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What You Don't Know About SEO

It's essential to understand SEO before you spend thousands hiring consultants you may not even need.

This story appears in the February 2010 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

--the canny use of keywords and other techniques designed to shoot a website to the top of a search--is the make-or-break factor for many new businesses.

It is also the web's unfolding, and unregulated, frontier. There are countless SEO strategists, consultants and self-professed experts who will claim they can beam your site up into 's top 10 search results--for a price, of course. Consultants commonly charge upward of $200 an hour, and most will pressure you to sign a contract that keeps them on retainer for months--at prices as steep as $12,000 a month. Unscrupulous SEO firms not only make promises they can't keep, the worst of them also use shady practices that might produce no traffic, deliver the wrong traffic or even get you banned from planet Google.

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