3 SEO Lies You Should Never Believe from SEO “Experts”
The search engine optimization industry has been a murky one since its start nearly a decade ago. Full of intimidating terminology like “black hat” and “white hat” techniques, alongside tons of marketing buzzwords, SEO can seem – to the unbeknownst business owner – like being stuck in a proverbial wilderness without a compass.
But, even though proper search engine optimization is certainly a very involved and intricate task – one which ultimately positions you and your business for better website rankings and traffic in the long run – there isn’t a “secret formula” that you have to follow in order to be successful.
Many SEO “gurus” have made a lot of (deceptive) money by telling their clients a number of half-truths.
Here are a few which should immediately raise red flags when you hear them:
1. “We’re a Google-certified partner.”
No one has a “special relationship” with Google unless they’re Google. These SEO “marketers” won’t be able to magically pull some strings to get you higher up in the rankings just because they “know people.” Search engine optimization doesn’t work that way. And you don’t move up in search rankings because they are “official partners” with Google.
This claim and subversive approach is something that Google is cracking down on… but it still happens.
Google’s own Gary Illyes put it this way:
“We were thinking of that, a lot and a bit more. And we always end up with the conclusion that we shouldn’t do it. There are many reasons why that would be a good idea but there are many more reasons why it would be a bad idea. […] My short answer is no, we will not have that any time soon.”
Some companies will use the Google partner seal on their website and claim they are Google-approved. This seal and designation only means that they have some Adwords accounts under management and they took a multiple choice test. This doesn’t mean they have some mystical, special relationship with Google. In fact, it should raise red flags if you happen to hear this from an SEO “expert,” as it should make you wonder what else they aren’t being forthright about.
2. “We guarantee your site will be #1 within X days.”
Run. And run fast.
Any SEO marketer worth their salt will never utter these words. And there’s a simple reason why: we don’t control how quickly a site may or may not rank.
That may seem scary to hear, because we all like to have guarantees of some sort, especially in business.
But, when it comes to search engine rankings, specifically via Google, there is only one entity who can control those rankings at any given time: Google.
So, how do you choose an SEO firm if you can’t have specific outcome-based guarantees?
Like many things in business (and in life), proper search engine optimization is a process, and that’s what a good SEO agency should be focused on. The guarantees they can make you are that they’ll work hard to be detail-oriented, understand your industry and target audience, write and publish content that will engage your audience (and be focused on keywords your audience will likely use to find your content), create valuable connections online with other like-minded sources who can help drive traffic to your website, properly adjust (or write) code on your website to ensure that specific keywords aren’t being overlook, ensure that your site is responsive (i.e. mobile-friendly) in order to display in rankings properly for mobile devices, and more.
Proper SEO for your business isn’t solely about the outcome, it’s about the process of getting there. And claims from SEO “gurus” that they’ll get your site ranked #1 (or even on a specific page) by a set number of days is a farce.
(And you should probably check the fine-print of their contracts while you’re at it, to make sure you aren’t getting swindled in other areas, such as payment terms.)
3. “The only marketing you need is SEO.”
This is yet another falsehood that exists in SEO-land (and there are many). This is a sales tactic some will attempt to use to try to get you to funnel the majority – if not all – of your marketing budget toward their SEO services.
A proper marketing campaign is a combination of specific, strategic efforts in order to reach your already-identified target audiences. By stating that the only marketing efforts you need for your business are related to SEO, you are essentially being told that these are the only means available to reach your audience. Considering Facebook alone retains 1.59 billion active users per month, claiming that your audience only resides on Google is preposterous (and this doesn’t even take into account television viewers, radio and streaming music listeners, outdoor board impressions, and more).
Certainly, search engines should play a major role in any marketing strategy. But they should be strategically connected with other new lead-harvesting efforts, social media marketing efforts, email marketing campaigns, broadcast and outdoor strategies, guerrilla marketing techniques, and coordinated lead-nurturing approaches, among others.
Selecting the Right SEO Partner
The first rule to remember, as with many things in life: if it sounds too good to be true, sometimes it’s worth taking a step back and taking a second look.
Do your research before choosing who to work with when marketing your business. Hear from others. Take a look at the experience level these potential marketing agencies have. Examine at their track record. How long do they retain clients? Are they honest and forthright with you in other areas? Are they trying to up-sell you for as much as they can in the beginning? Do they have a long-term view and strategy for you and your business?
When asking these questions of yourself and of a potential SEO marketing agency, you’ll often be able to determine the right partner for you and your business.