Here’s the scenario: you’re sitting in your office and you get a random phone call from someone promising to improve your website’s SEO. This person—often a pre-recorded message or a copy-and-pasted email—will tell you that your website has not been “properly registered” with the major search engines. They might say that there are dozens, even hundreds, of search engines that you are not registered with. This call (or recording, or email) may even claim to be coming directly from someone who works with Google.
Gosh, you might think, I’d better pay this company to register me with these hundreds of important search engines! But not so fast. These unsolicited calls/messages/emails are almost always the work of an SEO snake oil salesman. There is a lot of nuance and technique to improving your website’s search ranking. To someone just starting out, this onslaught of tips and tricks can quickly become confusing or even intimidating. Because of this there is a head-spinning amount of information and, unfortunately, disinformation. The cold callers are taking advantage of this disinformation to run a scam that is useless at best for your website’s performance.
First, consider the claim that there are hundreds of search engines that you have somehow failed to register with. There are really only a handful of search engines that really matter. Google alone gets more than two-thirds of all searches with the rest of the pie divided by four other search engines: Microsoft, Yahoo!, Ask and AOL. To suggest that there are somehow dozens of other important search engines is simply false.
Secondly, the value of registering your website at all is debatable. As you’ll likely hear over and over when it comes to SEO, the best way to improve your search rankings is to have quality links. Registering your website does not get you quality links. Having interesting and important content is what gets you quality links. To suggest that you need to register your website before Google can find it is disingenuous—Google will likely find your website just fine as long as you’ve been linked to a couple of times. And it’s quick and easy to analyze your website’s weak spots by using Google Webmaster Tools. It also has the considerable advantage of being free.
Speaking of free: why would you need someone to help you register your website? Despite protestations to the contrary from people who would hope to profit off of inexperience, registering your website (if you even bother to do it) is simple and free. A quick search on—where else?—Google shows that the process is not complicated or time consuming. Paying someone to do this service, which would likely offer you no benefits, makes absolutely zero sense.
Finally, consider that most classic of childhood advice: “don’t talk to strangers.” Who are these people, these cold callers and spam email senders? Are they from a reputable company that specializes in real, effective SEO strategies? Due diligence suggests some research: check out their website. If their listed services are vague or nonexistent, it’s likely they fit in the aforementioned snake oil category.
Hopefully by this stage of the Internet we’ve all learned how to recognize a scam email. However, if you’re the type of person who’d be tempted to send some money to a Nigerian prince who wants to share his bulging bank account with you, take heed. Random emails promising to improve your SEO through search engine registration are almost certainly a scam. Consider that employees at Google have even received emails offering to help register google.com with major search engines. To think that the most visited website in history would benefit from some unsolicited registration services is pretty funny.
Basically, if it sounds too good to be true then it probably is. If someone is offering you some magic beans that will boost your search rankings simply through registering your website, they’re likely just trying to milk you for a quick buck. These kinds of people are a scourge and have the extremely unfortunate side effect of making the whole SEO industry look dodgy. But real SEO professionals can be a godsend for boosting traffic to your website—which, almost always, is an amazing boost to your business. So don’t hesitate to research SEO or contact experts.
But, like in most things in life, the results are proportional to the effort. All the thousands of blogs on how to improve your site’s web presence can be distilled into one core concept: good pages get good rankings. So work on your content—work on having interesting, useful and inspiring things to say and share through your website. That way, people will want link to your page and you’ll soon find yourself climbing higher and higher on search rankings. And that’s the best kind of SEO there is.