Beware of Self-Proclaimed SEO Experts
We in the website design community have a tendency to communicate with one another, through a variety of mediums including chat forums, blog reviews, emails, phone, expos, conventions and so on. The point of all this, is that when you are constantly - and we do mean constantly - honing your craft with the latest innovations, implementing leading-edge new strategies, designing content and talking shop with the industry's most reputable and experienced senior site developers and code writers, you learn who's worth their salt, and who's just full of their own desperation and/or ego.
That said, spotting a fake, fraudulent or falsely overconfident so-called SEO expert, becomes something which occurs not only more frequently today, but just as blatantly and obnoxiously. If not detected early, a wannabe SEO guru can be potentially dangerous to your website's immediate and long-term page rank, not to mention revenues too.
Don't you love the daily phone calls & emails from "wannabes"?
If a web/seo guy has the time to be a "salesman" emailing or picking up the phone to tell you some nonsense about your website, then you know they are obviously bored and hungry for money. A real web/seo expert wouldn't waste his time looking for jobs. Real web masters get all their business by word of mouth and their own web success. Oh, and Just because you know Facebook doesn't mean you know social media!!!
WordPress? Joomla?? Did your web guy build your website in this?
I personally love when people brag about WordPress and claim that is the best, how easy it is, blah blah blah. Yeah WordPress is nice, there are some successful websites that run off it, but the only reason web masters use WordPress is profit margins! 95% of webmasters are lazy!! They just want to whip out a quick website, make that money and move to the next fool. Just because WordPress has an "SEO Plugin" and it does this and that and your web guy said plugins are so awesome... SEO Plugins will not rank you on Google and that is not the "best". If your web guy told you to jump off a bridge, would you? Stop believing all the crap people say online and think about if you had a web company what would you do? You would want to obviously want to make money!!! If you want a successful website like the screen shot above, contact Sam. The best, easiest and fastest way to succeed online with your website is always go custom. Yes it will cost more money, but you always get what you pay for.
Know Who, What & How Your SEO is Being Done
Today, more so than any other time in the history of the internet, it is vital that your SEO and content be handled by a highly-experienced professional. It's not enough to trust the most vital aspect of your online success, and to a degree overall success in the hands of a staff member who by their own admission claims to, "know a little thing or two about all that SEO who-ha and what have you." It might have worked a few years ago. It most certainly will not work today.
It makes absolutely no difference how nice he or she is, who's friend or cousin they are, or how good of grades they get or got in school. That kid you hired part time to post blogs and make YouTube videos for your business, God bless their intentions, is not going to fool an incredibly complex, algorithm-based web crawler designed by a team of the world's most creative software developers. It's just not going to happen.
In the majority of the cases we see, many don't even know the importance of issues like content integrity, the evolution and current state of meta tags, image properties, bounce rate, CTR, PPC conversion tracking and an endless list of others. You need to be careful who you believe, and become a lot more proactive in following up on references.
How to Identify an SEO Fraud or Con
To think that someone would have the audacity to pray on small business owners who, by no fault of their own, are almost completely removed from current SEO guidelines, that they become vulnerable to anyone who can drop a few techy-sounding buzz words and keep a straight face.
Here are some of the telltale signs that you're being hustled by a clueless amateur, an unemployed professional looking to supplement their unemployment, or any other grade of person who should absolutely not be allowed anywhere near your website's CMS.
Self-Proclaimed Experts with No Portfolio
Sometimes it's a sob story about a fire, or their car was broken into, or their computer was destroyed or stolen... but there's always a story, or some seemingly-believable reason why they can't show you one single example of a website or project they worked on. Even more pathetic and professionally-dangerous, are those who present false references. These degenerates find a site that looks clean and impressive, and free of any distinguishing company/designer footer tags, and pass it off to a client as their own during initial presentations, meetings, etc.
Unable to Answer SEO Questions that Even You Know
Before you meet with an SEO expert or website designer, it can pay to do a little homework of your own. Jump online, find a reputable source and learn a few of the basics, and maybe one or two complex SEO factoids. During your meeting, give your so-called guru a nonchalant and impromptu quiz. If they can't answer basic questions that took you all of a few minutes to learn, ask yourself... do you really want this person in charge of ensuring that your website gets found, amid a sea of online competitors, many of whom may be in the midst of aggressive SEO campaigns?
The Friend of the Friend of the Friend who...
For the record, we're not saying that you should run out and fire the part-timer whose job is to clean up around the place and keep the website running smoothly. We're simply saying that, if they are not exceptionally well-versed in the core tenets of a socially dominant online economy, one that favors only the most meticulously accurate SEO requirements, they should not be the one tasked with managing your online marketing and website branding.
If there is one thing to take away from this discussion, it is this: Not everyone who claims to be on the cutting edge of SEO, actually is. The numbers we see indicate that there are just as many (if not more) inadequate online consultants working today, as there are legitimate website developers. Demand references, learn what to look for, and follow up on phone numbers if provided to you. This one is just too important to be left in the hands of amateurs and e-grifters.