There are a lot of companies and freelancers that claim to do search engine optimization (SEO), and they may or may not be very good at it. But you may wonder where they got their knowledge and do they really know what they are doing. There are a variety of ways that anyone can obtain knowledge about SEO:
- There are courses and seminars both on-line and “on location
- There are many books about the subject
- There are organizations that you can join
- There are bloggers that you can subscribe to
- There are thousands of forums you can go to
- There are newsletters
- There are conference and tradeshows
- The search engines provide information
- There is direct experience
- Probably a few resources that I am forgetting about
There are many different sources where you can get information; the difficult part is that many “sources” are not good sources at all. We find a lot of erroneous information out on the internet- there are bloggers and so called experts who are professing “techniques” that are either way out of date, or really don’t work. Even more troubling is that some of these techniques could actually hurt your site more than help.
So if you are going to do SEO, the first big decision is “who are you going to believe?” Anyone can write a book, or blog, or put on a webinar, and if you are starting from ground zero, you probably don’t have many criterions to evaluate your potential source.
You should definitely subscribe to Matt Cutts (head of Google’s Webspam team) and you should subscribe to Googles Webmaster blog. These sources have a high degree of credibility, although neither are going to “spill the beans” in terms of Google’s algorithm. Personally – I also try to find larger research organizations that may have 1000’s of sites to base their findings on. I subscribe to several, and I find disagreements even among them.
I have two golden criteria that I use to evaluate any new “technique” that a SEO guru will espouse:
1. Does it help make your webpage more informative, easy to use, interesting, engaging, useful or entertaining to your target audience?
2. Does it add more credibility to your website?
If the technique does not meet either of these criteria, then I am going to do a lot more scrutinizing before considering it or more likely not do it at all.