SEO Experts: 12 Signs They Are Not the Experts They Claim to Be

The good news about SEO is that anyone with basic intelligence and the motivation to learn can eventually, over time, become an SEO expert. SEO is a potentially lucrative and rewarding profession that does not require a particular college degree. It can be learned on-the-job and from available resources.
The bad news about SEO is that anyone with an internet connection can say they are an SEO expert, whether they are or they aren’t.
So how can you tell legitimate SEO experts from the fakes and wannabes?
Here are 12 signs that a self-proclaimed SEO expert may not be all that.

Sign #1: The SEO Expert Hides What They Are Doing

Non-transparency from your SEO expert should be a total deal breaker. After all, you’re trusting them with the reputation of your brand and with your sites’ ability to generate traffic.
Sure, there may be legitimate proprietary information an SEO cannot reveal, but here is a bare-minimum list of things you should always have access to:

  • List of sites where the SEO expert will be link building. Make sure all of these sites are ones with which you’d want your brand associated!
  • List of outreach contacts they will be talking to on your behalf.
  • Their overall methodology for doing SEO and link building.

[Tweet “If your SEO hides what they are doing, RUN AWAY! Learn 12 signs of a bad SEO” quote=”If your SEO hides what they are doing, RUN AWAY!”]

Sign #2: Inability to Explain Clearly

Your SEO expert consultant is not just a technician; they must also be an educator. It should be part of their job to clearly articulate what they are doing and why. This is one of the most important business partnerships you have as an online business. It is critical that you be able to understand what your SEO is doing.
If you ever hear something like, “Just trust us; you wouldn’t understand what we’re doing. It’s too technical,” you should start looking for another SEO expert immediately.
Also beware of explanations that sound oversimplified. For example: “Google ranks pages highest that have 200-300 words.” Ask yourself if such a simple explanation really makes sense. Since Google is striving to find the highest quality content for any query, why would they limit themselves in such a simplistic way? Depending on the query and need, some things can be covered with quality in just 50 words; others require thousands of words.
Your SEO should be able to back up any claims or assertions about how SEO works with solid data and/or references.
[Tweet “If your SEO can’t explain what they do clearly, RUN AWAY! Learn 12 signs of a bad SEO” ]

Sign #3: Guarantees That Sound Too Good to Be True

Really, you should beware of any guarantees offered by an SEO, except those that have to do with deliverables, reporting, and fulfilling contract obligations. Truth: there is no way to guarantee specific results from SEO.
That doesn’t mean that an SEO shouldn’t be expected to produce results. SEO can and should be expected to provide positive results from a site. But the truth is that those results will take time, and they will be seen in a general increase in traffic, conversions, etc. It is impossible for an SEO to promise something like, “I will raise ranking for this particular keyword by three SERP positions in one month.”
Instead, a reputable SEO expert should be doing things like the following:

  • Seeking to understand your marketplace and business economics, and what it will take for you to begin to profit from your investment in SEO.
  • Seeking to understand your business goals, and to align their plan with those goals.
  • Providing examples of past work and the results obtained.

[Tweet “If your SEO makes guarantees too good to be true, RUN AWAY! Learn 12 signs of a bad SEO”]

Sign #4: Acts Like SEO Works in a Vacuum

Reputable SEO experts these days know that SEO is inseparable from almost every other aspect of marketing. It must interact with things like your PR, site design and usability, content and social media teams, etc. Effective SEO must be integrated with a site’s marketing plan and goals.
Also ask your SEO what they think helps build rankings and traffic. If they only respond with things like links, it’s a good indication that they are not up-to-date on SEO. While inbound links to your pages are still important, these days many other factors play an important role, including (but not limited to):

Making any of those effective for SEO purposes will mean your SEO should be seeking interaction and positive relationships with your marketing, PR, social media, content, and web development teams.
[Tweet “If your SEO acts like #SEO works in a vacuum, RUN AWAY! Learn the 12 signs of a bad SEO”]

Sign #5: Too Many Clients

One of your first questions when interviewing a potential SEO expert to hire
or consult with should be the person’s client load. If you’re looking at an agency, this question should be addressed to the person assigned to manage your account.
In order to get the best quality work from your SEO, they probably shouldn’t be working with more than five to six clients at one time. Of course, that will vary somewhat with the amount of involvement they have with each client, and how much work your site needs.
It is important to work out in advance how much time your SEO should be expected to be giving to you each week, as well as how available they will be for calls, questions, and reporting.
[Tweet “If your SEO is juggling too many clients, RUN AWAY! Learn the 12 signs of a bad SEO”]

Sign #6: They Want to Automate Content Page Creation

Automating the creation of new pages on a site makes sense for certain types of sites, such as large eCommerce sites, but not for content pages
More and more we see Google actively devaluing low-quality pages, and it’s hard to get anything but that from automation when it comes to content. Your SEO should be seeking to help you handcraft every piece of content on your site for maximum effectiveness.
There are some SEO tasks that can be automated, but content should not be one of them. The content and user experience of your pages are your most important SEO asset. Your SEO should treat them with the respect and attention they deserve.
[Tweet “If your SEO wants to automate your content creation, BEWARE! Learn the 12 signs of a bad #SEO”]

Sign #7: They Want to Create Tons of Inbound Links

It is true that inbound links to your site are still very important to ranking well on search engines. But now more than ever the quality of those links is far more important than the quantity. If an SEO tells you that they are going to improve your site’s rankings by getting “as many links as possible,” you’re dealing with someone who’s SEO knowledge is years behind, and potentially very dangerous.
Search engines like Google now look very carefully not just at the number of links to your pages, but where those links come from. If you have too many links coming from low quality and/or irrelevant sites, that looks suspicious. You could even end up with a Penguin or manual penalty against your site.
The best way to get quality, relevant links to your site is to earn them. You do that by producing high quality, very useful content, that becomes a valuable resource to which credible sites will want to link. Of course, you need to work hard to make that content highly visible to those sources through your social media and other content promotion efforts.
[Tweet “If all your SEO talks about is how many links they’ll get you, BEWARE! Learn the 12 signs of a bad SEO”]

Sign #8: They Talk About “Submissions” and “Site Listings”

If the proposal from an SEO expert mentions article submissions or site listings as a key component of their strategy, immediately remove them from consideration. As with massive link building, this is old school SEO that hasn’t worked for years.
The truth is that the vast majority of such services are extremely spammy, and so Google pays no attention to them. Google is getting better all the time at sniffing out and devaluing any such schemes.
This does not mean there are no legitimate and respected directories. There certainly are, especially for local and B2B businesses. Make sure, though, that your SEO can provide justification for the directories on which they want to list your site, and beware if it seems like a shotgun approach.
Think about it from a search engine’s perspective. Would it make sense to value links from a service that any site can get into just by submitting their site (or in some cases, paying to be there)? Of course not.
Actually, that’s a good method for evaluating anything an SEO tells you that sounds too easy to be effective. Ask yourself, if you were a search engine, wanting to give quality results to your users, would that be something you would value?

Sign #9: They Think Metadata Is All You Need

that's so meta

Image credit:

Metadata is information a site can place in the header of each page that provides information about the page, such as the title, description, and relevant keywords. Some of that information is still relevant to search engines (see the last paragraph of this section), but if an SEO’s pitch puts this front and center, or seems to say this is a huge factor for ranking, then you should be suspicious.
In particular, beware of any SEO who says that they are going to spend a lot of time fiddling with keywords in meta keywords. The major search engines have been clear for a long time that that is not at all a ranking factor.
This doesn’t mean that metadata is useless, however. For example, search engines often use what is in the meta description field as the description text they display under the link to the page in search results. Crafting that description to make the value of the page clear to a searcher can help increase click-throughs to that page. Also, keywords in title tags can be one factor among many in ranking for a keyword. But representing these as the key (or only) part of an SEO strategy is just plain wrong!
Related: What Is Keyword Density and Does It Matter for SEO?

Sign #10: The Prices are Insane!

Sign of a bad SEO: Prices are too lowWhen I was a kid there was a consumer electronics chain in the New York metropolitan area called Crazy Eddies. Their TV ads featured an actor portraying a frenetic, manic Crazy Eddie, whose tagline was “Our prices are INSANE!”
If an SEO expert’s quoted prices for their service seem too low to be believed, the quality of their service probably is too.
Of course, higher prices don’t guarantee quality work, but at the same time, quality SEO is not cheap. You have to ask yourself: if you’re paying a super low amount for your SEO, how much attention and care do you really think you’re getting from that SEO? They have to be pushing through a ton of clients to make ends meet.

Sign #11: They Price By the Link

This sign of a bad SEO expert is related to both signs #10 and #7. It supports the faulty notions that all links are equal, and that the most important thing is the quantity of links.
If you pay by the link, you’re incentivizing the SEO to build as many links as they can, and that means they will have little care for the quality of those links.
As noted above, quality links have to be earned. They are not easy to come by, but have far more SEO value. A valuable SEO expert will talk to you about strategies to earn such links, not brag about the quantity he will get.

Sign #12: They Claim Inside Info on Search Algorithms

secrets sharedThey don’t. It’s that simple. This person is lying to you, and you should have nothing more to do with you.
The fact is that very few Google staff themselves know very much about the search ranking algorithms. Google guards this information very carefully, and doles it out amongst its staff on a “need to know” basis.
It is possible to gain valuable insights into the most likely ways the search algos behave, from both experiences over a long career and intensive research and testing. That’s what you pay an experienced SEO for.
Have nothing to do with any self-proclaimed SEO expert who claims to have either inside knowledge of “how Google works” or to have special influence with Googlers.
BONUS! Have your prospective SEO take this SEO knowledge test designed by Eric Enge, lead co-author of The Art of SEO. Don’t expect that they will get 100%, even if they are a legitimate expert. Even one of Google’s top search experts got only 15 of the 20 questions right! Eric intentionally designed this quiz with many questions that have more than one “right” answer, but only one best answer. If you give this quiz to a prospective SEO, they should be able to explain in detail why they chose any of their wrong answers.

  *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *

There you have it! Have you run across any other SEO practices or claims that were “tells” for you of a fake SEO expert? Let us know in the comments.
At Perficient Digital, we pride ourselves on our hard-earned SEO expertise. Our consultants represent many hundreds of years of combined SEO experience. In addition, we are constantly doing high level, big data studies, and tests that keep us ahead of the wave in SEO. That’s why we’re trusted by many of the biggest brands in the world.
Find out how our SEO services can help accelerate your business, or contact us now to get started!
Adapted from an article by Eric Enge originally published on Forbes.

Thoughts on “SEO Experts: 12 Signs They Are Not the Experts They Claim to Be”

  1. I totally agree with all the above. I would just add also one more point : lots of self-proclaimed SEO experts now own a blog on which they regularly share SEO news. Eventhough they might earn lots of followers doing so on various social media platforms, which can help them look like “experts”, it doesnt mean that they are really SEO experts just because they are popular for sharing great news content.

  2. Octavian Ambrosa

    Great tips , and still , people think they can play with Google’s algorithm , it’s cheaper to go for PPC than to work with that kind of experts – The author was right : If something sounds too good to be true then it is ! This not the first field of activity many people claim they are experts. Last but not least: You should consider people that are realistically assessing your site and market !

  3. Hi, Eric,
    I just bumped onto your blog recently, but so far I like what I’m reading. This ONE, is on point. You just nailed everything SEO wannabes associate themselves with.
    I’ll be sharing this out…

  4. Overall great article. A couple of things that I wanted to share my feedback on:
    Sign #5: Too Many Clients
    Irrespective, whatever number of clients you are handling as long as you are always available to respond to the client email, hop on a call to address the issues and deliver things on time then you are good.
    Sign #8: They Talk About “Submissions” and “Site Listings”
    It’s true that old school tactics like article submission, low-quality directory, bookmark site links etc. won’t work any more.
    However, for B2B or Local Business clients it still makes sense to submit your listings to directories that rank for your business related terms.
    Sign #9: They Focus on Metadata
    It’s still an important factor that we shouldn’t overlook. Just to give an example, we were creating an SEO proposal for one of the eCommerce site (having more than 50,000 products). We observed that none of their product pages had optimized meta title and description tags. This was resulting in a drop in CTR and keyword rankings. Our whole focus of the proposal was fixing this problem.
    The point I’m trying to put across is sometimes you need to evaluate why someone is suggesting and what impact would it make on your business.
    Besides these great points, another thing that agencies/experts don’t commit to be setting and meeting quantitative goals (visits, leads, revenue, etc).

  5. Mark, you are so so right! Unfortunately I meet people like these you described almost every day…and it sounds ridiculous when they say ” We are official Google Partners and we know some secrets about the Google core algorithm you don’t have access to”.

  6. Awe man! I remember Crazy Eddie back when I was a kid. That’s marketing that is hard to forget.
    Speaking of “crazy” I had an agency actually tell me recently that they believe metadata is still very important and they have the data to prove it. I’m skeptical about that and until they publish that data I’ll remain so. I’d say this falls under your #12 reason.

  7. Dido, for a long time I’ve wanted to have a recording of the knights in Monty Python and the Holy Grail shouting, “Run away! Run away!” to play into the phone when I get one of those calls.

  8. Thanks for your comments, Suraj. I agree with your comments on #8 and #9, but I don’t agree that there is an unlimited number of clients an SEO consultant can handle well. Sure, the exact number each can handle will vary somewhat with ability, work habits, and the nature of each client’s business needs, but at some point the SEO becomes overwhelmed and quality of work and attention starts to deterorate, I don’t care how good they are.
    Your “however” on #8 is a good exception that I should have included; I’ve edited the post to put it in there. Thanks!
    Your point on #9 is in my post already; see the last paragraph.

  9. I agree, Vincent! Creating and curating useful SEO content is a great way to let people know that you might be a legitimate SEO expert, but it is no guarantee. You should always ask deeper questions before hiring anyone, even if their content looks great.

  10. Hi Mark,
    As usual, there’s some great insight in your post. But #9 says that title tags have not been used as a ranking factor for a long, long time.
    That’s not correct.
    The title tag has long been thought to be one of the most important onsite SEO signals for ranking. In fact, John Mueller of Google just confirmed that titles are a ranking factor: “they are definitely used as a ranking factor”
    You can see John’s hangout video here:

  11. I love this except for the bit about pricing by the link…while I certainly understand the reasoning behind what you say, we price by the link because clients give us a number of links that they would consider ideal, so we’re working with a max budget. I feel like it’s a good way to NOT charge for work that isn’t done. I definitely agree that all links are not equal but we base our per-link model on a yearly analysis of labor costs and that turns into a per-link average cost that clients seem to like, and I get to feel confident that we’re only charging for what we can produce.

  12. Mark, one thing I am noticing in all of the search niches is folks that write – SEO, content, social, paid, etc. – but have never done. People/readers consider them experts because they sound knowledgeable about a topic and they recommend the writer, but the writer doesn’t have the experience of “doing”. They are just great at reading a lot and regurgitating information and somehow get work from it. Very scary.
    There didn’t used to be all this “advice” out there. You just had to experiment to get it right and find people in forums that might have discovered something that could help. Nowadays it is hard to tell who really knows, so this is a much needed article 🙂

  13. Excellent summation. I worked briefly with a start-up SEO agency that was more sales oriented than result oriented and I always heard the sales people pitch potentials with phrases like “We write and submit hundreds of articles, and make sure your meta tags have keywords.” I cringed a little inside every time I heard that pitch. Part of the reason I fled that agency.

  14. Thanks, Melissa. I’ve said many times in interviews that it’s important in any field, let alone SEO, to develop one’s own trusted network of true experts. Once you’ve found one person you trust in your field, look at whom they follow and interact with most to find more.

  15. Sorry, Julie, but I still see that as not in the best interest of the client. We also have prospects and new clients approach us with “I want X number of links.” Instead of giving them what they think we want, we educate them on better practices. We explain why seeking just a quantity of links is not the best thing to do.

  16. We work with them to come up with this max number for budgeting purposes…sorry I didn’t make that clear. I certainly see the benefits of not charging by the link but I don’t think that by doing so it means someone is a bad SEO. I like to only charge for what I can deliver and that is definitely in the best interest of a client in my opinion.

  17. Thanks for your reply, Julie. We still have a fundamental difference of SEO philosophy here, and I don’t see your clarification as saying anything much different from your first comment. You’re still setting up an SEO engagement that’s based around the idea that a certain quantity of links has value. You’ll deliver what the client is paying for, and therefore, in my opinion, your SEO strategy is not in the best long term interest of your clients. As I said earlier, we would simply refuse any contract where the performance being paid for is a certain quantity of links. The client may think that’s what they want; we see it as our job to help them understand what they really need. And if they can’t get that, we’re better off not having them as a client.

  18. Hi Ross, others brought this up also on Facebook. I am well aware of the conversations around Mueller’s video. I did not mean to represent that all metadata has NO ranking value; just that it should not be put forward as the center or major piece of an SEO strategy. That’s why I headed the section “They FOCUS on Metadata.”
    I began my final paragraph of that section “This doesn’t mean that metadata is useless however.” I gave the value of a good meta description for influencing CTR as my example, but could have also included that title tags do have some value. I’ve edited the section to include that now. Thanks for the feedback!

  19. Appreciate the added sentences that keywords in the title can be a ranking factor. But I still think your 1st paragraph is very misleading.
    : I can just imagine all the newbie “SEO Experts” quoting this blog as proof that titles haven’t been a ranking factor in a long, long time. 😉
    I maintain that a “focus” on meta title and meta description is important. The title is an SEO ranking factor and can go a long way towards aligning searcher intent with publisher intent. Both impact CTR in the serps. And since most people don’t customize OG tags, these will both probably display on social media shares.
    When we work with a client, we always “focus” on the titles & meta descriptions. But we also focus on about 30 other things (indexation, IA, data capture, content quality & presentation, onsite/offsite engagement…).
    And just to be clear, I’m *not* talking about making sure keywords are stuffed into a title or meta description.
    Here’s the good news. I think we’re in agreement that SEO is long past the days when you could “focus” on any 1 single aspect of a website’s presence and be done.

  20. And that’s completely what I meant by “focus.” I didn’t mean “not important, just ignore.” I meant, “if this is the only thing they’re talking about…” (and I have seen pitches that were like that.
    Nevertheless, I’m getting enough pushback about that section that I’m going to edit it again to make that super clear. Thanks!

  21. Right on point and well explained. I was evaluating my practice based on the list in your article. Glad to know I’m on the right track.

  22. I agree fully with points 1 to 8 and partly with 9 , now that you have edited 9 it is very close to perfect. Meta keywords tag is useless when it comes to SEO , Google has clearly stated that. The title is still important and description meta tag is usually included as a snippet in the search results and influences CTR. However as you rightly pointed out just changing the meta tags and stuffing keywords in them will not cause a page to increase rankings.
    However if the page has already great content which is very useful adding an optimized title and description will certainly increase rankings and improve CTR.
    Also regarding “Sign #10: The Prices are Insane!” – The prices will vary across markets and whether a freelancer is doing the job or you are employing an agency . If the freelancer is offering proof of his capabilities, able to clearly explain what he is doing, ranks highly for several SEO terms in his market and quotes rates which are low compared with agencies ranked below him, that does not make the Freelancer any less capable just because he is charging low rates.

  23. Thanks, Joseph. On your last point, the point I was trying to make is the proportion between price and results promised, not just price alone. When you should get suspicious is if amazing results (that we know take a lot of time and work to achieve, if they are achievable at all) are promised for a cut rate price.

  24. I would add look at their online reviews. It seems that some well publicized experts/companies have very few, if any, online reviews which is quite suspicious. The case studies touting their work on their sites may be outdated tactics used years ago. While word of mouth referrals are best, if a company doesn’t have social support be wary.

  25. Good one, Jason, although reviews may be more relevant to smaller, more local agencies and independent consultants. Clients of bigger agencies like ours, that deal with major brands, don’t tend to post on review sites about their agencies. So absence of reviews in those cases is not necessarily a sign of something bad.

  26. Glad you made the point about ‘too many clients’. I saw something today which mentioned working with 17 clients personally in SEO at one time. I was thinking ‘Whoa, that’s way too many’. How can one be expected to provide the level of attention and get to know a website well, with so many clients being juggled by an individual SEO was my thinking’ I would argue that that’s way too many to do a thorough job.

  27. Good one, a very interesting list,
    But Sign #5: Too Many Clients, its not a factor i think so
    As a company may they can able to manage many clients using tracking software

  28. I agree with Suraj on #5. I sometimes have 6-8 clients on the go but some will be small one-off projects, plus I’ll always be there and ready to respond if a client needs me.
    From the SEO’s perspective, having lots of clients can be a good thing. After all, it’s better financial security (especially for a solo consultant like me!), plus you can argue that a variety of projects/challenges is better for the brain. I’d be worried about my skills potentially going a little stale if I only had a client or two on the go at one time.

  29. Thanks Steve. As I’ve tried to make clear, I was not at all meaning there is some magic number of “too many clients.” That will vary, of course, by the capacity of the SEO and the type of work needed for each client. However, I maintain that there is a point for anyone at which they’ve taken on too much work, and their ability to give top service to all their clients starts to suffer. I’ve seen it happen with seasoned professionals as well as beginners.

  30. I agree to all the points you have mentioned in the post. But, I think we have come a long way and the mindset of the clients is changing and they are willing to have patience to earn the search presence over a period of time organically. There is so much content on the web which educates the clients regarding genuine SEO.
    A few years back when I used to tell the clients that we do not focus on link building but will help you to work on the blog content so that the inbound links can be earned, they doubted us. They even used to tell us how is it possible without links, directory submissions , press releases and a pricing which is not based on the no. of keywords to work on a SEO campaign. But now they are willing to understand and have faith in our approach of executing a SEO campaign without all the above mentioned gimmicks. I think, this is a very positive change for the SEO industry.
    Though I wrote this article long time back but I think it is quite relevant
    I think the true growth of the SEO industry has just begun because the clients are willing to understand the difference between quick results and patiently earned search presence.

  31. Hi, Mark. Excellent article. I recently ran into a black-hat SEO agency trying to get me to start selling their proprietary software. I pushed them on several fronts asking how they actually delivered front page results for clients regardless of the competitive nature. They responded that they had essentially created their own sub-network where each site would point to other sites in their network thus increase the amount of backlinks. Essentially one giant circle with very little authority.
    They also somehow auto-generated content that would also serve to increase the authority of your pages.
    The sad part was they claimed that over 40,000 websites were currently using their software. As a professional that made me sad.

  32. Great list! I was laughing out loud while reading this thinking of my days working in local marketing agencies. I remember that I was told by the owner of the agency to stop working on a client’s rankings because they “were out of SEO hours”. I couldn’t believe it! We did nothing for them to improve their rankings….yet they had run out of hours they pay monthly for. So be careful…there are a lot of shysters out there! Awesome post! Thanks for the laugh and trip down memory lane!

  33. They claim inside info on algorithm! Its funny you mentioned it.. I remember when I was just learning SEO, I ran into 2 people who said they worked for Google LOL.

  34. Nikola Minkov

    I love Sign #3 and 5.
    Top of the top.
    Many agency makes this mistakes, like exaple in Bulgaria the most popular agencys have a lot of vlient.
    I mean a 500 and more with small team like 10 or maximum 15 people.
    Thank you for this great article Mark and Eric.

  35. When they promise results in less than 3 weeks from giving them money… lol or when they sound like they are calling from the middle east with a bad connection. SEO takes time can take months or a year to see results depending on what the site has had done in the past or if it even has any history at all.

  36. Add me to the list of people that read each of these with a smidgen of anxiety that I might fall afoul of any numbers on the list. Thankfully I passed! My biggest struggle is to find that perfect mix of: clients / pay-level / consultancy vs hands-on.
    Mark, how do you balance client acquisition with client work? When you’re at too few clients working at getting additional ones or more work can impact time just as much as having too many.

  37. While that is an issue for any consultancy, we have the advantage of being a larger agency, and so we have whole departments devoted to marketing, sales, and client acquisition. This frees our consultants and supporting staff to focus entirely on their current clients. We’ve also worked hard over the years to build an inbound “machine” through our content (both on and off-site), big data studies, conference speaking and more. Our reputation in the marketplace now works for us to bring a continual stream of new prospect clients.

  38. wow!!!
    Thanks Mark
    Mind blowing article.
    Really, its superb.
    i have learn some helpful informaion and I agree to all the points you have mentioned in the article. It’s very helpful for anyone.Thanks for creating it.

  39. Hey Mark, great job. I want to know how an “SEO firm” that only one person is running can manage more than 10 clients at a time. To me its almost impossible to think someone can do that. Do they hire virtual assistants or something to help with small tasks?

  40. I would guess they either outsource part or all of the work, or they simply don’t do a sufficient job on each client.

  41. I agree to all the points you have mentioned in the post but still, link building is one of the key points even though content marketing is not that popular with the majority of the clients.

  42. Then you need to do more to educate your clients. These days we’re seeing link building as “table stakes,” i.e., you have to have good links to be a player in the game. But what pushes a site over the top with Google is superior content hands down.

  43. Great advice, thank you Mark. I think one of the biggest issues we see with customers coming from previous agencies is that agencies are using links from link farms for quick results but long term damage. It makes it difficult to justify to customers the price to do things properly, sometimes it can only be learnt the hard way. Personally I believe SEO companies using black hat tactics should be held financially accountable for damage done to client websites. That may go a long way to stopping this practice, at least from agencies.

  44. Such a wonderful article. A point that really caught my attention is the 7th one. The idea that, creating tons of inbound links is very outdated but most people fall for this trap. It is hard to say no when some so called “experts” are willing to provide 100s of links for a very low cost. This unethical selling point is quite disturbing. It is only a matter of time until people find out how much it can hurt their websites on the long run.
    Again, thank you Mark. This awareness is important for clients to understand the difference between a real SEO expert and fake one

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Mark Traphagen

Mark Traphagen was our Content Strategy Director for Perficient Digital until February of 2019. He has been named one of the most influential content and social media authors in numerous industry listings.

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