The sad truths of SEO that no one tells you

Les tristes vérités du SEO que personne ne vous dit

1. The pitch before practice

In the SEO industry, the ability to sell SEO services is often more valued than true SEO expertise. It even happens that during many SEO pitches, no SEO expert is present. This creates a glaring disconnect between what is promised and what is actually delivered. Well-trained salespeople can convince customers of the value of services that they do not fully understand or are unable to provide effectively.

2. The mirage of instant results

Clients are often sold elaborate SEO promises, not reality. Guarantees of rapid and impressive results are commonplace. Yet SEO is a long-term discipline that requires time, patience, and consistent effort to see significant results. This promise of a quick win can lead to disappointment and loss of confidence when it becomes clear that results take much longer to materialize.

3. Universal solutions

Many SEO agencies offer standardized solutions that don't really meet the specific needs of their clients' businesses. It’s agency rhetoric that trumps client needs. A “one size fits all” approach neglects the particularities of each company, its market and its objectives. Effective SEO strategies need to be customized to meet the unique needs of each client, but this requires effort that not all agencies are willing to put in.

4. A high staff turnover rate

Many agencies in the SEO industry have a high staff turnover rate, which leads to inconsistency and confusion among clients. High turnover can mean customers see their accounts transferred from one person to another, without continuity or a real long-term strategy. It can also indicate an unstable work environment within the agency, which is never a good sign for the quality of services provided.

5. The temptations of Black Hat

Despite the known penalties, some still resort to Black Hat techniques, hoping for quick wins, risking long-term penalties. Often it's because they over-promised during the sale. Black hat techniques, such as link buying or cloaking, may offer quick results, but they go against search engine guidelines. The consequences can be dire, up to and including severe penalties and loss of search engine rankings.

6. Overemphasis on vanity metrics

There is often too much focus on traffic and not key revenue and rankings. It's easy to brag about increased traffic, but if that traffic doesn't translate into conversions, sales, or qualified leads, it's useless. Vanity metrics, like number of visits or page views, may seem impressive on paper, but they don't tell the whole story. What really matters is the direct impact on the client's business objectives.

7. Undervaluing content quality

There is a tendency to undervalue the importance of high-quality content, focusing more on link patterns. Content is king in SEO, but it often takes a back seat to link building strategies. High-quality content not only attracts and engages users, but it is also favored by search engines. Investing in good content is one of the best long-term strategies for SEO success.

8. SEO technical opinion and not experience

I see this all the time: technical SEO experts break sites and ruin rankings because they're trying to chase some 'perfection' they read about in a blog post. Obsession with technical perfection can lead to reckless changes that harm more than they help. Technical best practices should be implemented with discernment and a thorough understanding of their potential impacts on the site and its ranking.

9. Chase the latest trends

Constantly chasing the latest SEO trends can lead to neglecting proven, stable strategies that deliver more reliable results. I have been guilty of this myself. Trends can be seductive, promising quick wins and competitive advantage. However, they can also be costly distractions. It is crucial to focus on solid, proven strategies while staying up to date with industry developments.

10. Underestimating user experience

Some SEO practitioners focus solely on pleasing search engines and neglect the actual user experience on the website. Good SEO not only optimizes for search engines, but also for users. A poor user experience can lead to a high bounce rate, low session duration, and ultimately lower rankings. Search engines, like Google, are increasingly taking user experience signals into account in their ranking algorithms.

11. Low budget, low effort

This is a huge problem. Many agencies take on low-budget clients, knowing they won't get results because of the way they deliver their work. They simply charge too much per hour. These low-budget clients often receive minimal service, leading to poor results and frustration. It is essential to set realistic expectations and ensure the budget matches the goals and the quality of work needed to achieve them.

12. Lack of transparency

Clients are often uneducated on what SEO entails, leading to a lack of understanding and unrealistic expectations. Transparent communication is crucial to building trust and ensuring successful collaboration. Clients must understand the strategies implemented, the expected results and the time required to achieve them. Lack of transparency can lead to misunderstandings, frustrations and ultimately a breakdown in the client-agency relationship.

13. Quick fixes rather than sustainable strategies

Quick fixes are often preferred over developing long-term, sustainable SEO strategies that would yield better results over time. An example of this is an article content refresh that adds no economic value. Short-term strategies may offer quick wins, but they are rarely sustainable. SEO best practices involve continuous work and constant adaptation to algorithm and market changes. Investing in long-term strategies is the key to lasting SEO success.

14. Sales before skills

Ultimately, the ability to sell SEO can often be more important than the skills needed to execute it effectively, leading to a cycle of high customer turnover and dissatisfaction. Talented salespeople can get deals, but without a competent team to execute the services, results won't follow. This disconnect can lead to a loss of trust and a poor reputation for the agency.

15. SEO passed from hand to hand

So, you signed up thanks to the pitch and the sales speech. Well, now you find yourself in the account pile of the most junior of the juniors. And it's happening at some of the biggest agencies. Customers who have been impressed by senior salespeople often find themselves taken care of by inexperienced juniors, which can lead to a decline in the quality of service and results.

However, not all SEO agencies are like this. We are not like that. And if you're tired of agency excuses and non-existent results, send me a message.