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In case you're wondering, yes, I do love coffee. If you ask anyone who knows me, they would tell you that they rarely ever see me without a cup nearby, as a matter of fact, I'm drinking one right now. I even once went into a store that I have frequented regularly for years and forgot to take my "To-Go" cup in with me and three people asked me how I was doing and where was my coffee cup at. So, when I ran across the image on the left, I couldn't resist. I guess it's a good thing I didn't decide to put up a "healthy living" blog. Anyway, on to the meat of the matter.

Publishing a blog on your website is one of the easiest and most effective forms of Internet marketing and it's also a major factor in site optimization - SEO. What could be better? They are fun to maintain, only take a few minutes a post, help drive traffic to your site, and help move your site up in search engine rankings. Once its set up, all you have to do is just post and respond.

Search engines give preference to sites that regularly publish "fresh" content. Publishing a blog on your site is a good way to add fresh content on a regular basis. If you are really good at writing relevant articles, another site may grab your blogs RSS feed and publish it on their site which will provide links back to your site. This will increase SEO visibility even further. We have three examples of using other sites feeds to show you how this works. One eMarketing feed, one Web Design feed, and one SEO feed.

The reason I decided to put up this blog, in addition to SEO of course, is to help educate clients who don't know a lot about web design, SEO and Internet marketing, but would like to, just to be able to have a better understanding of what's going on so they can plan their direction more effectively and make better informed decisions. I don't think that's too much to ask. They just don't want to have to deal with someone "talking down" to them. This is singularly the most common complaint I hear from clients. "Oh, I would tell you, but it's too technical." "Oh, you want trained on this, well, that will be extra." or my favorite one after the website is up and running, "Oh, you want SEO, that will be extra." If you hear any of these things from your developer, my advice would be to cut your losses and run! They are either incompetent and trying to hide it from you, or, trying to jack up the price on the back end. Either way, it's unethical at best and they definitely don't have your best interest at heart. I hope this blog helps.

How to Avoid Common SEO Abuses

Common SEO Abuses

The Google Webmaster help page cautions against the following practices: One common scam is the creation of shadow domains that funnel users to a site by using deceptive redirects. These Shadow Domains often will be owned by the SEO who claims to be working on your behalf. However, if the relationship sours, the SEO may point the domain to a different site, or even to a competitors domain. If that happens, you have just paid to develop a competing site owned entirely by the SEO.

Another illicit practice is to place doorway pages loaded with "Keywords" on the client's site somewhere. The SEO promises this will make the page more relevant for more queries. This is inherently false since individual pages are rarely relevant for a wide range of keywords. More insidious, however, is that these Doorway Pages often contain hidden links to the SEO's other clients as well. Such Doorway Pages drain away the link popularity of a site and route it to the SEO and it's other clients, which may include sites with unsavory or illegal content. This is something that you definitely do not want associated with your site!

There are a few warning signs that you may be dealing with a rogue SEO. This is far from a comprehensive list, so if you have any doubts, you should trust your instincts. By all means feel free to walk away if the SEO:

  • Owns shadow domains
  • Offers to sell keywords in the address bar
  • Guarantees rankings, but only on obscure keywords or phrases
  • Operates with falsified Whois info
  • Links to other domains on doorway pages
  • Gets traffic from "fake" search engines, spyware or scumware

If you feel that you were deceived by an SEO in some way, you may want to report it to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). They handle complaints about deceptive or unfair business practices. To file a complaint visit: http://www.ftc.gov and click on File a Complaint Online, or call 1-877-FTC-HELP, or write to:

Federal Trade Commission
Washington, DC 20580