Would You Let A Dog Or A Butler Market Your Website?

The latest news to hit the Internet's 'water cooler' is that Lycos and Ask Jeeves are to begin their own SEO services..

Search engine optimisation (or SEO) is any practice related to the end goal of improving your website's positioning in the search engines.

The brief history of SEO is that it first started out solely as the remit of the developers themselves. This was back in the day when one person designed, built, maintained, hosted and marketed a website.

The Ever-Changing Internet Landscape

During the past few years, however, the entire Internet industry has divided up into a myriad divisions to such an extent that SEO is now a booming sector in its own right. Entering the term "seo" on Google returns nearly 20 million results!

Now businesses recognise that it is no longer possible to expect one individual or company to possess all the necessary skills 'under one roof' to be able to achieve great results on the graphic design, technical construction AND marketing of their website.

This has led to the trend of bringing in specialist search engine marketing consultants or companies to assist.

As Google and the like are spending millions every year on developing their tools to accurately sift through the billions of web pages that exist it really is a full time occupation just keeping track of what has an effect on search engine ranking and which strategies work best.

Everyone Wants 'Organic' Nowadays!

Ask Jeeves and Lycos are now offering their SEO service to help companies get found in the 'organic' results of search engines.

'Organic' results are those results in a search engine listing that are non-paid. Almost all search engines now offer businesses the shortcut of simply paying to get an ad listed whereas as a latest study indicates that only 28% of searchers will click on an advertisement as opposed to one of the 'organic' results (on Google).

This is the reason we're all fighting for high rankings in the 'organic' results. This demand from businesses is also presumably the main driving factor behind Ask Jeeves and Lycos starting to offer their own Search Engine Optimisation services.

Money Well Spent?

In short - I'm not sure.

If you have a 50 page website, getting Lycos to provide you with SEO services will cost you a tidy $10,000. They also include the questionable tactic of re-submitting your website over and over to search engines which is both pointless and risky as some will act against those that submit more than once.

$10,000 sounds like a lot to me for a service that is only dealing with search engines and which talks of 'recommendations' that you then have to implement yourself.

Really though - it comes down to what you are trying to achieve with your website.

My two cents on this is that the Lycos service doesn't devote enough attention to links - your money may be better spent on getting more high quality in-bound links or on a well-managed Pay Per Click Campaign.

Ask Jeeves http://www.askjeeves.com

Lycos' SEO Service http://ranking.lycos.com/sitesidemore.html

Search Engine Users Survey http://www.clickz.com/stats/sectors/software/article.php/3348071

Michael Cheney is Author of The Website Marketing BibleTM. Take the Free 7-Part Course "Internet Marketing Made Easy" and get your free sampler of 'The Bible' here: http://www.websitemarketingbible.com/marketin g/

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SEO How-to, Part 1: Why Use It?  Practical Ecommerce
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Google's Advice on How to Hire an SEO  Search Engine Journal
Can SEO Be Made Predictable?  Search Engine Journal
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