SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) still has the power to bamboozle most people and sadly there are a lot of consultants and companies in Sydney just champing at the bit to encourage that bamboozlement.
It’s incredibly hard to tell if your SEO consultant is legit and whether their services represent good value for money. So I thought I’d pen this little article to debunk some of the foolish things SEO consultants promise you, or services they offer you ‘at cost’ that cost them nothing at all.
1) We’ll only optimise your home page
Google sees every page of your site as a unique entity so, yes, you’d think your home page would be a good place to start – and it is. But be aware that home pages are often quite hard to get great SEO results for. Usually they have a big branding and impact job to do, so it’s hard to fill them with copy.
Ideally you should optimise every page of your site individually, picking one or two keywords to focus on.
2) You’ll get access to our comprehensive reporting tool
Want comprehensive reporting? Get Google Analytics. It offers in-depth information and presents it in an easy-to-understand format. There is also a stack of useful online guides to help you understand and interpret the data. Best of all – they’re free. So don’t be fooled into thinking otherwise.
3) We’ll submit your site to search engines
Big deal. There are only really three search engines that matter and submitting your site map to them takes all of 10 minutes. Do it yourself and save yourself a few bucks.
4) Pay us $$$$ a month to monitor your site
And what exactly are you doing month on month? In my opinion, if the site is built well to exacting SEO standards and if you regularly upload keyword-focused and -saturated content, there is very little you can do month on month to massively influence your ranking. Of course it’s worth monitoring your results (see 2) to see if any keywords are peaking, or to take advantage of current events to create content that’s relevant. But constant monitoring and tweaking is a waste of effort. It can take some months for you to notice results and if you keep fiddling, how will you ever know what was responsible for your success or failure?
5) We’ll drive 5,000 links to your website
Link building is all about quality, not quantity. One relevant keyword-saturated back link from a relevant, industry-related website is worth 100 crappy links from dodgy directories.
6) We’re in partnership with Google
Big, fat, hairy lie. Google has no partners. They don’t sell rankings. It’s as simple as that.
6) You’ll see results in a week
If your site is new, or if it was a terrible mess before, then when it first goes live with some fairly standard SEO bits and bobs it will bob up to the top of the rankings. This position may not last! You’ll find you bob round the rankings randomly for some time before settling into a position. Then the real work begins. It can take three to six months to crawl up the rankings to a position you’re happy with.
7) We’ll set up a social network for you and maintain it
This big claim was made by a local agency recently for a client of mine. They didn’t offer any detail as to which sites or what the ‘maintenance’ would involve. Be wary of grand unqualified promises; if they sound too good to be true, they probably are.
8) We’ll build you a Google Places page
This is a fair enough promise and is a useful weapon in your SEO armament, but in reality doing this takes all of 15 minutes, and is something you can (and should) do yourself as you’ll want to manage it yourself in the future.
9) Your keywords look good
Dig deeper. Any SEO consultant who doesn’t argue with you about your keyword list isn’t worth bothering with. You need to understand your keyword competition before you use them throughout your site. No point going after the impossible.
Ideally you want to know the difficulty rating (SEOmoz provides this), the number of global searches and local, the domain age, domain authority and page authority of the top 10 placings. You’ll need all this information to establish whether you’ve got a cat in hell’s chance of beating your competition to a higher spot.
10)We guarantee you a page one listing on Google
With Google there are no guarantees. If there were, every site would be on the first page. Even Google themselves don’t promise anything.
If your SEO person states that they can possibly get you to the first page for one or two keyword phrases within a few months, on a particular engine, in a particular market, that’s pretty honest. Also be aware that it’s a lot easier to get a site from page 198 to page 2 than it is to get a site from page 2 to page 1.
So there you go. Don’t believe the hype. While SEO isn’t brain surgery there are also no simple fixes and easy results. Getting up the rankings takes common sense, understanding and lots of hard work! Good luck.
Image purchased from IStock.
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