Friday, June 24, 2011

SEO - Scam Exploiting Obfuscation

In order for an Internet auction site (or any E-Commerce site) to grow and thrive, it has to have web-presence in the field of its commercial endeavor. The site must come up in online searches for the type of site that it is, and the merchandise that is sold there. This is no easy task as there are so many competing sites with established online presence that will always outrank niche sites in general searches.

Just for example, Google the words “book auction” and you will not be getting any niche site results on the first page. You will have to go deeper than that to get any niche site results, but eventually you will get them. Critical to a site’s web presence is what is known as Search Engine Optimization (SEO), a process of enhancing the substructure of a website for searchers who are seeking the type of things said website has to offer.

SEO has many technical complexities that I can’t even begin to go into here. There is plenty of info about it already on the web (good, bad, and otherwise) if you’re interested in particulars. It does have to be done though, and done properly. Unless one is a “web-wiz” it is a task better left to professionals, which will cost of course, but if done properly, be well worth it. A caveat – the shyster percentage is high among those advertising their SEO ability. It is one of the most frequent service offered by scam artists. Rule of Thumb: The more bodacious their claims are, the more likely the SEO organization is just a scam.

Nobody can get you a Google #1 page ranking in 48 hours in the organic listings. Touting your site’s submission to 1,000 search engines is useless. Who even uses HotBot, AltaVista and Lycos anymore? Not many I would think. Ever heard of Trexy? I didn’t think so (unless you’re the ultimate web-nerd). No point in this practice and, it is unverifiable in the result department. Besides that, you could easily do it yourself if you wanted to. Just a couple of blatant examples; the clever scammers are much more insidious.

In order to find the best SEO professional to hire, research on SEO (what it is, what it does, how it works, what the current trends are) is an absolute requirement. You also need to know your site’s technical weaknesses and strengths regarding SEO before you even attempt making contact with anyone in the SEO business. A budget and a marketing plan is also a necessary prerequisite. You need to have a set of realist expectations and answers from a prospective SEO company on exactly how those expectations will be met. You also need references from the company on their success, not in general, but specific, verifiable examples of their work in your field of commerce. That last part is key: IN YOUR FIELD OF COMMERCE. Just because a company had some success boosting the presence of a dentist from Oshkosh doesn’t mean they’ll be able to do the same for your online store or auction site.

All this answers only part of the question I posed at the end of my previous post - “So why doesn’t this awesome little site have significant prominence on the web, and what can be done to change that?” It is obvious that not enough has been done in the SEO department on Mynotera, yet still I continue to get bids on my items and sell consistently. When you are good at what you do, and you build up a dedicated clientele over time, repeat business will happen. But there is much more that can and should be done to increase business on a potential “golden nugget” like Mynotera, and in the next post, I’ll delve into a little more. SEO is very important, but it isn’t everything.

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