optimization strategies are so important to real businesses who provide real information, services and products.

Why You Need Good Search Engine Ranking and Optimization Strategy

How to Search Engine Optimization

How to Search Engine Optimization – SEO

We call it being in the Top 10 of a search engine. It means your web site is listed on the front page, in the first 10 results, of any given search engine listing for your keywords … and that’s referred to as a Natural Listing or Natural Results.

In reality, your web site coming up in the top 10 of any search engine is anything but natural. Appearing in the top 10 for your business’s keywords will bring in potential customers to your web site just as effectively as the businesses that pay for the Google Ads and Yahoo Ads, but it’s more cost effective to you because you didn’t have to pay $3-$20 per click like they did … and remember, clicks don’t mean sales, it just means someone clicked onto their web site. Also, I’m not inflating those prices … if you want to compete with the big boys at the top of the keyword list on Google, that’s what it’s going to cost you. Suddenly optimizing your web site has much more importance to you doesn’t it?!

Search engine ranking and optimization is a highly specialized field of Internet study combined with the ability to write decently. Search engine users are what we call a targeted audience because they come looking for your business and usually want to buy what you sell. You don’t need to do anything, but provide them a clean web site that nicely displays your products, and close the sale (but that’s another article).

Internet Users and Search Engine Search Listings

Every web business needs a web site marketing plan with a solid search engine ranking and optimization strategy. The Georgia Institute of Technology says more than 85% of all Internet users find new web sites through search engine search listings. Data shows that search engine listings are the number one way to generate traffic to a web site.

Search Engine Ranking and Optimization Services

Think about it … when you got your very first computer, hooked it up and wanted to go out onto the world wide web … didn’t you ask yourself, How do I find web sites? Then you discovered what a search engine was and from there, you relied on the search engines to give you keyword results and that’s where you played on the Internet.

That’s what millions of users do everyday. These are people who are not tech savvy like you and me. They use search engines as a way of sifting through the myriad of web sites out there, narrowing their search and focusing them on the top 10 results. The goal of any SEO company is to get your web site to rank in the top 10 for your set of keywords, bringing you the people who are searching for the goods and services you provide.

Good Search Engine Ranking and Optimization Strategy

SEO services involve knowledge of SEO optimization, web site planning, SEO experience and having the right SEO tools, but most of all it requires patience because getting your web site into one of those top positions on the search engine results pages (SERP) takes an average of 1-3 months. Any SEO company will need to tweak your web site and it’s content, and then wait for the search engines to make their changes. The goal is to achieve and maintain true search engine optimization and placement for your web site.

By hiring an SEO company like us, to handle your search engine optimization you will see results. A good SEO company will bring you good search engine placement, and any business that can get the targeted traffic should also get the conversion necessary to drive profits up if the web site is able to close the sale.

Your web site content should both drive SEO optimized traffic to your web site and help close the sale. A good SEO Copywriter can help with both!

Search Engine Ranking and Optimization for Good ROI

ROI is the return on investment. You need to compare your ROI for the costs of placing pay per click ads (PPC) with Google and Yahoo vs. the cost of optimizing your web site to get a natural ranking.

How competitive is your market? If it’s highly competitive, like the Finance market is, then you’re most likely going to need to do both to make it in that business online. This is where where our SEO experience can be invaluable to you and the success of your online business.

Forrester Research reported that Over 80 percent of all Internet users reach sites through search engines. Translated, that means if your web site isn’t attracting 80 percent of its visitors from search engines, you’re losing out on a lot of free traffic.

A study from the NPD Group found that search engine listings are far more effective than standard banner or button advertisements when it comes to brand recall, favorable opinion rating, and conversion of traffic to sales.

In unaided recall, search listings outperformed banners and buttons by three to one. More than twice as many people gave a more favorable opinion of companies in the top three search positions than those featured in ads.
The study also found that 55 percent of online purchases were made on sites found through search listings, while a mere 9 percent were on sites found through banner ads. You do the math! Search Engine Optimization is clearly linked to a better ROI for your business.

Based on our own internal calculations, the current cost of getting customers through a good SEO optimization strategy is less than half of the cost of pay-per-click services such as Yahoo’s Overture or Google’s AdWords.

We also know that organic or natural traffic, that comes to your web site from natural search engine ranking, converts better than traffic delivered via pay-per-click search… because the traffic is better targeted! Not all, but most people don’t want to click on the Ads and prefer to click on the organic links instead.

Search Engine Ranking and Optimization

Search engine ranking and SEO optimization is cost effective and should be a high priority. While the search engine ranking and SEO optimization process is complex and time consuming, it is very do-able if you know what you’re doing. That’s why you may want to hire an SEO writer.

SEO optimization is not only about working your web pages to match the ever changing search engine algorithms of all the major search engines, but it’s also about trying to out-rank your competitors.

If you are new to SEO optimization and want to learn more, Google Local Pro has a lot of tutorials and articles regarding SEO.

Google Local Places SEO in Mountain View , California

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