Archive for International SEM News

$1,000 if You Can Outsmart Google!

Even as the owner of a search engine marking company each day I receive countless solicitations from people across the globe informing me of how they can help my site obtain top rankings in the search listings and the latest trick to do so for only a few hundred dollars. Of course most of these emails come from accounts or other free email service accounts, but one common thread is that each of these individuals can outsmart Google and other SEO companies; all it will cost is a few hundred dollars. The bottom line answer is that there are no quick fixes and nobody can outsmart Google, especially for a few hundred dollars. Yet, I can see how people can easily and do fall prey to these mass solicitations. These ‘marketers’ play off of individuals’ desire to receive mass fortunes with little initial investment. The bottom line is that anyone who does ended up a victim as one of these scams not only ends up hurting their business for future search rankings, but is also essentially throwing away their time and burning their money.

Never try to outsmart Google! This is one of the smartest companies with many of the most intelligent people on this planet. Now anyone who truly believes that they can outsmart Google and know a ‘secret formula’ to obtain top web rankings is either drinking some serious cool aid or is the next Einstein. Fortunately, there is no need to outsmart Google, their playbook is open to the public, and all anyone must do is follow the rules. This is often expensive in terms of money and time, but there is no shortcut or quick fix.

I am willing to give the first person who can prove to me that they outsmarted this search giant $1,000. It is a nice feeling to know that I can offer this reward and never pay one penny. However, if anyone feels that they did, simply fill out the contact form, provide me the details, along with your address and I will personally stroke you a check from my own account.

Now most individuals reading this can likely tell my entire point is to remember that there are no quick fixes. Whether utilizing my company or any other international search engine marketing company keep this in mind. Please do not let the promise of riches in the future take away your money today and simultaneously eliminate your chance of success the old fashion way (hard work and sweat). If this article save in one business owner from turning into a victim of such a scam then I will sleep better at night. Please feel free to post any similar scams you experienced to help our readers. Or if you have that secret formula post that and I will send you $1,000!

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SEO in a Jobless Recovery

Many economists are referring the current pattern in the international economy as a jobless recovery. Now whether or not you believe this is the case it is important to take into account what this means as a business owner and especially one that already utilizes SEO or plans on using such services to further improve a company’s revenue stream. Here is one question I am often asked along with corresponding answer.

Is it better to hire in an in house marketer or an external SEO firm? My response to this is little changed from that in the past. Quite simply, if your company is large enough and has multiple websites it is possibly well worth the effort to hire an in house person to perform the duties essential in a SEM campaign. However, it is important to keep in mind that strategy can cost a company more money if it distracts management from the business’ core focus. The small business owners and especially the sole proprietors are almost always better off hiring a professional SEO company than doing the work in house. While, not paying for SEO may seem a way to cut expenses. The opportunity costs associated with not hiring one a tremendous.

Considering that many economists are already deeming this as a jobless recovery, it further makes sense to hire an outside SEM company in light of this view. In fact these economists are inferring that many companies are already employing such strategies. Owners are increasingly outsourcing any type of task not related to the company’s core business model. This proves beneficial since one can avoid the many expenses associated with hiring internal personnel. Oftentimes the expenses utilized with an external company are also easier to write off come tax season, providing a further benefit. However, the primary reason I suggest hiring an outside SEO company during any type of recovery is that is much easier to scale up or down depending upon what takes place in with the economy as a whole.

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SEM for Reputation Management

Utilizing SEM for reputation management is an increasingly common usage. A larger number of companies are focusing upon the results that appear in Google after the company name is typed into the search engines. As an example, take a moment to type in: Agilis Marketing. Now notice the results that appear. As is evidenced from the SERP’s our company has done little to change the results as since there are numerous other firms out and the results do not meaningfully harm the company’s reputation. There is one result from Rip Off Report along with Agilis Marketing’s rebuttal. It seemed appropriate to leave it since it helps illustrate our efforts to work with clients. Nonetheless some companies are bombarded with listings of scam and fraud reports. Sometimes there is no validity to these claims and there is much that SEM can do to eliminate these listings from top of the results’ pages.

The type of company that might want to utilize reputation management is one with a strong brand name, that people type into the search engines frequently, but is in an industry with negative connotations. Take any debt collection company for as an example, then Search for the company’s name and more often than not the results display nothing but a list of complaints from people claiming they were forced to pay their bills. The bottom line is that nobody forced them to do anything and it is the individuals’ faults for accumulating the liability. Nonetheless, this still reflects poorly upon a company’s reputation and can hamper business.

The most effective and least costly way to change this is through the use of SEO and SEM techniques to ensure primarily positive information is displayed on Google’s search pages. Generally this is done by ensuring that sites that list positive information are placed above those with negative details. Sometimes the creation of individual sites is a smart idea, whereas other times is more cost effective to promote sites that already display positive information.

One might use this same technique on an international level as well. Oftentimes with the introduction of a new product it is important to show as much positive information as possible. Utilizing search engine marketing to help positive product reviews is a helpful and cost effective way to increase a company’s and product’s reputation. Look to see reputation management as an ever growing niche in the SEM industry.

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SEM Case Study: Virginia Divorce Lawyer

I am often asked, “Why not simply use SEM for your own sites?” The reply is simple; I am leaning more in that direction and accepting fewer clients. My Virginia divorce lawyer site is such an example. Why should I utilize knowledge to make other companies’ profits when I can use it solely for my benefit? Again the answer above applies, but it is also important to add that I enjoy assisting other companies and not everything is solely about profits.

Let’s take a look at my newer website and take a look at what is going on here. First off it is important to note the URL of, obviously I carefully selected this URL based upon the keyword phrases this internet property intends to target and to whom the site will sell marketing space and generate advertisement revenue. Individuals with existing sites do not share the same luxury. However, the URL of the site is only one component in a local, national, or international SEM marketing campaign.

The WHOIS data clearly illustrates the purchase of the domain only a few months back:
Registered through:, Inc. (
Created on: 15-Mar-09
Expires on: 15-Mar-10
Last Updated on: 18-Mar-09

Still the page is already well indexed and the homepage has a PR of 3. Yet, one will notice that the site still does not appear for any many major phrases on the SERPS. However a deeper look shows it is already number for when typing into Google allinanchor: Virginia beach lawyer. This clearly illustrates the sandbox penalty. Still , how did the site reach this PR in such a short time frame with a limited number of backlinks? One reason is there is news blog that is updated weekly with fresh content. While the main page itself,, does not currently show a PageRank all the information is indexed.

Of course there are many other components aside from a Virginia divorce news section that allowed for the site to reach these marks at such a rapid pace and that is what Agilis Marketing helps accomplish for its selected clients. Please feel free to contact us to learn more about our services and we can see whether or not Agilis and your company is a smart match for developing an SEM campaign. Whether a site relates to attorneys and the legal system or anything else makes little difference in the eyes of the major search engines.

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SEO Company Tricks

These days almost every smart business owner knows the value of search engine optimization (SEO) and marketing their websites. However, a fewer number of businesses can afford to pay for the services needed in order to achieve the results desired. There are many sites the offer low cost and little to no value directory or index submission services. Did you know that it is not required to submit a website to Google and that a well executed search engine marketing program will allow Google to find a website on its own? Be wary of any low cost service or one that tends to sound as if the offer is unbelievably low.  Purporting the need for index submissions is simply one of the tricks that a scrupulous SEO company will use to legally extract your money. A few of the other common tricks are:

Take a Look at Our Website.

Simply because an international SEM company is able to achieve results for its own website does not mean that same firm will devote the same resources to yours. Be wary of any firm that is only is to provide their website as an example of results achieved . Be equally concerned if a company is not even able to use their own site as an example.

Client Testimonial on SEM Sites

Take caution when looking at companies that advertise client results. First, they are patently admitting and identifying to Google that website XYZ is utilizing their services. If that alone does not scare you then keep reading. Ask the SEO company tough questions. One question might be if the other firm had a similar budget to that of yours.

Long Tailed Keywords

It is not overly difficult for a search engine marketing company to help a website appear in Google or other search engines for long phrases or those with little competition. A true test of the firms abilities is whether they are able to rank highly for shorter more competitive keyword phrases.

High price Equals Excellent Results.

This is a fallacy in the industry that is quite costly. Simply because a firm is charging more does not mean it is going to do much more work than one of the directory submissions companies. Use caution and watch out for this trick. As with anything purchased with a high price tag, ask for a detailed written contract and explanation of exactly what you are receiving for the money. An SEO company is unlikely to reveal everything, but they should provide you with enough information for you to ensure they deserve the amount spent and for someone to monitor a website’s performance.

These are just a few of the tricks employed by the SEO industry and why many people never use an SEM company. It is also why the industry is frowned upon by many companies while relied upon by a large number of firms. Remember that top search engine rankings are only half the battle. The best firms will let you know this and focus on the entire conversion process rather than simply the search rankings.

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Investing in Search Engine Marketing

When financial times are tough often one of the first items a business attempts to skim off the top line are their marketing investments. Oftentimes this is the best opportunity to market your company, either through SEO or a more complete integrated marketing campaign. The reasoning is fairly simple. Companies are able to receive quite a bit more “bang” for each of their marketing dollars. This is largely a result of the fact that other companies are deciding to reduced their budgets, yet the advertising space available remains the same and even grows.

The international financial markets are currently experiencing a ‘run for the hills’ mentality. I certainly will not discredit those leaving. However, most of the individuals are those who placed all their eggs in one basket and did not diversify their portfolios. Those with diversified portfolios, realize that over time the stock market has provided an excellent return on investment to those who stay invested. The same is true with investing in a search engine marketing campaign. Those who keep a well balanced marketing strategy will end up on top when all the dust settles. While there certainly might be a rough storm ahead, those that did not run for the hills and maintain a well balanced marketing portfolio will be the largest beneficiaries.

The question then becomes whether or not now is the right time to invest money with an SEO company or is it better to hold off. My suggestion is the same as most financial advisors. If you already have an existing strategy you might revisit it, but it is not wise to stop marketing any more than it is to sell all your investments. Likely rebalancing of your marketing strategy is needed. Certain companies will decide to invest more during these times, while others will scale down their search engine investments and wait for brighter skies. The choice ultimately depends upon a number of factors that only each individual company can answer.

Those companies who are starting a new marketing strategy or a new business will certainly want to proceed with caution. Careful and smart planning is a necessity. However, it is essential to have a strategy in place and make certain the financial resources are there to execute upon it. There are few businesses that can generate income without any form of marketing and search engine marketing is still the fastest growing segment available to advertisers. The best advice I can provide is to diligently research all advertising venues and select the ones that deliver the highest ROI. Please feel free to share your thoughts in the comment fields below.

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Picking a Payment Provider and SEO All at Once

While I do not want to underplay the importance of an SEO campaign, it is important to have one in conjunction with a well run website. Many times new website owners put the cart before the horse. Sometimes they build and optimize a website before considering what company will process the site’s payments and how to fulfill orders. Business owners often do not realize the large expenses associated with accepting online orders. Depending upon the payment provider selected a company that grosses $10,000 in sales with an average order of $50 can save upwards of a $4,000 per year based upon the processor, which is an amount that could easily cover starting a small SEO campaign. Below are the most common international payment providers and their fees.


PayPal tends to be easier and less expensive for new business owners, but watch out. There are a number of horror stories out there and many people have lost the whole balance in their account, which can cost more than any processing fees. Still many people elect to go with this processor. Those who do should heed this warning. The costs associated with a PayPal business account are vary depending upon the payment method the buyer users. To received payments from individuals within the United States the first $10,000 in sales costs $310.


This is an expensive method to process payments and not one I suggest as my first choice. There is a one time fee of $49 and then charges of 5.5 percent plus 45 cents per transaction. Using the parameters above the first $10,000 in orders would cost a company $689. Not a small amount of money in absolute or percentage terms. The upside to this process is that they accept virtually any business and it is a fast way to start selling goods or services. 

To use you have to go through a reseller, a list of which is found on their website. Fees vary depending upon the reseller, but typically this processor offers the lowest fees and most security. The setup process can take slightly longer, but once that is done it is smooth sailing. Typically money received is swept from the merchant account and deposited into your checking account with a few business days.

SEO and Payment Processors

Now how does this tie into SEO? Quite simply a well chosen payment provider can easily provide the savings needed to launch a search engine marketing campaign. Why spend more than you have to for the same basic service? At least that is Agilis Marketing’s point of view.


Graphic SEO: Buyer Beware

One of the most disconcerting parts about working in this industry are all the fly by night operations that pop up and offer prospects unfounded promises. These sites offer website owners grandiose promises and sometimes downright lie. I had the unfortunate incident of dealing with such a website owner. Sadly, this is a common occurrence in the industry. Therefore I wanted to add a few general tips to watch out for, using Graphic SEO as a case study.

Research the company / site owner.

The owner of Graphic SEO is Joseph Alvini, a college student, who has no staff. The only alleged “expert” at the firm is himself. When hiring a firm, my suggestion is to find out more about the company’s owner. Is it a one man shop? Is the owner of that shop an actual expert or simply a self purported one? Before plunking down any kind of money with a firm do your homework.

Is the company a legal entity?

Check with the company’s city to see if it is actually a registered business. For instance, Graphic SEO currently has no business license and is operating illegally. There are plenty of legitimate companies out there. Do not waste time with one that does not even take the time to operate legally. Trust is essential in life and business. I find it difficult to trust any person or company that is operating without going through the proper channels.

Does the website have a phone number?

All reputable websites should have a contact telephone number. It is an indication that they care about customer service. Longer standing companies tend to have a toll free number to further prove their commitment to customer service. I am always weary if no contact number is prominently displayed or upon calling it nobody answers. The SEM industry is convoluted and confusing. Ensure you are dealing with a company that cares enough about their customers to actually speak with them.

There are of course many other common sense suggestions before conducting business with a firm. My hope is that this helps people save a few dollars and prospective clients steer clear of businesses, such as Graphic SEO, that are operating illegally and with little genuine concern for their clients. There are many excellent local and international search engine marketing companies that exist. Please simply be careful before sending one money.

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