Content Marketing

Why Some SEO “Experts” are not Really Experts – Here’s Why #54


Since people realized that there was money to be made in the business of Search Engine Optimization, many have self-proclaimed that they are experts or “gurus.” Some indeed have legitimate claims and practice white hat SEO, but just as many or more don’t.
In this episode of Here’s Why, Mark & Eric will explain what to look for and how to spot these false experts.

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Full Transcript:

Mark: Are you the SEO guru for whom I have sought far and wide?
Eric: I am, but you are interrupting my meditation, Grasshopper!
Mark: A thousand pardons, O Wise One! Carry on, please!
Eric: Goooogle Gooogle. Ok I’m done! What knowledge do you seek, Centipede?
Mark: Oh Font of Search Engine Sagacity, my question is simple: How should I canonicalize the facets on the paginated pages in my online store?
Eric: Oh. Um, your question is a deep one, my little pollywog, and requires much wisdom. For just forty-nine ninety-five I get you to number one on Google for six competitive keywords! Credit cards accepted!
Mark: Oh, uh, gee, really? That’s it?
Don’t get trapped by so-called SEOs posing as search engine optimization gurus. In this episode Eric Enge and I will tell you how to recognize false SEO experts, so you won’t get fleeced!
Mark: Today we’re going to share four signs that a self-proclaimed SEO expert probably isn’t an expert at all.
Eric: And stay tuned to the end where we’ll share with you a link to Mark’s post that will give you eight more signs to look out for. Mark, why don’t you share the first sign?
Mark: Happy to, Eric.
Sign number one is if it’s too good to be true, it probably isn’t true. That’s what you heard from the SEO guru in our opening. If the SEO promises amazing results in no time at all, it probably isn’t going to happen.
Eric: Right, Mark. Real SEO takes time. If it’s done right, you can be assured there will be positive results, but promising specific ranking for particular keywords is simply not possible. A reputable SEO is working for the client’s long term success, not pie-in-the-sky short term hits.
Mark: What’s sign number two, Eric?
Eric: If your SEO refuses to disclose exactly what they are doing and by what tactics, be very afraid.
Mark: You need to know, and have a right to know, things like where they are trying to build links, and how, or what sites they are trying to post your content on. Your business’s reputation is on the line. Sign number 3 that you should run, not walk, away from an SEO is if you can’t understand his or her explanations. They should be able to relate to you what they are doing and why in terms you could understand.
Eric: A worthwhile SEO will act as an educator to you as much as they are a practitioner. If you hear, “Don’t worry about what we’re doing; you wouldn’t understand,” that’s time to cut ties in a hurry. Our final sign of an SEO expert who isn’t an expert at all is someone who treats SEO as if it works in a vacuum. That is, you never hear them talking to you about things like PR, promotion, branding, usability, and design.
Mark: SEO just can’t be effective for long term business growth these days unless it is integrated into a holistic marketing approach. Today more than ever, SEO is a part of marketing, and can’t be divorced from it.
Eric: Mark and I hope you’ve benefited from these four signs of non-expert SEOs. At Perficient Digital we’ve developed a list of twelve such signs, and Mark has published an article detailing all twelve of them. Visit the URL on your screen or in the episode notes to see it.
Mark: And as always, we thank you for watching and sharing our Here’s Why digital marketing videos. To see past episodes and subscribe to get new ones, subscribe to our YouTube channel, or visit our archive page at the address on your screen now.
Eric: Until next Monday, this is Eric Enge and Mark Traphagen saying, thanks for watching!

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About the Author

Eric Enge leads the Digital Marketing practice for Perficient. He designs studies and produces industry-related research to help prove, debunk, or evolve assumptions about digital marketing practices and their value. Eric is a writer, blogger, researcher, teacher, and keynote speaker and panelist at major industry conferences. Partnering with several other experts, Eric served as the lead author of The Art of SEO.

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Thoughts on “Why Some SEO “Experts” are not Really Experts – Here’s Why #54”

  1. Hi Mark and Eric, thank you for writing this post! All four signs are so critical to pay attention to. What I see a lot is the other side of the medal. You educate about the steps you take and WHY you recommend these steps, be realistic about the timeline, and share that SEO is part of an holistic online business approach … and your client responds they just want to be ranked number one fast (preferred tomorrow). Most of the time, if I cannot help them to create a different, more realistic, mindset, I let the client go because I will never satisfy their unrealistic and wrong expectations.

  2. Dagmar – Agreed! We see lots of that as well, and it’s pretty frustrating. That’s why education is such an important part of SEO. It doesn’t always work, but sometimes it does, and that’s awesome when it happens.

  3. Hey Eric, whats the URL you mention in the part that says ” Visit the URL on your screen or in the episode notes to see it.”? I’m hard of hearing so I count on your transcripts to follow along. Thanks, – RJ

  4. Another thing to add is the SEO should rank in his local area (State/Province) at least, unless he/she has just started out independent consulting . Secondly a good SEO is not going to spam or cold call – They usually have lots of clients.

  5. Thanks for your comment, Joseph. I wouldn’t necessarily rule out cold calling or email outreach as automatic indicators of a bad SEO. They should be judged by the nature of their pitch and ability to demonstrate real expertise and experience.

  6. Actually i didn’t understand your post clearly because according to your title and content both are different. So, my suggestion is make sure about the title and content.

  7. At this point I think even the acronym alone (SEO) has such a bad connotation that anyone who’s actually good at SEO won’t label themselves as such. I mean, I’m into SEO myself but anytime I see someone proclaiming how they’re “good at SEO”, I cringe a little.

  8. Actually, most professional SEOs I know are still proud to have the title. There was a major pushback at the “SEO is dead” movement a couple of years ago, and many of us are working hard to “reclaim the name.”

  9. Hey Mark & Eric
    Before I say anything else, let me applaud you for approaching the whole issue in such an innovative and hilarious way. I was actually nodding my head in agreement but also sporting a very wide smile on my face. All I can say is that you’ve really hit the nail on the head. So goodbye to all these so called “SEO Experts” who make it even more difficult for the real SEO experts to convince clients that there is no such things as being ranked fast. And it is in fact a step-by-step process which requires patience nad time.

  10. Fantastic article Eric.
    It’s true, SEO is definetly part of the entire marketing mix.
    Companies that view it as something they only need to do for a short period of time have missed the mark by a long way.
    If your SEO consultant can’t provide you with enough information to back up what he is doing then it’s likely he is not working as hard as you’d like.
    Thank you,

  11. Thank you for your response, Eric! Yes, education is key! SEO is like speaking in another “language”. The better an entrepreneur “understands” this language and creates his or her new mindset, the more successful they can become.

  12. Education is usually one of the most important things I have come to realise if i want to have a successful SEO campaign for clients. Most businesses will prefer to rank with 2 months from nowhere and this has given room to the SEO scams we hear all around today.

  13. Someone just request I answer the Quora question “how do I rank first on Google in 7 days” … groan.
    Perhaps I should just send them a link to this? 😉

  14. Ha! Yes, it would be good for them to know that asking a question on Quora is probably not the best place to get help with something like that! ;->

  15. There are number of agencies that are adapting SEO services but they are not that much good. We should always be wise while choosing an SEO services.

  16. Hello Mark & Eric,
    Great post here, it is definitely true that everyone in SEO industry are not the expert. Because not everyone follows appropriate guideline when it comes to SEO, ultimately they are not seeing the result and if you select the wrong agency you can end up spending lots of buck without any real SERP ranking.
    Thanks again,

  17. Thanks Mark and Eric for opening my eyes to this. I usually don’t do proper research or ask basic questions when hiring an SEO Expert, but now I know what and what to ask and do before hiring one.

  18. Matt LaClear1

    As far as I am concerned, this is your best video yet. Many agencies perform tech SEO first month and end up keyword stuffing onpage, and then “write” new stuffed posts every couple of weeks. They may get decent surge in month two because of the tech SEO, and get squat for results from that point forward. Yet the client feels they need to continue for six months because of the initial success they saw. It stinks and those agency owners know it, it’s a churn and burn industry. That’s what sets your agency above those type of charlatans. You’re actually warning the public on how to protect themselves. Great work!

  19. You guys should export the audio and release this as a podcast, you’d have at least one subscriber!

  20. This illustration is a real life one. Were many people claim to do SEO (white hat) but for the fact that they are probably going to practice Black hat. They just won’t want to explain their process. Thanks Eric, for spilling the fact

  21. i agree it’s important to set realistic expectations. It signals trust from the start and they would likely close if they ‘know’ you have their business’ best interest at heart.
    That’s why it’s important to communicate so much value from the onset. If you add, honesty and trust, you’re possibly the best person they can find to do the job. Reverse Psychology here. Worked on a client I closed last month.

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