5 Red Flags You’re SEO “Expert” Isn’t Really an Expert

Fear Of Missing Out, or FoMO, is a well understood psychological response and is used as a tool to motivate sales. Shady SEO “experts” have also figured out how to use the fear of missing out as a way to separate you from your hard-earned money.

So how do you tell if the SEO consultant you’re working with knows their stuff or is just looking scare you and take your money? Watch for these 5 warning signs:

🚩 They approach you

In my experience, credible SEO firms have plenty of business; so they rarely resort to cold calls or unsolicited emails.

🚩 They tell you a top spot is available on Google, but you must act now to get it

This is usually a scam. Top spots don’t “become available” on Google, and you can’t pay to have the first position on the search engine results page – even if you purchase advertising!

🚩 They insist you’re losing visitors by not being 1st on Google

Since 2015, well-respected thought leaders in the SEO space have been saying ranking #1 on the search engine results page doesn’t matter as much as it previously did. Featured snippets, paid advertising, CTR-optimized snippets, direct answers, knowledge graphs and more are pushing non-paid (organic) links further down the page – sometimes the first organic link is two-thirds of the way down the search results page!

🚩 Their pitch is heavy on jargon

Most small business owners readily admit they don’t know much about SEO, by throwing a bunch of jargon at you during a sales pitch, these SEO shysters reinforce your notion that you can’t handle SEO on your own and need an “expert” to handle it for you. If you’re feeling this way during a sales pitch, go look for a different SEO vendor.

🚩 They focus only on technical SEO

If the SEO vendor you’re working with is focused on keywords, metadata, headings, and “alt” text, move on to a different vendor. The days of technical SEO being the only thing you need to do to rank well ended in 2009 (or probably sooner).

👍 What a good SEO vendor looks like

A good SEO vendor is going to start by asking a lot of questions about your business, your customers, and who you’re trying to reach with your website. The vendor is going to talk about “search behavior” and how to create content that meets the needs, or adds value, to your audience. A good SEO vendor will approach you as a partner, not as someone whose only involvement is signing a check.

A good vendor is going to take a comprehensive approach to SEO. As I mentioned in point #3, there’s a lot more on the search engine results page than just links and ads. A good SEO vendor is going to optimize your content to improve your chances that Google will feature your page as a direct answer (which is also super important for voice search), a knowledge graph, or a featured snippet.

Finally, a good SEO vendor will never promise results. Instead of promising you a “top spot,” they’ll talk to you about past results they’ve achieved for other clients, what strategies they’ve used which are consistently successful, and how they keep up-to-date with the changing SEO landscape.

What if you’re still unsure if you’ve got a high-quality SEO vendor

If you’re not sure if you’re working with a reputable SEO vendor, check out my Marketing Second Opinion service. It’s a flat-fee service where I’ll review your objectives and the qualifications of the vendor you’re considering and give you my opinion as to whether or not this vendor can deliver on their promises and you’ll get the return on investment you’re expecting. You can learn more about my Marketing Second Opinion service by contacting me.

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