UPDATE: 9 Dec 2010
Matt Cutts, Google, has released this video to explain more about why we can’t guarantee a number one ranking.
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I think one of the hardest aspects of our industry is making the client understand what you are doing. Having just had a conversation with prospective client this morning, she was at a loss to really understand what is good SEO and what is bad. She’s been using an SEO guy for about six months who appears to have done nothing to her website at all, but just provided her with automated reports, but since she didn’t understand them they weren’t passed on to her webmaster.
I sympathise with her. For a small business owner, you should not be expected to know the technical details about SEO, you should be able to trust the person or agency you’ve engaged to increase traffic to your website and they should be able to demonstrate this with monthly reports.
I’ve since emailed her a number of links to try to demystify SEO somewhat and thought they would be really useful to a lot of small business owners. Obviously you don’t want to know all about SEO, but you are going to have to know the basics if you want to avoid getting ripped off.
Google have provided a lot of information to dispel myths. Don’t forget to download and read their Search Engine Optimization Guide.
I recommend you start reading here, these provide good background information:
The link below has more links to relevant information about appearing in Google. If you click the link below, I would suggest reading the link, “Site not appearing in search results, or appearing lower“.
This link also has a list of articles that are relevant to you:
From the above link I recommend you read the General guidelines: “Search Engine Optimization (SEO)“. Actually this is probably the most important link. It will provide you with information about what to look for in an SEO agency and when to run away from a dodgy one.
Don’t forget to ask questions if you don’t understand. Your agency should be able to help you to understand what is needed to be done to improve the ranking and traffic of your website. You should get some information about their past success, either written references, data or be able to speak to some of their clients.