SEO lies are still a major challenge for professional SEO practitioners. Business owners may not always recognize when an SEO snake oil salesman is telling them a lie, especially when it relates to something they don’t know much about. It’s quite sad that the SEO industry is still plagued by charlatans perpetuating SEO lies.
An effective SEO campaign is a key ingredient in a successful online marketing plan, yet many business owners don’t know how to improve their search rankings. What do they do? They turn to supposed SEO “gurus” for help.
The problem is these so called SEO “gurus” are more likely than not using outdated tactics to try to improve search results. Thanks to Google and their constant algorithmic updates, the 10 SEO lies are no longer valid.
Yet they still perpetuate them! So, in the interest of saving small business owners the challenge of getting taken to the cleaners here are ten lies to watch out for when interviewing an SEO to help with your search engine rankings.
1. I Can Get You The #1 Position On Google.
This is the number one lie. I can get you #1. Why this lie continues to perpetuate, I’ll never understand. But please pay attention! No one can guarantee rankings on search engines, let alone a number 1 position. Google’s Webmaster Guidelines state very clearly to be wary of SEO firms or web consultants or agencies that guarantee a #1 ranking on Google. Be very skeptical of anyone who promises you top positioning.
Especially promising the #1 Position On Google!
Number one CAN be achieved, but it takes hard work, dedication, time and money. Unless of course you want to go the PPC route, then it can be achieved almost instantly. But remember, with PPC you are Paying Per Click!
2. I Don’t Need Specific Experience In Your Industry.
This is in response to your question, “Do you have experience helping companies in my industry?”
The SEO professional you work with may ideally have expertise in your industry/market sector. But not all industries are the same when it comes to SEO. Enterprise SEO differs from local SEO. B2B selling is much more competitive for top keywords. Industry silos such as manufacturing, may be less competitive and are easier to obtain top rankings.
Unless your business is a unique, never been seen before business that no one will have experience in, it’s probably best to keep looking until you find the right SEO expert, one who has a proven track record in your industry.
3. Duplicate Content Is Fine.
Your hired SEO help is probably not a content marketing expert. It always helps if they’ve got skills in both SEO and content as content is essential to your SEO strategy. But unfortunately most self proclaimed “gurus” are generally skilled in these two areas; taking your money and not delivering on their promises.
Also, no matter how well-written a blog post have been, re-posting an article you published on another blog on your own blog is not going to help your SEO. Thanks to duplicate content filtering and the effects of the Panda algorithm which Google continues to refine.
4. More Links is not always a good idea.
The Google algorithm was built on the premise that the more links to a site, then the more authoritative the site must be. The original intent was that if you liked content, you would link to it and share it. Then the Black and Gray hat SEO’s got their hands on linking and ruined it. SEO “experts” would use many spammy tactics for acquiring links to their clients’ websites, and Google largely permitted it. Though it wasn’t officially allowed by Google, Google did nothing to penalize those who were doing it. I had success with those tactics myself “back in the day” and the linking strategy worked very well. But that strategy turned SEO into a never ending popularity contest driven by the volume of inbound links to your website.
Those days are history, so don’t let an SEO “guru” tell you differently. Inbound links are still considered SEO strategy, but thankfully Google has shifted from quantity to quality as the qualifier. Spammy inbound links now have the ability to actually harm your rankings.
5. You need to have X% Keyword Density.
Keyword density (what percentage of the total copy of a page your keywords comprised) was considered a ranking factor only a few years ago, today strategy focuses on using “long tail keywords”, a variety of keywords and their variations throughout the text copy in a natural, easy to read manner.
“Natural and easy to read” can be translated to not every twentieth word is the keyword. By the way a 5% “keyword density” would translate into every twenty words being your core keyword phrase. I don’t know about you, but that would be unreadable to me.
6. We Submit Your Site To Hundreds Of Search Engines and Directories.
And you’ll be wasting my money. First, you don’t submit your site to Google. Not directly. You register your site with Google Webmaster Tools and submit a sitemap. Same with Bing, but anything other than that will yield absolutely NO benefit. Years ago there were literally hundreds if not thousands of “directories” which SEOs submitted sites to. But the only traffic these directories saw were SEO “gurus” visiting to submit sites.
Today there are still not very many legitimate directories you want to be found on. There are some industry specific vertical directories, but outside of those there really aren’t too many. Truthfully, there never were. This out dated tactic of submitting the same link to hundreds of directories could potentially trigger an unnatural link warning from Google. My advice is to stay far, far away from “SEO “gurus” who will build your link profile through link building or “submissions” to hundreds of directories. Actually don’t walk away from those charlatans … RUN!
7. My SEO Techniques Are Too Complicated To Explain.
SEO is more common sense than rocket science. Some techno smarts is helpful, but you do not have to be a techno geek to get SEO. It’s not complicated at all. Successful SEO is the result of the merging of compelling content with technically correct search engine optimization structure. It’s not difficult nor as complicated as some would make it out to be; successful SEO is simply having content people want to read and giving the search engines the ability to find it.
8. Don’t Worry Google Algorithm Updates Won’t Affect Us.
There is some truth to this; if your site has compelling content and can be crawled and indexed. Google changes their algorithm at least 500 times a year. And they do so to keep weeding out the sites that are trying to game the system. If your site isn’t gaming the system today, chances are it won’t be gaming it tomorrow. But you should be aware of the major Google algorithm updates and how they impact the industry.
9. All You Need Is SEO.
It’s because that’s all I’m selling. Your SEO company should also be recommending PPC and social. If they aren’t then consider the next candidate. No online marketing campaign can succeed if it’s focused on SEO. Website rankings improve through your active presence on social media, some paid search and even your offline marketing efforts. (Some of those direct visits could be coming from your business card, brochure or URL on the back of your car!) Avoid having all your eggs in one basket. Each piece of your marketing strategy maximizes SEO benefits.
10. I‘ll Fix Your SEO in a Month for a Flat Rate
SEO is not “set it and forget it”. Proper SEO needs ongoing attention, fed by analytics. As you are improving your SEO, your competitors are improving their SEO, so if you stop tweaking your SEO, you’ll fall behind. There are certain one-time projects which can be extremely beneficial, such as initial SEO website audits and professional keyword research. These projects should be treated as foundations and starting points of successful ongoing SEO campaigns.
In the end, you need someone who’s willing to work with your company for the foreseeable future and make recommendations based on analytics for improvement as you go along.
Be Smart When Hiring An SEO Consultant
If after this you are still convinced you need to hire someone to help you with your SEO efforts, you need to be confident in their ability to do the job right. Start by doing your homework on a few potential firms. A smart SEO company will have plenty of information on its website about how they help customers and the strategies they use.
One very important measure is how the company’s own site ranks. SEO is a very competitive field and if they are ranking in the Top 10 in their own field, chances are they will be able to help you in your competitive field. Today another important measure is reviews. Search the company name and “review” and see what shows up. Unfortunately not everyone wants to leave glowing reviews, so if the company has had angry clients, negative reviews are going to be the first to pop up.
If all else fails, you can always do it yourself
That’s right, SEO can be done successfully on your own. Stay tuned to SEO Coach for more information on our customized do it yourself course. This course uses your site as the base to teach you the basics of SEO.