I received an email from a client recently asking me if I had any SEO tricks up my sleeve. He’s a small business owner selling products online. In an earlier post I talked about false expectations from SEO due to black-hat SEO techniques that used to be popular. Unfortunately many companies haven’t caught up with the times and still offer the “quick guaranteed results,” but as the folks over at SEO watch will tell you, these claims should be red flags. Check out the email from my client below and my response and I think you’ll realize that “tricks” isn’t the best way to think about the SEO process. There is a reason we call our services “SEO Consulting” and not “SEO Magic.”

“Hi Sean, Do you have any tricks up your sleeve? The last guy I had pushed me up to $10,000 a month by placing my site into blogs of interest, do you do anything like that or is it just Google Stuff?”

Notice the phrasing “blogs of interest.” It’s often times I see deliverables like this listed on SEO sites with no explanation of what this actually means. In reality, the “white-hat linking” that most companies offer is really black-hat linking. If any company is linking without your direct involvement, you should be concerned. Always ask for examples of the work being done. My response was as follows.

“Hi Bob,

I’d like to point out a problem and provide you with a few solutions. Let me explain a few things about the previous work you’ve had done. Domain authority is your credibility with Google. I.E. Is this site worth ranking?

Google determines this by seeing how many websites link to you.

“Blogs of interest” is a shady SEO way of saying that he submitted you to a bunch of directories and commented in blogs linking back to your site. In fact, he submitted close to 1,000 links that are completely irrelevant to your business (See attached Screenshot).

This is an artificial way of creating domain authority and is against Google’s policy.

Some of your links are good organic links from your youtube channel and some t-shirt forums where people are talking about your flash dryer.

Here are some examples of where that last guy left links to your site. (If you are on windows, be careful about clicking these. I am on Mac, so I can’t tell if these may contain viruses)

Notice some of these sites aren’t even in English

*Links omitted for blog post*

Why did he have success ranking you?

Google did not have an easy way to punish people for manipulating the search engines. By creating fake blogs or linking from existing link exchange sites, he was able to manipulate your domain authority to improve your rankings.

Why aren’t you ranking as well now?

Google created an algorithm to punish blackhat SEO sites called Google Penguin. So while he was able to provide you with short term benefits, in the long run, this is hurting you.

How have your rankings changed since working with us?

Your rankings have actually improved a lot and are continuing to improve. This won’t start correlating to direct sales until you are on the front page. So far, you are on the front page for “Silk Screen Dryer” and “Silk Screen Flash Dryer.”

You’re moving up a lot for DIY Silkscreen Kit.

All of your products were unranked (i.e. 51+ Results back), but now most of your products are moving into the 20ish spots. It will continue to improve as we do Google Approved work on your site.

What can we do to help improve you?

We can use white-hat Google approved methods that are beneficial to your site. This includes creating content like the “How to Start a Silkscreen business” page I recommended. It also includes having users leave reviews, which naturally builds good quality related content.

We can improve your site speed, load times, content quality, internal linking, etc. I have been and am still working on all of the factors that affect your rankings.

If you want to build some external links that are quality, we could try doing a Q and A on some silk screen forums so you can speak directly with potential customers and link to your site.

I will make a series of changes this week to each of your product pages and monitor the changes to your rankings.

Do I have a trick up my sleeve?

I can provide quality work. The tricks may work quickly, but in the long run, they harm you more than help you. Let me know if you have any questions. I hope this is helpful.”

This is why Supreme Optimization prioritizes transparency with our clients. While it may take longer to move you up to the front page, our work will keep you there. I hope this post is enlightening for anyone reading. Feel free to contact us if you are concerned about SEO efforts that have been made on your site.