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Andy Brice
Successful Software

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Jonathan Matthews
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BreezeTree Software

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Patrick McKenzie
Bingo Card Creator

Paid SEO service -- any one still using them?

After all the Google updates, the old wisdom of link building (either white or black), content distribution, website optimization seems have all became useless, is not work negatively for search results.

Have you seen the Google updates work to your favor ?  Does it still making sense to hire some professional SEO firms to improve search result ranking?
Facebook Friend Statistics Send private email
Friday, October 11, 2013
 
 
Yes... with some hesitation,

It's true that *most* of what used to work doesn't work now, though there are still many things you can do that will help.

A good SEO specialist or firm, really on top of current events, can certainly boost most site's rankings. The question is if the cost to benefit ratio is worth it to you - and remember that SEO is not 'fire and forget'; it's an ongoing process.

SEO is not dead, it's just a lot more hassle and expense than it used to be, and don't expect much in the way of free or cheap help.



AC
Reluctantlyregistered Send private email
Saturday, October 12, 2013
 
 
Most of your premise is false: incoming links to your website are still very important for Google ranking, so is the speed of the website. The way to get incoming links is to produce good stuff that people link to (be it articles, software, web services).

Google is simply getting better at fighting the abusers that try to game the system by building link farms or "content" companies that generate lots of junk content (to get lots of link in aggregate).

Which is why I don't recommend hiring outside SEO services.

You can learn all the SEO basics from official Google doc: https://static.googleusercontent.com/external_content/untrusted_dlcp/www.google.com/en/us/webmasters/docs/search-engine-optimization-starter-guide.pdf

If you hire a SEO service and you either don't know what they do or the things they do are outside of your control then you can pretty much assume that they do something fishy i.e. trying to game the system so even if Google isn't smart enough to penalize their tactics today, it might be smart enough to penalize them in the future.

There's plenty of things you can do that'll improve your website's ranking:
 - write useful, high-quality articles
 - make the website faster
 - implement all the "gardening" aspects described in search-engine-optimization-starter-guide.pdf (have good urls, good titles, use h1 for things you want to be searched for etc.)

Contrary to what you seem to believe, those were always valid SEO tactics.

But if you engage in things like link building or generate hundreds of  pages of low-quality content, then it might improve your rankings but it might just as well get you penalized by Google. You have to accept that SEO at that level is gambling.
Krzysztof Kowalczyk Send private email
Saturday, October 12, 2013
 
 
- write useful, high-quality articles
 - make the website faster
 - follow the guidelines in Google's search-engine-optimization-starter-guide

That is not SEO.  That is basic common sense, basic honesty and integrity and, more importantly, it's how every website should be designed.

People who think they need  "SEO" are the reason that Google keeps making changes to their system.  Don't be part of the problem.
Richard McBeef Send private email
Sunday, October 13, 2013
 
 
NEVER HIRE AN SEO CONSULTANT. EVER.

Check out this article. It is written by a landscaping business owner, but everything he says about SEO applies here.

http://lawnbusinessreport.com/2013/01/19/never-hire-an-online-marketing-or-seo-company-for-your-lawn-landscape-business/

The only thing I would add is that if you need help building a website hire a reputable website design company. Business owners know their business better, and are certainly more passionate about it, than any outsider and therefore should write most of the content, which the website folks can tweak for search engine issues.

If you are truly a terrible writer, hire a professional copy writer if you must, but there are  few really good ones and those few are expensive and in high  demand, while the rest are not worth hiring.
Bill Anonomist Send private email
Sunday, October 13, 2013
 
 
@Richard - Creating content has always been a cornerstone of SEO. If you want traffic from search engines, you need content for them to index. If you want to build links organically, again, there has to be content for people to link to.

Whether you call it SEO or not, writing articles is a relatively easy and effective marketing technique. I wrote up my experiences with writing content here:

http://www.breezetree.com/blog/index.php/flywheel-marketing-for-software-companies/
Nicholas Hebb Send private email
Sunday, October 13, 2013
 
 
"...write useful, high-quality articles"

This is good marketing and it can sometimes help with SEO, if you happen to write an article on a subject with little competition for example.

Bear in mind though that I've sometimes ranked sites in the top 3 for high value keywords, with virtually NO content.

In fact I've ranked sites with nothing more than a WP template, "Hello world" - and carefully-chosen navigation links - before adding ANY content at all.

(No, I'm not for hire for SEO, only copywriting!)

Nice, relevant high quality content is nice but Google doesn't really give a %$# about that.

When they SAY they do that's just PR; they're not going to tell you how to beat their system, OK?

I can tell you all one thing that hasn't changed, and because other things have it actually makes it more powerful than ever...

Get high "PR" links.

That's part of the algo's core and isn't going to change any time soon.

HOW you get them and where from is entirely up to you but yeah, they still work.




AC
Reluctantlyregistered Send private email
Tuesday, October 15, 2013
 
 
> Nice, relevant high quality content is nice but Google doesn't really give a %$# about that.

I'd argue that isn't true but as always it isn't simple. The key is further down the abstraction chain. High quality content:

- Attracts high quality links naturally if promoted well
- Makes people linger on the page (we had a discussion a while ago about how this probably / is a metric google relies on)
- Will naturally or by design have more relevant keyword combinations. Think long tail.
Jonathan Matthews Send private email
Tuesday, October 15, 2013
 
 
Yes, those aspects are true, which is why it's good to have great content.

My point is you shouldn't consider it an SEO technique, it's just a good website technique - which, eventually, might pay off with SEO as well.

Or might not.



AC
Reluctantlyregistered Send private email
Wednesday, October 16, 2013
 
 

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