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The Misinformation Highway

July 14th, 2010 by Troy Newport


seo scams are bad for our industryRecently I had a discussion with a few prominent attorneys in the Tampa Bay area.  They were lamenting how the Internet has allowed sub-par, sub-standard attorneys to not only survive, but thrive.  One joked painfully that some attorneys in the area would need directions to the courthouse.  But because they are well positioned online and have information on their websites seemingly designed to mislead an average reader, they have garnered more market share than many honest, better-credentialed attorneys. I was told it has become a numbers game for some attorneys, and they burn through as many clients as they possibly can, providing minimal attention and services, further giving people in their industry a bad name.

Throughout the conversation I found my head shaking in the affirmative.  Not because I have any inside knowledge of the legal field, but because I have this same conversation with business owners in almost every other industry I come in contact with.

Painfully, this type of behavior seems especially rampant in my industry.  Search Engine Optimization (SEO) seems to be ripe for fraud.  Individuals and companies prey on the public’s lack of knowledge and understanding of the Internet and technology in general.  It not only gives our industry a bad name, but it also makes it very difficult for companies like ours to operate honestly.  Try sitting in a meeting with a potential client who has heard “we’ll get you on the first page of Google in 2 weeks or less!” everywhere they turn.  Then start explaining that the most credible, effective SEO campaign is a long-term strategy that takes time and a fair amount of effort.

A (false) promise of immediate gratification vs. a guarantee of hard work.  It’s a tough sell, isn’t it?  Especially in today’s society.  Everyone wants an immediate, painless solution with overnight results.

What you may not know is that the geniuses at Google have purposely adapted their algorithm to prevent websites from ranking quickly.  Too many people have tried to “fool” Google into artificially ranking their websites so Google has consistently upgraded their algorithm over the years to be as foolproof as possible.  Why?  I can name twenty-three billion reasons why.  That’s what Google’s total revenue was for 2009: $23,000,000,000.  The reason they make that much money is because they provide us with the world’s best search results.  And they are going to protect the integrity of their search results (and $23 billion in revenue) at all costs.  So when someone tells you they can “rank your website in 2 weeks or less!” think about the situation logically.

So, my attorney friends have inspired me to fight fire with fire.  There is too much misinformation out there, so over the next few weeks I will be adding posts here about some of the most common Internet and SEO scams we see every day.  Hopefully with some education and common sense explanations I can help clear the air in an otherwise murky industry.  Watch our Facebook page for updates to this post.

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