SEO: The Good, The Bad and the Ugly

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is something that’s often overlooked by companies or pushed to the back burner when funds are running out.  Unfortunately this is a big mistake and will hurt the company in the long run.  While not optimizing your website for search engines can be bad, hiring unethical SEO companies can be even worse than not doing anything in the first place.

Search Engine Optimization: The Good

Search engine optimization can help bring a steady stream customers to your website.  If you’ve set up your site properly, search traffic is a continuous stream of people who have searched for something that your site has to offer.  From my experience it’s the best kind of traffic, often staying on my sites longer than traffic from ads, written articles or other forms of traffic.

Optimizing your site for search engines doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg or take years to achieve.  Obviously if you’re trying to rank high for extremely competitive keywords its going to cost more money and take more time but even doing simple things like making sure each page has a proper tag, well laid out headings tags and linking to your website properly is better than nothing.

The Bad

For some reason, developers always leave SEO last, and then either charge more to include it or just leave it out all together.  This is a huge mistake and can make a website all but useless.  I’m not trying to say all websites are pointless without search engine traffic but a lot of companies rely on that traffic for sales.

Many web design and development companies will offer SEO services along with their design services but will never follow through.  These companies will promise that your website will hit #1 in [insert search engine name] within the first week.  Promises like these just aren’t practical.  SEO isn’t a science it’s an art form.

The Ugly

Unethical SEO might get a website in Google fast, but they will get it out of Google faster. Ethical SEO takes time but will give better results over a longer period of time.

Unethical SEO practices can include: Creating landing pages for the sake of just drawing the search engine goodies, paid links on high-ranking pages without relevant content, spamming pages, etc. All of these activities are black-marked by Google and will get the practitioners a negative ranking.

In the end, it’s often better to not optimize your website for search engines than it is to go about doing it in an unethical way.