[Marketing Q&A] Is SEO A Scam?

Question provided by Stephen Smyth – an Ultra Light Startups member.

Answer provided by Dennis Yu CEO of BlitzLocal – and panelist at SEO for New Websites on Thursday, March 4.

Stephen’s Question: Would like panelists to comment on the this blog post that asserts “If someone charges you for SEO, you have been conned

Dennis’s Answer: There are a lot of misconceptions about SEO and definitely a lot of snake oil out there.  This fellow is broadbrushing and being inflammatory– perhaps even engaging in a SEO strategy called link-baiting– to grab attention and links.  The question of whether SEO is a scam is a well-worn argument where we don’t need to re-hash the basics.  Read this:

SEO is the process of getting more traffic and conversions to a website through any non-paid method.  So if you charge money to build a website for a client, is that a scam, too?  SEO is the latest term (albeit faddish) for good old-fashioned webmastering.  Holding contests on Facebook to encourage fans to submit stories about your product or service, which then results in more traffic and links — is that a scam?

Performing SEO should have nothing to do with finding loopholes in search engine algorithms or generating fake content– it should be in direct alignment with what’s right for users, doing things that provides real value.  A large number of folks who claim to be SEO experts do bilk folks who are not wary– and that is just wrong.  But there are as many folks who provide measurable value by doing things that do fall into the category of basic webmastering, which does provide immense value.

Looking at your Google Webmaster Tools to determine what pages are being indexed and where you have 404 errors– is that bad SEO?  How about doing some keyword research to see what keywords are worth ranking on?  How about telling search engines which urls should be canonical, so it’s easier for them to index and crawl?  This stuff may be common sense, but lots of folks need it.

Here’s an example of what a simple SEO analysis can look like

To ask your own question of Ultra Light Startups experts, fill in this form on the Ultra Light Startups website and check the ULS blog or the ULS email newsletter for the answer.

For more information on this and related topics, join us at SEO for New Websites in New York on March 4, 2010

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