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SEO a Scam? The Truth About the Industry

I frequent many SEO and Web Marketing forums on a daily basis and every so often there is a debate about the SEO industry and ethics. After being involved in a number of these debates, it has become really obvious that the main problems are the facts that no two SEO companies are alike and there is no unified methodology. It’s very hard to make statements about the industry as a whole because it’s debatable what exactly ‘SEO’ is. Mix in the fact that most SEO companies keep their methodology and campaign strategies secret and we have a situation where every company is totally different with very different results.

Fact 1 : There is no unified SEO methodology. SEO is actually defined by wikipedia as a process of improving traffic from SERPs to a site. Of course, HOW they do that is the real question and causes the debates.

Fact 2 : The effectiveness of an SEO campaign depends on the site structure, site content, keywords, methodology used, and how popular the site is. A site cannot just rank for any random keyword. SEO is also not voodoo. It is logic, problem solving, and Web marketing mixed together. If your site provides no value to users, it probably won’t rank.

Fact 3 : Some ‘SEOs’ do search engine optimization and some do search engine manipulation. Of course, it is all marketed as SEO. Unethical optimization provides results at any cost and is always short term (usually ends in a banned domain name). Ethical optimization opens up the site to the search engines and provides long term benefits.

Fact 4 : Most SEO companies get paid whether or not your site gets any rankings. Unfortunately, this is the case with the industry. Most SEO companies implement A, B, and C and move on to the next client. Hopefully, the site ranks. If it doesn’t, they always have more clients.

Fact 5 : Most SEO companies use both ethical and unethical inbound linking strategies.To maximize profits, it is very common for SEO companies to buy bulk links from India, links on spam/scraper web sites, or sell large directory submission packages. It is also common for SEO companies to place huge amounts of the contract into inbound linking to make up for the poor quality of the site optimization.

I don’t think it is fair to characterize the industry as a whole without figuring out what is wrong with it and how SEO companies can overcome it. So how exactly do we determine what is good and bad about the industry? I have now been involved with the Web for over 10 years and, specifically, with the SEO industry for almost 4 years and I’ve seen the inner workings of major SEO companies and worked with clients who had been burned by their previous SEO campaigns. Combined with numerous Web postings and forum debates talking about the same basic problems, I’ve compiled a list of the most common Unterschied SEO SEA SEM issues.

Problem 1: Responsibility for Results

It’s no secret that the vast majority of SEO companies take no responsibility for results. It is a fact that no SEO company can guarantee results (and if they do, they are lying to you). It is also a fact that the client is taking a risk by spending money with an SEO company that basically says ‘We’ll do what we can’. SEO companies simply guarantee they’ll do the work to ‘optimize’ the site, but without full disclosure of their methodology, what exactly is the client paying for? No other industry sells a product with no guarantees and no specific list of work that will be completed. Of course, SEO work is basically the sales of information and keeping the specifics of a methodology is important, but the combination of secrecy and no responsibility for results really makes SEO campaigns risky. So, how can an SEO company reduce the risk for the client and provide the best grade of service?

Answer 1: Incentive Based Pricing

The only real way to reduce the financial risk of the client is to share the risk. Through incentive-based pricing, the SEO company can charge a certain percentage of the total contract (say 70%) to cover their intellectual property and time while placing the rest of the contract price (remaining 30%) in incentives for success. Of course, incentives and their percentage of the contract would be totally relative depending on the campaign. This first step into sharing in the risk provides both reassurance to the client that the company believes in its methodology and places some of the financial burden of the campaign on the SEO company. At the moment, however, very few SEO companies are willing to share in the risk and charge the same price whether the client gets top rankings or no rankings at all (or possibly even lower rankings).

Maui and Howie!

The sun is shining. Pick up your rental car and follow the directions to your Maui condo rental, booked through Hawaiian Beach Rentals. You’ll be staying in a condo with a full kitchen at your disposal. If you’ve got the time, inclination, and energy, you might want to pick up some groceries before you check-in. Choose from a variety of grocery stores, a Wal-Mart, or even a COSTCO. If you don’t want the hassle, your luxury rental offers a great concierge service, which will do your shopping for you! As you drive south, look southeast for a view of Maui’s highest peak, Haleakala, at a height of 10,020 feet. Roll down your windows and enjoy the drive! Once you’ve gotten situated in your luxury beachfront rental, you’ll want to refresh yourself with a swim in the blue waters. Go out your front door…walk 200 feet. After a shower, get ready for a night on the town! One of the reasons Maui is so highly rated is because of the quality of its cuisine. Check out the local scene the first night, to get your bearings. Wailea and Makena boast a number of fine eateries, with something to delight every palate. Sleep in the next morning…you deserve it!

That’s what luxury Wailea villas are for! Enjoy a relaxing morning: a swim, a game of tennis, or a round of golf. Maui is world-famous for its golf, and Wailea snorkeling gear and Makena boast the island’s finest courses. A great way to start any vacation is to get a good lay of the land. Once you’ve enjoyed your morning, put on your walking shoes! The rest of the day is part one of the grand tour of Maui. Before you get started on the day’s activities, however, make sure to call and reserve a table with a view at the Hula Grill in Kaanapali, where you’ll be having dinner. Today’s trip will take you along Maui ‘s northwest shoreline. First stop is the Maui Ocean Center, which offers an educational tour of a rich variety of Hawaiian tropical life. The Ocean Center even offers visitors the opportunities to swim with sharks, but make sure to book in advance! Sharks get testy if you don’t have an appointment. The next stop is only for those up for a bit of hike. For those interested in natural history, however, the petroglyphs at Olowalu are well worth the visit. Lahaina is your next stop. Before the US annexation of Hawaii , Lahaina was the “Royal Capital of the Hawaiian Kingdom,” and today it is Maui ‘s most popular tourist destination. Lahaina is full of things to do and see. Here are some that you won’t want to miss: The Galleries on Front Street – featuring both well-known and not-so-well-known artists, the galleries are a great way to spend a few hours. Make sure to visit the Lahaina Galleries, and if you like what you see, you can see more of the same at their Wailea branch in The Shops at Wailea. The banyan tree in Courthouse Square – a remarkably large tree whose branches take up 2/3 of an acre. The Whale Museum – during the 1800’s Lahaina was the center of the world’s whaling industry and has a rich maritime history.

It has been a long day. You have seen a lot and worked up quite an appetite. Make your way over to the Hula Grill in Kaanapali for some of the island’s finest traditional Hawaiian fare. Whether you’re looking for pan roasted shrimp with mac nut pesto pasta, banana-glazed opah, crab-and-corn cakes, or just a good ol’ prime rib steak, you won’t go hungry at the Hula Grill!

All right…you slept in yesterday, so you should be ready for an earlier start. Wailea rentals are the center of the action on Maui. Having the opportunity to snorkel around one of the world’s most beautiful underwater volcanoes is well worth it. Sign up for a Molokini snorkeling trip. If snorkeling is not your thing, there are many other ocean sports to enjoy on Maui. You’ve made the most of your time on Maui, and have already seen and done a lot! Take the rest of the afternoon off. Relax. Or…you could take a stroll into The Shops at Wailea, Maui ‘s most exclusive shopping area. Grab an ice cream at Lappert’s or sample some great local coffee at the Honolulu Coffee Co. Head into Kihei to enjoy a casual dinner on the beach front at Five Palms. Unpretentious and off the beaten track, the restaurant specializes in fresh fish caught daily.

Take the Time to Recharge

As I mentioned, I have “unplugged” for a week and am chilling out. I find this to be a very important part of life. Stress levels rise, tempers flare and that interferes with work, everyday life and yes, even wedding planning. Europe seems to agree with me as they give a standard 4 weeks of paid vacation time. North America however sits at the lowest amount of vacation time in the “civilized” world…no wonder we’re all going slowly nuts! Getting away doesn’t mean you have to take a big trip, just get away from the everyday, leave the cellphone and the laptop at home and just bugger off and relax. Hey, you can even take your fiancé if you like.

But Honey…Johnny Depp Has One!

Ah the private island, the ultimate getaway, even movie stars know the importance of getting away…they have more cash so they can actually buy an island to take off to. Not something we can do, but it’s nice to dream right? My point is, these people may only work 4 months of the year, 8 tops (Some “stars” don’t even seem to work, if eating lunch at the Ivy & partying the night away is work, I’m still waiting for my paycheque) But once the work is done, they take off and chill out to recharge their batteries and get ready for the next film or whatever they have going on. So you can’t buy your own island, no worries there are plenty out there for you. Take a week, or even a 3 or 4 day weekend and head off to an island of your choice. Unplug, relax and get your head back on straight so you can come back all ready to go ahead with the planning of your wedding, remember…the planning is supposed to be fun.

Cabin Fever

When I lived in Toronto we used to head up to Muskoka almost every weekend, fondly named “cottage country” by the locals this was a great place to unwind after a week at work. It was a 3 hour drive from my place so it wasn’t that bad of a commute. I loved it because we didn’t have a computer, there was no phone and you didn’t have to drive anywhere so that was great (nudge, nudge, wink, wink). The atmosphere was super chill, cause…well it’s a cottage and sitting in the sun or early morning fishing made you forget all the troubles and emails at the office. What I’m saying is this, you don’t have to take off for a week to a deserted island, you can make a GeekVape Wenax M1 quick trip out of the city to get your peace and quiet.

Grab Your Time Whenever Possible

It’s important to take your time wherever you can. If hanging out with the boys relaxes you, head to the pub and catch the UFC fight. It happens once a month and it won’t cost you an arm and a leg. I find sitting in the tattoo chair relaxing, yes I know it’s a cliché but it honestly relaxes me. Go to the spa for a couples massage or just go out for the day and top it off with a nice dinner. Just don’t talk about the wedding or work or anything that stresses you out. I know guys who love to fish, so once a week, off they go. Golfing as well, unless you play like me then it has the opposite effect. Even getting out with the guys and hittin’ a few balls at the range can take the edge off. Feel free to vent a bit but don’t go overboard and raise that stress level…

Groom Advice

Stress is a killer, countless studies have proven this, plus it messes with your hair line and that’s no good either. With work, bills, everyday life, hell…even the commute to work can be a pig and now you have to listen to your bride drone on about the wedding your nerves may start to feel like frayed electrical cables. It’s important to get away, switch off the brain and get back to your ice cave and penguins happy place.

You don’t have to spend a ton of cash, save that for the honeymoon. If it’s in the budget to head off to Mexico for the weekend then great, but if it’s not just decide what chills you out and book it into your schedule. I recommend securing the time in your calendar so no one books something else for you in that time, there’s nothing worse than booking a tee time and then finding out your fiance wants you to go meet with the florist.

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