Things are so confusing online especially about SEO and blogging. The first question I want to address is how do you know who to trust and the second thing I want to address are a few misleading quotes from a very popular newsletter (that most of you read).
First, I think it’s important to discover who you’re going to trust in the SEO world. Just ’cause I say that it is misleading, is it? Every blogger I know is incredibly smart and driven. And logically, we can deduce who we will trust. But in this case, logic can be… well, confusing.
How do you know who to trust in regards to SEO?
There is no standard SEO education; there’s no standard SEO certificate or ethics board – nothing even close.
The cost of hiring an SEO expert can range from a few dollars an hour to hundreds. And to top it off we’re not likely to understand all the jargon surrounding their services anyway.
When I’m faced with another ‘expert’ that I’m asked to review, I go through a long process of reading and researching and looking for clues. Today I tried boiling it down into two that I hope are useful to you.
SEO Advisors produce Reliable, Excellent, SEO Results
Does this person or company get real, reliable results in the SEO world? 10 years ago you could buy comments on your blog for pennies a piece. And the comments would increase your Authority and you would place higher in search engines – for awhile. It was real and it was successful. But it wasn’t going to last long and it wasn’t ethical.
Those of us who have to evaluate graphs and numbers, know how easy it is to point out the favorable metrics. It isn’t difficult to find numbers that show progress and minimize the un-progress. How do you know if the purported results on the SEO Expert sales page are real?
Here are some criteria for vetting SEO results.
Are these results a one – off thing or the norm?
There is one case from years ago where we redesigned a site and the client’s bounce rate dropped by 40%. That means of all the readers who would have just left the site, 40% more stuck around after the redesign.
Are these real results? Yes. Can you expect those results? No! Sorry! That was a result of more than just our gorgeous redesign – although it was indeed particularly gorgeous. 🙂 Looking closely you will see a particularly high bounce rate before; and a particularly poor previous design. This only proves that I didn’t screw up an already screwed up design. It does not prove I can drop your bounce rate by 40%!
Numbers are pretty easy to manipulate! So always get the full picture.
Are these results actually something that matter?
WPBarista has 1635 keywords in the top 20 Google results! If I left it at that, it would sound like WPB is pretty amazing right?
The whole story is that all of those keywords result in only 270 visitors. 🙂 So of all the pretty numbers, which ones actually result in traffic / conversions?
When reviewing the claims and results of a purported SEO expert – are the advertised results the full picture?
Are these results recent?
Obviously what worked 10 years ago for SEO no longer does today (sort of).
Are these results indicative of what is possible for you?
I have recently seen ‘proof’ that a product will work because users see ‘…traffic and SEO improvements year-over-year’. That sounds great! But if you look at this product you’ll see it is only available for top bloggers. So year after year the newest top bloggers are added to these stats. Is this proof that this product will work(for anyone)? Or does it prove that top bloggers are getting more traffic year after year?
SEO Advisors Grow by Referral
If the SEO advisor or company you’re considering is getting all their customers through a lead-magnet or advertisements, why? Good SEO advice in this climate is worth its weight in gold!
If you found someone that produced great results, helped you and provided customer service, would you not tell your friends? I thought so.
Beware the SEO company whose sole incoming work is from Google ads.
Ok. Enough of that. Yes there are questions. And I’m sure you can use your spidey sense and a little research to find those who you trust.
So let’s move onto the rapidly spreading misinformation about SEO. And if you have more items that you’ve going around, let me know so I can add to this list!
Debunking a popular newsletter
Here are some quotes from a recent newsletter that we must address.
NOTE: the goal is not to bash anyone; my ONLY purpose is to educate.
“…publishers’ sites are seeing traffic and SEO improvements year-over-year… publishers’ sites rank better in Google, and rank for bigger keywords …”
They are saying that those who use their product (and are worried about lowering their search engine rankings) don’t have to worry. They don’t have to worry because on average their customers are doing better than a competitor’s customers. I question the validity of this measurement since they are the top provider and selective in who their customers are… of course if they only select top customers, their customers will get top results… not sure what that proves about their product.
Secondly, you needn’t worry about losing SEO ranking because their customers are doing better in their ranking and better in bigger keywords.
That is fantastic – it truly is. But it has nothing to do with their product.
Does that mean you will do better, on average, over time using their product? Not necessarily. Their data is taken from a sub-set of bloggers that are already succeeding. What that data tells me is that their product doesn’t mess up an already SEO-friendly website.
“… sites running [our product] are faster for the speed metrics that matter than sites running [competitors product]
When we’re talking about user experience, Google doesn’t care if you’re faster than some other competing technology. Google cares about the user experience.
So yes, there’s no sense looking to a competitors product if you’re unhappy with the speed of this product. It may be the fastest of the bunch. However, that doesn’t mean they’re fast.
“… site speed is one SEO factor, but a small one“
I can only shake my head and say as my kids do, “Whaaaa?” Google officially announced speed as a ranking factor in 2010 (source). Since then it has only gotten more important. As recently as last April Google mentioned the speed of mobile in particular. (source) That statement is so wrong, it’s hardly worth talking about. With one exception – Google – and all other authorities online – are talking about how important speed is to user conversion! Will a reader stay on your site? Click that button? Watch the video? Only if it loads quickly.
I have nothing against this company, their products or services. But when someone claims that their product – that displays on your pages – will not impact Google – look deeper. Google says that everything the user experiences on your page will impact SEO – including speed, ads, design and content.