Black Hat SEO Companies in Raleigh, NC? - Part OneSo first of all I want to wish you all a Happy and Prosperous New Year! Let's hope 2010 is more of a blessing than 2009 was! I thought I'd start the New Year with a post on Black Hat SEO techniques and how to spot it. This way when you spend money on improving you website rankings on google and other search engines, you can be confident that you are not getting scammed! Are there Black Hat SEO scam firms in Raleigh? Well, let's just say I'm not going to make a whole lot of friends with these next 2 posts but hey, it's business, nothing personal!
In the last year I have seen a plethora of self proclaimed North Carolina Web Design and SEO companies pop up. In Raleigh, NC in particular there are hundreds of companies offering SEO services. In my previous post "SearchEngine Tricks at the Top", I posed the question of whether a company should be considered reputable simply because they are on page 1 of your google search results? No, do go and re-read the article I will just tell you the answer is "No Way!" There are too many SEO companies and Internet marketing agencies out there that dabble in Black Hat SEO Techniques to base your trust in Google page one results alone.
Why Should I Care?So What? May be your first response. Well, I'll tell you why you should care. If you are a business owner who is concerned about traffic to your website you need to know who and what kind of agency you're dealing with. Why? Unfortunately there are SEO firms in Raleigh, Charlotte and across the US with one thing in mind... get you quick results, make you smiile & take your money. The problem is many of these so called "Professional" web design and search engine optimization companies are going to cause your domain (http://www.yourcompany.com/) to be banned by the search engines, google being the most strict, because of their greed, negligence or ignorance. By the time you catch on that you've been dupped they'll be well onto the next client and have no need to return your calls.
Ethical SEO CompaniesHow do I determine which SEO company I can trust? I am going to tell you right now. You don't buy a car or a HDTV without researching the product right? Well then let's go check out the SEO companies website that came back in your google search and see if they practice what they preach, shall we? These are important steps if your business and clients are important to you, so follow closely.
Looking Under the HoodOpen up your web browser, Internet Explorer, FireFox or whatever and go to http://www.google.com/. Let's do a search for an SEO company now. In my area, I am going to do a search for "raleigh seo companies" but for you it may be "charlotte seo companies" or "new york, ny seo companies." Now go down your results pages until you see one that you are drawn to and click on the link to go to that SEO company website. When you arrive at the SEO companies website stop and let's do some detective work to see how they attracted us there. Now in the toolbar of your web browser select "View >> Source" so that you can see the HTML source code.
Search engine robots or spider's crawl the web regularly to index web pages in their vast databases. These robots are concerned with just 2 area's of each page. The content that is in between the <HEAD> tags and also content that is between the <BODY> tags.
The <HEAD> TagThe <head> tag is where the page title & meta data (information about that specific web page) is placed by the web developer. Search engine robots like Google, Yahoo & Bing only care about 1 of the tags of the head section and that is the <title> tag.
The <title> meta tagThe title tag of your web page should be relevent to the page contents with no more than 80 charecters total. Any more than 80 characters is considered SPAM and a great way to get your domain banned
by the googlebot. In the following examples I have changed the company names to protect the not so innocent.
This is a good title: Relevent, to the point, no repeat words and LESS than 80 characters in length.
<title>ACME Widgets & Gadgets | Raleigh, NC</title>
This is a bad title: This title that I found although relevent to the page, repeats the same keywords over and over. They get a strike against them for keyword stuffing and another for SPAM. It's also 170 characters in length and they claim to be SEO professionals?
<title>Web Design Raleigh | Raleigh Web Design | SEO Raleigh Web Development Web Hosting Raleigh Graphic Design Advertising Ad Agency Raleigh NC SEO`Name Changed - NameChanged</title>
The <description> meta tagThe description tag has very little relevence anymore because Google generates it's own description based on snippets from the description tag and the contents it collects from your website. You should keep your description tags to 1 or 2 sentences about your business overall.
This is a good description: Again, this is relevent, to the point, and contains no spam.
<meta name="description" content="ACME Widgets & Gadgets - Raleigh, North Carolina based manufacturer of Widget and Gadgets since 1984. Shop online or call (919)555-1212" />
This is a bad description: This description from my example site is bad practice. Keyword stuffing is SPAM and will cause poor seach engine results and finally domain name banning.
<meta name="description" content="Raleigh Web Design. Name Changed Web Design Raleigh. NameChanged SEO Raleigh Web Development Raleigh Web Hosting Raleigh Graphic Design. Raleigh SEO Raleigh Advertising Agency Raleigh NC. Name Changed a Raleigh Ad Agency Specalizes in Web Development And Print Advertising." />
The <keywords> meta tag"Oh, but what about the keywords tag? That's important right?" No. The keywords tag is not used anymore since so many web designers and would be SEO agencies in the late 1990s used it to mischeiviously attract web surfer's to irrelevent websites. For those search engines that may still use the keywords tag, less is more so never go over 20 total keywords and don't repeat yourself to the point of spam.
This is a good keywords tag: Again
<meta name="keywords" content="widgets, gadgets, raleigh, north carolina, nc, acme widgets & gadgets" />
This is a bad keywords tag: This is just senseless spam and should never be done. If your pages look like this... fire your web team on the spot!
<meta name="keywords" content="raleigh web design, web design raleigh, raleigh web development, web development raleigh, raleigh web hosting, web hosting raleigh, raleigh seo, seo raleigh, raleigh graphic design, graphic design raleigh, raleigh ad agency, ad agency raleigh, raleigh advertising agency, advertising agency raleigh, raleigh print advertising agency, print advertising agency raleigh, Name Changed, NameChanged raleigh, NameChanged, raleigh web design, web design raleigh, ad agency, agency, internet marketing, web design, website design, web development, hosting, seo, raleigh nc, raleigh north carolina, rtp, triangle nc, Name Changed" />
What are all those other <META> tags for?I'll run some others down real quick here. Some have an actual function but most have no use to search engines. I'll use the same example I pulled out of my Google search for this explanation.
- <meta http-equiv="Content-Type" content="text/html; charset=utf-8" />
Used for web browser page rendering. No SEO relevence.
- <meta name="robots" content="index" />
There is no need for multiple "robots" tags as it just confuses the spider. This tag should be combined with the following tag for better SEO performance like this. <meta name="robots" content="index,follow" />
<meta name="robots" content="follow" />
- <meta name="coverage" content="Worldwide" />
No SEO relevence.
- <meta name="revisit-after" content="4 days" />
Tells search robots how often the site changes. Typically 30 days, 60 days, 90 days,or NEVER, work just fine.
- <meta name="author" content="http://www.NameChanged.com" />
No SEO relevence. Just the person who wrote the content.
- <meta name="copyright" content="http://www.NameChanged.com Copyright (c) NameChanged. All rights reserved." />
No SEO relevence.
- <meta name="classification" content="http://www.NameChanged.com" />
No SEO relevence. For Netscape users only, whoever they are. Deprecated.
- <meta http-equiv="Content-Language" content="en-us" />
No SEO relevence.
- <meta http-equiv="imagetoolbar" content="false" />
No SEO relevence. This tells IE not to show it's toolbar when you hover your cursor over an image.
- <meta name="MSSmartTagsPreventParsing" content="true" />
No SEO relevence. Leftover tag from a long abandonned Microsoft project.
- <meta name="Rating" content="General" />
No SEO relevence. Provides a parental rating.
- <meta name="doc-class" content="Living Document" />
No SEO relevence. Tells the browser the document type.
- <meta name="abstract" content="Name Changed is a leading website design firm in Raleigh North Carolina. Our Raleigh web development applications, Raleigh SEO, Raleigh Hosting, and Raleigh Graphic Design Agency Specializes in Web Development, Hosting, SEO and Print Advertising. Name Changed is based in Raleigh North Carolina and proudly serves Raleigh, Durham, Cary, Apex, Chapel Hill, RTP and The Greater Triangle Area of North Carolina." />
No SEO relevence, IMHO, since the top search engines no longer use the description meta tag; the abstract tag is pointless. It used to be a default if no description tagwas found.
Until Next Time... Happy Surfing
Bill @ GNIDESIGN