On Search Engine Optimization, Rogue Web Designers And Integrity
Following on from my recent post called “Guess What! Google Hates Your New Business Website And Will Never Rank It!” there have been some further developments to the story.
If you haven’t read it I expressed my dismay – no not dismay, disgust! – about a New Zealand web design company which approached me about the 2,000 plus websites they had developed for NZ businesses.
As a search engine optimization consultant I let them know what I thought about their pretty but useless for SEO Flash based websites and their claim that for an extra $100 the business could have the top Google result for the keyword of their choice!
Totally dishonest claims and I let them know in a reply to their email.
Anyway I received a follow-up phone call a couple of days ago and I think you will be blown away by the sheer mind-boggling audacity of this company!
“Hi Mike, just checking to see if you had looked at our website designs and to see if you are interested in perhaps purchasing a new website…”
I asked whether the caller had received my email reply and was told that the company director had probably got that one.
So I explained what I thought about a business which had built over 2,000 Flash based websites with the promise of being found in the top search results and how I considered this to be dishonest and misleading.
Flash websites look great to the human eye and have lots of cool audio and visual tricks but are invisible to the search engine robots which spider (visit and read) websites to decide whether to index them in the SERPs (search engine results pages). We have to remember that these are machines we are talking about here. Google is not hundreds of thousands of humans looking at websites to decide if they offer value or not. It is a highly evolved series of algorithms which dictate how the robot sees and ranks a particular website.
So a Flash website has a minimal amount of code or text for the search engines to read! The result? The site is judged to be poor quality and is ignored!
Of course the response from this guy was defensive to say the least. “We only sent you examples of our Flash sites because they are the most popular but we also build HTML/Flash sites as well.”
So, they mainly sell the invisible sites then?
I couldn’t resist asking about the “$100 will get your chosen keyword at the top of all the search engines including Google” claim. I said “You know we are an SEO company so how could you make such an outrageous claim? If you know anything about search engine optimization you will know that it is a complex strategic process that uses multiple platforms and formats to create hundreds of anchor text links to a carefully optimized website?”
I wasn’t ready for the answer.
“Are you near a computer?” (I am practically fused to one!)
“Type this keyword into your Google search bar. You will see that one of our websites is at number one for this keyword…”
I won’t give you the full keyword. If I was to optimize this post for the same keyword I would outrank the website they have built within 24 hours but the only people I would hurt is the poor business who had paid for these cowboys to create a site for them.
So lets just say “name of tiny provincial NZ town” diamonds or “name of tiny provincial NZ town” watches…
The first thing I did was put this keyword into the Google adwords keyword tool and…
Yes, you guessed it – the total number of monthly searches for this fabulous keyword is… zero!
So these lucky punters now have a fabulous invisible website which has the number one position in Google for a keyword that not a single person on the whole planet is searching for.
Wow! What a coup! Imagine the number of new customers they are getting for this piece of genius!
Talk about tapping into the immense power of the Internet!
And considering they are likely to be the only jewelry store in this tiny town – which you can see by the fact that they may be the top result but the rest of the results have nothing to do with jewelry retail.
I had a look at the website – cool! Wow! when you hover your cursor over the various pages it makes a tinkling noise – awesome! so clever!…
And the proprietor’s necklace glitters every few seconds – incredible!, and the music starts all by itself and keeps going in a loop… amazing!
And it is TOTALLY USELESS for Internet presence!
Which is the main reason why a business buys a website isn’t it?
To gain the advantage that the huge numbers of people who use search to look for what your business sells.
This is not the first time I have come across snake oil salesmen like these ones. It seems there are an awful lot of businesses and individuals out there who suffer from a complete lack of integrity.
And it seems that there are an awful lot of smoke and mirrors operations out there when it comes to Internet related consultants.
I have identified a particularly dishonest website design company here but I have also seen search engine optimization companies and social media management companies who are also over promising and woefully under-delivering.
There seem to be an awful lot of “experts” out there – self-proclaimed of course!
Have you struck similar cowboys in your online travels?
Let us know in the comments (DoFollow links naturally! :))
Mike Morgan works with innovative businesses in New Zealand and Australia developing custom web marketing strategies integrating SEO, Content Marketing and Social Media. Mike has been featured in 41 Rising Stars of SEO and Top 100 Most Followed SEO Experts on Twitter and has his opinions on SEO and Content Marketing published on a range of global content marketing blogs.