Home Forums Tech talk The current state of the SEO industry and how you can avoid getting burnt

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  • #1172077
    Cesar
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    From my own experience, I know that implementing high quality online marketing to reach my targeted customer, requires many hours per month. These days, you cannot cut-corners like the old days, where it was about building and spamming links.

    Considering, the hours I put in on a monthly basis, $1000 is quite reasonable for quality. This would only apply though, if I can physically see what work is being carried out on a monthly basis. As I said before, if the fee you are paying is giving you the desired results, you are on to a good thing.

    Honestly, I would be very sceptical of anyone offering quality work charging around $300 per month.

    #1172078
    JohnW
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    Cesar, post: 200118 wrote:
    Honestly, I would be very sceptical of anyone offering quality work charging around $300 per month.
    Hi Cesar,
    Again, it depends on what SEO services are wanted.

    I have some clients who have the basics of SEO down OK. They write their own content, publish their own pages and implement their own on-page SEO.

    What they want is an occasional review (perhaps 3 monthly) by someone with more knowledge to advise on how they are going and to make some suggestions for further improvements that they can implement themselves.

    I (and I presume others) can provide this sort of SEO/Internet marketing support for less than $300 per month without compromising my usual hourly rate.
    Regs,
    JohnW

    #1172079
    Cesar
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    JohnW, post: 200145 wrote:
    I (and I presume others) can provide this sort of SEO/Internet marketing support for less than $300 per month without compromising my usual hourly rate.

    John buddy,

    The $300 fee, was referring to individuals looking for someone to look after their whole marketing requirements .i.e content, social and adwords. Reviewing their progress and ongoing advice would suffice for the D-I-Y, but for the ones not adept for this kind of work, $300 would be very “SUS” for someone to suggest they will receive quality work.

    #1172080
    JohnW
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    Cesar, post: 200150 wrote:
    John buddy,

    The $300 fee, was referring to individuals looking for someone to look after their whole marketing requirements .i.e content, social and adwords. Reviewing their progress and ongoing advice would suffice for the D-I-Y, but for the ones not adept for this kind of work, $300 would be very “SUS” for someone to suggest they will receive quality work.
    Hi Cesar,
    I know you meant that and I agree with you.

    I’m sure many FSs are confused about what SEO is.

    As a result I often get very pedantic on their behalf. :)

    That’s why I get overly cautious when people talk “SEO services” without definition because SEO is not one function like changing a tyre but an infinite range of tasks that may be implemented over various time frames.
    Regs,
    JohnW

    #1172081
    Cesar
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    JohnW, post: 200184 wrote:
    That’s why I get overly cautious when people talk “SEO services” without definition because SEO is not one function like changing a tyre but an infinite range of tasks that may be implemented over various time frames.

    That is the whole point of this thread John, to teach people what is value and what is not.

    The regular Internet marketing contributors here on FS, which includes JohnR, clearly define their step-by-step strategical marketing services so that the customer knows exactly what they are getting for their money. In turn, they have phone support, monthly reports with a professionally laid out plan to see how they are progressing.

    Hopefully, BB1 and his private message entourage can see “The Light Now”.

    #1172082
    pauls
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    JohnW, post: 200145 wrote:
    Hi Cesar,
    Again, it depends on what SEO services are wanted.

    I have some clients who have the basics of SEO down OK. They write their own content, publish their own pages and implement their own on-page SEO.

    What they want is an occasional review (perhaps 3 monthly) by someone with more knowledge to advise on how they are going and to make some suggestions for further improvements that they can implement themselves.

    I (and I presume others) can provide this sort of SEO/Internet marketing support for less than $300 per month without compromising my usual hourly rate.
    Regs,
    JohnW

    More Australian businesses irrespective of size should be taking this approach.
    It would definitely save them a lot of grief and ensure efforts and outcomes are maximised.

    #1172083
    Jason G
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    Some very solid points here.

    In regards to pricing for FULL SEO services and implementation – If people don’t want to invest in their business to reach more customers – they need to do some evaluating.

    Let me put it this way:

    If you knew solid SEO and CRO could give you 20 extra calls per month, 20 extra emails or 20 new leads; how much would you be prepared to pay? What do you feel would be a fair price to pay?

    #1172084
    MD Clean
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    Here is an Epic Blog Post On Backlinking/

    It is a step by step guide on how to build Google friendly backlinks in 2014. A Must read and it will dispell any myths that white hat tactics can be done quickly.

    #1172085
    JohnW
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    MD Clean, post: 200550 wrote:
    Here is an (smartpassiveincome.com/backlinking-strategy-2014-beyond) Epic Blog Post On Backlinking.

    It is a step by step guide on how to build Google friendly backlinks in 2014. A Must read and it will dispell any myths that white hat tactics can be done quickly.
    Hi Paul,
    The WWW’s biggest problem is ACCURACY of information.

    I don’t mean to demean your contribution but IMHO the article referenced is out of date, ill-informed and offering a lot of misinformation about links and SEO.

    The problem was that the further I read the article, the hotter under the collar I became – Please forgive my escalating rant below.

    Let me offer my comments on various elements of the article that concerned me…

    1. Article date & Author: 1 Oct 2014
    While the article is new, its SEO references are years old and way out of date.

    It is a “link bait” article aimed at folk with limited SEO knowledge and written by someone with limited knowledge of SEO. Go check out the author’s “About” page. He was a “job captain” (whatever that is) in an architecture firm until 2008.

    Here are some examples of the article’s limitations.

    2. “SEO Is Still All About Links”

    Absolute garbage!

    SEO is “all about” attracting the most relevant SE referrals with the available resources and that means pages of relevant content about the searcher’s info query.

    SEO was ALL ABOUT RELEVANT CONTENT before there was a Google and all Google did was develop an alternative way of identifying it.

    Most SE referrals are NOT lost because there are not enough links to a page, they are lost because businesses don’t have a page of content on their site that qualifies for most search queries.

    It never has been “all about links”. It has always been about content. Links can only support content.

    The most successful site I can name in terms of its number of top ranked search phrases has never had a link building program and there are virtually no useful links to it to this day.

    It ranks #1 for its primary search term and ranked below it are pages published on sites like Gumtree and ABC.net.au.

    3. “Moz’s most recent “Search Engine Ranking Factors” study found that 18 of the 19 top ranking signals were backlink-related”
    The article is quoting a 2 year old reference that is a SURVEY not a STUDY based on the opinions of a bunch of self selected SEOs. This SURVEY is not fact.

    On top of that, there have been more dramatic Google changes in the last 2 years than in its entire previous history. Even the company that published the survey had to totally reposition itself and its SEO services over this time period.

    4. “Focus on Building Links From Authority Sites”

    PIG SWILL!!!! PIG SWILL!!!! PIG SWILL!!!!

    What you need to do is focus on building links from sites whose content relates to your product, service or target customer and who are located in the same relevant location as your site.

    I defy anyone to identify useful link target sites based on some trumped up calculation of “site authority” or “domain authority”.

    To revert to the site referenced in point 2 above that ranked top of its primary search phrase, here are some trumped up “domain authority” numbers provided by one frequently used SEO tool…

    Ref. Site: Google Rank #1
    Domain authority = 5
    No. referring domains = 8
    No. backlinks = 27

    Google Rank #3: Gumtree.com.au
    Domain authority = 65
    No. referring domains = 12,000
    No. backlinks = 141,000

    Google Rank #7: abc.net.au
    Domain authority = 77
    No. referring domains = 141,000
    No. backlinks = 18,000,000

    Would anyone care to explain to us the logic of seeking links primarily based on some “authority” index? (I use this example all the time with email spamming, so-called SEO companies and they all run away with their tail between their legs.)

    5. “Anchor Text Diversity”

    “Back in the day, if you wanted to rank for the keyword “green coffee mugs”, you’d want 100% of your anchor text to be “green coffee mugs”.”

    If this guy knew anything about SEO he would know that wasting time on one or a handful of keywords is inefficient SEO!

    Now G has emasculated even this simplistic tactic he has to come up with something “new” to impress us.

    Some WWW facts of life:

    a. Most external links will be to your domain name. (Google will know this.)

    b. Depending on your content strategy, the next most used anchor text is likely to include a page’s heading on your site. That means you need to choose your page headings very carefully. (It is harder than it sounds.)

    Make sure your page title, URL, meta description compliment your page heading.

    Why is he waffling on about selecting your anchor text? For valuable external links, the site owner is going to specify the link text. All you can do is try to influence them with your page heading.

    6. “Relevance is the New PR”

    WHAT? WHAT? WHAT? This confirms that this bloke is a 5 minute wonder!

    Back in Mar 1996 Bill Gates coined the phrase “content is king”. All that has changed is volume of information. Back when Google first started it indexed 24 million web pages. Now it claims there are 60 trillion documents we have to sift through to find the info that is RELEVANT to us.

    If someone thinks “relevance” is new, it can only mean they just found out about this MOST BASIC CHARACTERISIC OF THIS MEDIUM!!!! (Duh! Surely even Homer Simpson knows this.)

    What sets the WWW apart is that the information recipient is in charge of what they see or hear. If you don’t deliver info of relevance to your target audience, your info will never be seen or heard. “Relevance” has been mission critical to the WWW long before there was a Google.

    7. “Overview of the Process”

    This is his laughably ridiculous advice:
    “Find a proven topic.
    Create ONE awesome resource around that topic.
    Reach out and get your links.”

    My advice on reading this article is to quote Monty Python,

    “RUN AWAY, RUN AWAY, RUN AWAY, RUN AWAY, RUN AWAY, RUN AWAY!”

    PS: “RUN AWAY!”

    To put it another way, all this emphasis on link building is SEO bulls**t!

    Sorry, Paul. Hope I have not offended you. I’m not criticising you.
    Regs,
    JohnW

    #1172086
    pauls
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    Hey John, -I realise you meant the other Paul – I just quickly tagged in :-)

    I think that this is a conversation that is way too confusing for a non technical audience.

    I’ve skimmed over a heap of articles of late that in essence state SEO techniques are dead and that copy is king.

    The fact is that all these articles have some substance when interpreted by someone who has the industry knowledge, however when read by a novice it all gets muddled and messy.

    I’m sure you have as have I, spoken to web and social guys that are in a related industry and good at what they do, but in reading such articles are ill-informed due to their interpretation on what should be done.

    Have a great weekend everyone reading.

    #1172087
    JohnW
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    pauls, post: 200654 wrote:
    Hey John, -I realise you meant the other Paul – I just quickly tagged in :-)

    I think that this is a conversation that is way too confusing for a non technical audience.

    I’ve skimmed over a heap of articles of late that in essence state SEO techniques are dead and that copy is king.

    The fact is that all these articles have some substance when interpreted by someone who has the industry knowledge, however when read by a novice it all gets muddled and messy.
    Hi PaulS,
    You hit on an important issue with information “that is way too confusing for a non technical audience”.

    I know few people will go through the detail of comparing my comments above with the article referenced. That’s not important in my mind.

    What is most important in this particular piece of communication will include (in no particular order):

    • The volume of info provided in my post
    • The quality of communications (the grammar, page formatting and argument logic used.)
    • How many folk on FS may follow this/my post(s)
    • My FS “authority” number
    • The responses to my post

    As a communication importance factor, the sheer volume of the words I have written about the link building article is far more important than what I have actually said about the process.

    Marshall Macluhan coined the phrase in 1964, “the medium is the message”. It is still accurate in the digital world 50 years later.

    PS. Please do not “read” into my posts that SEO is dead. It is even more important than ever!

    Those who say SEO is dead are those who never knew what SEO is.
    Regs,
    JohnW

    #1172088
    MD Clean
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    JohnW, post: 200650 wrote:
    Hi Paul,
    The WWW’s biggest problem is ACCURACY of information.

    I don’t mean to demean your contribution but IMHO the article referenced is out of date, ill-informed and offering a lot of misinformation about links and SEO.

    My advice on reading this article is to quote Monty Python,

    “RUN AWAY, RUN AWAY, RUN AWAY, RUN AWAY, RUN AWAY, RUN AWAY!”

    PS: “RUN AWAY!”

    To put it another way, all this emphasis on link building is SEO bulls**t!

    Sorry, Paul. Hope I have not offended you. I’m not criticising you.
    Regs,
    JohnW

    Hi John,

    A healthy discussion is what this site is all about so no offence at all.

    A lot of the article relates to link building sure with the central premise being that link building is not dead. So if your view is that link building is a worthless proposition for SEO in every case, I would genuinely like to hear your thoughts on this.

    I think there is an important distinction to make about where Google has been, where Google is now and where Google is heading.

    Matt Cutts has stated that older, authority sites better get their house in order because times are a changing.

    Looking around Google in my industry now, there is a loooong way to go.

    What is working in Google now will not automatically work in Google in the future – there is a huge disconnect between what Google wants to be and what Google is capable (technologically) of being right now. They are a little like the Reserve Bank sending out signals to the market to try to get the market to take action without actually pulling the trigger. Right now Google aren’t pulling the trigger but one day….

    There are a lot of people wondering how to develop search friendly content that will attract relevant links and the article addresses a lot of “what’s” and “how’s”.

    But even without the links component, I think the author does a great job expressing what great content can look like if you really want to put the hours in.
    In the comments, he said that he put over 20 hours into the article and it shows. It has custom graphics, lots of charts, he quotes sources. The typography, sentence structure, overall copy and overall readability are all fantastic.

    In my corporate life, I saw sooo many examples of Leadership expressing the What without the How so when it came time to execute, failure ensued and all of the stakeholders were left unhappy.

    The article I referenced expresses a point of view AND provides the tools AND methodology to put a strategy in place so for that I say Bravo!! It doesn’t just say develop search and reader friendly articles like so many sites do, it gives plenty of examples about what that might look like – and that is the key.

    So in terms of the application of the material, if I had a site, “universitygraduatejobs.com.au” and I could write an atricle like, “The Definitive Guide To Landing A Job For Graduates”, and it was seen as a breakthrough guide and it was linked to by multiple universities, I Would be getting Good Google Juice and I Would be getting relevant traffic and the reader Would be getting relevant content.

    I haven’t come across a better “How-to” guide in my web travels – after all, the thrust of the article is about building killer content and then getting it out there for an audience that is looking for it.

    He is asked about Local Business SEO in the comments and replies that he will not answer the question due to his lack of experience and expertise so IMO, that is a good indicator that he is not trying to be everything to everyone.

    #1172089
    John Romaine
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    John I haven’t read over all of your post there, but whether you like it or not, links matter.

    #1172090
    Byron Trzeciak
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    I read the post from Pat. Honestly at his level he could pretty much generate links from a one word post so it all gets a bit warped when you get to that level. In all fairness it’s good that he updated his strategy because his old strategy mentioned article spinning and blog networks and was likely doing more harm than good.

    Here is something further to fuel the fire in this thread. These ranking factors were released by Search Metrics this month I believe. I don’t typically read into this stuff as it’s only one view and one result set but treat it as you like.

    http://www.searchmetrics.com/en/knowledge-base/ranking-factors/

    Correlation:
    An analysis used to describe differences between certain properties of URLs ranking from position 1 to 30 (without implying any causal relation between property and ranking).
    What differentiates URLs according to their ranking?

    Average Values:
    An analysis used to describe the existence or extent of certain features per position on average (allowing an interpretation of possibly more relevant factors in general).

    seo-ranking-factors-2014-big.png

    #1172091
    JohnW
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    Hi Paul,

    I certainly do not mean to infer that links are unimportant as a potential SE ranking factor.

    1. External Links DO Impact on a Page’s Ranking Sometimes
    I said above, “It never has been “all about links”. It has always been about content. Links can only support content.”

    First you need a page that qualifies for the search result list. So, if you don’t have a page that qualifies, the number of links to it won’t matter. This is where MOST SE referrals are lost – missing content.

    Then there are the words in the search phrase. If an external link has no relevance to the words in the search phrase, it has probably negligible impact on your page’s ranking.

    After that, there is the volume of competition for the search results list. At this point we need to consider the infinite number of search phrases that people may use to find info about your product/service. Now we enter into the realm of the fallacy of “frequently used keywords”. The truth is that “frequently used keywords”, AREN’T!

    Example:
    A search phrase that used to find the example site referenced earlier in the thread was, “hardwood sleepers 200×100 Rockhampton”. There are only 10 pages that Google reports that match this phrase, so none of them need any links to rank on the first page of the results.

    People will say, “Who uses an obscure search phrase like that?” The answer is about 70% of the potential customers for your product or service.

    For much of these SE referrals, links won’t matter at all.

    Then there is the 30% where they do matter…

    Now we need to get into the area of how Google assesses “link values” and how you can build them without contravening Google’s vague guidelines.

    I could probably rattle off best part of 20 different parameters that I believe Google uses to assess link values. The referenced article touches accurately on very few of them.

    The problem is that we can have very little input on these factors when the links are on someone else’s website. That is part of the reason for Google using these parameters.

    With SEO you must assess the cost-effectiveness of your tactics. In my book, you can waste more and more time chasing links for “(IN)frequently used keywords”, then every 2 years have Google knock down your limited SEO tactic and kill your referrals or, you invest in SEO tactics that are cumulative and which persist for (so far) over a decade.

    2. “I think the author does a great job expressing what great content can look like if you really want to put the hours in”

    “In the comments, he said that he put over 20 hours into the article and it shows. It has custom graphics, lots of charts, he quotes sources. The typography, sentence structure, overall copy and overall readability are all fantastic.”

    Pity he did not spend some time on “completeness”, “relevancy” and “accuracy” or on tools and strategies that are actually useful, not harmful.

    I’m sorry if I sound harsh but IMHO, this is yet another one of those articles that take a minimum of fact and spins it and twist it into a long article that is not just inaccurate it is positively DANGEROUS. If people follow these recommendations they WILL damage their site’s SE referrals.

    Let me run through some of the article subheadings…

    “Anchor text diversity”. There will be very few high value links that will allow you to specify your link text from their site.

    “Help you show Sitelinks in Google”. IMHO, this info is wrong.

    “Zero-in on editorial links”. Duh! He then lists a bunch of site types and says links from them are NOT editorial links. WRONG!!!!! This bloke can’t even get the terms right! “Editorial links” are links that are earned by virtue of the pages content. Virtually all of the lists of examples he says are NOT “editorial links” can be/will be “editorial links” (blogs, Web 2 links).

    “Overview of the Process”. WARNING! WARNING! WARNING! If you follow the process he describes it is virtually guaranteed to HURT your relevant SE referrals!

    “How to start a podcast”. WRONG AGAIN! This is not an example showing the value of external links it is an example of the ranking power of words in page titles. His page’s ranking primarily relates to the fact that its title tag is “how to start a podcast…”. If you change the search phrase to “how to start a business podcast” the page drops out of sight.

    Your comment: “AND provides the tools AND methodology to put a strategy in place“. By “tools” are you referring to the list of “Buzzsumo”, “Reddit”, “Quora”, “forums”, “Google’s first Page” (WRONG!) and “MOZ Tool Bar”? This list and the info about them are either, irrelevant, misleading, wrong or nearly useless for SEO.

    Your comment: “the thrust of the article is about building killer content“. It looked to me like its focus was on generating IRRELEVANT content.

    I could go on forever…

    We all want useful info but I have trouble finding ANY accurate info in this article. It is certainly very incomplete in its discussions.

    Paul, You have an office and business cleaning service on the Gold Coast. If you start publishing content that is based on some unrelated, “trending topic”, “WOW” factor that is NOT related to what you do, who you do it for and where they are, your SE referrals will decline as will your rankings for your relevant search terms.

    Forget ALL the rubbish this bloke spouts about “authority sites”. Look for opportunities to obtain links from local businesses. What about local chambers of commerce, local news or Gold Coast promo sites? This strategy should be able to generate more valuable links than anything suggested in the article.

    3. Where Google has been, where Google is now and where Google is heading.
    IMHO, for much of G’s past it has been heading in the same direction while continuously trying to:

    a. Generate more revenue
    b. Provide better search results.
    c. Diversify its reliance on Adword revenue

    There are a number of external factors that cropped up that changed the environment and which G had to address. These include:

    a. The data explosion
    b. The entertainment web (social media)
    c. Technological advances
    d. The mobile Internet
    e. An explosion in technically low skilled page publishing

    Given the unbelievable magnitude of external changes to its environment, I subjectively suggest that G has done and continues to do a top job of delivering relevant text based information to searchers on desktop computers.

    It can’t handle non-text based info very well – image based info, audio files or video files. This has been a HUGE info growth area with the introduction of high speed access for desktops, social media and Smartphones over the last 7(?) years.

    It still has trouble finding a user-friendly interface for the mobile web where it needs lots of space to display all its ads and its volume of text based search results.

    Being a keyboard operated site, it has useability problems for Smartphone users.

    Slow mobile web speed is also problematic. It takes too long to return mobile search results.

    Mobile web user’s are turning to apps for a lot of content delivery and thus are often by-passing the search function that G usually provides to non-mobile web users.

    I don’t know how G will solve all these problems but I bet they have $millions being spend on the answers.

    It has flagged “speed” as a factor that will become important in future ranking results. This is probably driven by slow mobile access speeds and the explosion in requests that are now needed to load a single web page. I remember a time when there was a single HTML file and it was recommended that no more than 4 x 10kb images be published per page. Now you commonly see pages with 150+ files and megabytes of data transmission needed to load them.

    Your comment: “Looking around Google in my industry now, there is a loooong way to go…”
    I don’t know what you mean by this so it is impossible to answer. Are you seeing irrelevant businesses popping up in the search results? Are you talking about businesses that are spamming the results?

    What I can tell you is that when a website is structured, designed, published appropriately and with content that anticipates the relevant information people want, it will generate relevant SE referrals and continue to do it for a long time. I’ve been in the Internet marketing business since before there was a Google and seen how well pre-Google sites ranked when G hit the search scene. I’ve also seen websites lose 60% of their traffic when they stopped using the basics of content relevance and quality. I’ve also seen link manipulators go out of business when the big G killed their pet link scheme.

    Last words…

    Sorry for this looong rant, folk. 😮

    Links are important in G’s algorithm for a significant number of searches but it is even more important to know when, where, how, for what search terms, where you want them to land on your site and if they can be implemented COST-EFECTIVELY. Did anyone read much about these issues in the article? ;)
    Regs,
    JohnW

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