Last week, I was sitting in a meeting room listening to a new client’s SEO story.
The story made me want to curl up into a little ball and die.
They’d been promised page one, position one in search engines by a previous digital supplier two years ago.
Two years later, after burning a thousand dollars each month, they were still in search engine limbo.
Their website’s ranking hadn’t improved, natural traffic levels hadn’t risen and neither had business enquiries.
The saddest part of this story?
The company works in an ultra niche industry with few competitors. They should never have had to spend this much money to get traffic or business.
Too many SEO scams coming to a head
The SEO scam story I heard in that meeting room was not new.
In fact, there’s been so much SEO scamming, ASBFEO Ombudsman Kate Carnell, put her foot down just a few months ago.
She called on businesses around Australia to report their worst experiences with horrific SEO suppliers.
Spotting an SEO scammer with ease
Kate Carnell’s action proves there are more people trying to ‘do’ SEO without the required knowledge and skill than ever before.
And the very fact this has happened, upsets me to the Nth degree.
But here’s the upside.
SEO scammers are ridiculously easy to identify. Even for people who don’t understand the inner workings of the web.
Only SEO scammers make the dirty promise of putting you on page 1, position 1.
Scammers who make promises like this are lying through their teeth to get your money.
Or they’re complete amateurs who don’t know what they’re doing, trying to get a few runs on the scoreboard.
The nature of the net
Anything is possible on the internet, even a page one, position one placement in search engines.
But it should never be a promise.
Promising page one, position one placement shows a total ignorance for how the web works.
SEO scammers who promise this are telling you they have complete control of what search engine algorithms and robots are doing.
They’re saying they have control over what your business’ competitors are doing online.
They’re saying they have control of the universe.
But no one on Earth, besides Google’s executives, have ever seen Google’s complete search engine algorithm.
If Sergey and Larry can help it, no one ever will.
Interrogate your supplier with extreme prejudice
If you’re already paying an SEO supplier but aren’t getting results, you need to start interrogating.
You need to get to the bottom of exactly what they’re doing to help your business.
If all they’ve done is drop your website’s URL into databases and pop over a few fancy reports each month, they’re ripping you off.
And being lazy.
Don’t let your hard earned money get flushed down the toilet.
Don’t let the scammers pull the wool over your eyes.
Not sure how to do this?
Start with 3 of the most important SEO pillars below:
Pillar 1: Website design and build
Improved positioning in search engines begins with the quality of your website.
Search engines love greasy-fast, lightning-bolt like sites with an outstanding design and user experience.
Search engines reward these sites with improved positioning.
If your site isn’t performing, ask your supplier if they’re working on your website’s code to make it faster and more efficient.
And ask them if they have any ideas and updates to propose.
Can they explain how those ideas will impact your website’s position in search engines? Can they offer an in-depth rationale as to what they’re doing?
If your agency hasn’t a clue, you know what to do.
Pillar 2: Website backlinks
One of the key factors search engines use to rank your website is if a lot of links from great sites are pointing back at yours.
This is called a ‘backlink profile.’
Search engines reward sites with profiles like this because they’re a sign of trust and authority.
But not all links are the same.
Some links are dirty. Some are just plain dead. If you get the wrong links, your website will sink. Get the right ones and your website will fly.
I’ve had some clients where previous suppliers had built up backlink profiles by dropping their website URLs onto databases.
If this is what your supplier is doing, you need to find out which ones right now.
I’ll say it again, if you get the wrong links, your website will cease to perform and sink.
And if this is all your supplier is doing, you need to ask why.
Find out why they’re not reaching out to reputable websites and blogs for quality backlinks. Find out why their strategy is so shallow.
Find out why they’re being so lazy.
Remember, it’s your money.
Pillar 3: Website content
It’s the reason why people are going to stop by and engage with your brand and business.
Technically speaking, it gives search engine robots something to crawl and in turn, rank your website with.
It’s what search engines use to index your site and eventually match with user search queries.
If your supplier is creating copy and content for you, double check it.
Is the sales copy on your site persuasive?
Does the copy make a convincing argument for your brand, its products and services? Does it elicit emotion, drive action and sales?
Is your website’s content original, well researched, insightful and keyword focused? Is the content helpful to users and relevant to your target audience?
Does each page even have a minimum of 300 words? Is there an overarching keyword strategy behind each and every last page of your site?
Do the words on your site read well AND appeal to human beings?
If your supplier is promising improved search engine rankings but not helping you create fresh, relevant material, something is truly wrong.
A little warning about fancy looking reports
Your agency may be pumping out reports like there’s no tomorrow leaving you bamboozled.
These reports will look polished with fancy brand logos and complex statistics slapped all over them.
There may be a long list of keywords for your industry running down one side of the page.
On the other, there’ll be a column telling you you’re ranking page one, position one for all your target keywords.
Now, some reports are legitimate. But some aren’t.
Sadly, I’ve seen plenty that aren’t. Remember my niche industry client? He got a ton of these.
Page one this, page one that. It was all phoney baloney.
It was an elaborate exercise in deception. My client ranked first for keywords with zero search volume. He ranked poorly for the keywords that mattered.
If your supplier’s reports are telling you your website ranks page one for a ton of keywords, deep dive into the data to double check.
Especially if you’re not getting business!
Make sure your supplier is using high search volume, low competition keywords.
Because what’s the point in ranking at the top for keywords no one is searching for?
There isn’t one!
SEO scammers will have you believe it’s a sprint —
— but getting your website to climb up the search engine rankings is anything but. It’s more like a marathon.
SEO scammers are going to appeal to the part of you that wants to take shortcuts. Like the fad diet segments on bad daytime talk shows that promise you’ll drop twenty kilos in 3 weeks.
They just want your money.
Like losing weight, nothing to do with SEO is easy. It’s never a set and forget deal. And nothing happens overnight, or even three weeks for that matter.
Designing, building and optimising the code of your site takes time.
Hunting great backlinks takes backbreaking effort.
Writing, editing and proofing top quality copy and content requires application and sweat.
And any good supplier will appreciate that these pillars work together in tandem. All of them are an investment, just like your business is.
Giving your hard earned money to suppliers who don’t get this is like buying into the fad diet. And you already know they don’t work.
If you’re working with a supplier who keeps making the dirty promise, they’re probably an SEO scammer.
Find out what they’re doing, reconsider your relationship and don’t hesitate to pull the trigger.
Just get in touch.
Have you had any horrible SEO experiences with agencies, freelancers or other kinds of suppliers? Have you ever been promised page one, position one but got zilch? I’d love to hear your story.