John Murch

Why not every SEOer is a snake oil salesman

14 Mar 2009
Why not every SEOer is a snake oil salesman

Seriously people, I HATE it when people say “oh you do search engine optimization, so you sell snake oil.” WHAT!?!?!

People, creating strategies to help improve ranking of a website required both technical (html/css, maybe even a programing language to understand how to dynamically display data) and the art/science behind the understanding of search engines.

It’s not 2001 where you could just build thousands of backlinks and boom, rank high for any keyword you want. Times have changed and strategies are required as well as tools to help understand WHY you are NOT ranking high and WHY others are ranking HIGHER then YOU!

Here at SXSWi 2009 I was just blown away by talking to a person who associated snake oil with SEO. I understand there are people who guarantee #1 ranking, which is a MAJOR WARNING FLAG! NO ONE CAN GUARANTEE A RANKING FOR A GIVEN KEYWORD, you can TRY, but since Google and the other search engines are constantly changing their algorithms, then you need to be constantly changing your SEO plan.

SEO is not a one time thing, it requires constant monitoring and updating. Remember when someone says guarantee #1 ranking, ask them on what word? How much estimated traffic does that keyword phrase get? I have no problem explaining all that I do and my background, but if you are going to judge someone before you understand their skill set well then you are someone I DO NOT want to associate myself with.

I could go on and on with this topic, but here are 3 major questions you MUST ask any person who claims to be an SEO expert. Think about it, you would NEVER hire a designer if you haven’t seen any of their work. You can’t even get a freaking hair cut without seeing a hairdresser with their certification next to their chair.

Common Questions you MUST ask any SEOer.

  • Can you HAND CODE? If you PLAN to optimize a website, you NEED to know some HTML code
  • What is one interesting thing you have done with a search engine? Need some ideas, ask have you Ranked high for a high traffic keyword? Own all websites that rank on the first page for a specific keyword? Any Google Bombing? Maybe even improve ranking for other pages to lower the ranking of a negative comment about your clients? And Last of course for those who still think I sell snake oil. (ever hear of a Search Engine Results Page, ie. SERP?) Checkout define:serp on Google.
  • Lastly, Do you rank #1 for your name? Yes,#1 for John Murch

So for any of those who STILL think SEO is a snake oil salesman job, please DON’T TALK TO ME or waste my time.

Update: Was going through my analytics and found I rank high for define:no follow. This isn’t the interesting part, the fact that ~12,100+ people search that a month, as well as has some advertisement competition, interesting.

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