I stopped calling myself an ‘seo’ a few years ago, I saw too many ‘seo’ people who didn’t actually do ‘seo’, sure they did title tags and pretty urls and could tell you that you need a few links here and a redirect there but that’s about it..
I believe that if your involved with search, you should know how to implement the changes, you should know how 301 redirects work on IIS or how to generate them in a .htaccess file, you should know how to change meta tags and the basics of HTML, you don’t have to learn to code, but at least meet half way.
I’m not saying I was a superstar SEO either, I look back on some of the things I did & said, sigh and want to slap myself, but I’ve grown and learned.
Whilst I don’t do day to day search campaigns these days, I mainly do audits, a client will come to me with some work from an agency and ask me to impartially audit both the work and the reporting, I’ve been doing this for years and the one thing that angers me more than anything, is SEO Scumbags.
I don’t use that term lightly, it’s reserved for a special kind of person that puts peoples livleyhoods at risk, let me explain.
Recently, a well known flower shop lost both the rankings for the brand name and the keyword ‘flowers’, the SEO agency involved are a good agency and this post isn’t about the tactics used but large companies like Interflora have years of brand building, offline campaigns, TV advertising, word of mouth, mailing lists, newspapers and shops to fill the gap incase any one vertical (search) drops, they can and will still survive, there will be a dip in some profit sheet somewhere and someone might lose their job, but the company doesn’t fold.
If you do that with a small ‘mom and pop’ shop (Dom’s Flowers) and they get banned or lose the rankings for ‘flower shop east leeds’, Game Over, most of the smaller clients I see depend on Google traffic, it’s sad but true and if you fuck that up by pissing about, it’s not a case of ‘oh well, lets buy a new domain and rebrand’, it’s a case of ‘oh no, we might lose the house and car’.
It’s upsetting how often I see this, a client has bought into a contract which includes link-building, the company has sold itself on the ‘whitehat’ techniques and it’s internal processes, but you pull a majestic report and what do you find? Spammy blog comments and directory submissions.
If your telling the client your doing high quality link building, then buying the cheapest package you can from a link seller, that’s fraud and in todays world, you can cause serious damage.
I’ve seen companies who have built a site for a client, no index it then charge for an SEO package to ‘sort out the rankings’, Domain change audits with no 301′s, I’ve seen agencies charge £10k for ‘keyword research’ which is copied and pasted straight from Google Adwords and more than a few times I’ve seen companies charge a thousands per month for an IBP report.
We all make mistakes, we all have clients that want to be #1 for $crazykeyword, but as the search team involved with the campaign, you have to set realistic expectations and know the risk when placing links and making site changes, those that don’t, that just take the money and hammer with shitty links or try and scam the client to extract more money, those are the SEO Scumbags and they are giving the search industry a really bad name.