10 Things People Think They Know about SEO (but don’t)

Now even Facebook is inspiring blog posts. Not because I want to write a post on social media, but they put up that silly ad for a t-shirt that reminded me all I do is talk to people all day that wants to tell me they are experts in SEO, did their own SEO so that makes them an expert, or find smart people who are experts that tell them what they want to hear, regardless of whether it’s the truth, and then want me to validate their ability. SEO is not a hobby.  SEO is not easy. And real SEO experts are hard to find and even harder to identify.

So often the information I hear is just flat out wrong. And it’s so difficult to tell someone that. Web Designers at times are yes people that can do what they want with only a rudimentary nod to SEO concerns. But how is a consumer to know who and what is real and what is not?

Here’s a list of all the things people think they know about SEO, that are just not correct:

#1 Talks about how the PPC helps Organic Search

I usually get this from the client side. Now for years, there has been this undercurrent of why PPC helps organic search, but if you ask Google they will tell you that they house those departments in two different buildings and never the two shall meet. And although I have my own opinion on this, and maybe will write a post on it, when a customer leads with “I want you to do PPC so you can drive my organic search,” you know this will be a problem. You don’t do PPC as an organic strategy. And in fact, if it’snot done right it can screw up your organic results. It should be complementary at best.

#2 Talks about Building Citations and Links

This one is tricky to navigate in this regard. Yes, you need links and yes, you need citations. But going and getting thousands of junk links from every directory site on the planet is now passé. Getting citations from places that have no traffic or no relevancy is just a waste of good resources. Furthermore, adding pages to article directories for backlinks is not only passé, but more or less taboo in this day and age. Yet I’m still asked about it.

#3 Talks about Social Sharing and Yet has No Followers.

There for a while, you could add your page on social and have no followers and still get credit. Now, Google is looking for that social activity and it’s no longer good to just have the link found. Google wants the engagement. So, to just put a page up for the sake of putting up a page is long gone by the wayside.

#4  All you Need is good MetaTags

So yeah, Google stopped ‘honoring’ that in 2009. And although you need to have proper title tags and well-written descriptions, it’s not the beat all and end all of an SEO game. But many times I see bids built around how they are going to fix the meta tags and make a website rank. Hardly.

#5 I have 5 “Great” Keyword-rich Domains and I want to use them all to Rank on the Same Keyword

Hello, its 2003 calling and they want their strategy back. I hear this a lot too, and customers get mad when we advise that would not be the way to go. Some days not being a yes man is hard.  I had over 25 web hosting domains and have systematically shut them down and pointed all their power to this website. I now have a website that ranks well, is focused and is a perfect lead generator. I admittedly have three brands we work with here, and each serves a unique clientele and purpose. They are not setup to compete on Google or optimized to game Google’s system. It is next to impossible to own multiple properties, give them their own identities and develop each of them so uniquely.

#6 Pricing

This one is so hard to explain, but you cannot have good SEO for $100 a website. Or $300 a website, or even $1000 a website. It’s just not possible to do all the things that need to be done in all the directions it needs to come in from. But so often I find people taking the bait on low-cost SEO. In the end, those folks end up with more problems than solutions.

#7 News Papers and TV stations are not SEO companies

More and more I hear this that SEO has been outsourced to the local big newspaper. If they can’t deliver the news why do think they can do SEO? I know, all kidding aside. $3000-$5000 a month to rank on 10 keywords is not good. I don’t care how many reports they give you. Those reports are ways to buffalo you into thinking they did something more than 10 keywords.

#8 Take a #1 Ranking Website and Flush it

This pains me. I treat our websites like children and work with them, nurture them, and build them into big, strong sites that can compete with even the biggest brands. But occasionally I have a new person come into a client company and want to replace us with ‘their own people.’ And then over the next six months, I watch the website be systematically dismantled in the name of progress by another SEO firm that simply did not know what they were doing.  There are very few that do, honestly. Unfortunately, that is pretty much always the case. Out of the last three clients, I’ve had leave, two have completely decimated their web presence. One has done better because the company was sold and the new owner put more resources in.

With the two that are decimated, I’ve noticed that they have used PPC to prop their sites back up. When you have a #1 website don’t change drivers for the sake of changing. Respect that someone did the work and got you to that spot, and that did not happen by accident. Furthermore, flipping a website is an art form and very few people can do it successfully. We can, but very few others can do it right because of how much is involved. It’s not simply putting a few 301s in and walking away. Remember, it’s much harder to fix a website after it’s been destroyed than to do it right in the first place, especially if it’s a competitive field.

As a P.S. to this topic, if you have traffic and are not making a sale, find out why don’t just turn the site off without even redirecting the traffic. It’s very hard to get a website that has 10,000+ organic visits, and to throw it away is…well…no words.

#9 We Have an In-house SEO Guy

I hear this a lot too. You cannot have one guy that you’re paying less than $50K a year do all the SEO. Besides there not being enough hours in a work week, it’s not possible. You need writers, tech people, editors, link builders, creative/graphics people, content people and security people, and they are all different skill sets.  So, for a small to mid-sized business you are far better advised to use the $50K-$75K a year and hire an agency that provides a turnkey solution that covers all of it than one guy who knows how to work a computer, maybe. The in-house budget really needs to be over $250K and more pushing $500K for a normal company. For web-based companies that number really needs 25 or more people. Ever see The Intern? it’s not all that far off.

Digital marketing requires commitment and consistency most of all to be successful. There is no secret sauce, just a lot of hard, coordinated teamwork. And one secretary that knows how to use Facebook is not going to cut it.

#10 Your Web Hosting Needs to be in the Loop

Bad web hosts, and for that matter web designers, can hurt your efforts far more than you can ever account for. Slow connections, hacked websites and no firewalls are among the basic problems website owners may encounter.

And I guess while I’m on the subject, knowing how to use WordPress and add plugins does not make you a web designer, and in fact, improper use of plugins can kill your efforts.

I admit that at ACTWD I’ve put all the components under one roof by accident. I didn’t start out to have all three components under one roof.  I did it because I kept hitting things that were needed that we couldn’t do, so I found solutions and have been doing that as long as I can remember. I know we are the exception, but honestly, we should be held up as the norm and the litmus test that is used when choosing an SEO company.


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