One of my goals on this website is to offer actionable marketing tactics that you can implement. That’s why you’ll find screenshots (and in the future more videos) demonstrating the step-by-step process for whatever topic I’m writing about.
Because I’m in search of actionable guidance for you, that means I’ve also been researching and trying to learn from other people.
I take in what they say and verify if they are indeed working or not.
As the famous saying goes…
Absorb what is useful, discard what is useless and add what is specifically your own.Bruce Lee
One of the things I noticed is there are a lot of SEO consultants who make big promises to bring you thousands of revenues and traffic to your site in a short span of time.
I wouldn’t exactly call them frauds, but you should be wary if you come across these digital marketing experts.
Here are a few warning signs to look out for:
- Highlight results from 3+ years ago
- You find them via ads, not on search engines
- Their content promises you big results without actually telling you what it is
- They have a cool sounding name for their services or techniques
- Their proposed strategy is to build funnels
- No mention of keyword research and content
Let’s dive right in.
They Highlight Search Engine Rankings and Results from 3+ Years Ago
Search engine optimization can be a complicated field, and since search engines are constantly updating their algorithms, SEO consultants must continuously adapt to new strategies. Because of this, the duties of an SEO consultant are inherently complex and require a firm understanding of what search engines are looking for when ranking websites for keywords.
That means what worked a year ago, might not work today.
What worked for another industry, might not work for yours.
This is why you should be wary of hiring an SEO consultant whose main pitch is how he/she cracked search engine rankings more than 3 years ago. Or how their organic traffic grew then.
Sure, it speaks of their ability to achieve results in the past.
I’m a firm believer in the adage, “past behavior is the best predictor of future behavior.”
If they were able to achieve results then, there’s a high chance they can do it again.
But there’s also a possibility that they can’t.
Remember, SEO best practices change all the time. If they stick with what they did before and don’t try out new things, they will eventually get left behind.
What got you here won’t get you there.
So, if you’re looking to hire an SEO consultant or want follow their recommendations, ask for recent results—within a year or two.
It doesn’t matter if the recent results aren’t in the same magnitude as their previous ones. What matters is they are constantly experimenting and trying new tactics.
It IS getting increasingly harder to grow your organic traffic and increase your rankings on Google. But what matters most is they do not stand still. They keep on improving and learning and trying out new things.
You Find These SEO Consultants via Ads (Usually on Social Media), Not on Search Engine Results
The next warning sign you have to watch out for is where you find these SEO consultants or SEO experts.
A lot of marketers are relying on ads. And there is absolutely nothing wrong with advertising.
Now, this might be just me nitpicking but if you’re claiming you’ve cracked ranking on Google, shouldn’t I find you on the first page Google search results?
It’s like someone selling you some fitness equipment but the person isn’t fit at all. Or someone convincing you to try some sort of diet for weight loss but looks like he needs to follow his own advice.
There’s a huge disconnect.
And this goes the same for these people selling SEO consultancy services.
If you can’t find information about them organically, especially if they keep claiming how much money they helped their clients (usually through their private Facebook group and show you tons of screenshots of success stories), be cautious.
Don’t get me wrong.
They may be legitimate and absolutely good at what they do. But they may as well be fake. So be wary of them.
Their Content (Usually a Video) Promises You Results Without Telling You How to Get It Until You Pay Them
The next warning sign you should look out for is for the content or message that rambles on and on.
You usually see this on funnel pages or videos (or what’s known as video sales letters/VSLs).
It usually goes something like this:
- Let me tell you how this simple strategy can get you X revenues in just 2 weeks.
- Take a look at this client who sign up a week ago and got this result.
- Take a look at this testimonial from John (they’ll usually provide names and screenshot their comment) from our private Facebook group.
- They all applied this strategy and in 2 weeks got these amazing results.
- Take a look at this dashboard—which shows how much money they made online—this strategy is real. I’m not making it up.
- I’m going to tell you exactly how to do this. It’s amazing how much revenue/profit/leads you can get by following this simple strategy
- But before that, here are couple more people we’ve helped and who are constantly saying how this changed their lives
Does this script sound familiar?
They’ll then go on to say something about the investment and how much a steal it is for the value you’ll be getting. They’ll close off their video or article with a spiel like this:
- As you can see, those who joined this program got over $50,000 revenues in 6 months on average
- If you paid $5,000 which is 10% of your return, do you think this will be a valuable investment?
- But that’s not even close to how much this program costs
- Would investing $2,000 to get you a $50k return, would that be a good investment?
- Even if you only earned half of the average at $25k, do you think this program is a steal at that price?
- But for you, only in the next 30 minutes, getting access to this program only costs $997
Again, I’m not saying that these people are there to take your money.
But I’d be cautious of experts who use this spiel.
I believe in providing value for free in order to prove that you really know what you’re doing.
From my experience, if all you talk about is how great you are (like the example above), what you offer actually sucks or doesn’t work for most people.
Their SEO Strategy Has a Cool-Sounding Name
Look, I’m not against using this branding tactic.
In fact, I also apply this on my post about how you can use the Pincer Method to generate results you desperately need now while laying the groundwork for future sustainable growth.
At the end of the day, all you need to understand is the main principles behind these strategies.
Don’t fall for the blueprints, masterclasses, funnels, or whatever name these so-called experts use.
I recently came across one such strategy. It has a very hip name.
I fell for it.
I signed up and attended a webinar.
It’s a cool-sounding name that’s referencing a sport. It’s the first time I’ve heard of it. So I assumed it was original.
I’m not going to say the name because one search and they’ll immediately show up.
Let’s just call it the “Road to Greatness” strategy. It involves:
- A keyword research process (good)
- Shows you before-and-after search engine rankings in the last two years (good)
- Doesn’t involve link building (interesting)
- Covers proper internal linking (something a lot don’t tackle)
After two days, I attended the webinar and listed with an open mind.
But after revealing the contents of the Road to Greatness strategy, they were talking about content pillars/hubs and how it increased their traffic and revenues.
I wasted 30 minutes of my life.
The good thing is the person actually revealed the strategy and offered actual tips you can use and takeaway (unlike so many others, see my point above).
If you want to learn more about that topic, check out HubSpot’s guide to creating topic clusters, or a bunch of other articles out there about content hubs.
I’ll give them props for coming up with a great name, though.
Their Answer to Everything Is to Build Funnels
Search engine optimization is a long-term approach.
Yes, you can get quick wins, but if they only offer to you consists of building funnels, that’s a sign to raise your guards up.
I’m a fan of funnels. Don’t get me wrong.
In fact, I still use the concept to guide what I do. But they aren’t the silver bullet you might be expecting.
Marketing consultants often claim them as the solution to everything, but that is rarely the case.
If you plan on continuously paying to drive traffic to your site, then, by all means, apply these funnels.
But if you are a sensible marketer where you realize that paid ads are simply there to help you with short-term results, then you have to do something else while building these funnels.
What these experts don’t tell you is that your website (where your funnel will be hosted on) needs to get three things spot-on:
- A fast website because speed affects your rankings. This includes excellent technical SEO and on-page optimization.
- High-quality content
- Relevant backlinks and here’s how you can do that for less than 30 minutes a day.
Again, if you don’t mind relying on paid search or search engine marketing (SEM) to keep your business afloat, these are perfect for you.
But if you’re like most people, I’m pretty sure you don’t want to continuously pay to play.
Funnels are great because the concept is to automate the way you get traffic then have a way to nurture them until they buy.
But without laying the groundwork for future organic growth, you will lose in the long-run. Taking away from the future should never be your go-to strategy.
This is exactly what I described in the Pincer Method where you can get results now BUT you have to lay the foundation for future growth.
If their proposed strategies and tactics don’t cover anything about organic and sustainable growth, run the other way.
If they don’t address laying a good foundation such as fixing your website errors and speeding it up, you won’t get results.
What will happen later on is they will tell you that the results aren’t guaranteed and results differ.
In other words, they put the blame back to you.
They Don’t Mention Anything About Keyword Research and Content
A holistic digital marketing strategy involves increasing your organic traffic to bring you new leads constantly which leads to sustainable revenues.
If the expert you’re following doesn’t tackle those areas, better watch out.
The only proven way to achieve consistent and sustainable growth is through organic traffic. That’s traffic coming from search engines like Google.
And it starts with the proper keyword research and audit of your website.
Content is at the heart of every online experience.
If you don’t have any content that addresses your target market’s problems and needs, you have little to no chance of ranking online.
According to one of the most well-known SEO consultants out there, Neil Patel, 93% of online experiences start with a search engine.
If you don’t have the budget for paid ads and they don’t address content, you will not rank on page 1.
That’s why if you don’t tackle keyword research and content creation, you’re screwed.
Find out how you can create high-quality content every single time in this guide.
Last 4 May 2020, Google released a core algorithm update. It will take 1-2 weeks before things stabilize so you should expect fluctuations in your rankings during this time.
The reason why I mentioned this is this: SEO is constantly changing.
If the strategies you’re trying to implement is the same one that’s been used 5 years ago, chances are, it may no longer be as effective.
That’s why you have to be vigilant when trying to learn from other SEO consultants.
If you want to gain more traffic and rank higher on search results, you have to focus on the basics. That is the ticket to competing.
Don’t expect to rank on Google if you don’t meet those criteria.
What do you think?
Did you follow recommendations by other digital marketing gurus and didn’t get any results?
Or maybe you did and achieved outstanding growth?
I’d love to know.