10 silly things (other) SEO consultants tell you

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Silly SEO consultantsSEO (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. Here are the links below. 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. Check out my Google Places page for a few ideas.

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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  • http://about.me/mitchdevine Mitch Devine

    Kate, there you go again… giving away the secret SEO mojo to the masses! Thanks for another helpful post that busts quite a few myths.

    Your point about link building is well taken. But of course, that takes time and relationship building as well — like leaving comments on fine blogs such as yours. Aside from the trench work of leaving comments on sites and writing awesome posts that get tweeted and linked, do you have any other suggestions for effective link building? What’s your take on directory submission sites like UBL.org and others?

    I just have one quibble: over here in the US of A (Orange County, CA, actually – a world unto itself), we do “search engine optimization,” so it works a little differently when you spell it with a “z” ;-)

    Cheers!
    Mitch

    • http://www.katetoon.com SEO copywriter

      Hi Mitch

      Thanks for commenting and sorry for my delayed response.
      Link building is very and yes, registering for directories can be helpful. In fact based on your comment, I’ve just written a blog post about directories and their value! I’ll be posting it soon. UBL.org also commented above!

      Thanks
      Kate

  • http://www.UBL.org Chris Travers

    This is Chris from UBL.org – very fun post; it certainly highlights some of the confusion that businesses are presented with in SEO. But it is important that your readers also don’t get confused between the old “site-submit” type of search engine submissions and the issue of submitting a business profile to search engines – this is called Local Search, of which Google Places represents only a fraction of the traffic. With the growth of mobile and social – particularly check-in apps – brick and mortar businesses find they achieve excellent online and offline contacts from business listings that are seen on sites like the other big search engines, yellowpages sites like YellowBook, the social nets like facebook, the iphone, gps devices and so forth. But it takes more than 15 minutes to get businesses accurately submitted to all those locations – we do 350 from one place, fyi. Great to see you writing so entertainingly about this. I hope you get a lot of people outside the industry to read it.

    • http://www.katetoon.com SEO copywriter

      Hi Chris

      Thanks very much for commenting.
      Yes I agree, good point! I guess I’m inclined to think that small businesses would probably benefit from registering on all these sites themselves rather than using a third party, but your solution does look tempting. Do you have an Australian package available?

      Thanks
      Kate

  • Malcolm Cox

    Superb. A wake-up call for greedy SEO specialists. Thank you.

    • http://www.katetooncopywriter.com.au/ Kate Toon

      Thanks Malcolm for reading and commenting :-)

  • http://twitter.com/atxcopywriter Kristen Hicks

    Right on with all of these. #10 can be especially difficult to educate people unfamiliar with SEO on though. Some people want promises for specific results in a short time frame for their money and don’t like hearing that SEO doesn’t really work that way.

    • http://www.katetooncopywriter.com.au/ Kate Toon

      Hey Kirsten, thanks for commenting. Yes #10 is a biggie. I see so many sites claiming this. Just yesterday an SEO consultancy advertising on Facebook had a great list of sites there they had got to number 1. I checked about 7 of them and none were still at number 1, most were no longer on the first page. Proof that quick (usually cheaty) fixes don’t lead to long term ranking!

Who is Kate Toon?

Hi, I'm an award-winning SEO copywriter and SEO consultant with over 18 years’ experience. I've worked with big brands such as Westpac, the RTA, Curash and Kmart and helped countless small businesses to produce great content.

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