This week I had a SEO coaching call with a law firm. It’s a service I offer to WordPress website owners and it is actually something I really enjoy.
The client was a referral from another WordPress developer. The website was a number of years old and it had not had many updates in recent years. It was originally developed by another developer who specialized in legal website design, which sadly, ended up giving the client a sense of false confidence.
After spending about 20 minutes browsing through the website, I made notes and was ready for our call. A typical SEO coaching call lasts an hour and we hold the call via GotoMeeting so we can screen share.
These calls always take me back to my childhood and the “come to Jesus” prayer meetings my aunt would hold.
I say this with respect and complete sincerity, because I love my aunt dearly and I have watched her have a massive impact on a person’s life. She is a force to be reckoned with and she produces good with everything she touches.
That correlation may still seem strange, but I literally spend an hour straight pointing out issues, explaining best practice, and trying to convince my SEO client that there is a better way.
Consider the Urban Dictionary’s definition of a come to Jesus moment:
An epiphany in which one realizes the truth of a matter; a sudden, intuitive perception of or insight into the reality or essential meaning of something; coming clean and admitting failures; realizing the true weight or impact of a negative situation or fact; acknowledgment that one must get back to core values; moment of realization; an aha moment; moment of decision; moment of truth; critical moment; moment of reassessment of priorities; turning point; life-changing moment.
Yep that pretty much sums up my aunt’s prayer meetings and it also describes my SEO coaching calls, although not quite to the powerful level my tiny little aunt had.
Is an Hour of SEO Coaching Really Worth Someone’s Time and Money?
Yes it is and I’ve never had anyone tell me it was a waste of his or her time.
The reason for this is I don’t just hand them a fat proposal filled with many hours of my time and a request for more money. Instead I walk them through what is wrong, I explain what is best practice, and I offer my recommendation for making positive changes to their website and ranking.
I want to educate, point out issues, and I want them to see their website from the eyes of Google and Bing. I also want to point out how visitors can perceive their tactics and how this negatively impacts conversions and bounce rates.
SEO consultants usually have a bad rap and in many cases it is deserved. I won’t argue with the public’s perception of SEO consulting. But not every SEO consultant is bad.
A quality SEO consultant won’t just promise to fix a client’s issues. Instead they will educate and empower their client to make positive change now and set them on a path for maintaining a healthy website moving forward.
It’s the “turning point” of SEO education that produces a long-term impact for the website owner.
And while it doesn’t fill up an SEO consultant’s bank account with funds, it empowers the website owner.
The SEO Epiphany
You still might not be sold on hiring a professional to teach you about SEO, but let me list out a few of the things we discussed on our call.
- Meta Keywords were being used and in some cases they were in excessive amounts.
- Meta titles and descriptions were the same in some cases.
- Meta descriptions were triple the allowed amount by search engines.
- The website architecture and page hierarchy become absolutely crazy at some points with large amount of unnecessary levels.
- The crazy page levels included parent pages that were completely blank and void of any information.
- Major cornerstone service pages lacked any real content and only listed out links to other content.
- Pages were created with spammy local SEO references.
- Spammy locally focused links redirected to themselves.
- Their video page was filled with keyword stuffed titles and again no real content.
- Blog post categories and tags were full of keyword stuffing and not even visible to websites visitors to use.
- Content competed against itself on the same keyword.
I just listed only a few of the items we chatted about. But I think my above list is enough to provide insight into the issues that lie within their content and source code.
As part of our chat I also pointed out ten or so items I considered usability issues. These were items that degraded the user experience or significantly dropped the level of authority and trust they presented to their potential clients.
You might wonder why I brought up usability, but it is important to SEO. Google wants to present it’s users with high quality websites. If a website isn’t usable or screams mistrust, it works against you in SEO.
While this may not have been the case in years past, today’s SEO is married to the user experience.
That Moment of Truth
Yesterday’s call and most SEO calls I have include a moment of truth. This is where the client pauses, goes silent, and then states they had no idea there were so many issues present.
This happens with each call and it does for one very good reason.
Regular people are trying to perfect SEO and they are not SEO consultants. Their intentions are good and they think they are doing the right thing, but it fails because they have not spent years learning about and practicing search engine optimization.
They have also failed to stay current on SEO best practices and how rapid industry shifts can have devastating effects on websites.
There is a very same reason why I hire a CPA, car mechanic, or doctor. I’m not the specialist within those areas and it is best for me to leave those tasks to those who practice it daily. SEO is no different.
SEO Changes Daily!
My SEO coaching clients come to me not knowing what is wrong. They just know they are not ranking in search or the ranking they had years ago has disappeared.
They have no idea what happened, but they know something has changed.
Here is why – Google changes its search algorithm around 500–600 times per year. In addition to minor tweaks, Google rolls out major changes like Google Panda or Google Penguin.
Business owners and marketing managers cannot keep up with these changes because they have real jobs, outside of SEO, that must be done.
This is why I have a CPA to manage my accounting and taxes. My college major was in accounting and while I understand and know the principles of strong accounting and taxation, I cannot keep up with the changes year to year because I’m running a website design business.
When I started Web Savvy Marketing I tried to be a one woman show who did everything herself. I quickly realized I could not be successful or truly help my clients if I maintained this approach. I learned that everything operated better if I focused on what I was good at and I hired employees or outsourced the rest to trusted business partners.
SEO is no different.
If you are a business owner or marketing manager you have a real job outside of SEO. You cannot keep up with 500-600 changes per year and if you try you’re destined to fail.
Just like I’m destined to get audited by the IRS if I attempt to do my own income taxes.
Do You Have Sixty Minutes?
If you have sixty minutes, let’s sit down and have a come to Jesus meeting about your website, your SEO, and what you can do better. I’ll help you wipe away the spammy, keyword stuffing sins of the past and I’ll teach you how to do much better moving forward.
Edee Lemonier says
Oh, that stinking, ever-changing algorithm. Great article and great advice, Rebecca.
Ben Fox says
“Is an Hour of SEO Coaching With Rebecca Gill Really Worth Someone’s Time and Money?” (ftfy)
Yes. Yes it is.
Rebecca Gill says
Oh Mr. Fox you are so funny!
I had a coaching call yesterday with a very nice woman and she asked why didn’t any other SEO consultant take the time to educator her like I did.
So yes, it is worth someone’s time. But that it is primarily because I want to coach and educate more than I want to do for people. =)
Good article. Love the truth behind the laughter.
Art Rothafel says
Timing couldn’t be better. On the priority list.
SEO and Re-targeting.
Looking forward to talking.