For every one kick ass SEO in the industry, there are three or four horrendously awful SEOs and at least a dozen wannabe SEOs.  While horrendously awful tend to burn their bridges in the industry (and get sites penalized) before they make it, wannabe SEOs can tend to make something of themselves if they work their asses off, which will again separate the wheat from the chaffe in the SEO world.  Wanting to put the time and effort into being a good SEO?  Here are some things you should do to NOT suck as an SEO.

Fact Check
Unless you have been in the industry for several years, are constantly reading on the topic, and pretty much eat, sleep and breathe SEO, take the time to fact check everything before you post or tweet.   You want to amaze people with your brilliance not cause people to question it because you said something as fact that is false or were spouting out outdated information.  After all, there was a time when it was considered a fairly safe practice to buy links, provided they weren’t from link farms or spammy sites.  So make sure your facts are coming from trustworthy sources (link to ppl to follow on twitter) and current.  If you can’t find a date on a blog post (like many do these days, to combat the appearance that some content is stale) find a second source.

Not a Jack of All Trades
Don’t be afraid to admit something is out of your expertise. Not all of us can be amazing writers or amazing link builders.  Some are stronger technically while others are strong designers.  Not everyone can be a jack of all trades in this industry, which is why many of us work with teams instead.  If something isn’t your strong suit, suggest someone to your client that would be better suited to that particular aspect of their needs.  It is better to have the client think you are awesome in your strong areas than for them to think you are only mediocre because your writing skills or your design skills were pretty lacklustre.

Take time to smell the roses
If you are looking at your analytics for less than five minutes a day, you are doing it wrong.  Period.  Whatever flavor of analytics you are using (although Google Analytics does offer a pretty awesome and comprehensive free analytics program) you can find out immense things about your visitors.  Do you know what percentage of your traffic is from mobile devices?  If not, you better look and see if you are missing the boat on offering a mobile-friendly website.  What is your top landing page after your index page?  What social media sends the most traffic?  What forums have been linking to your site this week?  What pages in your top ten have a higher than average bounce rate and what can you do to fix that?

Know your keywords
It is all fine and dandy to ranking number one for a 5 word keyword phrase, but if only one person searches for that a month, why does it matter?  Make sure you are focusing on the keywords that can bring you in the most traffic and the most conversions because bragging to anyone about your #1 ranking for an obscure keyword combination will make you look like a clueless idiot.

Bigger picture tools
Especially if you are learning or not quite “an old hat” at SEO yet, tools can be your new best friend.  There are plenty of tools out there, if you know them and can find them, that are designed to give SEOs an advantage either in time or scope.  They can help you see the bigger picture of all kinds of data, then as you get more experienced you can drill down to what things are most important for each specific client or website.  And then don’t forget to use the tools.  We have all signed up for some cool tool and then barely used it for whatever reason.

Sure you might be writing the most brilliant blog posts of the year on your personal SEO blog.  But if you only have three people reading it, chances are almost certain that anyone who really matters in the industry will never see it.  So follow – and more importantly, interact – with people on Twitter.  Guest blog at one of the many industry blogs that take guest posts.  Pitch for conferences, even the smaller ones that might not have as many pitches.  You want to do whatever you can to get your name out there and noticed, but get noticed in a good way of course!  Which brings me to my next point.

My bad
We all screw up occasionally.  Fortunately, some of us do it with only a couple people knowing, while others will screw up so royally that it will generate hundreds or thousands of tweets about it.  If you screw up, particularly in a humiliating way that results in people calling you out and talking about it, fess up.  Whether you are saying “my bad”, or have to release a full fledged apology on your blog, do it and do it quick.  The worst thing you can do is fuck up and then be not willing to admit it, because people will remember.

So if you are stuck in that wannabe or “no quite an expert” SEO rut, consider adding things things to your daily “to do” list.  Send out a guest blog proposal every day; make a point of @reply an industry expert daily; add a few new SEO blogs to your RSS reader; sign up for a new tool every week, even if it is just a free trial – and then use it.  For every expert SEO you see, you can pretty much guarantee they did their time in the trenches doing all these things while building their reputation and client base.

Now, ready, set, GO!  And don’t suck 🙂

By seobitch

Seobitch is a pen name for a well known female expert in the SEO industry that most of you likely already follow. She has more than a dozen years experience and is a very respected expert in the field. Seobitch can be controversial but writes about issues that most people are afraid to talk about due to their employers, clients or friends. She also loves to tackle industry issues from a different point of view than what you normally see the "complainers" of the industry complaining about. She is also open to suggestions for future topics you would like to see the SEObitch tackle.

10 thoughts on “How Not to Suck as an SEO”
  1. Hi SEObitch, how about writing about how the SEO industry is just awash with self pr’ing SEO folk who spend all day on twitter promoting themselves as a brand while the real SEOs get on with the work.

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  3. Who says you can’t be good at everything 🙂 It’s down to experience in my opinion. I don’t think you can be a good SEO consultant if you don’t know how to build a website and vice versa.

    As always – good to read your blogs.

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  5. When it comes to SEO I trust very few people. If an SEO consultant is so damn good why isn’t he (or she) using his SEO skills to kill it with his own properties? Real SEO experts like Jerry West got out of the consulting business because he can make a lot more money ranking his own properties than he can with consulting. Plus he doesn’t have to deal with high maintenance clients.

  6. Your way to present SEO blog post is quite different. The wording you use I believe. For example “Fact Check”, “Take time to smell the roses”, etc. Anyway, you are right. Learn before tweet and post anything.

  7. …woooow the truth at last!!!! Thanks seo<> 😉 …frankly, I started to laugh right there with your very first sentence and felt well entertained throughout the entire article. Besides the entertainment factor there is so much truth in this and sadly to speak I’ve experienced some ponints you mentioned myself – which didn’t help me all that much financially. Also, wanted to say, I havent found those points addressed in this way elsewhere. This ain’t the same dry stuff we are used to reading – I need to come back here more often. Thanks for sharing this!!!

  8. Great article! I agree with the point that we should be honest in telling our clients what we are good at and referring them to others for the things we are not good at.

  9. Thanks, the article is great as always but what is a kick ass SEO? I get that awful SEOs and wannabe SEOs are the ones that maybe don’t always know what they are doing or maybe when it comes to awful ones, they just take advantage of their clients. Let’s say that Mr X is a great kick ass SEO and Mr Y is a small business owner. He doesn’t have a big budget to spend on SEO and guess what? Great big kick ass SEOs quite probably value their time pretty high. Maybe much much higher than what Mr Y has to spend. So maybe it’s better for Mr Y to work with just good SEO and not necessary great kick ass super SEO? I like what Jon Poland wrote – “If an SEO consultant is so damn good why isn’t he (or she) using his SEO skills to kill it with his own properties?” – this makes a lot of sense. So maybe kick ass SEO is someone who is building his/her own properties? If so, maybe there’s a place for good SEOs so “For every one kick ass SEO in the industry” there are some good ones as well. What is a kick ass SEO?

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