“You’re Backwards”: What to Say to Self-Proclaimed SEO Specialists

Almost every day, I ask myself what makes the SEO profession so appealing to people. For me, SEO enables me to help build the online brands of passionate visionaries and companies on a daily basis. I get to talk to motivated and informed people, learn more about the industries that make this country great, and contribute to the growth of original ideas. This is why I love the SEO biz.

But a lot of people in the SEO industry love it for a different reason – its potential. Not its potential to benefit clients, but its potential to fool the same people I love to help.

For instance, there are some people who read the first edition of Search Engine Optimization for Dummies published in the late 90s and instantly consider themselves industry experts. After reading that and a few SEO-based articles online, they go ahead and build a simple website. They then contact clients with limited SEO knowledge who are looking to build their online business, and when they find them, they give them a spiel.

This spiel, as you probably know, is total BS.

What follows are some of the things self-proclaimed SEO specialists say and how you can reply. Arm yourself with this information and you’ll never be fooled like the thousands of other people have before you.


Keyword Usage


SEO Specialist: Have one or two keywords in the title, one keyword in the first sentence of the first paragraph, a 5% keyword density, and NEVER lose focus of your keyword.

You: You’re backwards.

I’m aware of the fact that keywords are very important. But have you forgotten about readability and the potential for virality across social platforms like Twitter, Facebook and G+? This is what makes content great. It’s also what makes content rank well. My target market wants information that’s engaging and informative. By writing with this in mind – not keywords – I’ll dish out content that’s fresh. The content that I produce, or the content produced by a seasoned SEO company with best SEO practices in mind, is the content that will make my company most successful.

Don’t you know anything about what accounts for the success of websites that rank the highest? According to the 2013 Rank Correlation Chart by Search Metrics, social signals and backlinks are the most important factors of SEO success. These are achieved with high quality content that focuses on the target market – not the target keyword.

Proper keyword usage in page titles, “h” tags and body text still plays an important role, but nothing like the role it played before Google updates like Penguin and Hummingbird.

When you read the latest edition of Search Engine Optimization for Dummies and demonstrate your dedication to high quality content, then we’ll start talking.




SEO Specialist: You want to have interlinking on every page in your body text. This makes your website a well-connected web that Google can crawl like a spider.

You: You’re still backwards.

Are you going out of your way to ruin my conversions? While I recognize the importance of proper interlinking, I’ll never adopt the habit of interlinking unnecessarily on my website. I consider my website a “customer experience” and, therefore, only want my clients to go to other pages that enhance that experience.

Interlinking in body text solely for Google is not in my nature. I want my pages to be filled with relevant information and links and, ultimately, to be set up for conversions. If I insert unnecessary links on pages to “strengthen my web,” I’ll ruin my site’s conversion producing funnel.

Also, having exact match anchor text is bad, which is probably what you’ll end up implementing if I hire you. I could give you 5 reasons why exact match anchor text is bad, but I’ll hold off for now.


Article Submission and Link Portfolios

SEO Specialist:  After I produce an engaging, highly informative article for you, I’m going to publish it on various article directories. With a link that has keyword-rich anchor text, this article will promote clickthroughs to your site and build your link portfolio.

You: Okay, after I explain this, I’m hanging up.

While article directories were effective back in the day, in today’s online world, they have no real value. While you do have a point about getting your content in different places, there’s a better way to do it than publishing the same article on different directories.

Instead of publishing the same article on directories to build my link portfolio, I think I’ll do this instead:

  • get different websites to sponsor links to my original content
  • reach out to bloggers and websites to publish my unique content on their sites in exchange for a link back to mine.
  • invest in pay-per-click advertising that generates traffic back to my content

All these tactics will target relevant traffic from people more responsive to my information and offering.

Call me back never. Thanks!

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