I build websites. SEOs do not, so how can they claim to know better than me?
I'm on a variety of mailing lists and receive newsletters from a number of different sources, mostly just to keep in touch with what's out there, currently in vogue, and to see what other people are being told about my trade.
Some of the mail I get is little more than blatant self promotion, disguised as a guide to a topic, or solution to a given problem. Most of these messages are about Search Engine Optimization, and they more often than not contain some huge misunderstandings, bad reasoning, and poor knowledge of the internet. In some cases, they contain out and out falsehoods that have been propagated around the net for years.
It seems to me that many proponents of SEO are largely unacquainted with technical standards, (HTML for example), know little about style sheets or scripting, and their whole skill set relies on their ability to correctly select appropriate words to describe their clients business.
Normally I'm a 'live and let live' kind of person - but there's something about SEOs that really winds me up.
Clients come to me with extraordinary ideas about how their webpage ought to work, look, or what it ought to contain - and where. When I delicately query them as to the source of the shiny little nugget of knowledge that they're proudly showing off - or worse insisting upon - it's been with only one exception a former relationship with an SEO specialist.
Here's an example of the kind of badly described and imprecise twaddle - that a client will wholly misunderstand - that I see several times per week:
New website owners and existing website owners alike consistently make a very common, yet extremely costly mistake. They find a web designer first and then an SEO second.
Our author is correct, a costly mistake is in the offing, but it's the hiring of an SEO *period* that's the mistake.
If your average SEO had a design degree, programming skills and knowledge of accessibility concerns, we wouldn't mind them being in charge of project. Mind you, they'd probably be a web designer if they did.
Make sure that when you register your website's address that you register it for at least 5 years. Sites that register their site for a short amount of time send up a red flag at Google, who end up thinking that site site has been registered short-term in the hopes of helping another website, that is owned by the same person/company, to rank well by linking to it.
Riiiight. Our author is under the impression that Google will penalise you for registering your domain name for 2 years. This is patently bollocks. BOLLOCKS I tell you.
This is one of the most overlooked yet important things that you can do to ensure that your SEO campaign is a success. By eliminating dynamic parameters within your website's URLs, you are ensuring that search engine bots will have no problems indexing all of your pages...*
*I can't be bothered to copy in the rest, it's such tripe.
1) It's not overlooked, it's almost the first thing an SEO will tell a client. In fact they go on about it so much they've written books about it. 2) Search engines got over their allergy to URLs with parameters ages ago. 3) Any search engine that can't read dynamic URLs probably isn't much use, and likely won't drive much business to you. 4) Clients don't hear "dynamic URLs with parameterised queries are bad" they hear "dynamic pages are bad". Then we have to spend whole days explaining why dynamic pages aren't bad.
Ideally you want to define all aesthetic properties that different types of text on your site are going to have in a separate CSS file. This means that you want to avoid using as many tags as possible, especially font, size and color tags.
Oh dear. Our SEO came so close to sense then, my heart leapt. Then he showed his lack of knowledge by talking about tags. [sigh]. I'm not sure whether he means "use as little HTML as possible" or "use less tags" - if he means that latter, then which ones are we allowed to use?
(I'd recommend avoiding PHP altogether, myself, but I'm sure I'd offend someone by doing so. So I won't.)
This tip hints at a common programming dilemma "shall I slap together any old bollocks, or shall I do it properly." It has nothing to do with SEO though.
The writing within the body of your site is one of the most important areas for you or your Optimizer to help your site increase it's rankings. Ensuring that either of you can edit it at your own convenience is extremely critical to the entire SEO campaign. This because from time to time search engine algorithms will change, and that might mean that a strategy that was implemented in the past might not suffice, so you must be able to change it to keep up with the most up to date SEO techniques.
The dubious tactics we used in the past might get you into trouble when the search engines work out what we did.
I've decided to expose the 'Myth of SEO' and offer up some fool proof and money saving information GUARANTEED** to get your site into the Top Ten of any search. Ready? Here it is:
Don't hire an SEO, hire a copywriter.
They'll be cheaper and better qualified, and definitely have a measurable skill that the average web designer doesn't. Unlike SEOs.
The search engines are engaged in a battle with the SEOs, one tries to produce the results that humans would want to see, the other competes with them and everyone else to force their clients to the top. Unscrupulously filling the net with spammy nonsensical pages of meaningless text (that has a link to your website).
You can either get into the see-saw battle, and have to pay your SEO every 3 months to tweak your site, betting on the high risk strategy of short term traffic (versus getting sin-binned by Google and disappearing completely).
Or, you could just try to build the best site you can - focusing on customer/user experience and trying to write the most accurate description of you and your business, and the best copy that a user can read. Get this right and you won't have to change it.
Any web designer that doesn't know about the head meta tags (title, keywords and description) needs to go back to school - you ain't a web designer.
Get these things right and the acronym SEO will never need to pass your lips.
Stop paying these people, and help us help you get better search results.
**I'm kidding. Don't sue me.
Please feel free to add your own favourite SEO sales pitch quotes (or flagrant displays of ignorance, if you prefer).