How to Hire an SEO Expert and Not Get Burned

How Effective is Your Current SEO Team?

You’re reading these words for a reason.

You need to get the results you want from the money you pay your current SEO agency or expert.

Or you haven’t hired an SEO specialist yet but you want to make sure you hire the right one when you do.

Either way this how to hire an seo expert resource will help you get started toward getting profitable results from your SEO efforts.

It’s easy to lose boatloads of money on an SEO project. That fact could cause you to lose faith in making your business more profitable.

That’s why I felt the need to write this post for you. You deserve to win at organic search.

While SEO scammers in 2023 are rare, ineptitude and indifference amongst SEO experts are not.

It is ineptitude and indifference killing your current SEO efforts, not scammers.

Let me explain.

Contents

SEO Myth 1

SEO Myth 2

SEO Myth 3

SEO Myth 4

SEO Myth 5

SEO Myth 6

SEO Myth 7

SEO Myth 8

SEO Myth 9

Is Your Current SEO Specialist Scamming You?

 

When you question your SEO person why you’re not getting results, they tell you, “SEO takes time.”

Are they right?

Should you give them more time and money?

We’ll get more into that later in the post.

But are they scamming you?

Probably not.

If your SEO consultant is a crook, this resource will help you ferret them out. If they are simply inept at SEO, this post will let you know and even give you suggestions on how to help make them get better at their jobs.

Your SEO budget is your seed money for growing your business. If evil or inept consultants eat all your seeds, your business will fail to produce results.

It would be inevitable.

Seeds should bring you growth, not provide meals to inept SEO experts.

In this resource, you will learn a new method for diagnosing the efforts of your SEO team.

This new mindset may very well save (and make!) you boatloads of money when it leads you to work with the right SEO expert.

But I’m getting ahead of myself.

How to Hire an SEO Expert and Not Get Burned aims to protect you from wasting your SEO budget on bad SEOs who will never generate a positive ROI.

Such SEO experts are legion.

It takes more than understanding SEO theory to make money for clients. Too many small business owners think they hire SEO specialists for their expertise rather than for the ROI they produce for them.

That mindset is dead wrong.

We’ll get more into that later, too.

But is there a difference between an SEO scammer and an SEO “expert” who is inept at SEO?

Barely.

Let me explain.

A scam denotes illegal activity. I doubt your current SEO expert is a hardened criminal. At least, I hope not.

That fact doesn’t mean your current SEO specialist isn’t wasting your SEO budget like they were meth-fiending gangsters, though.

Here’s a fact that might floor you. Then again, maybe it won’t since you’re reading this resource.

Here it is, anyway:

Most SEO experts need to be more proficient at getting ROI for their clients. Most of their campaigns lose money for their clients.

I repeat, most SEO experts are a complete waste of your money.

Don’t believe me?

I’ll repeat it a third time, then.

Most SEO experts are COMPLETELY INEPT at getting ROI for their clients. Almost every campaign they touch loses money for their clients.

It’s true, scout’s honor.

That ugly little trade secret costs small business owners rivers of lost money every year. But SEO experts don’t care because we get paid first, regardless of what you get from it.

How wide, deep, and long is this river of lost money?

In 2021, U.S. companies spent around $80 billion on SEO services. Yes, BILLION, with a “B”!

Moreover, more than 75% of that money went to failed SEO campaigns where the client did not get a positive ROI. That equates to $60 billion a year in wasted money.

I need to get data to back up this estimate. But my experience working with over 13,277 SEO clients since 2009 tells me it is true.

Scary stuff if you’re a small business owner looking to grow your business using SEO, isn’t it? You might waste your hard-earned SEO budget super fast if you’re not careful.

The sad thing is these swing-and-miss SEO hopefuls keep getting away with it client after client and year after year.

How is that possible?

Easy, the SEO expert does generate SOME results for their clients. These outcomes make it look like they did their job and are the day’s heroes.

Hooray!

But, the gains did not create positive ROI for their clients. That means the campaigns were financial failures for the people who hired them.

Oops.

Eventually, the inept SEO expert’s clients run out of money and quit working with them.

Darn it!

The small business owners then get a guilt trip put on them by the SEO expert for running out of money. How dare they run out of pay to give them when they were providing so many good “results”!

I’m not joking.

The former client begins to feel bad for firing the SEO; after all, they produced “results” for them and were always very nice to them on the phone. So they give the SEO expert a positive review, a glowing testimonial, and even referrals.

So the SEO deadbeat gets credit for “results” even though their client, the small business owner, lost money in the process.

Does that seem fair? I don’t think so, either.

The cycle repeats itself over and over and over again as new prospects get suckered into the fray.

Again, U.S. companies spend around $80 billion yearly on SEO services. $60 billion of that money gets spent on failed campaigns.

How much of that $60 billion mountain of waste did you pay last year?

Ouch.

Let’s move on.

It's Time to Forget What You Know About the Basics of SEO

Forget What You Know


If you were running a dairy farm, you’d track how much profit the milk brought in for you every month.

You would have to do that to keep paying your bills.

It wouldn’t take long to figure out whether the money you spent on labor, feed, vet bills, and everything else earned a positive ROI.

To figure it out, you wouldn’t need to be a dairy farm expert. Either you were making a profit from what you were spending, or you were not. There is zero middle ground between each of those outcomes.

If you found you weren’t making a profit, you would dig deep to figure out where things were going wrong so you could fix it.

SEO campaigns are no different. One of the business goals is to get healthy ROI from your SEO spend.

Healthy ROI means for every dollar you spend on professional SEO services for your business, you get it back along with extra profit.

To get that SEO ROI, you need an SEO expert to help show you where you’re losing money in your campaign.

By expert, I DO NOT mean someone who can talk a good game regarding SEO.

Those jokers are a dime a dozen on LinkedIn and networking meetings. They are more common than hungry bloodsuckers in the Everglades.

Instead, you want someone who delivers a healthy return on every dollar you spend with them.

For instance, if you pay them $1500 a month for SEO services, you earn $3000 or more back from the SEO gains they generate.

Otherwise, there’s no point in wasting your seed money.

Once you get to the point where you can get that 2X return on your SEO spend, bringing it to 3X, 5X, or even 10X or more is much easier.

The hardest part is getting your campaign to the 1X ROI level. That takes the work of a genuine SEO ROI expert. Not some theorist who read a blog post on the topic once and mistakes it for experience and topic mastery.

You need to get that 1X ROI back from your SEO spend because you’re reading this post right now.

That’s the reason you should keep reading.


It's Time to Forget What You Know About the Basics of SEO

 

You’re pretty talented and could master SEO yourself; you really could. It just takes a lot of time and effort to pull it off than other online marketing strategies.

But you only have so much time in the day to live your life and run your business. Something important to you will suffer if you attempt all three yourself.

You know it’s true.

If you need to earn profit from your SEO spend, what you learn in this resource will tell you how to get it.

First, you should embrace that you DO NOT understand how to get SEO ROI YET. If you did, you wouldn’t be reading this post. You would be writing it, and I’d be reading it.

I’m not trying to be hard on you, either.

What you do know about SEO has cost you a lot of money up to now. 

Let me explain.

Someone Isn't an SEO Expert Just Because They Say So

 The biggest culprits regarding failed SEO campaigns are digital marketers, web developers, and content marketers who think they are also SEO experts.

After all, how difficult can SEO be?

These professionals might be great at running ads on Facebook, designing websites, and writing articles, but they need to learn how to put profits in your pockets from SEO.

Some SEOs consider their knowledge of Google’s best practices a marketable skill.

 They are wrong.

 The mindset profits them, sure, but not you.

 Such wannabe SEOs may understand SEO theory very well. But theory alone WILL NEVER be enough.

 If your SEO expert can overcome the obstacles standing in the way of SEO wins, you can earn money. If they can’t, you won’t.

You probably already understand that fact.



It Takes Experience to Overcome SEO Obstacles, Not Theory

Medical students understand the theory of how to heal patients. Yet, that doesn’t mean I’ll let them give me a rectal exam.

Would you?

Any SEO that knows how to overcome SEO obstacles will never try to impress you with their knowledge.

Instead, they will speak to you about the results generated for clients in your niche.

Knowledge by itself is useless.

Does your SEO expert go out of her way to impress you with her knowledge? Or does she let the results she generates do the talking for her?

The last thing you want right now is to keep your future SEO profits in the hands of a theorist who will never get them for you.

It takes a lot of the right kind of hard work to win SEO profits in 2023.

 SEO theorists debate SEO. 

SEO ROI producers overcome obstacles and push results forward for you.

Is your current SEO expert a digital marketer, web developer, or content marketer pretending to be an SEO? If so, they only deserve access to your SEO budget once they prove they can generate SEO profits.

Not a second before that happens either.

These types of “SEOs” harm our industry and burn SEO budgets FAST. Especially if they believe any of the SEO myths, I’m about to share with you.

They are the culprits causing most SEO campaigns not to generate positive ROI for their clients.

Know that they exist and are dangerous to your SEO budget. 

Later, I’ll give you questions that protect you from hiring these well-meaning phonies.

Different Types of SEO Experts

  • SEO Theorists
  • Google Priests (Google never gives wrong advice)
  • Content marketers pretending to be SEOs 
  • Web developers pretending to be SEOs
  • Digital Marketing Experts pretending to be SEOs
  • Social Media consultants pretending to be SEOs
  • Bloggers pretending to be SEOs
  • SEO ROI Problem Solvers

 

Guess which one I’m suggesting to trust with your SEO budget.

Let me elaborate on some of the myths fake SEO experts believe that cause their campaigns not to generate ROI for their clients.

The list is staggering.

Don’t Hire a SEO Specialist Who Believes These SEO Fallacies

There are many different reasons why your SEO person has yet to produce positive ROI for you.

Some are logistical, like backlink counts; others are because your SEO specialist made decisions on your campaign that were based on the fallacies listed below.

Right now, let’s discuss several myths that are hurting your current SEO efforts to earn you profit.

You might be surprised at what you are about to learn. I was when I learned them all firsthand.



SEO Myth #1

Content Marketing is the New SEO

Open any book today on SEO, and one of the first things you’ll read is that content marketing is the new SEO.

I cry baloney.

At first glance, this content strategy seems to holds weight though.

 To rank high on search engines like Google, you need content. The better you write this content, the better it will rank.

That is NOT the case, though.

That is something content strategists need to comprehend about SEO in 2023.

To score real estate on the top of page one on major search engines requires you to have content that:

  •  
  • Your prospects and customers find valuable
  • The search bots understand and approve.

Most content strategists are great at writing for humans. Many need help communicating with search bots, though.

It is an acquired skill set not everyone masters.

Getting search bots to like your content takes more than stuffing popular keywords into it.

What Started the Content Marketing is the New SEO Movement?

The answer to how this myth began might surprise you. But probably not.

Content writers wanted a piece of the $80 Billion a year SEO industry pie.

Hear me out.

 Why should content writers get paid only for creating content when they can call it SEO work and make MUCH MORE money?

 Content writers want you to believe they are SEOs because they want your SEO budget in their bank accounts. 

It’s that simple.

 Why don’t content marketers learn how to communicate with search crawlers, then?

 Content optimization skills takes time and practice to learn. Making it harder for them is that it’s not something you can fake being good at for very long before people find you out.

 Fake it until you make it does not work on other SEO campaigns. It’s something you need to learn first before tapping into others’ SEO budgets.

Plus, content strategists need to learn how to attract backlinks to the content they write. But I’ll get more into that in a bit.

 

Why Shouldn't You Hire a Content Marketer to Run Your SEO Campaign?

Hiring a content marketer pretending to be an SEO hurts you because it keeps you from working with a good SEO. 

You waste your SEO budget on content that won’t rank on major search engines.

The good news is that it isn’t hard to determine whether your “SEO” expert deserves access to your SEO budget.

Does Your SEO Consultant Claims Fresh Content is the King of SEO?

 

Content marketers want you to believe that winning at SEO comes from posting rivers of fresh content.

 They are wrong, of course.

 To their credit, they have a clean conscience because they don’t know any better.

 Does Google want to share fresh content with its users? No. They instead want to show their users the right content.

 So if a piece of content is fresh, it still might not meet the searcher’s needs.

 How do you do that?

  • Update content with correct information or time change
  • Answers questions with complete answers
  • No regurgitations of content you already have posted on your site
  • Sixth-grade reading level (makes content easier to scan fast)

 

Above all, your content needs to pass Google’s scrutiny. Once your team can convince major search engines your site has the right content, your SEO ROI will soar.



How Can Your Content Strategy of Posting Fresh Content Hurt You?

There is a myriad of ways posting extra content on your site can hurt your search result rankings. I’ll cover just a few of them here.


New Content Can Confuse Search Engine Crawlers

Many content strategists pretending to be SEO experts think the more you post on a project, the better Google will rank the content.

As sophisticated as Google’s crawlers happen to be, it is still easy to confuse them.

Let’s say you are running an organic gardening site selling tomato cages. A content strategist will want you to create as much content about tomatoes as they can get you to buy.

To be sure you would want content sharing:

  • how to grow more giant tomatoes
  • how to stop common pests
  • how to fertilize the plants
  • when to plant them
  • when to harvest them
  • when to start the seeds
  • different types of heirloom seeds
  • Acidity levels in various strands of tomatoes
  • Etc, etc

There is not an endless sea of opportunities to write on the topics. Sooner or later, the content marketer will start overlapping articles on the same issue.

As soon as the content gets repetitious, search engine crawlers will not know which piece of content they should send their users when they search the topic.

That’s when your keyword rankings will take a hit.

 

Content Cannabilzation Eats Your Profits

 Let’s say you already have an article ranking on page one of major search engines for the best time to harvest tomatoes. Because your content marketer wants to keep getting paid every month, they eventually write another article for you on the same topic.

 When they do, Google’s crawler finds it and then wonders which of the two pieces of content they should send their users when they search for that information.

 That’s when you lose your page-one search result ranking for the original post.

 This process is called content cannibalization. The more content your SEO experts creates on the topic, worsens the problem as they post each new piece.

Cluttered Navigation Systems

Another problem with posting multiple pieces of content covering the same topic is confusing your prospects.

 Your prospects need to know which piece of content of yours will meet their needs.

 These potential customers only have so much time in the day to accomplish what they need to get done. Making it harder for them to find the right content to answer their questions will frustrate them.

 Plus, posting multiple pieces of content on the same topic also abuses your prospects’ time.

 Frustrated prospects leave your site by hitting the back button fast. That will hurt your SEO rankings.

Overworked Link Outreach Team

Any piece of content that you want to rank in Google needs backlinks. The more content you post on the same topic, the more links your SEO expert has to earn. 

If your team isn’t earning links on your current content, you can trust they won’t be able to land any on your subsequent posts covering the same topic.

Even if they can earn links on all your posts on any given topic, it will burn out your link prospect lists. Not only that, but it would also water down the link juice flowing to your site.

Earning backlinks is hard enough in 2023; content marketers make that task almost impossible when they post multiple articles on the same topic.

When Will Posting Fresh Content Help You, Though?

Fresh content does have a role to play in your SEO campaign. Not in the way content strategists would lead you to believe, though.

 Let’s review ways posting fresh content on your site will help you.

 Post New Content That Fills Any Content Gaps on Your Website

The chances are good that you’re missing key content regarding your topic.

 To find content gaps your site lacks, study your competition’s content. Look for different angles they use that you haven’t yet.

 You can also use Ahrefs or SemRush to find specific gaps fast.

 If your content creation team can’t tell you which gap the content fills, you don’t want it on your site.

 Ask them questions like:

Which content does this update?
Which content gap does this fill?  

Any new content added to your site needs justification.

Post Fresh SEO Content Generation On Other People’s Websites

If the fresh content gets posted on other sites in your industry as guest posts, that’s a different story.

If all that fresh content ends up on relevant sites with a backlink to your site, your SEO ROI will explode.

Why don’t content marketers post all their fresh content on other sites for links?

They need to learn how to handle link outreach to earn such opportunities.
Other site owners do not want their content because it could be better.

People will jump to post it if the content is well-written and helpful.

What to Do If Your SEO Agency Posts Social Media Posts On Your Blog

One of the surest ways to fail at SEO is to inundate your website with nonoptimized content.

If your specialist creates social media content on your blog and then shares it on your social accounts, it’s killing your SEO results.

Let me explain why.

Such posts get optimized for engagement, not SEO.

Take an example post like, “Good morning, friends! Today is going to be a good, good day for you!!”

Such a post will no doubt get engagement from social media followers. But posting it on your blog first only confuses Google because the content needs to be optimized for SEO.

Eventually the unoptimized content confuses the crawlers.

The more posts like these so called experts add to your blog, the more it will hurt your keyword rankings.

If your SEO team posts this stuff on your blog, get them to stop. Instead, have them post directly on the social media platforms themselves.

It will work great there, just not on your blog.

If they give you a hard time about it, fire them. They still need to understand how SEO works.

Make them do it on someone else’s dime.

What to Do If Your Search Engine Optimization Consultant Wants to Create "10x Content" for Your Website

Many times content strategists like to overstate the greatness of their writing skills. So they’ll mention they are writing you content that is 10x better than your competitors.

Don’t let them get away with it because it won’t put SEO bucks in your bank.

Those that think otherwise are wrong for a couple of reasons.

Take a look at the content that is ranking on page one of major search engines now for your primary search term.

Is it possible to create content 10x better than what’s ranking now?

Then think about this, how did those sites get to page one?

Did they create 10x content to get there?

If you write 10x, that would be 100x better than those who lost their ranking to the current winners.

Here’s a simple fact of life when it comes to SEO.

The best content does not rank the best. The content Google can understand the best ranks the best.

SEO is much more than writing good content.

Content marketing and writing are one thing; SEO is something else. Besides, it is arrogant to think it’s possible to create 10x better than what your competitors make.

Is your content marketing team that good?

I say they aren’t.

Stay away from writers charging colossal money to create 10x content for you.

Save the rest of your budget for a good SEO to help Google understand your content better and earn inbound links.

Your prospects aren’t looking for great content when they search your keywords. What they are looking for are solutions to their problems.

You don’t need 10x content to win at SEO in 2023.

 

What to Do If Your SEO expert Is Only Posting Top of Funnel Content

Look at your website’s last five pieces of content your SEO expert has posted.

The chances are excellent that the copy belongs at the top of your sales funnel.

Top-of-funnel content is important but less valuable than bottom of the funnel.

What is top-of-funnel content, though?

Top-of-funnel content doesn’t try to sell the reader your product or services.

It instead attempts to educate the person reading it.

The problem is it doesn’t lead to sales.

Most of your money keywords belong at the bottom of the funnel. The prospects searching for them are looking to do business with someone now.

If the only content you have on your site is top of the funnel, you’re not going to get profits in your pockets from SEO.

Your primary money search terms (the ones that will convert into $$$ the fastest) should be on pages optimized with the bottom-of-funnel content.

That means you need to match your content to the user intent of the keyword, and your SEO profits will grow and grow.

Otherwise, you will only spin your wheels with an unsustainable ROI.

Why would your current SEO team recommend top-of-funnel content? Mainly because popular keywords associated with it get higher search counts.

The higher search counts might seem enticing, but they don’t convert into $$$ in your bank account.

It’s bottom-of-funnel content that puts profits in your pockets.

What is bottom-of-funnel content, then?

It’s content that coaxes prospects to do business with you.

Example of such content:

  • SEO Case Studies
  • Brochures
  • Proposals
  • Product Pages
  • Pricing Pages Etc

 

Now, if your team is creating this type of content for you, that’s great.
It will lead to more conversions for you.

If your SEO team is ignorant, they’re getting beat by Full-service agencies that understand it.

We’ll get more into funnel SEO in a bit.

Things to Ask Your Current Specialists to Find Out If They Are Content Strategists Masquerading as SEOs

This post aims to help you get a better return from your SEO campaigns. To do that, you must first figure out what type of expert you’re working with now.

Asking your current expert SEO consultant the following questions will help you in that regard, fast.

What Are the Main Search Terms On Each Piece of Content You Have Written for Us So Far?

You first need the list of keywords your SEO team is targeting in their efforts for you. That will give you the information you need to deeper audit their work.

Once you have the list in your hand, ask them these questions.

How Many Other Pages On Our Website Got Optimized for the Exact Same Search Terms?

As you learned earlier, many non-SEOs mistake thinking they need to create many pieces of content for each of your search terms. That only confuses the search engines and dilutes their efforts.

If your current SEO team makes this mistake, you need to know it now because you’re only wasting your money with them.

If they are dedicating multiple pages to the exact keywords, ask them the following question.

What Was Your Plan for Creating More Than One Page of Content Per Search Term?

How your search engine optimization consultant answers the question will reveal their ignorance or indifference to your campaign’s success.

They are not a real SEO expert.

Fire them.

Period.

You can continue to the next question if they have only dedicated a single page of content per search term.

Does Your Keyword Strategy Include the Search Terms in the Content, Meta Titles, and Meta Descriptions?

Here, you’re figuring out if your current SEO agency understands basic optimization skills.

If your main keywords are not in the meta titles and content, they won’t rank well.

If they include your search term in the titles and descriptions, you need to ensure they are not stuffing them in.

Keyword stuffing used to work a long time ago, but Google put an end to those shenanigans with their 2011 Panda update.

How do you know if your SEO expert is stuffing keywords in your content?

Easy. Please read it. If it sounds unnatural, your expert SEO consultant stuffed the keywords to the detriment of your profits.

You can move on in your audit if they are not stuffing keywords.

Does Our Content Match the Users’ Search Intent for Each Search Term?

This question will catch your SEO expert off guard if they aren’t real SEOs. It took our SEO team several years to catch on to ourselves.

Even if they are good SEOs, this question might throw them back.

Let me explain how user intent influences SEO in 2023.

When your prospects use major search engines, they seek solutions to their problems.

For instance, if their pool turned green, they might want someone to clean it quickly. Or they may want a DIY solution they can use to fix the problem themselves.

The distinction between the two is as different as the night is from the day.

Both searchers use different keywords to find the solution they want.

The one looking to hire someone to clean their pool for them would use keywords like:

  • Pool cleaning service
  • above-ground pool cleaning services
  • professional pool cleaning service
  • one-time pool cleaning service near me
  • one time pool cleaning cost

Anyone searching those keywords is looking to hire help to solve their problem.

If a prospect wants info on how to clean their green pool themselves, they will search:

  • How to clean a green pool fast
  • The pool is green but chlorine is high
  • How do I fix a green pool with chlorine?
  • How to fix cloudy green pool water
  • The pool is green and cloudy after shocking

Anyone searching these keywords wants a DIY solution to their problem. They are not looking for someone to fix their problem for them.

Google knows this too.

Google wants to deliver laser-focused search results for its users. Otherwise, their customers will start using a different search engine for their queries.

So the search engine giant will not rank a services page for DIY keywords or DIY pages for services keywords.

If your SEO expert does not understand this, you are burning your SEO budget with zero chance of getting anything back from your spend.

How can you be sure your content matches the search behavior of each search term?

Easy.

Search each of your keywords on Google to find out if posts like yours are showing up regular web search results

For instance, is your SEO trying to rank a blog post for a service keyword? A services page for a DIY keyword?

It’s easy to check.

Or are they trying to rank top-of-funnel content for a bottom-of-funnel search term?

If your SEO is screwing this up, you’ll need to get them to change their ways fast. They’ll thank you for it later.

Trust me.

If your SEO consultant gets user intent right, they might be worth keeping. But keep going deeper into your audit of their work to make sure.

What Part of Our Sales Funnel Was Each Piece of Content Written for That You Provided Us?

Once you are sure your SEO honors user intent, you can ask them where the content they write for you fits in your sales funnel.

As stated earlier, Google will not rank a top-of-funnel piece of content for a bottom-of-funnel search term.

Now, let’s cover the difference between each type of keyword and where they fit in your sales funnel.

Examples of Top of Funnel Keyword Phrases

  • How do I plant tomato seeds?
  • What are the heirloom seeds that grow giant tomatoes?
  • Why should I use tomato cages in my garden?
  • How to grow tomatoes guide?
  •  

The prospects in this stage of your funnel are kicking tires and are not ready to buy yet.

Examples of Middle of Funnel Keyword Phrases

  • How much do tomato cages cost?
  • How long do tomato cages last?
  • What tomato cages work best in windy areas?
  • Tomato cages discount code

 

Prospects in the middle of your funnel have taken a step towards deciding to buy what you sell.

Examples of Bottom of Funnel Keyword Phrases

  • Buy tomato cages
  • Purchase tomato cages
  • Tomato cages free trial
  • Get tomato cages now

 

Once a prospect hits this stage of your funnel, they are ready to buy now.

Did You Write Meta Titles and Meta Descriptions That Match the Sales Funnel Stage of Each Piece of Content?

This question is vital to ask your SEO expert because your titles and descriptions need to match the sales stage of the content.

Otherwise, your content will not get clicked when displayed in the SERPs. That’s the kiss of death when it comes to SEO in 2023.

No clicks equal no profits in your pockets from SEO, regardless of how high the content happens to occupy on page one.

Plus, Google WILL PENALIZE your rankings if they aren’t producing clicks when they do rank.

They know which of the sites are getting the clicks on page one. You’ll lose your rankings fast if your pages aren’t getting clicks.

Prospects know which stage of their funnel they are in and will only click on the content that matches that stage,

This algorithm fact is something most make-believe SEO experts miss by a country mile.

If your SEO expert has this all messed up, you have a significant overhaul in front of you, and someone else may be the one to fix it for you, given they are the ones who made the mess in the first place.

Is it grounds to fire them, though?

That’s your call.

If you decide to keep them on, you’ll want to dig even deeper into your audit of their work.

 

Is Any Content Ranking On Page One for Each of Our Keywords That Has the Same Content-Length as Our Content?

If your SEO expert is trying to rank a 3,000-word post when all the sites on page one have 500, you have a problem.

The same is true, vice versa.

Fact: You can’t stand out from the herd on page one regarding content length. You can only match the pack.

If your current SEO needs to learn this, you should educate them quickly. It’s your money getting burned, not your expert SEO consultants.

Let’s move deeper into your audit of their work, though.

Did You Place Internal Links On All the Content You Provided Us?

Every piece of content on your site should have internal links. This step helps Google better understand the hierarchy and content of your website.

If your SEO expert isn’t doing this, it’s hurting your SEO rankings.

If they are inserting links in your content, ask them this next question to ensure they are doing it right.

 

Did You Use the ExactSearch Terms We're Trying to Rank for As Anchor Text on Links On Each Piece of Content?

How your SEO person answers this question is a dead giveaway of how much they understand about SEO.

The search term you’re attempting to rank a piece of content for should never get used as anchor text on that same page.

So if you’re trying to rank a piece of content for the keyword “cheap tomato cages” and on that same piece of content, your SEO team added one or more links that used that keyword as anchor text, it is hurting your rankings.

If your SEO team is doing this, they confuse Google, and you need to get them to stop.

That’s also killing your SEO ROI.

 

Did You Format Our Content for Knowledge Base?

Knowledge base forms a significant part of earning SEO ROI. Your current expert SEO consultant MUST ensure your knowledge base gets optimized for SEO.

Doing so allows your customers to get the information they need to solve their problems.

If your SEO needs to learn how to do this, it doesn’t mean you should fire them. Just get them to correct their mistake.

It’s something a lot of veteran SEOs need to catch up on.

 

Were "People Also Asked" Questions Added to All Our Content?

Google knows that your prospects have questions they’d like you to answer. The search engine giant even knows what those questions happen to be.

Go ahead and search your primary search term now.

Halfway down the page, you’ll notice the “People Also Ask” section. Now see what the questions are that display for the search query you searched.

Find the piece of content optimized on your website for that primary keyword. Has your SEO answered the “People Also Ask” questions on it?

Now check several more of your keywords and review the content optimized for each. Were the “People Also Ask” questions listed and answered in them?

If not, it’s costing you profits in your pockets from SEO.

 

What Grade Level is All the Content Written At That You Provided Us?

Your prospects don’t read your web copy. They scan it.

It would be nice if they would stop and read it, but they won’t. They’ll leave your site without doing either.

It took me forever to figure that out.

If your SEO expert writes content for you over the 6th-grade level, your prospects cannot scan it.

Get them to fix it all using Hemingway App. It’s a free editing tool available at https://hemingwayapp.com/.

Does All Our Content Pass a Paid Grammarly Scan?

Is grammar important?

Very.

The better your grammar, the easier it is for others to understand you. The same is true of your web content.

Proper grammar makes your content easier to scan.

Take the last piece of content your SEO posted on your site and copy and paste it into Grammarly. Then look at the score.

How many errors does it have?

Have your SEO expert fix all the errors.

Then move on to the final question of this portion of your audit of their work.

Did You Add Schema Markup to All Our Appropriate Content?

Getting snippets from Google for your content will produce big SEO profits for you.

If your SEO isn’t adding Schema Markup to the content they provide you, you won’t get snippets.

Does your SEO expert understand this fact?

Insist they add the markup to every piece of content they provide you.

Did Our Content Earn Any Backlinks Since We Hired You?

You’ll learn more about backlinks in a bit.

For now, you need to know that real SEOs earn backlinks for their clients. Every page on your website that you want to rank on page one of Google requires backlinks.

If your SEO is not earning links to your website, they are not real SEOs.

Fire them.

What Are You Doing to Make It Easier for Google to Understand Our Content?

If Google gets confused, you lose rankings and money.

Does your current SEO expert know how to unconfuse the search giant to get you wins? If not, they are not real SEOs.

Digital marketers pretending to be SEOs do serious harm to small businesses. Most cannot communicate with search engine bots if their lives depend on it.

How to Fix the Problem of Bloated Content

Find all the pages dedicated to your primary keywords and determine which ones you need to keep.

  • Which pages on your website have good backlinks?
  • Are any of your pages ranking for your main keywords?
  • Are any of your pages ranking for other keywords?
  • Can any of the pages get combined?
  • Delete the rehashed content. If it contains any unique content you like, consider adding it to the main page or reoptimizing it for another search query.
  • Do the competing pages all contain the search term in the slug?
  • Do any of the pages get referral traffic?
  • Delete the losers and set 301 redirects to the main pages you decide to keep.

In the future, you want to only work with SEO experts that understand that only one page of content should get created for each keyword.

When it comes to generating SEO profits in 2023, less is more.

If you confuse search crawlers, your business loses, not your SEO expert.

Any consultant that doesn’t understand that fact isn’t an SEO and therefore does not deserve access to your SEO budget.

Dedicating one page for each keyword makes it easier for Google to crawl and understand your website.

  • A Cleaner interior linking system
  • Cover all selling points on your one piece of content for the search query
  • Cleaner Site Maps
  • Cleaner Navigation

What New Content Should You Write?

  • Bottom of funnel content
  • Target new keywords
  • Add secondary keyword content to existing pages.

 

Examples of Bottom of Funnel Content

  • Case studies
  • Email series
  • Lead Magnets
  • Content Upgrades
  • Sales Offers

If your SEO expert cannot create such content, find someone else who can, it is that simple.

What about content for long-tail relevant keywords? Use it to update your main search query pages.

Your primary search term list should determine your website’s size, not your SEO budget or your current SEO expert’s ability to machine-gun content out.

Stop the cycle of investing in content that harms your ability to generate SEO profits for your business.

Download Our Free SEO Playbook Library

If your site has content problems, download our free SEO playbook library to learn how to fix them.

Make sure to grab the bonus companion cheat sheet that comes with this post for free right here:

https://yourseosquad.com/free-cheat-sheet-on-working-with-seo-providers/

You’ll also receive free access to our entire library of SEO playbooks.

Inside the library, you will find individual playbooks that will walk you through every type of SEO problem you could encounter.

SEO Myth #2

Link Building is Dangerous

Link building is still a huge part of successful SEO campaigns in 2023.

You have a significant problem if your current SEO expert thinks otherwise.

Perhaps they think Off-page SEO is dangerous and should get avoided at all costs.

It’s a popular sentiment today held by people who can’t earn links to content, as it lets them off the hook of having to learn how to do it.

It is challenging to earn backlinks to sites in 2023.

 

 

Your current SEO consultant might point out the sins of previous link builders and equate all outreach efforts as toxic.
To be sure, link penalties are harmful and should get avoided at all costs.

So they are partially correct. Off-page SEO penalties are vicious.

That doesn’t mean your content doesn’t need backlinks to rank well, though.

The best SEOs in the world are on top because of their link-building abilities, not their content-writing skills. That means they will destroy any SEO expert afraid to build links.

That’s a fact you can take straight to the bank.

It takes actual links from real websites to haul in SEO revenue in 2023.

Why the Right Kind of Link Building is Essential to Putting Profits in Your Pockets from SEO

Google search knows of over 130 trillion pages.

To put that massive number in the proper perspective, consider that the U.S. Mint estimates 140 billion pennies are in circulation.

If there were a penny for every page Google had to crawl and index, there would be 130,000 billion pennies. That means the U.S. Mint would have to make 92757.14% more pennies!

It’s incredible Google can keep track of it all. But it does.

With such colossal numbers, the search giant needs a way to serve the correct pages when one of its users uses its search engine.

It’s super simple to optimize pages for SEO. So count on 98% of your competition to have their content optimized well.

Where does that leave you?

Google relies on backlinks in its algorithm updates to act as the tie-breaker.

It does this because links symbolize relationships between business owners. The more links your business has from actual companies, the more Google trusts your content.

The more relationships a business has with other valid companies, the more legitimate it appears to Google.

A business with few relationships looks suspect to them.

Your business needs more relationships to get SEO links. Link outreach is how you build those relationships.

You need to ensure you’re building those relationships with legitimate businesses.

With those links, you will rake in big SEO bucks.

Period.

Popular Debunked Link-Building Myths in 2023

Let’s take a little time and explore some of the other erroneous ideas fake SEOs have about link building in 2023.

There are hundreds of them, but I’ll only discuss the major ones out of respect for your time.

Social Media Links Improve SEO Rankings

Does your current social media marketing expert claim that links from Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn will improve your SEO rankings?

Don’t be surprised if they do because it’s a prevalent myth.

If they do, though, that “knowledge” of theirs is killing your SEO result in a BIG way.

Let me explain why.

Social media links DO NOT improve Google rankings, and they NEVER WILL.

Many fake SEOs think otherwise, though. These knuckleheads are wrong. Such people will always be CLUELESS about how SEO works.

Why?

Simple. SEO pretenders need to learn how to earn actual links.

But how do I know that social media links don’t improve SEO rankings?

Since 2009 I have helped over 13,277 companies with their SEO campaigns. In that time, I have tested every kind of backlink imaginable. A bunch of those were ultra-black hat from before 2012.

What did I find?

Social media links DO NOT improve SEO rankings! If they did, I would still be running a black hat agency because the money was 10x better than white hat with 99% less work needed on my part.

Social media links are cheap and easy to build. That’s why they don’t improve SEO rankings. Anyone can get them.

Remember, Google relies on inbound links in its search algorithm. The last thing they’d cook into their algorithm is something anyone and their brother could game for pennies.

It would destroy their search engine overnight because people would quit using it.

If your dedicated SEO expert thinks social media links improve SEO rankings, they are killing your ROI chances and should not have access to your SEO budget.

When I started my agency in 2009, it was easy to use junk links to rank websites. Google ended that practice in 2012 when they launched their Penguin algorithm to abolish link popularity schemes.

In those days, a junk link was any link you could place yourself.

Such as:

  • Social media links
  • Blog comments
  • Ezine articles
  • Web 2.0 Blogging Platforms
  • Private Blog Networks (PBN)
  • Online directory links

Google tweaked its algorithm to ignore junk links that site owners could build themselves.

I lost my membership at the country club when they did.

So, if you can post a link yourself, it won’t improve your SEO rankings. Ever.

Social media links fall into this same category. They are links you can place yourself without exerting much effort.

Plus, social media links are nofollow, which won’t improve your SEO rankings.

Let’s move on.

Social Shares Lead to Your Website Getting Inbound Links

Your SEO may believe there is a correlation between social shares and backlinks.

If so, it’s a logical conclusion. The more shares you get on a social media post to your content, the better your chances one of the sharers will also link to it.

Right?

Wrong.

Brian Dean of Backlinko.com proved it. He analyzed 912 million blog posts with help from the team at BuzzSumo.

Let that colossal number sink in for a moment—912,000,000 blog posts.

That’s a tremendous amount of research material for the study.

In the study, Brian Dean and BuzzSumo discovered “no correlation between backlinks and social shares.” You can read the study for yourself at

https://backlinko.com/content-study.

That finding from the study shocked the majority of SEO experts at the time because they were under the impression that a percentage of people who share blog posts also link to them from their blog posts.

What does this mean for your SEO campaign?

If your SEO expert made you spend part of your SEO budget promoting your site on paid platforms to get you those “links” that come from social shares, you need to stop the practice.

Fast.

Of course, if you’re getting returns on social campaigns, keep the ads running. But do so only because they’re making you money now, not because they might help your SEO later.

Many of the digital marketing books that claim to be SEO books claim that social links improve SEO or will lead to links later.

Why?

They know you know that it takes backlinks to get SEO profits in 2023.

That means they need to figure out how to get to your SEO budget without you learning they can’t build links.

To keep getting SEO pay, they need you to believe that links get generated from social media shares because they are easy to get.

They are wrong. So very wrong.

Guest Posts Are Dead, Dead, Dead

What is a guest post?

It’s also called guest blogging.

But what is it?

It’s when you write content for someone else’s website.

Why would you want to do something like that, considering how much effort it takes to create a quality article?

It’s a great way to generate traffic to your website in two ways when you place a backlink to your website in it.

First, when the other company’s readers read your post and click the link you put on it, it generates referral traffic to your website.

Second, if you place it right, the link will improve your search engine rankings.

Why do some people think guest blogging is dead, though?

Many black hat SEOs abused the strategy in the past, and Google set up its algorithm to penalize them.

So wait, doesn’t that mean guest posts are dead as an SEO strategy?

Not at all.

Blackhat SEOs are lazy. So they used careless fast ways to post their “guest posts.”

One such way was to pay a cheap writer to pen a 300-word article for under $10. They took that article and placed their link in it. Then they paid private blog networks to post the article on several sites at once.

For an investment of under $100, black hats could generate dozens of links super fast.

What is a private blog network (PBN), and why is it bad?

When I ran our black hat agency before 2012, we had a PBN with over 500 websites. The sites weren’t real sites. They existed only to fool Google.

In 2012 Google destroyed them all with their Penguin algorithm.

PBNs leave footprints that are very easy for Google to track and penalize.

Footprints like:

  • The website’s genre is not relevant to the content of the guest post. For example, an article on divorce attorneys getting placed on a pest control website.
  • The site is not generating organic traffic from Google. An example would be a site with 2,000 posts not ranking for any content.
  • The site has “write for us” pasted somewhere in its navigation.
  • The website is ugly with a poor design.
  • Multiple outbound links get placed on every piece of their content.
  • Lack of social proof.
  • Duplicate content is posted all over the website.
  • No value gets passed to the people who read the guest posts.

There are many more footprints to look out for, but those are the biggies.

If you avoid those footprints, your guest posts will not get your site penalized by Google.

Not all guest posts that avoid those negative footprints will improve your SEO rankings, though.

So, what type of guest posts WILL put SEO profits in your pockets in 2023?

  • Well-written articles posted on a single website relevant to your site.
  • On sites that get organic traffic from Google that is pertinent to your website.
  • The articles add value to the sites you’re placing them on.

If you’re running a local SEO campaign, the site needs to be in the city you’re looking to rank in on Google.

In state, national, and global SEO campaigns, relevancy is king. In local campaigns, locality rules the roost.

Of course, you will need to run outreach to get these other site owners to get them to post the content, and it takes work.

Such opportunities DO NOT fall from the sky into your laps.

But that’s all you need to do to grow your brand using guest posts.

Next, look at a link-building myth black hat SEOs still believe is true.

Effective Link Outreach is a Number’s Game

Another tactic black hat SEOs use to build wrong links is spamming site owners’ inboxes with backlink requests.

Cold link requests rarely result in the email recipient granting the backlink. So black hats try to get around this inconvenient truth by flooding their link requests out to hundreds of thousands of site owners.

It’s stupid because it is a scorched Earth strategy.

You turn tens of thousands of people off on your brand for every link it produces for you.

That’s how to burn bridges with other businesses in your industry who are in a position to help you.

The problem with spamming out that many requests are that there are only so many sites to get links from that will improve your search rankings.

So, sending out requests to so many prospects will result in you getting links from sites that will hurt your rankings, not help them.

Plus, it will put a sour taste in the mouths of the web admins who could have helped your rankings.

You can spam for links or put profits in your pockets with SEO. You can’t do both.

Get Your Website Listed On As Many Online Directories As Possible

Some SEO fakers think adding your website to an online directory will improve your SEO rankings because it will include a link to your website.

Getting your business listed in an online directory will only help if it gets lots of organic traffic from Google.

It’s easy enough to check too. Enter the directory’s URL for free on Spyfu.com and check out its organic traffic value.

If it’s not getting traffic from Google, it’s wasting your time.

Black hat SEOs have software that makes hundreds of directory sites in less time than it takes to heat leftover pizza in the microwave.

Getting listed on those directories will do diddly squat for your business.

The only other thing I’ll add to this is if you’re running a local SEO campaign getting a listing from a directory in your city will improve your local rankings.

That’s all you need to know about online directories.

Things to Ask Your Current SEO Team to Find Out If They are Clueless About Link Building

In this section, you’ll learn how to audit your current SEO expert to determine how they feel about link building.

Will Backlinks from Facebook, Twitter, and Linkedin Improve Our SEO Rankings?

Getting a link to your content from a social media post looks like a backlink. They won’t improve your search engine rankings, though.

So they aren’t backlinks you want your dedicated SEO expert building.

Fire them.

Is There a Correlation Between Social Shares and Links?

Fire your SEO team if they feel social shares correlate to backlinks.

There is no correlation whatsoever between getting social shares and getting links.

That colossal study by Brian Dean of Backlinko and BuzzSumo proved it too.

So if your SEO thinks that getting your content and social shares will lead to backlinks, fire them.

How Much of Our SEO Budget Was Spent Getting Social Shares?

Some SEO experts spend big $$$ on promoting their clients’ posts on social media. They do this because they need to learn how to promote it.

You don’t want to burn even a penny of your SEO budget on social shares.

Is Guest Posting a Way to Improve Our SEO Rankings?

Some great SEOs are clueless about the effectiveness of guest post blogging in 2023. But if your agency happens to be one of them, you’ll want to educate them fast as to what they need to get an effective guest post campaign running.

Is Sending Out Thousands of Link Requests to Prospects a Good Practice?

Given that a backlink symbolizes the relationship between two businesses, the last thing you want is someone spamming your potential link partners.

What Tactics Do You Use to Secure Backlinks to Our Website?

When you ask your current SEO expert this question, they’ll probably start to squirm. If not, they’ll reply by telling you they follow one of the debunked strategies discussed earlier in this chapter.

Whatever their answer, pay attention to what they tell you because it’s probably costing you money.

Can You Create Content That Earns Backlinks Without Outreach Efforts?

Some fake SEOs think they can write content that is so remarkable that links will build themselves.

If your SEO is telling you that challenge them to prove they did it on other campaigns. They didn’t, though.

Chasing link magnets is the same as chasing after unicorns.

Neither exists in real life.

How to Fix Your Website’s Backlink Problems?

If your site has link issues, it will take me writing another entire resource to help you fix them.

Instead, I will do you one better and give you complete access to the same SEO playbooks our agency uses to service our clients.

Make sure to grab the bonus companion cheat sheet that comes with this post for free right here:

https://yourseosquad.com/free-cheat-sheet-on-working-with-seo-providers/.

You’ll also receive free access to our entire library of SEO playbooks.

Inside the library, you will find individual playbooks that will walk you through every type of SEO problem you could encounter.

 

SEO Myth #3

There is a Secret Sauce to Improving Your SEO Rankings

Does your SEO expert claim to have a secret sauce for ranking websites?

Such SEOs are either lying to you or are using black hat SEO tactics THEY HOPE will trick Google into giving you rank improvements. Black hat SEO is stupid and destructive, but it isn’t illegal.

Please get rid of them because, sooner or later, they’ll hurt your website in a big way.

Google used to be very easy to fool. I made a great living at it until they slapped me down hard.

Today, Google has too many genius Ph.D.’s on its payroll to be duped by black hat SEO tactics. I should know, too; I’d still be using black hat tactics if it worked.

 

 

I learned that lesson the hard way back in 2012 when my black hat agency got destroyed by Google.

The practitioners who think SEO is black magic are losers.

Since they cannot fool the algorithm, they feel that no one can.

Their argument is false for many reasons.

We made a small fortune helping clients fool search engines. I mean getting Google to rank sites for keywords that have nothing to do with the keyword. I once ranked a blank install of WordPress on page one of Google for the phrase “MLM” tips.

You could trick Google into ranking their product their way in those days.

Those SEO techniques will never work again.

Why Black Hat SEO Strategies No Longer Work

Imagine going to the grocery store to get milk and getting it home to find it is antifreeze, not milk. You would stop shopping at the store, at the very least.

Google has taken considerable strides in ensuring SEOs can’t hurt their product. That means you can’t fool them into believing your site is about something it is not.

Professional SEO campaigns are not about tricking Google.

Instead, they let Google know that your site deserves to get seen for specific keywords.

No honest SEO tries to rank for nonrelevant keywords with no chance of getting conversions.

It would only confuse Google and potential customers.

It’s not hoodwinking Google when you out-optimize your competitors’ sites. SEO is not about beating Google; it is about beating your competition.

Any SEO expert who claims otherwise will get beat in the Serps by SEOs who don’t.

Is it fooling Google to optimize your site for SEO better than your competitors’ sites? No, it’s a communication victory.

An effective SEO will take the time to help crawlers better understand your content.

I’m not saying content and digital marketing experts can’t make you money. Yet, they should not be getting any of your SEO budgets because they are not SEOs.
How SEO REALLY Works

If there is no secret sauce to improving organic Google keyword rankings, then there must be a public recipe somewhere on how to do it.

If you’re wondering that same thing, you are correct.

Where is that recipe, then?

I’m about to share it with you right here.
SEO in 2023 is a three-legged stool. Take away one of the legs, and the entire structure topples down.

Here are the three legs:

  1. To rank on Google in 2023, you need to post helpful and relevant content on your website.
  2. This content needs to read well and be something Google’s crawlers understand.
  3. It also needs inbound links from reputable websites in your niche linking to it.

That’s SEO in a nutshell.

There are zero shortcuts around those three legs.

How do you determine what content will be helpful and relevant to your prospects for each keyword?

Research the content already ranking on page one of Google for them and make your content more helpful and relevant than theirs.

It’s not easy, but it isn’t hard either. It’s also something you can’t fake. You need to know your industry to pull it off.

I’ll give you tips on how to do it throughout this entire post.

 

What to Ask SEO Experts to Find Out If They are Black Hat SEOs

It won’t be hard to determine whether your SEO expert uses black hat strategies on your SEO campaign.

Ask them straight out.

What Is Your Strategy for Improving Our Website Rankings?

How your freelance SEO expert answers this question will be very telling.

If they answer the question, ensure they aren’t using any debunked strategies discussed in this post.

However, if they refuse to answer the question, they either don’t know or use black hat hocus pocus.

If so, fire them on the spot.

Download the Free Cheat Sheet and SEO Playbook Library That Comes WIth This Resource

Make sure to grab the bonus companion cheat sheet that comes with this post for free right here:

https://yourseosquad.com/free-cheat-sheet-on-working-with-seo-providers/.

You’ll also receive free access to our entire library of SEO playbooks.

Inside the library, you will find individual playbooks that will walk you through every type of SEO problem you could encounter.

 

SEO Myth #4

SEO is Complicated

SEO fakes like to hide behind the complexity of SEO so you do not hold them accountable for their lack of results.

It’s probably complicated for them, so they can’t explain how it works.

The thing is, as far as you’re concerned, SEO is easy. Either you’re making money from your freelance SEO expert’s efforts or not.

Any other metric is a red herring, so beware of that fact.

The good news is that you do not need to learn SEO to enjoy profits from it.

What you do need to understand, though, is how to calculate the ROI you get from your SEO investments. That way, you don’t work with an expert SEO consultant longer than you need to find out what they’re doing for you will ever put profits in your pockets.

Your current SEO will want you to judge your progress on different metrics than ROI. Be on your guard when they do.

 

What to Ask Your Current Expert SEO Consultant to Find Out If They Understand SEO

Determining whether or not your current freelance SEO expert understands how SEO works is simple.

You ask them.

Then you line up their answers with what you learn in this resource.

Can You Please Tell Me How SEO Works?

When you ask them how SEO works pay close attention to see if they claim any debunked myths in this post are one of their strategies.

If so, you should find another search marketer.

Download the Free Cheat Sheet and SEO Playbook Library That Comes WIth This Resource

Make sure to grab the bonus companion cheat sheet that comes with this post for free right here: https://yourseosquad.com/free-cheat-sheet-on-working-with-seo-providers/.

You’ll also receive free access to our entire library of SEO playbooks.

Inside the library, you will find individual playbooks that will walk you through every type of SEO problem you could encounter.

SEO Myth #5

You Can Trust Everything Google Tells You

Once you figure out if your search marketer is a content marketer, web developer, or digital marketer masquerading as an SEO, you can move even deeper into your audit of their work.

Ask your SEO expert if they trust Google to give them the advice to help them generate SEO profits for you.

How they answer that question will depend on whether they are running Google Ads or how long they have been running SEO campaigns.

Most PPC experts do not trust Google’s advice because it is ALWAYS self-serving. Everything they suggest you do puts more money in Google’s bank account.

 

 

They like that. Go figure.

Perry Marshall, a PPC guru, says, “Never put a German Shepherd in charge of ham sandwiches.”

We have two dogs in our home, and I wouldn’t put either of them in charge of guarding crackers, let alone sandwiches.

Yet when it comes to organic SEO, most SEOs follow Google’s Best Practices as if they were quoting the Bible. But aren’t they still putting the German Shepherd in charge of the sandwiches?

I say yes. Others say no, but the answer lies in between. Let me show you why.

I learned a long time ago that if Google says to do something, it will benefit them if you do it. They keep growing as a result.

Does this mean Google’s Best Practices are bad for your SEO profits?

Not at all.

But follow the best practices because they bring results, not because Google told you to do it.

The search engine shares disinformation at times. They keep growing for a reason.

Google does not have your best interest at heart. All they care about is their interests.

But you have your best interests at heart, and so should your SEO expert.

Questions to Ask Your SEO expert About Google's Advice to Webmasters

It’s not the kiss of death if your SEO expert believes all of Google’s best practices. But you should be aware of it, so I have included this short chapter in this resource.

Do You Follow Google’s Best Practices?

If they answer yes, ask the next question. If not, find out which ones they should pay attention to from now on.

Why Do You Follow Google’s Best Practices?

How your SEO answers this question will tell you a lot about them. Please pay close attention to how they answer you.

If they are always following the herd, they might be unable to beat the pack. You need to beat the herd to get SEO ROI in your bank account.

 

Which of Google’s Best Practices Are Safe For Us to Test?

 

 

Is your SEO willing to test which of Google’s advice for web admins is profitable to ignore?

If not, you might be losing out on SEO ROI that could have been yours.

My friend Brian Dean of Backlinko.com suggests the top ten Google Best Practices always worth following. It’s a list I agree 100% with, so I’ll share it below straight from his website.

  • Add Your Main Keyword Early On In Your Content
  • Write Unique Titles, Descriptions, and Content
  • Optimize Your Title Tag for SEO
  • Optimize Your Site’s Loading Speed
  • Track Your Results With The Google Search Console
  • Optimize Images for SEO
  • Use Internal Linking
  • Publish Amazing Content
  • Build Backlinks To Your Website
  • Improve Your Site’s User Experience

Source: https://backlinko.com/hub/seo/best-practices

Now let me add some of my own.

  1. Use Ethical SEO Tactics Instead Of Blackhat Tactics
  2. Make Sure Your Keywords Are Relevant
  3. Make Sure That Pages on Your Site Can Be Reached by a Link from Another Findable Page
  4. Limit the Quantity of Links on a Page to a Reasonable Number
  5. Create a Useful, Information-Rich Site & Write Pages That Clearly and Accurately Describe Your Content
  6. Think About the Words Users Would Type to Find Your Pages
  7. Ensure All Website Assets Are Fully Crawlable & Indexable
  8. Make Your Site’s Important Content Visible by Default
  9. Keep Your URL Structure Simple
  10. Keep Your Content Unique by Avoiding Duplicates

Most everything else listed on Google’s Best Practices should get tested, not followed blindly.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Starter Guide: https://developers.google.com/search/docs/fundamentals/seo-starter-guide

Download the Free Cheat Sheet and SEO Playbook Library That Comes WIth This Resource

Make sure to grab the bonus companion cheat sheet that comes with this resourcew for free right here:

https://yourseosquad.com/free-cheat-sheet-on-working-with-seo-providers/.

You’ll also receive free access to our entire library of SEO playbooks.

Inside the library, you will find individual playbooks that will walk you through every type of SEO problem you could encounter.

SEO Myth #6

Adding Search Terms to Your Website is Keyword Stuffing

Some so-called SEO experts think adding keywords to your meta titles, and website content is keyword stuffing and will hurt your keyword rankings.

They are dead wrong.

It makes me blow my top when I encounter them on the web.

What WILL hurt your rankings is when Google crawlers need help understanding the content on your website and decide not to rank any of it.

Google needs to know what your website is about, and the keywords you use in your content are how they learn it.

 

 

If your SEO isn’t adding your relevant keywords enough times to your content, Google won’t know anything about your content.

That means lost ROI for you.

Keyword stuffing is a problem, though, and something you want to avoid at all costs on your website.

What exactly is it, then?

It means adding your keywords so many times to your content it becomes unreadable. To get to that level, the stuffing has to be blatant.

That’s not what I’m advocating here. Not by a long shot.

You can add keywords to your website content without going overboard about it.

Adding your keywords a few times to each page will only help you. Going overboard will hurt you fast.

Examples of Stuffed Keywords

What exactly is it, then?

It means adding your keywords so many times to your content it becomes unreadable. To get to that level, the stuffing has to be blatant.

That’s not what I’m advocating here. Not by a long shot.

You can add keywords to your website content without going overboard about it.

Adding your keywords a few times to each page will only help you. Going overboard will hurt you fast.

Examples of Stuffed Keywords

Questions to Ask Your SEO expert About Optimizing Your Content for SEO

In this part of your audit, you can check for yourself without asking your search marketer anything.

Make sure your primary keyword for any given page is added to:

  • Meta title
  • Meta description
  • H1 headline
  • The first sentence of copy
  • Last sentence of copy
  • Body of your content

The sweet spot is a saturation level of .5% up to 1%.

So if your page has 1000 words total, you will want to use your keyword 5 – 10 ten times on the page.

For long-tail keyword phrases such as “how to save money on a divorce,” you need to be a bit more careful. If you use it five times on a 1000-word post, the content will look unnatural and could come across as keyword stuffing.

In such cases, you want to use it in the following:

  • Meta title
  • And a headline

After that, use frase.io to find helper keywords for each page of your content. It automatically compares competitors and how often keyword and helper phrases get used.

Download the Free Cheat Sheet and SEO Playbook Library That Comes WIth This Resource

Make sure to grab the bonus companion cheat sheet that comes with this resource for free right here:

https://yourseosquad.com/free-cheat-sheet-on-working-with-seo-providers/.

You’ll also receive free access to our entire library of SEO playbooks.

Inside the library, you will find individual playbooks that will walk you through every type of SEO problem you could encounter.

SEO Myth #7

SEO is Dead

Does your current dedicated SEO team believe SEO is dead?

Don’t laugh; they may believe it.

Why are they taking your SEO budget every month if they think SEO is dead?

Digital marketers, content marketers, and web developers often pretend SEO has morphed into something they know how to do. They feel better about taking your money by pretending SEO is dead.

If your search marketer thinks SEO is dead, you must fire them NOW.

If they believe SEO is dead, then they are doing something other than SEO with the money you invest with them.

 

 

For now, know the possibility of your SEO expert thinking SEO is dead is a real chance in 2023. Search “SEO is dead” on Google, and you will find 32,200,000 results competing for it.

SEO pretenders would love for you to believe that SEO is dead so they can keep wasting your SEO budget on something else.

Does their argument hold merit?

At first glance, it makes sense.

SEO content is garbage and thin, and stuffed with keywords.

Right?

Wrong.

There was a time before Panda when Google ranked thin content. SEO is dead believers argue that is the only type of content SEOs write today.

It’s the classic straw man argument.

After making it, they pivot to how today’s content needs to get written for humans, not algorithms. Then they show some of their posts with social shares to prove they can create such content.

The problem with their argument is simple.

SEOs that know their stuff also write for humans. We jumped aboard that ship a long time ago. We also know how to write for search engines at the same time.

We don’t focus on social shares and social links because we KNOW they do not produce SEO wins.

Engaging content that reads well and meets your prospects’ needs is crucial.

But that is tableware. It’s a given, not a particular SEO tactic, that proves SEO is dead.

Questions to Ask Your SEO experts to Find Out if They Think SEO is Dead and They are Charging You for It Anyway

Why Do Some Marketers Claim That SEO is Dead?

If your SEO expert thinks SEO is dead, that’s something you need to know now.

Asking them straight up might cause them to hide it from you.

SO asking them why they think others may feel that way is a good way to get an honest answer from them.

Pay attention to how fervent they get on the topic.

Anyone that thinks SEO is dead but still taking your SEO budget is a digital marketer. Give them access to your D.M. budget but not SEO.

They will not produce SEO ROI for you.

Are You Writing Our Content for Humans or Search Bots?

They will answer one of two ways. They’ll either tell you they only write for humans or both. If they tell you they only write for humans, you know you have been wasting your SEO budget on them.

Fire them.

How Efficient Is Our Crawl Budget?

If your SEO expert does not understand how to answer this question, shoot up a warning flare.

The larger your site, the more critical its crawl budget will be in 2023.

What is the crawl budget?

Your crawl budget is the number of pages Google will crawl on your site on any given day. This number varies from day to day, but it’s steady.

If Google has trouble understanding your content, your crawl budget will get wasted. When that happens, you lose keyword rankings.

That’s why it is so important you work with real SEOs.

Download the Free Cheat Sheet and SEO Playbook Library That Comes WIth This Resource

Make sure to grab the bonus companion cheat sheet that comes with this resource for free right here:

https://yourseosquad.com/free-cheat-sheet-on-working-with-seo-providers/.

You’ll also receive free access to our entire library of SEO playbooks.

Inside the library, you will find individual playbooks that will walk you through every type of SEO problem you could encounter.

SEO Myth #8

Submitting Your Website to Thousands of Search Engines

Did your SEO expert hook you into hiring them by claiming they would submit your website to thousands of search engines?

Then they charge you money every month to submit it to even more search engines.

Fire them; they do not understand SEO and are lightyears away from earning SEO ROI. Seriously.

There is only one search engine you should care about: Google.

Period.

Make sure to grab the bonus companion cheat sheet that comes with this resource for free right here:

https://yourseosquad.com/free-cheat-sheet-on-working-with-seo-providers/

You’ll also receive free access to our entire library of SEO playbooks.

Inside the library you’ll get access to everything you need to run profitable SEO campaigns for your business.

SEO Myth #9

Submitting Your Website to Thousands of Search Engines

Some agencies want you to believe you need to pay for big SEO teams to get the desired results.

Beware of such nonsense.

Why?

They want extra money from you, that’s why.

The more you pay them, the more sales you need to get your SEO ROI.

Instead, hire a SEO marketer who can get you at least 1x ROI for under $2000 a month.

Why 1x and not 5x?

You have to walk before you can run.

 

 

Once you find a SEO marketer who can get your money back from what you pay them every month, it gets easier to get to 2x or higher.

The last thing I’d ever want to take on as an agency owner is a $10k a month campaign before knowing whether or not I can get SEO ROI for the client.

So be careful of SEO experts who claim they can run before they walk. Chances are they’ll fall flat on their faces with your money.

This means it will be your face hitting the ground, not theirs. Remember, they get paid whether your campaign is successful or if it loses you money.

Should You Give Your SEO Expert More Time and Money to Produce Results for You?

Now let’s shift gears and discuss whether you should fire your current SEO expert or not.

You’ve heard it before, and you’ll listen to it another 2200 times — SEO takes time to produce results.

There is a good chance that your SEO expert is telling you that thing to keep you from firing them.

They might be right.

I’ll help you figure out if you should believe them.

Who benefits even more when those campaigns get extended?

Your SEO expert, that’s who.

The longer you keep paying your SEO expert, the more money they get in their bank accounts. That’s true even when you’re losing money in the process.

Don’t expect them to care, though.

If you’re not getting ROI from your SEO spend, trusting your SEO marketer with more time (and money!) It MIGHT be a recipe for disaster for your business.

You lose two ways if you’re not getting positive ROI from what you pay your SEO experts. First, you’ll be out the extra money you pay them as you wait and wait for results. Then, you miss out on the profits that would have gone to you if your current SEO marketer knew their craft better.

Giving your SEO expert more time and money will burn you big and leave you resentful if it doesn’t work.

But sometimes, SEO does take time to see profits come in.

That leaves you between a rock and a hard place right now.

This section of the resource will help you escape it.

Step - 1

Gathering the Evidence

First, you’ll need to chart their monthly ROI progression to determine if they can generate SEO profits.

First thing, log in to your Google account and copy our free SEO ROI Growth Chart into your account.

You can find it here:
https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1iegPhlSRSeB_wRugPT0FsgSdWkggZF2iivtj4pBNHLc/edit?usp=sharing

Then pull up the chart and insert how much you have paid your SEO expert every month they have worked on your campaign.

Then insert the revenue your business generated from search engine traffic in those same months.

Doing this work will give you the direction your expert SEO consultant is taking your campaign.

If you’re not getting a positive ROI yet, are they at least making incremental gains toward accomplishing that goal for you?

If not, your expert SEO consultant has some explaining to do. So you’ll need to proceed further into an audit of their work.

Step Two – Questions to Ask Your SEO experts

  1. Why have we yet to earn a positive ROI from your SEO work?
  2. How many new customers or clients have you generated for us so far from your efforts?
  3. Let’s pretend I have given you an extra six months of budget, and it’s now six months from now. What will our ROI be, then?
  4. Which pages will improve?
  5. What are the current conversion rates on those pages? How much extra traffic will get generated to those pages to give us a positive ROI if the conversion rate stays constant?

Step Three – Figuring Out Your Lifetime Customer Value (LCV)

Depending on your business model, getting a new client or customer from SEO might pay you well later, even if you’re losing money now.

If so, you should factor that into the equation.

For example, you charge $500 monthly for your service, and you pay your SEO expert $1500 a month.

If your expert SEO consultant only generates one new client for you a month, it will take three months for you to break even from their efforts.

If a new customer is worth $100, getting that same new client a month will take 15 months to break even.

So the price point you charge your customers determines your ROI from SEO spending.

  1. What is a new customer worth to your business for the lifetime of your relationship with the client?
  2. Will the current math eventually work in your favor?
  3. Do your profit margins make it a gamble worth taking?

Doing this homework will give you all the information you need on whether or not to keep paying your current SEO expert.

Step Four – Determining If It’s Time to Fire Your SEO expert

Now we’re getting into the nitty-gritty of the post.

Should you fire your expert SEO consultant or give them more time?

This is where you’ll find out.

Did Your SEO expert Submit a Plan to You When You First Hired Them?

If your current SEO submitted a plan for you to generate profit from SEO to you, go ahead and pull it up now. Check to see if they followed the program.

There are only so many ways to generate profit from SEO. Not having a profit plan is a sure sign they do not know how to generate ROI for you.

If your SEO expert still needs to submit a plan, how do they hope to deliver SEO ROI to you?

If they DID NOT submit a plan, chances are good that giving them more time and money on your campaign WILL NOT result in profit for you.

I recommend NOT giving such an SEO expert more time and money.

If they did submit a plan, you can proceed further into your audit of their work.

Did the Professional SEO Consultant Stick to the Original Plan They Submitted to You?

Many times SEO experts scrap an SEO plan if it isn’t generating the results they want from it.

That’s fine if your SEO did that, provided they stuck with their original plan for longer than a few months.

An SEO that cannot follow their plan is not looking to earn ROI for you; they are only in it to benefit themselves with your SEO budget.

Trying to rank your web pages and hoping you profit from them is not a good plan.

If your professional SEO consultant submitted an SEO plan but did very little to implement it, giving them more time and money is a mistake.

Fire them.

If they have worked on their plan, you can dig even deeper.

Should You Accept a New Plan from Your SEO expert?

Has your SEO expert given you a new strategy on what they will do with the extra time and money you give them?

If not, what metrics are they improving that make them feel their current system is working?

How much extra time and money do they say they need from you before you start getting a positive SEO ROI?

Did the SEO experts give you a time estimate for results in their initial proposal?

Did they provide you with case studies before you hired them? Did those studies mention how long it took to get those results? Did they use the same plan on those campaigns as they are doing for you?

How much experience do they have in your niche or industry?

How many sales a month do you need before getting a positive ROI from what you are paying your current SEO team?

What should you tell your SEO when they claim that their efforts have increased organic traffic to your website?

Tell them that the news makes you happy, but how much revenue did that extra traffic put in your pocket?

What are the conversion rates on the pages that increased in traffic?

What are your plans to convert that extra traffic into positive ROI for me?

If your SEO expert shows you evidence that you have more page-one rankings due to their efforts, ask them the same questions listed above.

If they have generated even a little ROI for you, giving them more time to work on their plan might make sense.

If so, how much? If you made it this far in the post, you already figured those numbers out.

Has that number grown for you when they have worked on the plan?

It would be best if you answered these questions before agreeing to give your SEO more time and money.

Has the SEO expert Attacked the Low-hanging Fruit in Your Campaign?

One of our first strategies when working on a new campaign for an SEO client is to find the fastest low-hanging fruit opportunities we can capitalize on to generate ROI for the client.

These opportunities include:

  • Content ranking on the bottom of page one or page two on Google already
  • Fixing all your 404 pages that have backlinks
  • Pruning the content on your site not getting traffic to simplify it and make it easier for Google to understand

If your SEO expert hasn’t done this work yet, it’s a sign that you must quit working with them.

Did the SEO expert Add Marketing Teeth to the Pages Getting the Most Traffic?

Chances are good that some of your content is already getting traffic from Google.

Adding marketing teeth to this content means adding banners, offers, and calls to action that prompt conversion to paying customers.

It’s not SEO, but it is easy to do and will help you generate a profit faster.

If your SEO expert cared about getting you a higher return on your investment, they would have done this work for you.

We do it in the first month of service to our clients.

How to Dodge the Red Herrings Your SEO experts Throw In Your Face

A red herring is something that misleads or distracts from animportant question.

Here’s an example of one.

“Why are you arresting me for shoplifting? Shouldn’t you be out catching the real crooks? Someone could be carjacking an innocent old lady right now!”

Once you let your SEO expert know you’re not happy with the ROI you have gotten from their efforts, they might throw some “results” at you.

Unless the results put money in your bank account, you should consider them as red herrings.

This is where you need to stand firm in your audit of their work.

If your SEO expert boasts about results, do they offer proof? Or do they speak in generalities? Real SEOs generate tangible results and do not have to speak in generalities.

Do the page one keyword rankings they get for other clients generate positive ROI? If not, keep the SEO from claiming them as wins.Such campaigns are losing campaigns.

Organic Traffic Increases

Your professional SEO consultant might show proof from a Google Analytics screenshot that they have increased your search engine traffic on your site.

If so, ask them the following questions.

Did We Earn A Positive ROI from Those Rank Increases?

If they answer yes, ask them how much. Once you get to this point, you already know the answer because you did your homework.

Let them know you’re looking for positive ROI, not mere rank increases.

Rank Improvements

Again, how much $$$ did the improvements generate for you?

The Number of Ranking SEO Search Terms Increased

That’s great. How much money did it make you compared to what you paid to get the increases?

Increased Organic Traffic Value

Your answer here will be the same. Ask your experienced SEO expert how much of that increased traffic value translated into actual dollars in your bank account.

Domain Rating Increases

SEO tools such as Ahrefs, Open Explorer, and SemRush offer ratings for how popular they think any given domain happens to be.

Those ratings have nothing to do with the traffic hitting your site, let alone how much money comes in from organic traffic.

Tell your SEO expert you want profits in your pockets, not increases to your domain rating.

Click-thru Rate Improvement

Getting an increase in click-through rating is generally something that will translate into extra traffic hitting your website.

But again, if it’s not putting money in your bank account, it isn’t a valuable enough accomplishment to warrant giving your SEO expert more time and money.

Goal Conversion Increase from Search Engine Traffic

If your SEO expert sets up goal conversion tracking, they might show you proof that their work is improving those numbers from month to month.

But not all marketing goals are created equal. Some might be getting prospects to stay on your website longer. While others will be the number of leads, your site generates for you from organic traffic.

The latter would be more valuable to your business.

But the ultimate goal of your site is to pave the way for your business to make $$$.

Let your SEO expert know that fact.

Stay In Control of the Conversation

Don’t get intimidated by SEO jargon your professional SEO consultant uses as evidence they know more than you do. It is not up to you to learn SEO.

Your SEO investment money is earning you a positive ROI, or it isn’t.

So forget domain ratings, Ahrefs organic value, and improved keywords.

Either you’re making money from the relationship or losing it.

Why not judge them by organic traffic increases? Some traffic is more valuable to your business than others.

Business is business.

Why You Should Be Wary of Signing Contracts with SEO Agencies

As I stated at the beginning of the resource, only a small portion of SEO experts can earn you a positive ROI from what you pay them.

Why do most SEO agencies make you sign lengthy contracts to work with them?

They like getting paid!

For the most part, they know you’re going to be unhappy with the ROI of your SEO campaign.

They are protecting their interests with the contract, not yours.

So don’t let them fool you.

What to Do Before Firing Your Current SEO expert?

By this stage of the post, you have decided whether or not to quit working with your professional SEO consultant.

If you have decided to fire your current experienced SEO expert, you must protect your business before letting them know your decision.

The last thing you want is the person taking revenge on your website or marketing accounts.

So do these things before firing them:

  • Change website password
  • Change social password
  • Change the Google ad password
  • Change the c-panel password
  • Change domain registrar password
  • Change Google password
  • Delete the user account on your site and credit their content to the admin
  • Change the password to your rank tracker
  • Change the password to the SEO tools you added them on
  • Remove from Google Analytics (do this one last); they get notified when you do it

I’m not saying your experienced SEO expert will react to your firing them in a vengeful way, but after working in this industry for as long as I have, I have seen some nasty stuff take place.

We’re talking about your livelihood here, so showing some caution here is good and will only protect you.

It’s better to be safe than sorry.

What You Should Look for In Your Next SEO Expert

Any legitimate SEO expert wants to earn you a positive ROI as quickly as possible.

That way, you’ll keep working with them and give them fewer hassles.

Such full-service agencies will want to know whether it’s even possible to get you a 3X or more return on your investment with them.

If it doesn’t look workable for you to get 3x ROI, they will pass on the job.

So be careful of working with any SEO expert who doesn’t ask you what it will take for them to generate that ROI for you.

Find someone else if they don’t mention your ROI in your initial meeting with them.

 

Establish Stop Losses In Your SEO Campaign

The last thing you want to do is find yourself in a situation similar to the one you’re in now.

Setting up stop losses before hiring a new experienced SEO expert will help keep that from happening.

What are some stop losses points you should consider?

Perhaps you kill the campaign if it hasn’t produced a positive ROI for you in three months after hiring a new expert.

Or you could make that time six months.

Your answer to that depends on your SEO goals, location, and other factors.

Establishing a stop loss in your campaign will protect you from wasting more of your SEO budget than you need to lose.

It’s also a great way to keep a small loss from turning into a colossal tragedy for your business.

Get the Right Kind of Weekly Reports from Your New SEO expert

A great way to monitor the efforts of your SEO freelance consultant is to get them to update you on their efforts at the end of every week.

What to insist your SEO experts include in their weekly reports to you:

  • Link to their current SEO Strategy
  • Steps they took that week to implement that strategy
  • Number of link outreach messages they sent out that week
  • New inbound links earned from outreach
  • Are they on track to hit their quarterly business goals? If not, why?

How Can My SEO Agency Help Put More Profits In Your Pockets from SEO?

Our first goal would be to plan how to generate enough extra revenue to fund our service fees.

To do that, we implement what we call The Your SEO Squad Difference on your campaign.

Why do we first focus on getting your SEO ROI to 1x? First off, it gives you the money to pay for our services. We like to earn our keep with our clients fast.

Also, if we can get you a 1x return, we will be able to get you 3x or higher. If that turns out to be the case, the sooner we hit that number, the better.

At 1x, the campaign becomes far more buoyant in the search engines and generates money-making momentum we can exploit for bigger profits for you.

It sets the stage for getting you to a 3x or better ROI.

The key here, though, is we focus on making you money, not mere rank improvements.

SEO is a subset of business development, which means money has to get generated. This generating of money is what we’re all about at our agency.

SEO theorists want to impress you with their knowledge.

SEO priests want to impress you with how well they quote Google’s best practices to you.

Content strategists masquerading as SEOs want to impress you with their fresh content.

Other SEO agencies want to impress you with how fast they can rank some of your search terms.

Our agency is all about earning positive ROI for you. That’s our goal and what we do.

Your current dedicated SEO expert may also be able to get you to page one for your search terms but will let you figure out whether you make money from it.

That’s not how we operate.
Make Sure to Download the Free Cheat Sheet and SEO Playbook Library That Comes with this How to Hire an SEO Expert Resource

Sweet, you finished the post. What’s your next step? Implementing what you learned in it is easier than ever if you download our bonus companion cheat sheet.

You can grab it for free right here:

https://yourseosquad.com/free-cheat-sheet-on-working-with-seo-providers/

You’ll also receive free access to our entire library of SEO playbooks.

Inside the library, you will find individual playbooks that will walk you through every type of SEO problem you could encounter.