BackboneITGroup.com today criticised advice handed out by American Express to small business customers in a recent edition of their OPEN book publication.
The controversial advice, contained within the current edition of AMEX's "A Practical Guide for Business Growth", cautions its readers against seeking professional search engine optimisation help for their websites and advises them not to "waste money on so-called Search Engine Optimization (SEO) specialists"
"These kind of ill-informed statements on the value of good SEO are unhelpful and potentially damaging to their readership," explains Richard Unwin, MD of Backbone IT Group.
"Search engine optimisation is among the most cost-effective forms of promotion available and it would be a shame if AMEX business customers lost out because they have been misinformed," he continues.
To illustrate the benefits of SEO, Backbone highlight the experiences of their own customers, many of whom have a similar profile to the type of businesses targeted by the guide.
Best Doors Joinery Ltd, an online retailer of wooden doors, has seen its turnover increase by over 50% since making the decision to switch from an exclusive reliance on pay-per-click advertising to using SEO in mid-2007.
Another SEO customer, Be Flirty Dresses - a supplier of designer dresses - has also achieved first page Google rankings for its key search phrases, seeing a marked increase in traffic and a 25% increase in sales enquiries as a direct result of search engine optimisation.
According to Backbone, the article has also caused wide offence in the field of Internet marketing for equating search engine optimisation with attempting to 'trick' the search engines and implying that websites engaging in SEO face the prospect of being banned from the Google indexes.
"This is simply untrue," states Andrew Clarke, Head of SEO at Backbone.
He continues "Ethical optimisation companies, which Google itself recognises as providing useful services for website owners, work within the search engine guidelines to help sites rank highly for relevant keywords, increasing the level of targeted enquiries for our customers,"
Mark Jackson, of leading search engine industry site SearchEngineWatch.com, referred to the OPEN book article, "Online Solutions", as both "irresponsible" and "unfortunate".
"SEO really can be the most effective and efficient form of marketing. It's a legitimate use of marketing funds (and) can make a difference for companies, both small and large," he concludes.
Further details on ethical search engine optimisation services can be found at the http://www.backboneitgroup.com/ website.
BackboneITGroup.com was founded in 1999 and provides search engine optimisation, Internet marketing and software development services to clients worldwide.