How to spot an empty promise

We all receive one of those e-mails from time to time: the offer from a foreigner to put a large sum of money into your bank account, or a reminder about a parcel you forgot to pick up that’s worth millions—all you need to do is send your name, phone number, address, etc. The equivalent message that often sparks a business owner’s interest is the offer to increase your page ranking.

As the subject name implies the “1st Page on Google Ranking” e-mail promises to get your website to rank number one on the search engines, specifically the most used search engine, Google.

The e-mail reads similarly to the following:

From: Email

Subject: 1st Page on Google Ranking

I was surfing through your website “www.yourdomain.com” and realized that despite having a good design; it was not ranking on any of the search engines for most of the keywords pertaining to your domain. We offer a quick yet detailed assessment of your website with applicable recommendations to optimize it.

Kind regards,

Farah, Marketing Manager

At first glance the e-mail offer might give you the impression that Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a simple and quick marketing solution—pay someone to make a few changes to some words and you’ll instantly appear at the top of the search pages.

We all want our sites to rank high, ultimately in the top spot, but a high search ranking doesn’t always equate to increased web traffic. The e-mail example used above claims the website “yourdomain.com” was not ranking on any of the search engines for the keywords most important to the domain. Without conducting some research and strategic planning, it’s impossible to know whether your site is ranking high for your important keywords and phrases.

Optimizing your website for the search engines isn’t just about achieving high rankings, those high ranking search phrases also need to be relevant and valuable to your business. A website hit is considered valuable when the visitor views a web page for a period of time or clicks through several links within the site.

“Farah’s” email above states she’s a Marketing Manager, we’re just not sure who for! When you agree to let someone increase your site rankings, you’re agreeing to let them have full access to your web world. Handing over your usernames and passwords, or as I like to call them “the keys,” to an online stranger, could put you at serious risk.

Although the example e-mail is just spam, increasing or maintaining a high page rank for your targeted keywords and phrases is possible, there’s just no magic wand!

Depending on how your website was built you should be able to make regular tweaks, changes and additions to maintain or increase your search ranking.

If your website was built on the WordPress platform, then you’ll have access to several plugins that can help you manage your SEO. At the most basic level, these SEO plugins give you the ability to change the title, description and keywords on individual posts and pages.

No one can “guarantee” your website will rank number one on a search engine, so the next time you get that e-mail full of promises you’ll know if they’re empty or not.