Long gone are the days of the charlatan; the snake oil salesman who’d promise that his product could cure anything from gangrene to diphtheria. Society is however still filled with people trying to make a quick buck at our expense. As a business owner, it mightn’t be easily apparent when someone’s trying to wheedle money out of us, especially if it’s for something we don’t know a lot about.

In the world of search engine optimisation, we’re lucky enough to have ‘SEO gurus’, individuals that you may hire to increase your search rankings.

The problem here though is that SEO gurus will often use outdated tactics to do this, or, they’ll simply promise the moon without ever being able to deliver.

When interviewing people to do your SEO, watch out for these lies when they discuss helping your search engine rankings.

1. I can get you a number 1 position on Google

Let it be clear: absolutely no one can guarantee your rankings on search rankings, not even the prophet Matt Cutts.

Google themselves even state that you should be wary of SEO firms and web consultants or agencies that guarantee a #1 ranking on Google. Be very skeptical of anyone who promises you top positioning.

2. I don’t have or need experience in your industry

You may want to hire someone that has a proven track record in your industry. In fact, you should probably make sure that you do find someone that has that relevant experience. Not all industries are equal in the SEO world, some will have keywords that are highly competitive, some will have websites that require much more leg-work to get up and running on the SEO front.

Unless you’re a very niche business that most SEOers will not have had experience in, keep looking for someone who’s had success in your field.

3. Duplicate content is fine

Duplicate content is NOT fine!

If they’re good, they’ll tell you that content is vital to your SEO strategy. Because it is. This person may or may not be a content marketing expert, of which is the best type of marketer. If they’re not, they’ll likely be reliant of re-posting content such as articles, blogs etc.

Be aware that Google doesn’t like duplicated content as it’s one of the true marks of spam and/or black-hat SEO tactics. This is because of Google’s ‘duplicate content filtering’ coupled with the Panda 4.0 algorithm update that was launched over a month ago.

4. You need as many links as possible

It was only up until a few years ago that the same ‘SEO experts’ you’ll want to be hiring now were the ones using spammy tactics to acquire as many links as possible for clients’ websites. Though Google didn’t officially allow this practice, they really did nothing to punish those who were doing it.

It work extremely well. SEO used to be somewhat of a numbers contest to see who had the most amount of inbound links. The more, the better.

Those days are long gone, and don’t let anyone tell you differently. Gaining inbound links is still important, sure, as it is one indication Google will use to gauge the size/popularity of your website. Google has shifted the way they look at the internet from quantity, all the way across to quality. Spammy links are detrimental to your website’s health now, and you can be penalised by Google either automatically or manually, effectively kicking your website down the pile. Irwin Mitchell were penalised for this back in January and had to completely rethink their marketing strategy – that’s why you’ll now see their adverts on the television and radio.

5. Keywords should be repeated as much as possible

Keyword density was an important factor a few years ago, but now the impetus is all on the variety of keywords you’re using and their variations (also referred to as long-tail keywords).

In SEO, keep in mind the word ‘natural’ – as everything should be appearing fairly natural to Google if you want the best rankings possible. Does the repetition of the same primary keyword in a body of text sound natural to you?