Do Not be Better than Me or I will Sue

By Justin Seibert| 4 Min Read | December 11, 2006

A little while ago I read about some crazy parents in San Francisco. If you don’t feel like clicking the link because it would mean you’d have to temporarily leave this wonderful digital marketing blog, you should call this guy.

The jist (sp?) is that some parents of female high school basketball players claimed the coach was picking the team unfairly and demanded the school hire an independent panel to choose. In trying to replace the beast’s role of an impending apocalypse, the school decided to go along.

So they put together a panel, which included one of the people suggested by the angry parents. The panel chose incorrectly as the previously snubbed girls were snubbed again. Now the parents are threatening a lawsuit for “violation of civil rights.” Yeah, sounds like the South in 50’s and 60’s to me, too.

So I’ve been holding onto this story (I sent an email to myself that said “This is so disgusting, there has to be a way to turn into a blog.”), waiting for a tie in. Today the gods lay that present at my feet.

Although the situation really isn’t that uncommon, I found a great blog post via the Search Engine Roundtable. An internet marketer posted an angry email he received, which should make you think twice before you hit the send button on any emails, especially to outside sources.

The crux of that email exchange biscuit are that a business owner wrote a blogger who ranked higher than him on a particular search term. The owner demanded he remove his site from Google for that search term because the business owner had more of a right to it as the purveyor of goods than the blogger who only wrote about things. The exchange degenerated into the business owner threatening – wait for it, wait for it – a lawsuit.

I can understand the frustration on the part of the business owner because I speak to owners all the time that don’t understand step 1 of the Internet or search engine rankings. If he did, he certainly would have never sent this email.

So here are some basic points for the layman about search engine optimization. As I like to say, that’s a fancy industry term for making a site search engine friendly.

Search Engine Optimization Basics for the Layman

1. Although the search engines use complicated algorithms to determine where your site will rank, the two basic components are:
– Relevant Content (does your site have relevant information about these keywords throughout the copy, meta tags, and interior links)
– Popularity (are relevant, popular outside sites linking to you, presumably because they are testifying to your relevancy on the subject)

2. For natural search engine rankings, although you can do things to make your site more relevant and popular, you cannot tell or pay the search engines to list you higher or lower for any particular search terms. You can, however, get sponsored pay per click listings with all the search engines through paid search marketing campaigns.

3. Search engine optimization has great value for many companies and it involves both art and science. Be aware that it takes several months for changes that a company, consultant, or in-house Web developer makes before the search engines will start showing changes.

4. Be very careful in who you choose to help you rank higher. If you try to trick the search engines (black hat seo), you will likely get banned and then it will be extremely difficult to get back in. “An outside firm did it and I don’t know anything about it – I thought they were legit” doesn’t usually work.

Hopefully this helps some. Email or give me a call at 1-800-979-3177 with any questions or feedback. Also feel free to forward this information to your lawyer if we’re in anyway doing something better than you are. I promise to do the same. Let’s take out talent and skill and even the tables.

Full-Scope Online Marketing Services | justin-seibert-headshot

Written by Justin Seibert

Justin Seibert is the President of Direct Online Marketing. Justin holds a Bachelor of Arts from Vanderbilt University. He contributes a wide range of online business-oriented topics, including the subject of exporting. His contributions can be found on publications such as the Pittsburgh Business Times, AdAge, SES Magazine, and La Voz del interior. Justin and his family enjoy learning about new cultures during their travels.

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