If you have a corporate website, you’d probably have heard of Search Engine Optimization before, and how it’s so magical it can propel your website to the number 1 position on Google and send unlimited sales leads your way.

…at least that is what the many SEO companies in Malaysia would have you believe. Unfortunately, that notion is quite far from reality.

Search Engine Optimization or SEO, describes the process of optimizing a website for the purpose of increasing its visibility in the organic search engine results. For example, if you are a shoe retailer in Malaysia, you’d want people to see your website when they search for “cheap shoes malaysia” on Google.com.

By visibility, I mean being able to show up in the search results for as many related keywords as possible, and to rank as high as possible – preferably in the top 5 of the search results. The reason being that the top 4 spots on the search results receive an average 70% of the total click-through, hence, it’s not enough to rank 5 or below.

The downsides of SEO are that it requires a lot of technical knowledge and manual labour. In addition, there is no guarantee that your website will rank on the first page because you are technically trying to manipulate the search results, with SEO. And a search engine like Google, for example, uses over 2,000 different signals to rank websites in their search results to fight against this “manipulation”.

Although it is possible to optimize your own website, it is best left to the experts because not only does SEO requires lots of technical knowledge, it also entails lots of manual jobs like content writing and consistent link-building.

However, there are a number of SEO companies in Singapore and Malaysia, that you can outsource the job to. One such company that I recommend is SearchGuru, which has been providing SEO services since 2005 and boasts a list of big name clients.

Still, I’d recommend that you equip yourself with some basic SEO knowledge beforehand so that you know exactly what the SEO company is trying to sell you. Most important, never engage an SEO consultant based on price alone because as they say, “pay peanuts and you get monkeys”.