OK so there are a ton of companies out there that claim that they are experts or professionals in the art of search engine optimization. So I thought, lets do a search on the term,”search engine optimization” and see what it turns up. Since, if you claim to be a pro or expert, then you should rank pretty high in the organic listings for terms and keywords that speak to what you do best. Right?
My other thought was, Ok I’m a small to medium sized business, so maybe there is someone I can afford out there, and who might get me the results I need. Who would I use?
Before we dive in, I will limit my results to the top 5 organic listings in the Big 3. Of course in Yahoo, I will kick out any paid inclusions listings. Ok lets see what we have in Google.
Top 5 are:
1. Wikipedia– I shouldn’t be surprised because of the tons of backlinks that are probably coming into the article based on its sourcing references.
2. SEOchat.com– an absolute monster of a site, so to me, there’s really no surprise that they are ranked this high.
3. Submitexpress.com– I’ve used some of their tools in the past, and what I think is interesting is that, they actually can back up their claim with proven results in the organic listings. Interestingly enough, I don’t see a typical tactic of backlinking, but the content is solid and they are in the top 3. Which is the holy land for search marketers.
4-Bruceclay.com-All you have to do is look at the landing page that comes from Google to appreciate what they have done. This page is loaded! One look and you can understand why they are in the #4 spot. Just a major backlink strategy going on here as well as relevant content all over the place. The site is actually worth reading.
5-Inteliture– This one is puzzling, because on the surface it doesnt appear to have much going on. So I had to take a quick peek at the source code.
<title>Inteliture™ Search Engine Optimization and Internet Marketing Service Company</title>
<META NAME=”KEYWORDS” CONTENT=”search engine optimization service, internet marketing service, search engine marketing service, internet marketing company” />
<META NAME=”DESCRIPTION” CONTENT=”Inteliture™ a professional search engine optimization and internet marketing company. Offers internet marketing solutions, search engine optimization service, search engine marketing services, and internet marketing strategies for high search engine rankings and placement.” />
<META NAME=”robots” CONTENT=”index, follow” />
<META NAME=”googlebot” CONTENT=”index, follow” />
<link rel=’stylesheet’ href=’fontstyle.css’ type=’text/css’>
Not too revealing. The content is ok. But as you drill down, it’s a well written site replete with key words, lots of deeply linked pages and just a solid site with content. They must have a lot of quality links coming in, but then we just don’t know.
Ok so that’s Google, out of the top 5, if were going to choose a site to contact, I’d probably go with submitexpress since it’s really geared towards webmasters but also can handle the full boat if you so choose. Bruce Clay just smells of being expensive. Wiki you to have throw out, and seochat is more of a portal resource, reference site. and Inteliture just seems to slick and expensive for my small and medium sized businesses.
Next up, Yahoo. lets take a look:
1. Wiki-No surprise there
2. Seoinc.com-Interestingly enough, a huge flash header on this page, which we all know is somewhat frowned upon by the SE’s. Lots of quality content here, including the requisite buzzwords and white papers to boot. There are a lot of pages on this site, and of course all with great links to and from each other within the site. Impressive.
3. Ebrandz- Something about this site bothers me and I’m not sure what. Perhaps its the offers at the bottom of the page that state for a mere $8450 I can buy the platinum package. Look at the offerings:
The Customized SEO Solution (Platinum Plan) Includes:
Initial Search Engine Optimization Report. Initial Competitive analysis Technical Report from algorithm point of view. Meta tags optimization including title, description and keywords On-page optimization Customized keyword analysis to define the best suited key phrases for your business. Creation of targeted, optimized pages for Search Engines destined as landing pages for visitors. Image Optimization W3C validation for homepage Creation of a search engine friendly sitemap for better crawling of your site. Paid inclusion in Inktomi (Optional) Paid inclusion in Yahoo Directory(optional) Paid inclusion in AltaVista (Optional). We try to initially increase the relevance of your site so that all your main pages are indexed in Altavista for free. Hand submissions to the top search engines and directories using our unmatched experience for individual engines and directories. Email and chat support. Submission to secondary engines and targeted directories. Link development and Management services to increase your link popularity and rankings. Link Popularity Development – 75 one way links – free. Comprehensive log file analysis. This will help us in deciding future marketing strategies for your web site. Monthly reports showing ranking progress. An SEO account manager. Optional PPC services for Google Adwords™ and Overture – Yahoo sitematch. Optional Affiliate program management services. 120 key phrases optimization. Emerging SEO trend updates. No hidden or Extra fees. OK So now the kicker is, that price is only for the first 6 months! and If you read through this list, more than half of what you see on here, is standard SEO 101 stuff and the other half is a la carte… Companies like this can really scar people who have no idea of what they are getting into.
4. Submitawebsite.com-Looks like it’s more of PPC type of company but they do stress a little of their SEO process. You can definitely see why they might be in the #4 slot though, lots of quality content. and of course a visible linking campaign, as well as a deep linking strategy throughout the site. Worth a more extended look/
5. Scrubtheweb– They have been around since the advent of time. They allow site submissions and are just so deeply linked throughout, that it is no wonder they are ranked so high for anything web or search related, but as an SEO company, they are not.
6. Submitexpress- I just wanted to throw them in. Good job by these guys.
Last, lets go to MSN and size them up.
2. Seologic.com– simple clean site with very targeted information. The landing page is clean and short and to the point but dig deeper and there is a wealth of information. It teaches and explains which I think is critical for any type of SEO site. The customer will appreciate that. Although I’d like to know what their fees are. I hate calling people for pricing information.
So there you go. An interesting mix of results but if I were to weigh the results and go with an SEO company or at least explore what I could get, and the info that they provide, here are my results:
and an honorable mention to seochat
Either I learn something from these 3 sites, or I use their free tools, or I use/employ them in some type of capacity. But they seem to know what they are doing and appreciate the challenges that webmasters and designers face. Next time we will look into the murky cutthroat world of pay per click.