Experts always say you’re doing search engine optimization (SEO) all wrong.
They say they know the secret. They’ve got the magic bullet that will get you to the top of the search engine results page (SERP). They know exactly what you need to do in order to place on any keywords you choose.
It’s an all-too-familiar pitch which most webmasters have heard on more than one occasion, usually in the form of an unsolicited email or LinkedIn message. It’s also utter nonsense. There’s an old adage that applies here: If something seems too good to be true, that’s because it is.
The kind of SEO firms that make promises like the one described above generally fall into two camps. They’re either shysters who simply plan to take your money and run or black hats who will use underhanded tactics to “cheat” Google’s algorithms.
They’ll buy links. They’ll look for loopholes in Google’s guidelines. They’ll manipulate the SERP in whatever way they see fit, whether that’s through simple spam or outright attacks against competitors.
Using those tactics might cause your site to climb temporarily. It might briefly get you to page one of the SERP. But eventually, Google will get wise to your poor practices.
Eventually, your site will very likely be hit with a penalty. You won’t just be back to square one. You’ll be worse off than when you started.
The truth is that there is no shortcut to good SEO. There’s no one-size-fits-all trick to creating good content that plays nice with Google’s algorithms. SEO is a process which constantly evolves as Google tweaks and updates its search engine.
Moreover, your page rank doesn’t solely depend on what you do. It also depends on your competitors, your market, what people are talking about and sharing on social media, and the news.
In other words, it depends on a laundry list of variables that you cannot feasibly control.
For this reason, SEO firms cannot provide guaranteed results. Anyone who says they can is lying. They will either give you short-term results at the cost of long-term success or they’ll waste both your time and money.
The best SEO experts provide promises they can actually fulfill.
They promise to give you advice on how to get more eyes on your website. They promise to help you create better content and gain a deeper understanding of how people engage with your brand. In other words, they promise to help you be better.
At the end of the day, that’s really what SEO is about. It’s not about page rank, or traffic, or lead generation. It’s about improvement.
About being better. About tweaking and optimizing your content so that it provides the best value possible to your visitors. It’s right there in the name – Search Engine Optimization. If your only goal going into SEO is to rank, then you are doing it wrong. Climbing the SERP should be a result of your efforts to improve. It should not be your end goal.