American Express Advises Clients to Avoid SEO

Interesting that an American Express Web site was the subject of a Search Engine Watch Experts site clinic last month.

The current edition of AMEX’s ‘A Practical Guide for Business Growth’ cautions its readers against seeking professional search engine optimization help for their websites, advising them not to “waste money on so-called Search Engine Optimization (SEO) specialists”

Seems they took their own advice – to their detriment. When you search credit cards AMEX is not in the page one organic listings.

In the site clinic SEW Expert Mark Jackson points out that although they have decent title tags the content is in Flash so it does not support the tags.

“American Express could do a lot better with their SEO efforts,” said Mark. “Too bad (according to their public affairs contact) they believe SEO is a matter of “opinion.”

At the PRSA “State of the State of PR” event held in January, search was singled out as the one area that PR people really don’t understand. That would certainly seem to be the case here.

PRSA is making an effort to educate theri members – they hold regular teleseminars about how to use SEO for PR. So does Bulldog Reporter’s PR University.

Apart from the obvious business benefits of being found on page one in the organic listings, the PR and brand value of the text in those listings is definitely a communication function.

Perhaps AMEX feels SEO is not important. After all, when you search American Express you’re not liikely to find competitors. But they do seem to think that page one on a search engine is a good place to be – they have the top sponsored ad when you search credti card. But their site does not show up on page one in the organic listings.

I wonder how much those ads are costing them? I’ll bet it’s less than the cost of a good SEO expert! And I wonder how they’d feel if they looked at the eye track study on how people view a search page and where they click.

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