This article is not about claiming that I’m the one and only SEO expert out there and others aren’t. I consider my experience is very moderate in SEO field. This article was mainly written and published to share with whoever is interested to learn that: First, no one owns the absolute facts about SEO. Second, SEO is not and cannot be built on theories, but on practice and real tests. Third, no one can claim what really works and what doesn’t in SEO, unless he can prove it.
The stage of ignorance and stupidity
In an early stage, when I have joined the internet marketing field, of course I knew nothing. In the beginning, I was trying hard to understand what this field is all about. And because this field was really attracting me, after all what we do is actually competing with the Giant Google on his search engine. It’s not just competing with Google, but as I found out later on, what we do is directing people to where we want them to go. I always like to call things by its real names.
So, I decided to start learning things by reading other marketers experiences and opinions about SEO. I thought that this was the only way to learn.
I used to be fascinated with all what’s written on the internet by many of those who call themselves SEO “Experts”.
From what I have read, I thought that SEO was just a piece of cake and pretty easy to digest, especially if I just follow what the “Experts” were saying. I was also amazed by the experts numbers of essential easy steps for SEO success. The experts wrote many SEO articles, they talked about their own theories, and their 10 and 30 and 50 SEO essential ways/methods and tools that must be according to Google rules, in order to gain fruitful results. All this, really made me believe that those “Experts” are Google or they do control Google somehow!
At that time, I was very stupid and ignorant because I was just reading theories and haven’t done or tested one single theory written by the “Experts. In addition, I was working in this field by applying all “Experts” theories like a parrot. Just repeating after them and I had no clue if what I was saying or doing might work or not.
The stage of using my own brain and asking questions
It really took me a long time to realize that if my goal is to become a specialist in this field, I must do my own tests and experiments. Not to prove wrong those many experts out there, but because becoming a specialist in any field will only be achieved by practice and not by listening to speeches and lectures.
Our main problem is not just about SEO, but about almost everything, that each one of us thinks that he/she is the representative of the absolute facts. Why? Just because he or she said so!
I have also learned important things that I didn’t pay attention to, by asking myself the following questions:
1. What makes an expert deserve his or her title? Is it the numbers of theories they are inventing? Is it the hundreds of posts they are publishing? Or is it their real own experiments and tests, on which they based their theories, so we can find out what really works and what doesn’t?
2. Does anyone out there control Google? Or can any SEO agency or Experts give you some kind of a one year guarantee that if you follow their theories and Google guidelines and rules, you are going to be not only the king of SEO, but you are going to rank and occupy top placements and enjoy top, stable rankings forever?
3. The majority of SEO experts constantly tell you that you can so easily and it is very simple to reach or rank for top placements, if you just follow their SEO steps, but they don’t really tell you or even explain, how can you keep your top placements position or top ranking stable FOREVER!?
I guess they always forget to mention in their great articles that placements are changing every minute and not just everyday!
According to the “Experts”, it’s not hard to reach top placements on the search results, if you just follow their steps and Google terms. But the real challenge is how or for how long will you be able to keep the top placements stable? Putting into consideration, that you keep on following the terms of Google in all aspects.
4. I believe that ranking in 2nd page is no big difference than ranking behind the first 10 pages or later. Why? because i’m an internet user before I became a marketer. How many internet users are checking placements from 6 to 10 on the first page? Unless you are a researcher or you are digging for information on certain issue, only then your job or research necessitate that you search behind first page.
From my experience, no matter what you do of big efforts and long hours work to get your client on top placements, even if the client can see that his keywords are moving forward on the search results…it really doesn’t matter for the client, he just want to see his keywords sitting comfortably in top placements and forever. There are many clients who are aware of what is wrong with their websites, because we tell them about it. We explain to them that we wont succeed with our part of the job, unless they do their part, but it is useless most of the times. It is like hitting your head against the wall.
5. There are many experts who claim that if you follow their steps, which of course are in accordance with Google terms, you are going to be not only visible online, but you will also get tons of traffic, natural backlinks, and you will increase your sales and income! How is this theory possible? How can this be applied on every single website on the internet?
Every website is a special case on the internet, maybe some rules will work on a certain website, but won’t work on another one. Shouldn’t we consider that we first need to check and study a website, before we say what can work and what doesn’t?
If you manage to get some traffic to a website, does this necessarily mean that you will automatically get natural backlinks? And If you get other websites linking to yours naturally, does it necessarily mean that you will have big traffic daily visiting your website? How can things be mixed like this?
In addition, if you manage to rank for top placements, do you consequently gain natural backlinks, huge traffic plus keeping the top placements stable and forever? Furthermore, you will increase sales and income? How can we generalize issues like this? as if you manage to get the ranking for top placements, you will get the rest automatically or for free! But Experts do tell you how to…for everything you need to do to reach your SEO target. But in reality and in practical work, it doesn’t really work like this, does it?
What if the client is offering lousy services or products? Is he still going to get all these benefits as experts claim, just by applying SEO Experts rules and guidelines, and follow Google rules, then fell in love with Google and live happily ever after on the search engine?
It is so weird, that marketers work hard on optimizing their clients websites, while no one cares to find out whether or not whatever the client is selling is good or lousy! Maybe this is the main problem.
6. Experts don’t really mention how long it will take to reach all this great success they are talking about? Is it 3 or 6 month? Perhaps a year or two? They don’t quite talk about a specific time. This really led me to the next question: How come experts knew for definite that if you follow their steps and theories in addition to Google terms, you will certainly succeed with SEO; while they cannot answer or don’t really know how long it will take you to collect the fruitful SEO results?
7. One of the most ridiculous and nonsense claim I’ve read, and it was written by many SEO experts, advising people not to use SEO companies who charge reasonable fees. Why? because if the prices of an SEO company is cheap, then this necessarily means that their work quality is cheap, poor and it will harm the client too.
Since when the quality work of SEO companies or freelancers is measured by how much they are milking their clients? The quality work of SEO companies should be measured by their honesty, their good reputation, credibility and the results they are delivering. I can name many big SEO agencies out there who charge a lot of money for SEO services. They don’t tell the client what they do, they don’t report to the client to know where his website is standing. They take their fees in advance, they charge for the work that will or won’t lead to any progress. So this is like forcing the client to buy fish in the sea water, just because he is dealing with a big SEO agency.
We have some of our clients who believed in this theory and claim, and went for expensive SEO agencies. They came back to us, after they realized that these expensive SEO agencies were just milking them monthly for incredible amounts of money. They did a lousy job, and those clients were almost going bankrupted.
Our company only charges clients when we get them results, and when we don’t, they pay us nothing. We don’t even charge them for any work we do that will lead to the results they are targeting. Meaning they don’t buy fish in the sea water. We only get paid when we deliver results. Plain and simple.
By the way, we did cooperate with some of our competitors in the field, big SEO agencies. They handed us the projects, we delivered results, and their clients never knew that it was actually our company who did the job and not the big SEO agencies.
The above questions and issues led me to start my own tests and experiments to practically learn about SEO. It didn’t really matter to me whether I was going to reach positive or negative results. The important was to make a real test about different issues on SEO. So, I can stand on a solid ground, and not to cheat clients or lie to them or milk their money like many others do.
Here, I will only talk about two tests, the rest will be published in future articles.
The stage of tests and knowledge
The First test I made by creating a personal website that talks about health issues and fitness. In the beginning, I had a fitness trainer friend who started to write unique articles about the issue. I thought that it was a good opportunity to apply all Google terms and SEO Experts steps to reach a successful SEO, to see how all this will work. I did everything according to what Google loves to see whether or not this website is going to be visible online.
The result came totally the opposite after almost one year and a half. Didn’t achieve anything. No traffic, no natural backlinks, no online visibility…NOTHING. despite that I followed all Google rules and experts steps.
I was still willing to go with the experiment, no matter how long it was going to take, because I had the intention and the willing to succeed in finding out disregarding positive or negative results. But when my friend couldn’t continue on the writing, suddenly, I changed my mind and decided to turn that website to totally the opposite to what Google loves and also totally the other way to what the Experts were claiming. I wanted to see what is going to be the result and how long it will take to get penalized by Google.
For instance, I have turned the website pages to duplicate content. Copied and pasted other websites lousy content and linked to them, despite that many of these websites were also copying and pasting from other websites. I had broken links, images, videos etc. I didn’t fix anything whether technical issues or others and nothing has been published on this website since 2014. I did everything you can think of that will result in a penalty by Google to this website!
Actually, it didn’t take a long time to find out the result. Despite everything I had deliberately messed up with, the website had a good daily traffic after about 4 months from the messing up I had done. 99.7% of the traffic came through Google search. There was a lot of comments and messages from visitors to the site, and many fitness and health keywords reached top placements, likes and many shares and followers on social media…DAMN!
And for how long did this test last? For almost 6 years now and till this minute we speak, there has not been a single penalty from Google during all these years.
As much as this result was like an electric shock for me, it made me very sad!
When I tried to analyse the test results, I discovered that the “Experts” forgot to mention one very important thing about essential SEO rules. I learned that it’s not only the quality of content on the websites pages alone that counts, but the degree of importance of the issue plays a big part, even if the content is lousy or copied and pasted from other websites.
Fitness and health issues are one of the main concerns in people’s minds. Who is not looking or searching for ways to lose weight and stay in a good shape? There are many people who prefer to look for a free health problem’s solution or a medical advice through the internet, than visiting a doctor.
This actually I’ve seen on this website, through the search phrases and keywords I’ve seen on statcounter.com and also through many comments and messages I received from the visitors asking for free medical consultations. In addition to others who were asking for help to lose weight.
I found out that the only possible and logic reason that this website is doing well, despite that it is totally the opposite to what Google and Experts love and recommend, is the importance of the issue and not the quality or the content.
Why didn’t Google apply any penalty on this website? And why is this website doing well and how come it is visible on the search results, and it is competing with other websites? Perhaps because it is the best among the worst! I can’t analyse this result, but I surely can say that this is a test and it is still on and it proves the opposite of what everybody in the SEO industry is claiming.
But I must say something here about the traffic. This website test has proven to me that it is not the thousands or millions of visitors that count for any website. it’s who is visiting your website and not how many are visiting your website. This also has been confirmed to me when I have made the second test mentioned below.
If we apply this on lawyers for instance, a lawyer can receive thousands of visitors daily, but this big number is not going to bring him any proper income. In the lawyer case it is who is visiting his website and not how many are visiting. Most of his visitors won’t be serious or would like to get consultations for free, but maybe one or two of these thousands will be a big hunting, I mean big cases that will actually bring income an profits.
Excuse me for not revealing the website address. It’s not because I’m gaining anything from it, but I will continue with this experiment since my test so far and for many years now, has proven that rule number one in SEO, is that there is no such thing as the SEO 10 commandments as the Experts claim!
Of course, there are SEO rules and many of what the Experts are claiming about Google terms and what Google loves and what you should do and what you should avoid in SEO, a big part of it is correct. But I want to prove here, that again no one owns the absolute facts about SEO, and no one has the right to claim so. Also for many cases, it is not easy to understand how a lousy website can do better than an optimized one so loved by Google!
Even if you have a few exceptions to the rules, you still cannot confirm that YOUR RULES from your own point of view are 100% correct, just because you believe so.
This test is not an invitation to break Google rules, but it is on till it proves otherwise than its actual results.
The Second test I made by creating another personal website https://www.emannabih.com/, that mainly talks about foreign policies and terrorism.
There is a special relation between me and this website, I really have put my heart into it for almost 4 years. I have started the writing and publishing since 2013.
I had the opportunity through this website to meet with great and very important people, that I have never thought I would meet them face to face one day. This website also helped in revealing sleeping terrorists cells and those who support terrorist organizations , who came out from their holes to shut me up. but this of course didn’t stop me from exposing them.
The reason I mentioned this, is to remind you of what I mentioned in the first test result about the numbers of traffic to a website that really doesn’t matter, What really matters is who is visiting your website, and not how many.
I did everything right from A to z according to Google rules and the so called “SEO Experts. I did this not just for the test, but most important and mainly I did it for my country Egypt.
I wanted this website to compete aggressively on Google search engine, not because I was competing this time with Google, but I was challenging and fighting terrorism locally and internationally through the search results.
I have gained a lot of knowledge working on this site and found out the following:
- If you take a look on the yearly statistics of this site and compare it to the other lousy fitness site, you will actually see the difference in traffic. The lousy website got more traffic than the unique and optimized one.
- For the fitness, people search constantly for issues related to it, and they are not SEO experts to be able to tell what is according to SEO rules and what is not.
- For foreign policies and terrorism, people don’t care much about politics or even terrorism, unless the events taken place in your country will have bad affects on their own country. Only in this case they can be interested to learn what is happening in your country, otherwise they don’t.
- Eman Nabih’s website received about 3694 natural backlinks so far. I didn’t do any efforts to build any links for this website.
- I have learned through working on Eman Nabih’s site, how to become a Social Media Expert with special interest and expertise in building traffic through social media’s like Twitter, and Facebook. I have also learned how to gain followers without hardly making any efforts or applying any techniques…etc. I have just attracted the right audience and I have chosen both the right time and the issue. I targeted the correct social media users, who voluntarily did the marketing for me. But I must say that I was dedicating myself in communicating closely with my followers and all those who were interested in reading and sharing what I was publishing.
- The common 4 things between both sites is 1st, the importance of the issue, and not the content that drove traffic to both websites. 2nd, the majority of traffic through Google search. 3rd, main keywords related to both websites reached top placements. In addition to likes and shares and followers on social media and it was actually the followers who did the marketing campaign, I simply didn’t do anything but posting what I was writing on my timeline.
- Working on Eman Nabih’s website, taught me what a researcher means. I have learned how to dig the internet to get any information I need. To do research on the internet you really need to know how to employ the correct search keywords to reach the exact information you need. You also need to know how to search and how to choose the correct keywords that are going to lead you to the information you are seeking. Searching on the internet is not just typing a random keyword or phrase and wait for the results, it is a big and hard issue. There are many people who don’t know how to search on the internet, even many of those whose job is to search information on the internet.
I have learned this just by one way, which is practice and it was the practice only that led me to everything I needed to know about how to search on the internet without spending a long time and what keywords to target in order to reach any information I seek.
Now, from all the above, I will repeat again what I mentioned earlier, there is no such thing of the SEO 10 commandments as the Experts claim. I’m not going to write a long conclusion here, because I think that the results of both tests have already mentioned the conclusion of this article.
Despite that my intention before writing this article, was to make it short, and so far I have written 3704 words! I still didn’t mention many issues that I discovered through other tests on my other personal websites. So, I will talk about this in my next articles, and I will do my best to make it short.
Eman Nabih is Chief Operating Officer in Devenia. She is a Social Media Expert with special interest and expertise in building traffic through social media’s like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. Her personal website is at EmanNabih.com.
Eman can be reached at the contact us page, by mail or phone.