by Patrick Reinhart, December 3, 2014
While most people will admit there is always that one defining moment in any type of relationship, the same is not true when it comes to digital marketing, where a series of moments can lead you to believe you have made the right decisions or hired the right people. Working in SEO for more than a decade has taught me that, and I believe SEOs should be judged by their track record and their overall knowledge of the practice.
As with any business, there are always people out there just trying to make a quick buck on the Internet with very little regard for your site’s overall health. Hiring someone to handle your SEO campaign is, and should be, a well-researched and well-referred process to ensure you are not going to get burned. If you have already hired an SEO expert and are unhappy with their results or skeptical about what they are telling you, it may be time to start kicking the tires a bit more.
Here are three red flags to look out for when speaking with your current or potential SEO expert.
I don’t know
While no one ever wants to hear anyone they have hired to perform a service utter this phrase about that service, this is particularly true when it comes to SEO. Too often, I have heard SEO experts say this to their clients, and it never loses its sting. If your expert doesn’t understand basic or advanced tactics, best practices, algorithmic changes, or common topics in the industry, it’s time to research and ask people who do.
Ranking doesn’t matter
Really? Not at all? So, for example, if I own a Web site that sells vitamins, ranking for the term vitamins won’t send any qualified traffic through my site?
This one is particularly troubling because so many well-known SEOs peddle this nonsense to the masses. While rankings are not where all organic traffic comes from, they play a crucial role in traffic from search engines. If you don’t rank for keywords in Google, Bing, Yahoo, etc., then people won’t be able to find your site when they type in search queries and you’re not there.
You won’t get anything accomplished by not showing up, and that includes ranking on the first page of Google and other search engines.
I guarantee …
The only thing SEO experts can guarantee is that Google will change unpredictably, and SEOs who guarantee rankings, traffic, etc, are not being truthful. SEOs can only give you highly educated ideas of traffic and conversions. Google is a living, breathing organism that changes as often as Lady Gaga at an awards show, SEO experts can’t guarantee what it’s going to do or where your rankings will be tomorrow.
What can be guaranteed is that the SEO expert will only use above-board practices and strategies that will position the client’s site for success. Beyond that, much like in life, there are no guarantees in SEO.
While there are many more red flags in SEO that you should be looking out for, these are three of the most important. If an SEO expert mutters these phrases, I urge you to run in the other direction and research a legitimate consultant or agency. You will be infinitely better off in the end.