Avoiding Bad SEO Advice

The opportunity for the Internet version of snake oil salespeople and for outright charlatans is very high. The lack of peer review of information creates an ideal environment for both the dishonest huckster and the simply incompetent adviser. While not all SEO advice is bad, there is much that needs to be taken with an entire shaker of the proverbial salt.

Inaccurate and unreliable search engine optimization (SEO) advice is available with alarming regularity, it seems. You can find it almost everywhere you look on the Internet.

Bad advice lurks in your email as spam from shady fly by night companies calling themselves SEOs. Suggestions on improving your website’s position can be found in the various Internet message forums, ranging from tremendously helpful to downright terrible advice.

There are articles on SEO widely read and believed that offer not only questionable opinions but are riddled with factual errors. Self styled SEO experts can be found on their websites, waiting to ensnare the unwary.

Following such dubious advice could cause some novice website owners to make some terrible errors that could drop their website’s placement in the search engine rankings. Some of the advice can even get a website banned from the search engines for violation of their webmaster guidelines.

Webmasters unknowingly read and hear bad SEO advice on a constant basis. Often, the advice is packaged in a fairly well written format and carries a fairly authoritative tone. What many website owners don’t know, is how to select the solid and useful recommendations, from the concepts best ignored at any cost.

The Internet in general, and search engine optimization in particular, are still very young in terms of years in existence. The idea that SEO can even make a difference to a website’s ranking in the search engines is a concept still very much in its infancy.

The opportunity for the Internet version of snake oil salespeople and for outright charlatans is very high. The lack of peer review of information creates an ideal environment for both the dishonest huckster and the simply incompetent adviser. The best defense for any website owner is to read carefully and weigh the pros and cons of all advice offered prior to taking any drastic action.

Whether the advice arrives from self styled experts, message forums, e-mail newsletters, or from a search result, it’s important for the website owner to be very cautious. While not all SEO advice is bad, there is much that needs to be taken with an entire shaker of the proverbial salt.

Search engine optimization advice is definitely a webmaster beware system.

{mospagebreak title=Advice Found on Message Boards}

Watching the Words on Message Forums

Internet message boards offer a great way for website owners to market their site, offer information, and gain knowledge from other members. Search engine optimization is no exception. A number of very high quality SEO forums are active on the Internet. They offer some excellent advice to their members and to the general readership. They also offer some mistaken theories. Along with the gold, there is some baser material in the alloy.

A number of very good SEO message forums can be found very easily. The membership of the various boards, which often overlaps, includes some of the finest and most knowledgeable SEO professionals anywhere. These well informed individuals are to be given credit and thanks for providing good information to the rest of the membership.

Along with the SEO professionals, members include others interested in the topic, ranging from complete novices to very well informed individual website owners. There are also some people freely dispensing advice that is not very helpful to the webmaster. Many recommendations are even harmful if applied to a site.

SEO message boards are available in two general types. There are the widely based membership sites, and the individually sponsored SEO forums. The large membership sites include:

SEO Chat http://www.seochat.com/

Webmaster World http://www.webmasterworld.com/ 

Cre8asite http://www.jimworld.com/forums/ 

High Rankings http://www.highrankings.com/forum/

Jim World http://www.jimworld.com/forums/ 

Search Engine Watch http://forums.searchenginewatch.com/ 

IhelpYou http://www.ihelpyouservices.com/forums/

Among the individually organized SEO boards are:

SEO Guy http://www.seo-guy.com/forum/ 

DigitalPoint http://forums.digitalpoint.com/ 

and the bilingual Abakus forums http://www.abakus-internet-marketing.de/en/forum/ .

Many other good quality SEO message boards are available as well. Even more forums can be found with a simple Internet search of the terms.

All of the message boards include some extremely knowledgeable people among their memberships in general, and their moderators in particular. While most members attempt to provide helpful information to the general readership, not all posts are of equal quality. Care must be taken to ensure that the good SEO concepts are gleaned from the forum. Equal care must also be taken to avoid the less valuable, and often incorrect statements.

To do well with any message board, it takes a bit of effort on the part of the reader. Simply posting one time and expecting an answer to solve all of the website SEO problems is unrealistic at best. It can also lead to making some very grave errors that may take months to correct. Regular reading and participation at one or more message boards introduces the member to many of the posters. Following the lead of the forum moderators is usually a reliable starting point for the novice.

Over time, the member will become familiar with the knowledge level of the various other posters. Once the highly skilled individuals are identified, it’s much easier to find the sources of good SEO advice. It also becomes easier to avoid the ideas proposed by the less helpful sources. By spending time at the forums, the SEO novice can learn infinitely more valuable information than expecting a one-time overall response.

A good policy to adopt for any website owner is to not apply any new and unfamiliar search engine optimization practices without first checking their validity. Investigate forum discussions of the topic and advice in question. Seek out second, third, and even fourth opinions. A costly error in judgment can take months of hard work to repair.

{mospagebreak title=Avoiding Bad Advice from Email}

Good and bad search engine optimization advice can arrive in your daily email. There are two major conduits of email SEO advice. One is through Internet newsletters, ranging from excellent to not helpful at all. The other means of information dissemination, is by unsolicited email, better known as spam.

The wise website owner would do well to display caution, when it comes to email SEO advice. Much of the unsolicited mass mailed information is of little use to any webmaster. In most cases, the advice offered is not much help to anyone except the sender. In many cases, the offered advice, along with the accompanying request for money, is harmful to a site’s search engine rankings. Some of the advice will even get a site banned from the search results entirely.

Often, very inaccurate information is part of the spam email sales pitch. One of the most frequent and blatant examples of misinformation is the alleged need to submit a site, often allegedly monthly, to the various search engines. There is no such need, as the search engines locate, have their spiders crawl, and index the site by themselves. The spiders simply follow a link, and once a website is indexed, it is included in the listing permanently, with no need to resubmit.

Prior to subscribing to anyone’s search engine optimization email newsletter, be sure to check out the author’s credentials and past recommendations. If you have read the writer’s articles and advice in the past, and found them reliable, then by all means subscribe. There are many good newsletters out there. It’s your job to research the ones that are right for you and your website.

A newsletter that contains guest columns and articles, by noted SEO professionals is certainly a plus. If reputable SEO experts are willing to lend their name and expertise to a newsletter, it’s a fairly safe wager that the newsletter is a good one. If it weren’t, the better SEO pros wouldn’t contribute or be associated with it.

{mospagebreak title=Websites with Potentially Unreliable Content}

Much search engine optimization advice is spread through articles appearing on various websites. One example of a site that features SEO advice is SEO Chat: http://www.seochat.com.

Many other websites provide SEO information as well. Some are associated with message forums, some belong to various SEO professionals, and still others include posted articles with SEO content.

As with message boards, the quality of information available can vary widely from article to article, and from author to author. If you recognize an author’s name who you know to be a source of reliable information, there is no problem. If the writer is unknown, however, your best course of action is to not immediately apply the recommendations in the article. Make certain of the author’s credentials, prior to committing your website, to any unknown course of action.

Not only are some of the opinions offered by many articles of questionable value, it is not unusual to find real factual errors in some writers’ work. Should you find a blatant mistake, of what should be a generally known fact, practice suspicion regarding the reliability of rest of the article. If factual errors have slipped into the work, then some questionable to even potentially dangerous suggestions might lurk there as well.

As with message boards, the reader must be wary of unknown writers and articles. Once an author becomes known to be reliable, that person’s SEO recommendations can usually be accepted safely, and applied to your site. Even then, check out all SEO ideas thoroughly.

Even some of the better professionals in the field offer some outdated or counterproductive advice. The entire SEO industry is unregulated, with no agreed upon standards for professional practitioners. Such wide open standards allow for some excellent professionals to provide top notch advice. The lack of regulation also avails itself to charlatans and other SEO quacks.

Caution is advised at all times.

{mospagebreak title=Conclusion}

Unreliable search engine optimization advice can, unfortunately, be found anywhere.

Bad advice can read in the postings on the various Internet search engine optimization message forums. Prior to accepting any poster’s advice, be certain to read the board postings on a regular basis. Soon, the reliable and knowledgeable posters will separate themselves from the less helpful members. The ability to tell the good from the bad can only result from experience with reading the board.

The daily email will often bring pleas for money in return for dubious SEO services. Many offer services that are either worthless or even non-existent. No one should purchase SEO advice from email solicitation without a thorough examination of the sender’s credentials and background.

Many websites host SEO articles that range from very good to so bad that they are dangerous to your site’s search engine status, if implemented. If a site contains even one article that is extremely bad, be wary of all advice offered on that site.

Bad search engine optimization advice is available everywhere.

It’s a truly buyer beware world out there on the Internet.

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