Organic listing vs paid inclusion/xml data feed program

I'm looking into paying SEO company to list our site highly in various search engines. I'm kind of confused between the 2 diffierent methodology that seems to be out there in terms of submissions.

One company says they do hand submission only and says that's the only way to really get a good position in the organic listings.

The other company says they use paid inclusion/xml data feed program to autmatically submit our site to the various engines (except google of course). They also claim that they can get us in the first page for majority of the time.

It sounds like I may be comparing apples and oranges here ...but i'm just not sure. I basically want to go with a company that can really produce results.

FYI, our site is not in a very competitive area. both companies say that getting us in the top listing should not be difficult.

thank you,
Who is Participating?

[Product update] Infrastructure Analysis Tool is now available with Business Accounts.Learn More

I wear a lot of hats...

"The solutions and answers provided on Experts Exchange have been extremely helpful to me over the last few years. I wear a lot of hats - Developer, Database Administrator, Help Desk, etc., so I know a lot of things but not a lot about one thing. Experts Exchange gives me answers from people who do know a lot about one thing, in a easy to use platform." -Todd S.

JJ -

I can understand your problem exactly and you are right it's comparing apples and oranges.

The short answer is that it depends on the site and the business model. If you would like to send me the url I will take a look for you and give you a more practical answer.

- duz
duz at london dot com

jjlee081497Author Commented:
Hi duz,

Thank you for your comment.
Our business is providing an online community service for educational sites. WE provide and maintain a site for each school where parents, teachers, students each have login accounts in the site. They can basically handle all school-related business. Teachers can post homeworks, upload forms, put up info about class events, grades. Students can check grades, download homeworks, save their own work in workspace. Parents can check on their students grades, access forms, check school calendar, etc.

Some of the keywords that apply are
 online academic community, e-school, online gradebook, online school calendar, e-classroom, etc.

It seems that the hand-submit only company is approaching it more from a purist(?) perspective and is planning to increase the ranking in the organic listing by changing our meta tags and perhaps even our content. This company wants direct access to our site so they can modify our meta tags/content as needed.

The xml feed company seems more of a 'business' company that is paying the search engines to get paid inclusion and then with modifying keywords getting better ranking. This company says they don't need access to our site directly.

On the one hand, I feel that the first company is more "honest" but then on the other hand the second company seems more "smarter" since they have a deal going on with these search engine companies. I wonder though if this "smarter" approach is an acceptable/trustworthy approach or not.

Thank you,
JJ -

Well to answer your last point first "I wonder though if this "smarter" approach is an acceptable/trustworthy approach or not." Yes so called 'trusted feeds' are an acceptable, practical and ethical solution. It is a pay per click solution and for that reason it is relatively easy to monitor the ROI.  There are many 'trusted feeds' to choose from and obviously some are better than others.

When and why would you choose to use a 'trusted feed? If you are a large e-commerce site and find it difficult to get well placed in the search engine listings for a wide range of content, products and services. Maybe because the site is too large or search engine unfriendly. This could be because pages are generated dynamically, perhaps the site uses a heavy amount of scripting technologies or graphics, or maybe it has a large catalogue of product pages that are hidden in a database. Also 'trusted feeds' accept pages that are traditionally difficult for crawlers to index, such as framed pages or pages with dynamic content. And lastly timing, it is possible to increase targeted traffic within a few days rather than months.

Personally I only ever consider 'trusted feeds' for a client if they have a site with thousands of URLs which are database driven.  Even then if I concluded that there will be a reasonable positive ROI I will always in addition insist on standard/basic search engine optimization (SEO). In other words I do not consider 'trusted feeds' to be an alternative but rather a useful additional tool to be used when nessacery. There is one exception to this and that is when someone is promoting a site with a limited life-span and wants immediate results and is not concerned for the future. For example a fashionable pill or treatment of questionable efficacy - I do not accept clients in this category btw :)

Now to refer to your site in particular, I can see from your keywords list that as you say " listing should not be difficult". Standard SEO done well will get you sufficiently high in the search engine ranking pages (SERPS) to generate traffic and it is most unlikely that competing sites would be using 'trusted feeds'. Also from what you have said I would not even begin to think about trusted feeds at this stage although of course it would remain as an option for later.

I have not seen your site so cannot be certain but on what I have gleaned so far I would suggest you go for standard SEO.

Selecting an SEO company is not a simple matter because the subject itself is surrounded in myth and mystery. The mystery is often perpetrated and encouraged by the SEO companies themselves who stand to gain financially by it's continuance. In practise standard and ethical SEO is quite straightforward and simple - beware the company that claims it is not!

I hope this helps you a little with your decision and please feel free to ask supplementary questions.

- duz

jjlee081497Author Commented:
HI Duz,

Thank you So much for your very helpful information.
This will be my last question. :)
So, if I'm understanding you correctly, you are saying that the standard/basic SEO is the first and basic step to promoting your site and then if you are still having trouble (due to various reasons such as dynamic content or extreme competitiveness) you may recommend employing trusted feed to further help the ranking. Let me know if this is correct.

I wanted to give you our website link just so you have all the info you may need.
It is the site has been up for over a year. we have not done anything for seo. i just recently submitted the site into google. We plan to redo the site with a  better front page but the overall content will be about the same since the service itself is not going to change. So, as you can see the site itself is not an e-commerce site and does not have any dynamic content that needs to be referenced by the search engines. We will have the front page and just a couple more subsequently linked pages that will explain what our online academic community service is about.

Now, as a final question, I'm not if it is ok to ask you this but..:)
the SEO company that is offering the standard seo service appears in the top 3 listing of whereas the other company that is recommending 'trusted feed' with CPC does not come up in or but they seem to have a very impressive customer list...does this mean anything?

thank you,
JJ -

OK paragraph by paragraph.

"......Let me know if this is correct."

Yes it is, basic SEO first then as an intermediary stage I would probably recommend Google AdWords in order to hone down on the keywords that will bring in the greatest ROI. Then at that stage if trusted feed was considered an option the highest ROI keywords thus identified could and would be used.

" academic community service is about."

While you are revamping the site it would be an ideal time to optimize. I took a first pass through the code and I think it would be extremely easy to instruct whoever is redoing the site, on what to do. Probably on one sheet of paper and a few email exchanges. So don't be tempted into paying a lot for this project!

"......does this mean anything?

Nothing at all, in fact the very best SEO consultants operate as individuals and rarely advertise - they don't need to! If you want to use a company the safest source for someone without experience would be here because it does offer some (albeit small) protection from the army of wanna be SEOs that leave a mess for others to clear up.

One further point, make sure the company you use has provided you with three of their customer contacts, that they have done similar jobs for, that you can use for references. Telephone these people rather than email them because they will say things (good or bad) that they will not write.

- duz

Experts Exchange Solution brought to you by

Your issues matter to us.

Facing a tech roadblock? Get the help and guidance you need from experienced professionals who care. Ask your question anytime, anywhere, with no hassle.

Start your 7-day free trial
It's more than this solution.Get answers and train to solve all your tech problems - anytime, anywhere.Try it for free Edge Out The Competitionfor your dream job with proven skills and certifications.Get started today Stand Outas the employee with proven skills.Start learning today for free Move Your Career Forwardwith certification training in the latest technologies.Start your trial today
Internet Marketing

From novice to tech pro — start learning today.