One of the worst things about being an SEO is telling people you’re an SEO.
The conversations you have are scarily close to digital versions of “I’m an arms dealer, but I only sell to the good guys.” Or “I’m a drug dealer, but only sell to responsible adults who aren’t addicted.”
It may sound extreme, but everyone knows that there are a lot of very dodgy, clueless and deceptive SEOs out there. And guess what? If you approach them (or more likely they approach you), they won’t start the conversation by pointing out that they’re dodgy, clueless and deceptive.
The scummy SEOs try to appear that they’re one of the real professionals. But they’re really not.
In the last few weeks, there’s apparently been something in the air. I’ve been talking with several companies who’ve reached out to “SEO experts”, and wanted to share with you some of their gems, or germs. Partly because they’re amusing (humour me), partly because I’m mean, but also because I like the idea that you yourself may be able to spot and avoid SEO bullshot.
Bullshot, by the way, is a cocktail made with vodka and bouillon. It’s probably best avoided, as are people that say things like this:
“Your link profile and ratios are healthy, but you’ve been severely hit by Penguin and Panda algorithm updates. We specialize in link disavows.”
This was one was so lovely that it actually made me smile.
Even ignoring the trying-to-sound-professional by referring to algorithm updates, ratios and link profiles, Google’s Penguin update was all about stamping on sites with dodgy links. It was that simple. So if you were hit by Penguin, you had a problem with links. And link disavows should only be considered after trying to remove as many unsavoury links as is humanly possible. Eugh.
“I’ve just viewed the code for your homepage, and it seems to have all necessary tags present, they just don’t have optimized content in them at the moment.”
I’m not sure what this person means by the code, the necessary tags or optimised content. Could they just be saying that the homepage does have a titles, description and (I’m guessing) keywords meta tags? This may have passed for SEO in 1997, but not today.
“Your HTML code and web server aren’t browser-compliant, and fly in the face of Google’s terms and conditions. You are certainly heading to being blacklisted.”
I myself am not imaginative enough to make that sort of thing up! There’s a smörgåsbord of opportunities for derision here, but suffice to say almost all web pages will contain some HTML issues, but Google and most web browsers won’t bat an eyelid. I don’t know what a non browser-compliant server even means, and Google don’t have terms and conditions for SEO. Oh and getting blacklisted by the search engines? I haven’t heard that phrase since people were worrying about Y2K issues with their computers. Look it up if you’re that young.
“We’ll link Google Search Console to any Google account you choose, in order to get Webmaster Tools looking at it.”
Google Webmaster Tools was renamed to Google Search Console – they’re one and the same thing. Enough said.
These are real quotes. I’ve removed names and references, but they’re 100% genuine.
Any SEO who refers to keyword density, SEO guarantees, link schemes, Google’s secrets, sculpting, PageRank or anything undetectable is almost certainly a threat to your business. Avoid them at all costs.
And please don’t assume that all SEOs are as bad as the majority. Some of us know actually what we’re doing.