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Commentary by John Hernandez

RISMEDIA, May 30, 2008-A new breed of unethical marketing has arisen from the emerging mega industry of Internet business. Search engine marketing companies are making the pitch that they can boost the traffic on your website and make you the next Web phenomenon with their magical keywords and superior linking ability.

Are these companies going to boost the traffic on your site? Yes. Is that going to mean more business for you? No. They use tactics that have forced search engines to have more advanced security measures in order to prevent things like keyword stuffing, misleading keywords and software that automatically submits links to hundreds of link farms all over the Web. The end result of this practice is an increase in traffic but not an increase in business.

Search Engine Marketing Keyword Deception

Most people have a fairly specific idea of what they’re looking for and it’s generally these kinds of people who end up becoming your target audience and customers as opposed to people searching for something broader.

For example, if you sell beachfront property on Miami Beach a good keyword is “Miami Beach oceanfront homes” because it gets around 300 searches a day from people obviously looking for homes on the water in Miami Beach. A search engine marketing company will recommend a keyword phrase like “South Florida Homes” because it gets nine thousand searches a day which is indeed a lot of potential traffic, but it has less of a likelihood of converting to a sale of your Miami Beach property.

Search Engines Punish Link Tricksters

There’s tons of software available that will let you click a button and auto-submit links to hundreds of directory websites. This software can be successful if used correctly, which it rarely ever is. The types of directories that allow this type of submission are link directories which can be legitimate but oftentimes are deemed by search engines like Google to be “link farms.”

A link farm is a website that has no purpose other than to allow other websites to link to it, building up its page rank and those of other websites as well. When Google and other search engines locate these sites they exclude the site from their database and punish all sites that linked to it with a reduction in page rank. Search engine marketing companies will blast your website to link directories all over the Web with their software, potentially endangering your site by inevitably placing it on a link farm and therefore making your site “guilty by association” when search engines remove the site from their database.

Search engine marketing companies can increase your traffic, but they won’t increase your business and may jeopardize your standing with major search engines. It’s important to have ethical search engine marketing by using relevant keywords and building sound link relationships with authentic websites. Practicing ethical search engine marketing contributes to search engine efficiency as well as increasing the chances that you will get real business from your website.

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