When it comes to search engine optimization (SEO) there are a lot of so-called experts out there telling you a whole range of different techniques and strategies that will supposedly get you to the top of the search engine rankings.  But are these actually legit?  Are they worth all the money that you’re paying them?

Unfortunately in most cases, it isn’t – and in fact, they’re often ripping you off.

In this article I’m going to break this down and let you know why you should be very wary of the typical “SEO Expert” who wants to charge you thousands of dollars.

My Story

Once upon a time, I found myself on the other side of the table.  I was running a business and I didn’t have any clue about digital marketing or any of the SEO topics – so I talked to an “SEO expert” and I got the rundown from them as to what I needed to do in order to rank highly on Google.  I remember hearing the incredible claims and I was so excited to see my business skyrocket thanks to this magic SEO sprinklings all over my website.

Unfortunately, month after month went by and I had no clue what that expert was doing.  And the truth of it was that they probably weren’t doing that much at all.

To save you all this wasted money and stress, I’m going to share with you the five things you need to focus on to actually rank well on Google from an SEO standpoint.  You can do this all yourself – you don’t have to pay someone else to do this for you.  And that’s why I’m sharing all of this for free.

This is what I call the “Dear SEO guy… You Suck!” formula.

Doing SEO Right

1. Hire an SEO person to optimize the core pages of your website.

Yes, you do need to work with someone who understands SEO in the beginning so you can optimize the core digital assets on your website.  This is your home page, your about page, your services page, and so on – to make sure that those key starting points are optimized as best as possible.  You want this person to do proper keyword research to identify which keywords are going to be most important for your particular niche and industry.  

If your SEO person is asking you for the keywords, then I would run away quick.  They are supposed to be the expert and that’s what they should be providing to you.

2. Get all your directory listings up to par.

The main one you should focus on here is your Google Business listing.  It’s free to claim it and it’s well worth it.  You’re going to have to go through some basic verification but it will give you some really valuable virtual real estate in the Google ecosystem.

You then want to go and update the biggest 10-12 directories that are relevant to you and your business.  You could even go to Moz and pay around $100 per year for them to take care of it for you.  Ideally, all of your information across all these directories should be exactly the same (to the character), including your business name, your address, your phone number, your website, etc.  This will help Google to see this as legitimate business listing which will give you a bit of a bump that can really help.

Beware of these sketchy directory companies who will charge you $40 – $50 per month to do this.  Moz is a much better option if you don’t want to do it yourself.

3. Write some blog articles.

Google really rewards fresh new content and so you want to have an active blog where you’re posting content on a regular basis.  There are two main objectives for anyone that comes to your site.  The first one is to engage with your content and consume what you’ve created, and the second one is for them to take action in some sort.  This could be opting into a lead magnet, or even to make a sale.

Try and aim for at least 1,000 words and ideally posting something new every week.  Consistency is a big deal for SEO and you can really improve your rankings if you’re continually releasing great stuff.

But don’t just do it for the sake of doing it.  The articles need to be really good because you’re competing with an infinite amount of content out there and this work is going to be closely associated with your brand.  If it’s not good enough and you can’t hold the attention of the user, Google is going to register that as a red flag and it will actually hurt your standing in the algorithm.

When you’re writing these blog posts, you don’t have to pay some SEO expert to do the keyword optimization for you.  You should already have a list of keywords that you’re trying to rank for and you can position those in your posts as appropriate yourself.  These aren’t going to change significantly over time, so there really is no need to pay someone to do this.

When doing it yourself, you can stick to a framework which I call the ‘Perfect Blog Post’ framework and that will automatically leverage the best of the best SEO steps that we’ve seen work in our business and for our clients.

4. Grow your social media influence.

A few years ago, trying to rank on Google was all about your website, your blogging, and all that.  But today, what you do on social media also blends in with your website when Google determines how credible your stuff is.  They now take into account how much social influence you have and that turns into better rankings. 

You can see it every time that you Google something – the more influence that someone has, the higher they are going to rank.  This means that you need to make sure that you have the right social media strategy, a highly engaged audience, and consistent content production on those platforms.

5. Get featured in media.

The best way to supercharge your SEO is to have your business featured in media outlets.  When this happens you get a lot of high-quality backlinks that is going to give you a big boost in the rankings.  If a high authority website links to yours, Google is going to use that as a significant credibility indicator for you and you’ll rank higher as a result.

In saying this, stay away from these so-called ‘black hat strategies’ where companies will go out and get a bunch of links from random low-quality sites in the hope that it’s going to do something.  Quality beats quantity here, every single time.

Those are the five core components of ranking well in Google and you can do all of these without paying an SEO expert thousands of dollars.  I hate seeing people ripped off and I hope that you can see that with these strategies, you can get the results that you want in a legitimate wa


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