What do you need to know about SEO to protect yourself? Knowing just a few basics can help keep you from getting ripped off, so here are a few pointers to keep you on the right track when you start looking into having your website optimized; basically, these are red flags to let you know when an SEO is NOT good at SEO! Keep in mind that even when SEO changes, these red flags are still in play because they do not change!
1. You cannot have content that is written for Googlebot alone. Content must be valuable to the reader as well as the search engine as the last three algorithm changes have shown. If an SEO tries to give you a lot of cheap content that is keyword stuffed and doesn’t have any useful information, or is so hard to read no-one would bother past the first paragraph, that’s NOT good SEO. That is your red flag to get as much distance from that bad SEO as possible.
2. Links are important, but links must be from relevant sites. If an SEO tries to get you to sign up for a lot of reciprocating links and spammy sites with hundreds of pages of unrelated links, that’s NOT good SEO. Good links are links that offer something of relevant value to the reader – they are not just for passing along link juice anymore.
3. You need a site that will be as close to 100% crawlable as possible if not 100%. Search Engines crawl text. If an SEO tries to build you a site with a bunch of Flash, you’re in trouble – the search engine can read text surrounding images, but unless you have taken the time to tag everything extensively, a flash site can kill your rankings – and that is NOT good SEO. Flash looks neat and Googlebot is better at indexing that now, but it is a crapshoot and you shouldn’t be blowing money on that big of a gamble.
4. Tags, URLs, subheads, meta tags and snippets do matter. These aren’t the only thing search engines factor in, but they DO factor – and is an SEO tries to tell you either not to bother with any of them OR that one is hugely important and the key to all – that is bad SEO.
5. SEO is not as big of a mystery as you might think it is. SEO is fairly straight-forward. That’s not saying that it isn’t hard to do, or that it isn’t worth paying money to have it done. It’s like… Tennis, let’s say. Tennis is hitting a ball over a net. But you may not have time to spend learning exactly how to hit the ball and how hard, and what all the rules and penalties are. A tennis player could tell you how to play tennis – it’s not a big secret.
These tips should help keep you in the clear. Now you know what warning signs of a bad SEO are – you know how to recognize good SEO, how to find a good one and how to know when you’ve found them.