Most SEO professionals are afraid to share their successes stories. There are a few exceptions.
Some people are simply not able to share the work they have done, even if it is successful. What can an SEO do to stop “ghost optimization?”
Let’s first look at why there is still so much negativity and secrecy among SEO professionals.
Anyone heard of SEO-related horror stories?
The #seohorrorstories hashtag has become a very popular SEO keyword in recent years.
SEO professionals are more inclined to tell the stories of others’ failures than they are their successes.
Are these the negative generalities of society? Is there an inner problem that is causing the negative outlook?
It’s likely to be both.
The recent years have seen a downward spiral in public discussion. Trolling has replaced diplomacy.
How can anyone else maintain civility in everyday conversations when even the presidents are provoking people to take notice?
Social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook have also capitalized on anger and fear.
This “bad news” is sent straight to the lizard brain, causing fearful reactions and anger without consulting any parts responsible for logic thinking.
It’s no surprise that the SEO industry is a highly professional one, but the conversation has turned into “OMG!” That is nonsense! It’s so stupid!
Although I may be exaggerating, this is the core of many shares where #seohorrorstories can be found.
These stories are not just cautionary tales. This is a joke that mocks those who are too reckless to use .
The idea is to highlight the failures of others, even if one cannot shed light on what they have achieved. They will indirectly be able to compare themselves with others and thus appear better.
This is just guesswork. There may be different motivations behind horror stories. Most cases are not motivated by gloat and malice.
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“Look at this random chart, please! The growth is amazing!”
A compromise is available, anonymous “success stories” – in which the success story can’t fully be reviewed by peers.
These stories are a middle ground between success and failure stories. What logic is there to these stories?
There will be many social media posts that are random graph-based and have no URL.
It is usually an analytics snapshot that has been haphazardly anonymized prior to publication. The stellar growth that they show lacks credibility.
It’s not unusual for me to be acquainted with people who have shared such successful stories.
They usually add context to the case without divulging any information that could be used to help you locate the site they are referring too.
How about potential clients and industry outsiders?
The graphs’ sharers don’t know who they are or how reliable the data is.
Why share graphs with no context?
- SEO professionals try to communicate their knowledge in this way.
- Some people share their joy over the success they have achieved.
- It is possible that some people would like additional information about what went wrong.
Be aware that many #seohorrorstories remain anonymous. This allows for some peer review within a small area. You know it’s better than none, right?
Do you have any SEO heroes stories?
You may have seen it. For the past two months, I’ve been actively searching for stories about SEO heroes (as in super-soldiers) and have been very aggressive.
The SEO industry had far less success stories than there was bad news. It was surprising to me that not even the possibility of additional publicity motivated many SEO firms, consultants or in-house SEOs to share their successes stories with me.
To encourage positive sharing, I created a hashtag similar to #seohorrorstories: #seoherostories. It was not popular but I felt like it was.
Do SEO professionals feel ashamed or embarrassed by their work?
It’s not surprising that some individuals aren’t keen to be SEO professionals, given the bad reputation the industry has earned over the past 25 years.
Many SEOs continue to engage in unprofessional practices. This could be the reason why many are embarrassed to disclose what they have done.
Others may be simply afraid. I of this fear and found these.
Manual Google penalties
Since the beginning of SEO, this fear has been a constant concern for SEO professionals. Sometimes it was suicide to expose yourself as an SEO practitioner and mention the website that you were working on.
Google introduced the term “manual actions” in a somewhat bizarre way. However, penalties were known to be imposed without warning and often after too much publicity.
It is not reasonable to fear this. It’s also irrational, as are most fear.
SEOs do not commit crimes and are therefore not required to hide in many cases.
‘Secret sauce’ copycats
A second, but more probable scenario is where your competition steals your “secret sauce”, and copies your SEO strategies.
This is possible but it is important to know who your competitors are on the internet. Many SEOs will still use the phrase “businesses that sell the same thing within the same region.”
Google SERPs, or “SERP real property”, is a reality. You primarily compete with the giants.
- Google promotes itself and its ads over actual organic search results.
- Amazon and Wikipedia, two huge websites that are extremely popular, remain at the top of their game.
Is it really possible for a colleague or competitor to your business to do so by reviewing the SEO of your website?
A tool such as Semrush allows anyone to look at your secrets and quickly find out what on- and offpage SEO is. Why hide your achievements from the public?
Competitors who steal clients
Another concern is the possibility that SEOs could see your work and contact you to “steal” your clients.
This is what people do. Over the years, I received numerous notifications from clients about such efforts.
However, I doubt I have lost clients in this way. Why? Why?
Most likely not. It was also a beginning time for me.
This is a very sneaky tactic that many businesspeople don’t like. You may have the luck to be able to remove them.
Clients who are toxic often cause more harm than good for your financial health. This lesson was hard for me to understand over many years of trying to please everyone.
The common reasons for sharing SEO work with others are often unfounded fears or traditions, and not just excuses.
It is possible that someone doesn’t want to share their website address, or “stellar growth”, chart. This is because the work is ongoing.
Other parts were not ready to go, so it wasn’t a smart idea to release them early. Although I was asked numerous times, I have only once heard this justification.
NDA: This is the feared acronym
The non-disclosure agreement is a common reason for not publishing results, disclosing site addresses or client names. This agreement can also be called “gag orders” because most SEO professionals have to keep their mouths shut about the work they do.
This point .
It is almost impossible for creative professionals to freely share their work, or to do it anonymously.
If programmers, designers and architects were all involved in the scenario above.
- This house is located in the Northern Hemisphere. The structure was constructed using brown brick. Large windows facing the south were made from a local wood that I cannot reveal. Some images were blurred to protect owner’s privacy, and conceal the exact location.
Why do so many NDAs prevent us from showing our work, or telling our families?
Why is there such a high degree of confidentiality? Are we secret agents?
Clients may demand that SEOs don’t talk about projects. This could be for any one of these reasons:
- These people are not ethical and may ask for SEO that isn’t in line with Google guidelines, or beyond the legal limits.
- They are determined to achieve success in their business and for the sales team.
- These people are ashamed of buying SEO services, as they are considered voodoo.
Common logic refers to “trade secrets”. As mentioned above, there are many tools that can be used to examine these supposed secrets.
Three inspiring case studies are available for peer review.
Let’s not go into detail about all the problems surrounding the lack of success stories within the SEO industry. Instead, we will focus on some actual cases that I was inspired by this year.
These SEO heroes stories should inspire you to be like them.
Many dogs and their owners become very similar . It happens often “accidentally” for me because I’m one.
There’s also an where pet owners dress up their dogs and have their hair styled in the exact same way.
Rise at Seven, a UK SEO agency was inspired to create this campaign.
In her case study CEO Carrie Rose reports that the results are more impressive than expected.
This area saw an 86% YoY increase in traffic, with 134,757 pageviews.
The case study is filled with great details that explain the process and how they made it so successful.
Olga Andrienko is well-known as a leader at Semrush and has shared the success story that LiberEat was made possible thanks to Mich McClure, the Hoojy team, and Olga Andrienko.
1000% Organic Traffic Growth in Three Months
Despite it sounding too good to be true (especially considering the numbers), she takes great care to explain what actually happened and why in her lengthy Twitter thread.
You might still be interested in the , which includes many screenshots, keywords examples, and figures, over at Semrush.
Boom Online has many examples, but I was most impressed by their Unbeatable Blinds campaign. Perhaps it’s the creative quality of their images shared in the campaign.
Although they didn’t disclose the number, they can speak for themselves by the quality of the links that they attracted.
The content was reported by several high-profile publications, including Design Taxi and Bored Panda. Line Today and The York Press also covered it.
Because of the attention given to my blog and by local media, I am confident that traffic will increase and other metrics will also follow.
How to make clients proud to be with you
Ghostwriting is not something I offer as a writer.
Ghostwriters are often invisible. Ghostwriters are often overlooked and given credit.
They don’t know what they did, and they cannot prove it.
Writing is easy.
Clients who are interested in ghostwriting usually inform you straight away. You don’t have to accept such offers, unless you are financially unable.
It’s much more difficult with SEO services. No one will ever tell you that they’re looking for “ghost optimizers.”
You will often get an obscure NDA with legalese after many discussions.
Other cases may result in you getting the NDA or not talking to them at all. You risk losing your time and money, and you may not get the client.
NDAs can be used to safeguard trade secrets. Most NDAs grant broad powers to clients to prohibit you from divulging any information.
It’s no surprise that people in SEO or related industries (think advertising and marketing) simply don’t want to violate their contracts.
It is impossible to know exactly what will happen so it’s best to keep quiet.
What can you do to recognize clients that are not industry experts?
It is possible to prepare well in advance, communicate clearly during preliminary discussions and remain firm when you begin working. Here are four tips.
First, work on your projects
Always put your project first, or keep it going in the background.
You can be confident when you engage in business relationships with other people if you are able to generate your own income sources.
It is not a wise decision to have to do work for someone else out of necessity.
If you can, do your best to work with others because of the variety and challenge, not for the money. Clients will seek out you if they like your projects.
Your authority within the industry and elsewhere
Visibility does not have to be limited to client work. Practitioners often attend trade fairs, conferences or meetups in order to share their knowledge with others.
Others keep their knowledge secret and protect it from others so they can’t “steal” their ideas. This approach is shortsighted.
Multiple people can discover ideas at once. The “invention” is often credited to the person who published it first, or did so much more broadly.
It is crucial that you become an expert in your field and outside of the specific area where you are a specialist.
Since I began my career in SEO, I have continued to expand into more popular and broader areas such as marketing, web development, and blogging.
My opinion is that SEO can be viewed as “technical SEO”, and only a subset of search engine optimization. It is unlikely that many people are interested in the topic you’re talking about.
You are helping others to get to know your work by sharing your knowledge.
Interns are able to share their knowledge and learn from others online. It doesn’t matter if you are able to meet up and shake hands or give a pat on the back.
Online networking is also possible with people who are like-minded. LinkedIn is the best place to start networking.
Ghost optimization: Charges may be higher
It is simple and powerful to get more money for something more difficult or valuable.
Ghostwriters are often young, unpaid writers that have not yet established a name for themselves and are therefore forced to work under the radar of larger names. Once you make a name for your self, it is important to set a reasonable price.
As long as your undercharges or timidity are not excessive, almost no one will consider you valuable.
The very few people who are knowledgeable will gladly pay low rates for your services and not talk about your real worth.
You must also make it crystal clear from the beginning that ghost services are more expensive.
Ghost optimization is more complicated and more risky than simple writing. It’s therefore even more crucial to accurately charge for your value.
You will find fewer SEO professionals of high quality out there. Don’t be afraid, however, to achieve what you are entitled.
Refuse to take on the dirty job
After working with clients for some time, they may drop their masks and become bolder.
Some people might be frustrated by the slow rate of SEO advancement and ask you to do the same as your competition.
Although riskier strategies may result in their domain being banned or penalized temporarily, they may be able to look quite impressive.
You must maintain your integrity. How?
We flatly won’t allow you to get your hands dirty or to use any questionable SEO methods.
Clients feel safe because of the NDA and believe they are able to get away with it. SEO is not something that happens in isolation.
It doesn’t matter if you tell no one that you are spamming, it does not mean it isn’t there.
Publicly available tools can give you an Xray view of the SEO on any site, as we have already mentioned.
Google has as well as for finding the bad apples.
These opinions are not necessarily those of Search Engine Land, but they do reflect the views of the guest author. Here are the names of staff authors.
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