Illustration by Emily Carlton.
I’ve had the dubious pleasure of dealing with several self-proclaimed “SEO experts” over the years. They are usually hired by our clients and need to work with us to get various changes implemented.
The thing is we're not a company that just blindly follows directions. Software development is an expensive and deliberate process. When it comes to demands from SEO experts, I vet them thoroughly before even thinking about writing any code.
Dealing with SEO experts requires us to be disciplined and scientific. If someone recommends a course of action I want to see evidence of why this should be followed. Not just any evidence will do. It must come from an official source: Google themselves or someone highly credible who currently or recently worked at Google. Anything else I assume is speculation.
Every SEO expert is willing to sell you their advice but the reality is, a lot of advice is ineffectual and sometimes even harmful.
Deciding to hire an SEO is a big decision that can potentially improve your site and save time, but you can also risk damage to your site and reputation. Make sure to research the potential advantages as well as the damage that an irresponsible SEO can do to your site.
“Do you need an SEO?” - Google
Let me give you an example about how easy it is to waste time and money.
An SEO expert hired by one of our clients claimed that having the site hosted on an IP address shared with other websites was hurting their search engine rankings. They told the client we should move the site to a dedicated IP address. This change would have required not just our time to move the site, but the hosting cost itself would quadruple.
We could have just said “fine” and gone ahead, but we didn’t. I wanted to see proof that this would really make a difference. What did I find? A post from Google’s Head of Web Spam, Matt Cutts completely debunking the whole concept several years earlier: “Myth busting: virtual hosts vs. dedicated IP addresses”
Needless to say, our client was relieved to have avoided such a costly change.
SEO is fairly straightforward. It’s not at all magic. Here are four great places to get accurate information:
- “Do you need an SEO” by Google
- “Search Engine Optimization Guide” by Google
- “Webmater Central Blog” by Google
- “Webmaster Guidelines” by Google
If you have a website take the time to read these resources. It’ll be well worth your while.
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