I came upon such a question today on Search Engine Watch Forums. It is not the first time it has been asked – “Can I include my competitor’s names in my SEO strategy? Will I find myself in any kind of legal trouble?” Or even, “Is it ethical?” Sure you can do it. It is your site – you can do what you want with it. Yes, you may find yourself receiving one of those nice little cease and desist letters. As for ethics, that would depend on what your ethics are.
It has been a worry of many SEOs for the last couple of years. Will the fact that search engines are adding more “personalization” to the search results eventually kill the business of performing search engine optimization for web sites? SEO has become a very lucrative business and has seen many new companies as well as individuals come into the space for the last several years. SEOs fear that their livelihood may be in jeopardy as engines like Google, Yahoo and others cater to the personal searching habits of their users.
The places to obtain free SEO advice are plentiful. There are forums, blogs, articles, ebooks, webinars, and even live internet radio shows such as WebmasterRadio.fm. However most often the advice given is more of a general nature involving specific techniques or strategies that can be applied to a multitude of sites. If advice is given about a specific site, such as in a forum, it is most often generalized so it can help all who visit the forum as opposed to just the site owner themselves.
At least that is what Dave Pasternack of Did-it.com is saying. Yes he has stuck his foot in his mouth once again. Are you tired yet of hearing from this guy? I know I am. In this latest DM News article, he answers a series of questions, one of which he compares SEO to baking a cake. Sound foolish? Wait, there’s more.
We very frequently receive RFPs (requests for proposal) from e-commerce sites. The application behind the e-commerce store, often referred to as a shopping cart application or product database, can be an off the shelf product such as osCommerce, MonsterCommerce or X-Cart to name a few. Or it can even be proprietary, custom developed by a web programmer. No matter how the e-commerce site is powered, there are specific features that we look for in order to know if we will have full liberty to optimize the site so that it has the best opportunity to position well in the organic search results. Some applications already have SEO friendly features built in but many do not. Therefore if you own or are getting ready to set up an e-shop, make sure your product database has the following SEO friendly features.
Greg Boser (aka WebGuerrilla) doesn’t post often on his blog but when he does, boy does he have something to say. This latest post which refutes the half truths being spread first by Did-it.com’s president, David Pasternack and followed by executive chairman, Kevin Lee, is no exception. Both David and Kevin’s articles attempt to paint a picture that SEO is a dying art while the future is all PPC. Greg exposes their hypocrisy in a most excellent post. I’ll provide a few excerpts below but definitely take some time to read it in its entirety.
During the recent Search Engine Strategies conference held in Chicago, I had the privilege of attending a session entitled “CSS, Ajax, Web2.0 and Search Engines.” On hand was Shari Thurow of Grantastic Designs, Jim McFadyen of Critical Mass, Scott Orth of Selytics, and from the search engines themselves, Amit Kumar from Yahoo and Dan Crow from Google. Shari, Jim and Scott each took turns discussing these three buzz words of 2006 while the search engine reps were able to offer some additional thoughts.
While there are many fine SEO firms spread out across the globe, there is equally a share of bad firms as well or as Jill Whalen calls them, “Quacks.” In her most recent newsletter, Jill provides 10 signs that your SEO may be a quack. Some of them are obvious but others might not be quite so obvious to those shopping for SEO services. That is why when searching for an SEO vendor, it is so important to perform due diligence so you can have confidence in who is finally selected. Jill’s tips will help identify firms to stay clear of. I will list them below but for more detailed explanation of each, visit her newsletter archive.
SEO, short for search engine optimization is the act of optimizing web pages so that they position well in the organic search results for related keyword phrases. Hopefully the effort drives traffic and increases conversions in the process. Part art, part science, part common sense, SEO has become a necessary ingredient for web sites if they are going to capitalize on the 70 – 80 percent of searchers who click on organic search listings. Is SEO a one time fix – something that can applied to web pages once and then leave them be or is it more of an ongoing practice?
Aaron Wall (aka SEO Book) has authored a new article that takes a unique look at the difference between what he calls “Tactical SEO vs Strategic SEO.” He explores the idea that many SEO tactics work well at achieving a certain goal, but to be wildly profitable one needs to go beyond tactics and approach things from a strategic front. “Many people who are great tactical SEOs do not build much equity because tactics without strategy have little value,” Aaron proclaims.
Bill Slawski who is an expert at tearing into all the patents search engines file and explaining them in layman’s terms has put together a list of twenty possible ways search engines rerank pages before they deliver them to a searcher. I’ll list the first three below but definitely check the entire article out as it is an interesting read.
In performing search engine optimization, should SEOs keep their procedures and strategies secret from clients? Should their clients sit patiently by, waiting for the end results and not be concerned about the process that gets them there? I would answer no on both questions. In fact, I firmly believe that the client should know everything that is being done to optimize their sites for organic search. Not only do I believe in full disclosure, I believe in documenting it in writing.