Baker´s Dozen of Don´ts for SEO Professionals

Thu, Jul 16, 2009

Business Tactics

At conferences and meet-ups we are always being asked what the biggest no-no is when it comes to SEO optimization and services. Truth be told, there isn’t a #1 don’t, but rather a collection of don’ts that you should always be making sure you aren’t doing. With that in mind, I present my top 13 list of don’ts for SEO firms and professionals.

#1 – Don’t Play with Fire

We all know of the backdoor tricks and ways to “game” the search engines, especially Google. Some are legitimate, but some are like playing with fire. Sure, you may build rank today, but what happens tomorrow when Google wakes up and delists your site completely? Before you try something look around and see who else is doing it – if nobody else is chances are you shouldn’t be either!

#2 – Don’t Confuse SEO with Conversions

For some reason many firms confuse sales with SEO. Proper SEO is going to drive traffic to your site, but it’s up to you to complete the sale. If you don’t have good content and good sales material you aren’t going to generate sales. SEO can’t force people to buy your product.

#3 – Don’t Low Ball Yourself

SEO work is hard and the companies you are doing for will reap huge rewards when it is done right. Don’t sell yourself short and work for pennies. Being the cheapest SEO firm in town isn’t a blessing – unless you like working 3 times as hard for half the pay.

#4 – Start Paying Attention to Analytics

You don’t know how much your effort and work with SEO optimization has paid off without some metrics. Know where the site is starting from and then watch your metrics and third-party data collectors to know how you are doing. Sometimes even when we think we are doing something right, it can have the exact opposite effect on traffic!

#5 – Don’t Promise the World

Always undersell your abilities and then look like a miracle worker when you deliver results that blow them away. It’s a lot easier to deliver more than what they asked for (nobody complains about stellar results) then to be put in a situation where you have to make excuses for not delivering on what you said you could do. SEO is hard work, so make sure you aren’t promising your clients mountains before you climb up the molehill first.

#6 – No, You Don’t Know “That Guy”

Chances are that some of you know somebody that works at Google or Bing. However, don’t tell your clients that you can get them special treatment. That is setting yourself up for failure no matter how many people you might know. Do you think your “friend” at Google is going to risk his job just so your client can rank 2 places higher? I don’t think so.

#7 – Don’t Believe Everything You Read (Except This!)

Between the blogosphere, Facebook, Twitter and all the other social networks out there it’s a constant buzz of information flowing 24×7. Don’t believe every word of it. Even when things are 100% factual they may not apply to your client or your business model. Read often and share your ideas and thoughts with others, but also know how to apply what you read and be analytical about what you use in your business.

#8 – Tomorrow Isn’t Yesterday

You may be the #1 SEO firm out there today, but where will you be tomorrow? Never sit around and rest on your past successes. So many people get so involved in what they are doing they fail to notice the world around them changing. Can you believe that after a month some people in the SEO world still have no idea what Bing is? Yikes!

#9 – There is More to Marketing than the Web

Sure, you are an SEO firm and that is what you know best. However, traditional marketing is still alive and well. A good SEO firm knows how to talk with their clients about supplementing their SEO efforts with other marketing products – such as e-mail, PPC, etc. Don’t be a “one trick” pony.

#10 – Don’t Piss Off the Developers

Often times you are working with the backend developers on a site and it’s real easy to lose your temper and dismiss their work. These guys are doing their job and we all make mistakes. A few kind words to them can really make your life a lot easier, especially when you are fighting for development time to get your SEO changes in place!

#11 – Don’t Get Involved in Projects with Jerks

If you don’t like someone, then don’t work for them – you’ll end up not liking them even more and it could turn into a big disaster for you and your company.

#12 – Don’t Try To Know It All

None of us know everything about SEO. It changes on a daily basis. So don’t try to be a know-it-all. When making broad statements to clients be sure to let them know that there are risks as well as rewards and give them options. You’ll get a lot more satisfied clients that way.

#13 – Content. Content. Content.

You can apply SEO to all the crap you want, but in the end it will still be crap. Content is king – and if you aren’t talking to your client about their low quality content then you aren’t doing your job.

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This post was written by:

Cassiano Travareli - who has written 90 posts on SEO Blog | SEO Marketing World.

SEO Specialist! Loves everything about Search Engine Marketing.

3 Responses to “Baker´s Dozen of Don´ts for SEO Professionals”

  1. Mariusz Says:

    I met some ‘SEO Professionals’ who didn’t know about Universal Search, Search Suggestions and Long Tail Optimization. This field is really one of a kind.. 😉

  2. Mandy Says:

    Another SEO don’t would be not to over do your keyword padding. To achieve good results your SEO needs to be honest and appear natural.

  3. RankUno Says:

    Also, avoid the use of hidden content or links in your page. Many SEOs still use hidden text in order to impress search engine crawlers by increasing their keyword density. Remember, this may get you into deep trouble.


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