As an SEO specialist, I have heard some pretty outrageous and far fetched things about what my family, friends and even clients actually think I do every day.
People have a lot of misconceptions about what an SEO Expert does on a day to day basis.
Since a lot of SEO is very technical, especially to those who do not work in social media or Internet Marketing, it does seem to lend itself particularly to unsubstantiated opinions and ideas. Since none of us, and by none of us I mean nobody outside of Google, knows exactly how the company’s algorithm works, there tends to be some confusion as to what we “experts” are actually doing to figure out the algorithm code for our clients every single day. With every update some sites go up, some go down, and sometimes it’s difficult to see what the difference between winning and losing site is.
Even though SEO is a very serious aspect of any business’s marketing strategy, we as SEOs are a bit quirky and are mostly nice people with a sense of humor.
So here are the top 5 things you should never say to an SEO Expert:
#5 - “So you just get paid to play on Facebook, Twitter and social media sites all day?”
Don’t I wish that were the case! The majority of our clients have social media accounts. A large part of our overall SEO strategy is to gain as much traction as possible with the client’s social media presence. So we do use social media, but I am not pinning recipes on Pinterest or posting the latest picture of lunch from Café Rio on Instagram with the hash tag #soyummy!
I am building a brand for clients across all social media platforms. I am trying to get people to “like” our updates, our posts, our giveaways etc. As much as I would like to post YouTube videos of The Beibster and Nicki Minaj singing in a swimming pool, I think I will stick to work that actually affect my clients overall brand.
#4 - “Oh, you work for Google? Can you get my website to rank #1 by tomorrow?”
Negative Alex Trebeck! OK, sit down, are you ready….. I don’t work for Google! Shocking I know. Sometimes I feel like I am a slave to the search engine behemoth that is Google. Sorry to burst your bubble. Most SEO experts work for SEO firms/agencies that specialize in social media, SEO, PPC, and other avenues of internet marketing. We are all trying to come up with best practices and solutions to help our clients move up in Google and other search engine rankings.
Your website will not be on page 1 of Google’s results page by tomorrow either. SEO campaigns take time and strategy. They encompass everything from analyzing your website, to tracking your keywords, to developing a social media strategy/presence. I can’t just sit at my computer and hit the refresh button, and voila! It takes time, sometimes from 6 months to a year to see direct results of an effective SEO Campaign.
#3 - “Can’t they just create a program for what you do online every day?”
Many purveyors of automated SEO software, keyword research software, etc. unashamedly claim that their software “cheats” the search engines. Attempting to cheat the search engines with fully automated SEO software may come back to bite you.
With the recent Panda and Penguin Google algorithm updates, sites that were doing this got hit with huge penalties. Google’s ‘Quality Guidelines’ for websites states: “Don’t participate in link schemes designed to increase your site’s ranking or PageRank.”
This is confirmed on Google’s web page ‘Google-friendly sites’, where it says: “Keep in mind that our algorithms can distinguish natural links from unnatural links. Natural links to your site develop as part of the dynamic nature of the web when other sites find your content valuable and think it would be helpful for their visitors."
Only natural links are useful for the indexing and ranking of your site. That's why SEO is often mistakenly associated with "link building." Search engine optimization today is traffic-driving measures that produce an ROI, whether it's through leads, sales or referrals. While link building is a part of SEO, it's to everyone's benefit to acquire natural links that will stand the test of time, and survive any of Google's measures to counter web spam. Because natural links, by their very definition, are not spammy. So no, we stay away from the "programs."
#2 - “Oh so can you design my website for free?”
This is a big fat negative Mr. Skywalker. First of all, web design and SEO are two very different skill sets. And even if I did know how to design a website, it’s not going to be for free, homie. SEO.com does have partners that offer web design services. A web designer does exactly that- they design websites. An SEO expert specializes in search engine optimization, which incorporates fresh and hip content (like this amazing blog post), traffic-driving measures and other creative things.
#1 - “SEO is a gimmick. It doesn't actually work and is just a way to rip off business owners!” This couldn't be further from the truth. SEO is not a gimmick, and those of us who have ethics and morals are in this industry to build trust with our clients, not rip them off in any way.
There are many case studies that prove that SEO is a first order of business. If SEO were a gimmick, every single SEO expert and agency would be out of business by tomorrow. Most people know a scam when they see one. Fortunately, those of us here at SEO.com are committed to building positive business relationships that are built upon direct results, not unfulfilled promises.
Have your perceptions of SEO changed after reading this post? Leave a comment!