Categories
NO BULLSHIT SEO Special Edition

The Biggest Lie of the SEO Industry

You can lie one time to one thousand people but you can’t lie a thousand time to one person

I kept my mouth shut for too long. I’ve been in this industry of digital marketing & SEO, since 2004 and I see too many people who have a promise and under deliver. Let me explain.

The Keys of the Internet

First, a little bit of context. As digital marketing professionals, we have the keys to a territory called Internet and within that territory there is also the World Wide Web, which is a territory within that territory.

And people like me know how to navigate and know how to get what’s called undervalued attention.

We know where to go to grab the attention at the lowest cost possible.

We know how to make people famous online

It’s a tremendous power and the industry is broken down into freelances like myself (I’ve only one employee). I tried three times to do the big thing with lots of employees but it’s not for me. I have a lot of respect for my friends who can do it. I have a lot of respect for people who achieve amazing results with their agencies.

I see some of them because I’m a judge in the European Search Awards, UK Search Awards, Canadian Search Awards, Biddable Media Awards and Global Search Awards.

I see some of the best of the best campaigns that make me jealous. Campaigns that I wish I did, I wish I had this idea, I wish I had this client but also for many of those candidates, wow really, that’s all you have to bring to the table?

Also since I started in 2004 I’ve been subcontracting for agencies so I know how it works really I know the advantages of being by on my own and I know the disadvantages like growth is limited but I’m okay with that. Again, I tried to do the big thing and not for me and I’m happy enough, enough money, enough freedom, enough everything. Happy family, all that, I’m in a good place right now and I’m also free enough to be able to tell you what’s going on through my mind regardless of the consequences, regardless of what professionals think because many of them know that I’m telling the truth and they won’t like what I’m about to say.

Stop lying to your clients

If you are a big budget in an agency, you have a whole team working for you and we’re talking about people doing the work, doing the content, building the links, making the changes on the website.

I’m just a consultant I have limited powers but what I guarantee is that I will give you the right tools, the right means, the right resources, the right contacts, I will do my best, I will do everything I can, everything in my power to give you the assets you need to succeed.

But then at the end of the day yes it’s not my website it’s not my company you have to put yourself in the line and you have to apply.

If you apply only 30%, you will get amazing results but if you apply over 50% of what I advise I will guarantee that the results will go beyond your wildest dreams your wildest expectations.

It will work when you do a proper job it does work really really well and you don’t need an insane budget to have a good consultant give
you great advices but then the problem with the agency is that they don’t only have amazing clients they also need to take the money from the little clients because you need to pay the bills, you need to pay the taxes and it’s a young industry. I was one of the first, early 2000, that’s kind of unique in business that something like that didn’t exist before and I’m fortunate enough to be part of this industry and I do realize how fortunate I am to be in my position.

but I’m also aware of the problems and today I’m free enough to expose this issue and it’s not a small issue because a lot of money is on the line.

A lot of people are believing things that are just not possible, it won’t work, no way.

That’s about the low budgets that agencies will take on knowing that they can’t provide results beyond the expectations.

They are very good at providing some results client satisfaction.

Do you understand the difference between client satisfaction and really delivering results?

Really bringing to that level of the game of wanting to be one of the leaders of the industry.

The client also has his faults

So on one hand, the client is guilty not to spend the money wisely. Too much money spent on the website, no more money left for the marketing.

The client is guilty to not understand or educate him or herself well enough about how this works.

But this is also why they hire you, to understand how the keys of this territory called Internet, these magical powers we have to be able to deliver results and make you famous on the Internet and especially people like me who love delivering.

My game is undervalued attention. I like going places where the return on investment is just amazing.

And it’s changing, evolving. The evolution about this is what keeps me going because if it was still the same game than in 2004 I would probably be bored, so bored that I would have quit.

What keeps me going is that it’s always challenging and we always need to really adapt, Adapt Or Die. That’s it.

The one who never gives up, the one who wants it more, will win.

If you don’t do anything if you d.on’t do enough if you don’t do the right things we lose at this game

I have too many clients who come after a few one two three well I won’t call them necessarily bad experiences with agencies but experiences of never ever achieving results ever and has nothing to do with the budget.

That’s the crazy thing because again doing the awards whichever it is that I’m judging, there is the low budget SEO, PPC campaign category and I see amazing things done with very little money.

I’m sometimes really amazed it’s wonderful so it does work but from a general standpoint, yes, too many people are taking the money and they have this framework very well made which keeps the client on month after month after month. The client will keep on paying because “Yes Sir it takes time, yes Sir, see the chart it’s going up you have more keywords, Sir look you’re on the first page of Google for one of your keyword that’s wonderful. Bring in more money and
will bring in more results.

But never ever ever these results are enough to build a substantial business that can be well built in order to succeed especially with e-commerce with margins averaging 12%. It’s not a lot of margins to maneuver here and you need to be very good so the client is guilty for sure.

Agencies and freelancers are very guilty of over promising and under-delivering

That’s the issue I have here with this industry that I love enough for me to take my chance and tell my truth about this because staying silent and then just putting this situation under the rug and keeping it going for so long and I agree it’s been 20 years okay so it’s a young industry but since the beginning this situation has not evolved meaning people don’t know what they’re getting into you are not helping them realizing the reality of the difficulties & you are not doing everything in your power for them to succeed because you need more hands, because you have to deal with the employees, because you have all these things that make it so damn difficult and the rapid growth.

I’m open to this discussion if you think that what I say it is totally wrong please let’s talk.

I would love to change my mind on this I would love to decide that it’s all good and that the people with a few thousand euros, pounds, dollars whatever you want to spend every year on SEO or digital marketing in general will bring them results because it won’t if this client doesn’t invest time and/or money enough and well enough it won’t work I know how it can work and I know very well how also he can spell I own my failures I’ve failed many times.

but now I can for myself I’m experienced enough that I can guarantee the results I know where I’m going. I can also guarantee my failures pretty much, I can feel when I’m getting into something then it will not work but it doesn’t matter because all those failures make it worth it for the few successes but with my clients the success rate is pretty high compared to some other people from different industries, nothing to do with digital marketing, who are having a failure rate of over 90 and 95%. That’s insane.

All we have, the only thing we have the only moral compass is how do we look at ourselves in the mirror can you okay with what you see because if it’s not illegal it’s allowed that’s the way it goes.

and because the Internet is complicated because even the government people don’t understand how it works. I think too many people enjoy this situation and take advantage of people’s dreams of making it online.

When they’ll have one single chance of succeeding it won’t work if they don’t have the right strategy, they don’t have the right
budget don’t have enough time; they don’t have the right consultant the right agency to do it.

It’s hard and it’s getting harder and harder.

It’s a very noisy world out there and I’ve been there since the beginning so I’ve seen it grow but I’ve not seen the situation evolve as far as what is promised to the client and what is really delivered.

PPC IS MUCH SIMPLER

This unbalance between what you make people think they can achieve and what they actually achieve is disappointing that’s the truth.
Usually it’s for the smaller budgets, the bigger budgets it could happen also because SEO is not an exact science and it is difficult if you go PPC paid it’s a little bit different, well not so much because, again, what you can do with 1000€ per day is not the same than 100€.

The framework with an investment on 1000€ on Facebook ads per day for example will not work for 100€ so there’s also a little bit of that game going on in paid but it’s much simpler.

You invest one and you make five or 10 or 100 and you can cut it off rapidly if it doesn’t work.

That’s the game, you pay for one click and then you have to pay again for another click and when you run out of money well that’s it.

Well with SEO, you can drag along the client for month, for years showing charts that are going up showing results: Yes sir look you have more keywords on SEMRush, look sir you are on the first page for this keyword it’s wonderful.

It takes time sir it takes over one year to have results so we got to keep on going and at the end of the day no it doesn’t work and this client will lose will be disappointed, will have a failure.

Whose fault is it I guess, both are faulty because yet the client is not educated enough but the agency is taking or the freelance is taking advantage of this lack of education in order to take the money and be very good at client satisfaction instead of over delivering and the problem is that.

I really genuinely do my best to give the right tools, the right assets, the right strategy, I really do my best and maybe you will say as a consultant it’s easier bc you don’t have to do the work but I know the work I’m not just a consultant to talk. I talk the walk and I walk the talk I’m one of those I do also the work I can’t I know what it’s like to do SEO and to have success and to build unique strategies that nobody has ever done before and to find things that nobody has done before so I can brag about this because this is for real.

I can prove it I have the track record. I’m not a follower. I’m one of the people who make it first.

I don’t pretend to have a solution but at least I want to bring this to the table. Most likely nobody’s gonna care and you will go on but at least I will have done my part to bring it up to the table.

I feel more at peace now that I said this horrible truth that I kept under the rug for too long.

Don’t over promise and under deliver. Under-promise and over-deliver that’s the right way to do.

Make make people dream but don’t sell a dream.

See the difference between selling a dream and making people dream.

You can if you have the skills, if you know the keys to this territory called Internet. It’s a superpower.

Appreciate the fact that you can work in this territory called Internet and where we can do things that are not possible in real life.

But don’t abuse it, don’t abuse this knowledge and this power. Try to find the right balance.

I understand that it’s difficult, growth is complicated and you gotta pay all these things and not everybody is lucky enough like me to find the balance between growth, work, life and all this stuff I get it.

I am very very lucky to be in my place but I also have the right to judge because I know.

You can lie one time to one thousand people but you can’t lie a thousand time to one person

I know how everything works in this industry and I’m not afraid to to tell it like it is. I’m not afraid to go against Google I’ve been doing it since the beginning with the DarkSEOteam.

And you will understand that even back then I was telling it like it is to Google so when I say that Googlers don’t know how to do SEO I know that they don’t know how to do SEO.

I know that they don’t know what they’re talking about the Googlers that are in charge of public relations, you know, the guys in Zurich who pretend that they’re big guys and they’re very happy to have all the attention from all these SEOs. Well, they’re playing a
dangerous game because they are full of it and when you’re an open book like myself, when you admit you flaws, when you don’t pretend, when you don’t fake it; at the end of the day you’re free and you win always.

I can look at myself straight in the mirror and be perfectly fine with what I see i all my losses and my wins. I know what I’m good at and not good at but my moral compass is in the right place.

Maybe for some people it’s not. I said if it’s not illegal it’s allowed but let’s try to find a balance here, let’s try to be reasonable , let’s try to find a middle ground in between an undereducated client who is guaranteed to fail. Money will run out hope will leave and it’s over.

If you don’t believe the client will succeed, do you still take the money?

I understand that everybody’s different and I understand some have a moral compass that’s totally twisted and there’s nothing I can do about it but at least if I can touch a couple of people who understand that maybe we need to change the framework.

It has to start with us, with the professionals. The client has some faults, some guilt. The client is not perfect but it has to start with us, it has to start with the way we educate the client. It has to start with the way we make sure that the resources are well located, the strategy is a proven strategy to bring results.

And real results, not the results that will please the monthly report where you see the chart going up. That’s easy to do, you can make
a chart say whatever you want.

Let’s try to evolve a little bit. I’m not asking for a big revolution and to change everything overnight but maybe if we change the mindset maybe if we try to do our best instead of doing just enough to provide client satisfaction, maybe if we try to exceed those expectations and the promise and over deliver, wonderful things happen.

When you under promise and you over deliver it’s amazing try it out try it out, you’ll see.

Take Care.

Laurent.

Listen to the podcast

Watch the video

Latest posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *