SEO Is a Shady Practice – An Edge 45 seminar at Made in York.
Our head of SEO Colin Docherty took time to run a seminar on the basics of SEO, in this episode he runs through some results, pointers and ultimately answers a question that NEEDS to stop being asked. Enjoy.
“So just some advice, basically. Avoid any and all unsolicited selling of SEO. Just, point blank, I wouldn’t do it. Anyone who’s cold calling you or emailing you, from my experience, not worth it. Avoid cheap-looking sites that make bold claims and guarantees. Maybe it’s me being, you know, painting with too broad a brush there, but I genuinely believe that. Don’t be fooled by statements like, “We are Google certified,” or, “We’re Google partners,” or any of this stuff. It’s rubbish. They might say they’re Google partners, and that might be true, but that means that they are partners for Google Adwords, which anybody can do if they pass a few tests. It’s got nothing to do with SEO. So it’s really just a statement designed to mislead.
I’m not mentioning any agencies that I used to work for, but one of them used to, soon as you sign on the dotted line, that was it for 12 months, whether you wanted to get out or not. I don’t agree with that at all. So, never do that. Ask how they build links for clients and ask to be shown examples, you know, because if they’re showing…well, they probably wouldn’t show you examples like the Japanese porn site there. But I will show you how you can do that for yourself, and see what kind of links they’re building. Whatever claims are being made, check them yourselves, and I’ll show you how to do that.
And yeah, it’s a strange one, this. Don’t go on word of mouth referrals alone. All may not be as it seems, again, because [inaudible 00:01:40] in London, when they were on the rise, they’d have been really happy, and probably telling everybody how great, you know, their agency was. But they didn’t know what they were doing under the hood, and then obviously, they got hit. So, really just need a little bit of education and understanding yourselves, and then you can make an informed decision off your own back.
Yeah, do that for anyone, wouldn’t you? Just try and find reviews and mentions online. Certainly in the SEO industry, you’ll get people who, if they’re disgruntled, they’ll probably talk about it online. So you can find decent examples of somebody who’s good or bad.
Couple of decent tools here, that you can use yourself. Moz is great. You just type your web domain in there. This is a great one to see what your domain authority is, your competitors, and also, more importantly, it will show you all the links that are going into your site, where they’re coming from, the text that’s being used on the links, so that’s how I found our friends on the Japanese porn site. You know, it’s very easy to…the great thing about SEO is that it’s actually very transparent if you know what you’re looking for. So you can go and have a look at the link profile of anybody, competitor, yourself, you can see what kind of way they’re trying to build links, whether it’s legitimate, whether it’s not. That’s a great tool.
Another one, Searchmetrics, that’s the one I showed earlier, where you saw the visibility going up, and then suddenly flatlining like that. You’ll get the last two years’ worth of visibility of, again, anybody. Your competitor, yourself, whatever. So these two are just very good for some quick due diligence, so of either the health of your own site, health of your competitors. And also what I like to do is I’ll look at a client’s competitor’s site, and I’ll look at the links that they’re building, or how they’ve got links. I might see that, you know what, these guys did some, I don’t know, local charity event that ended up getting loads of links, so I’ll take that as an idea to my client, and say, “Well, look, we could do something similar, and people will talk about us. I know this because it’s happened with your competitors.”
So it’s really good for ideas as well. Ideas of what you can do to try and get links in to the site, because Google’s come out and confirmed, we knew this already, the top two ranking factors are content, as in good content, and links. But not any link. You need to know what a good and bad link is.”