Pittsburgh SEO companies, and even global SEO companies, are always claiming that search engine optimization will boost your rankings, your website traffic and your lead generation. You can always run into some SEO consultants ready to bend the truth a bit about search engine optimization.
What you may not know is that most of the claims that agencies tell you about inbound marketing and online visibility are false. They are usually rehashed information from Matt Cutts or Rand Fishkin. Those same agencies and consultants who claimed to help multiple small business grow, will show nearly no 'special' results or testing done.
As you hold meetings and talk with SEO companies from the Western Pennsylvania region, know that there are some lies that can creep into your discussions.
"SEO is the most important traffic factor"
A lot of Pittsburgh SEO companies will tell you in a solid way that SEO is the single best method, and sometimes even the only method to gain traffic and visitors to your site. They like to cite search engine results in the millions, in an effort for those same SEO firms to gain your money (they are hoping for those millions).
The truth is that SEO is an incredibly powerful tool in an inbound marketers toolkit. With the correct on-page SEO tactics, a search engine optimization consultant can increase your web traffic by 100% or more in the first month. However, it's not the only, nor most important method of gaining traffic.
An SEO agency that suggests, instead, that you should start your inbound marketing and online presence growth is via creating online personas of your community and industry is a win. By doing this, your hired agency can then target the sector of online marketing that will yield the best results for your brand and website.
"Our SEO ranks on the first page of Google, in one week..."
This promise will always get a small business owner's ears perked and ready to pay for SEO. To further this, most consultants add in the "money back guarantee" if the search engine rankings are not met. However, there is a big catch...
First, the SEO agency will most likely find the least competitive, easiest long tail keyword that they can rank for. Then, they pay for increased "spam" links into the page containing this over-optimized keyword. Finally, they boost those second tiers to further increase the rankings of the incoming keywords - it's just bad and spammy SEO practice.
Before most businesses know what hit them, the search engine marketer makes off with a couple of thousands of dollars for easy work that a grade school kid could've done.
What you really need is a keyword theme, and an SEO strategy to target global, local SEO and community and industry relevant targeting. Those keywords will not show instantaneous results in SERPs; but they will, over time, build authority and contextual search relevance.
Remember, using SEO is not simply about ranking keywords. Search engine optimization is about making relevant information available to visitors of your brand and website.
"We'll generate thousands of inbound links to boost your search ranking"
This is not necessarily a lie for most SEO companies in this region. However, what the statement is not stating is that by using this link building strategy for boosting your SERPs value, you are, in essence, creating link spam. Remember, not every link is the same.
The truth is that you want the same thing from your inbound link profile as you do from your content. You want relevant context across every platform. So, if you can get a few PR2-PR5 links from contextually relevant websites in your industry, it's much, much more valuable than grabbing 10,000 links from anywhere; and if it's spam, everywhere.
"SEO will grow your business from day one"
This statement is a lie within a lie that some search engine marketers tell all too often. Indeed, SEO will grow your business when done correctly and as a brand-wide effort for visibility. And, likewise, you should use search engine optimization tactics to constantly build awareness of your brand and context of your website on the internet.
However, is this the only method you can use from day one to have brand growth? Absolutely not!
On page SEO and white hat SEO, are two principles you should use from the first page entering the internet on your site. However, if an search engine optimization company makes a statement that your brand's growth is from SEO on day one, they are focused on the wrong things. Social media leaves the conversation, community and industry contextual relevance via links leaves the convo and so does other traffic areas.
"There is nothing to lose..."
What many small business owners do not realize, is that if an SEO company improperly implements search engine optimization practices, even with a money-back guarantee, you could get burned in Google and by Bing in the long-run. I've seen agencies cut out the guidelines that Google and Bing put forth for quick, simple solutions like link spamming, keyword stuffing, paid-for links and article submissions to blogging networks.
These very black hat SEO practices are what can turn a small business into a ghost on search engines result pages, all the while, letting SEO agencies off of the hook for that negative impact on their brand. And what is worse, some businesses do not even know it is the SEO firm's fault, and so they pay for something like a Google Penalty Package, to start to reverse the problem.
So, what is the verdict with a Pittsburgh SEO company?
Your location doesn't impact your choice in SEO company. Around this region, from Erie, through Sharon and Butler and New Castle, down to Monroeville, you could run into problematic search engine marketers who do not have your business and brand's best interests in mind. You can actually start today by turning items around.
Provide community content
Generate your personal personas and create content to answer their questions. Then, do exactly what an SEO company would do...find the competitors and influencers in your industry and start participating with them, not away from them.
Build authority and trust
Social media and answering questions with content comes to mind here.
Question your Pittsburgh SEO company
Ask them questions. You are hiring them right? Ask about their search engine marketing practices. Ask them about link building, and how they plan to do off-page SEO. Ask about local SEO, and how it will impact your efforts in the Pittsburgh SEO online marketing realm. Ask about content. Ask about social media platforms.