I’m regularly amazed at the poor quality of SEO work I come across daily.
And the attitude of the cowboys that do it is just shocking.
I recently had an exchange with a potential SEO client. At least they thought they were a potential client.
Before I begin I should point out about 70% of my work is for digital marketing agencies who on-sell my work to their clients. I’m more than happy to do that – but it’s incredible how many people try to take the piss.
Perhaps every other week I have an order come through for a marketing agency that sells SEO work – who want me to SEO their own site but not their clients’! They don’t have enough knowledge, experience or confidence to SEO their own site – but they’ll happily charge people to do shoddy work for them.
This recent exchange I had wasn’t even that honest about the intent though – it was from someone who said they were just an ordinary client, but betrayed themselves with a few key phrases I’ve become very au fait with:
I don’t have time for this one = “I charge people for SEO myself but for one reason or another can’t do this one. Probably because I don’t know how to deliver quality search engine optimisation.”
If I order now, can you do it this afternoon (asked at 3pm) = “Not only do I have no idea how long decent WordPress SEO takes, but I’m kinda of pushy and rude too.”
Towards the end of the exchange I had the question that guarantees I’m talking to a cowboy:
I need 500+ backlinks too.
Also, presumably, by 5pm that day. 🙂
It’s no secret I strongly dislike the industry that’s cropped up around the automatic creation of backlinks. I blog about it a lot – but the short version is Google says it’s against their rules and they actively try to find and penalise sites that do it.
I replied with a link to one of my posts on the subject, thinking there was still a chance I was talking with someone genuinely interested in proper white-hat SEO. Then I got this reply.
All SEOs use techniques that google ideally would not want you to use because they work, right? At the end of the day, google’s ranking process is just an algorithm. The recent planned Google updates for Links coming in march 2020 may help clean up link building but SEOs will still find holes in the algorithm.
The clients you work with surly (sic) care more about results than a multi-billionaire business algorithm and how well you follow these guidelines?
That’s just a small part of it. There were 20+ other questions demanding I prove all manner of things about SEO and the correct approach to it. In and of itself that’s not a problem (I like to respond to questions to help people wherever I can) but it was all just so aggressively defensive.
I replied as honestly and directly as I could.
I don’t think we’re going to be a good fit together.
The whole idea that
All SEOs use techniques that google ideally would not want you to use because they work, right?
isn’t in line with my or Google’s ethos. Or what’s considered best practice in the industry.
Grey and blackhat techniques might work for a while, but never in the long term. And my clients are interested in long term success, not quick wins that end up hurting them when Google adjusts their systems accordingly. When you do SEO properly you’ll find Google algorithm updates actually IMPROVE ranking.
To be really honest you seem to be defending what could best be described as a cowboy approach. And that sort of SEO tends to lead to algorithm changes harming ranking rather than helping.
So while I do genuinely wish you all the best for the future, I hope you’ll understand that I’m not interested in working with you. We clearly have very different ideas of what good SEO is.
It’s certainly not the most diplomatic response I’ve ever sent. But if someone is going to suggest my clients want short-lived gains that come at the cost of massive penalties later I feel like they’re being insulted. Good SEO (like good business) looks for long-term solutions.
The bit where I did try to be diplomatic was that last line.
We clearly have very different ideas of what good SEO is.
Because search engine optimisation is not about a personal belief or idea about what you want it to be. It is based on an algorithm – a predictable one. There’s evidence to show what works and what doesn’t. Why would you ever do anything except the very best approach?