Optimizing your website for search is important in receiving the recognition you deserve from Google. However, there are some SEO ‘don’ts’ that every internet marketing agency should know and avoid at all costs.

  1. Promise first-page results on Google.

    The search industry is an ever-changing industry, therefore guarantees should never be made. Although you can control optimization on your end, you cannot control external aspects such as competition and changes to Google’s algorithm. Even if you know you can improve a client’s optimization ten-fold, don’t make any promises that could get you into hot water in the long-run.

  1. Use black hat techniques.

    Black hat SEO is a dangerous business. Going against Webmaster guidelines is risky and will most likely result in severe penalties sometime down the road. Although using black hat techniques may be intriguing at times, it is best to take the ethical road and play by the rules. After all, you shouldn’t engage in optimization for search engines – real people use your website too!

  1. Set unreasonable timeframes for clients.

    Ideally, you would be able to get all of your clients’ SEO projects done on time and in an orderly fashion. However, we don’t live in a perfect world and things go wrong, or take longer than expected. Give yourself some leeway when creating timelines, and break the projects down into the smallest possible parts with the maximum amount of time it will take to complete each component. As Shakespeare said, “Better three hours too soon than a minute too late.”

  1. Employ exclusively left-brained people.

    Sure, technically-minded people are vital to an SEO firm, but there’s more than just analytics and logistics. From the perspective of Dave Naylor, it’s important to “build a site for a user, not a spider.” This not only means optimizing on the back end, but creating inventive content and design that capture your audience (such as an alluring website and engaging blog posts). Creative-minded (right-brain) people are not only an asset, but a must-have for any internet marketing agency competing in the world of SEO.

  1. Hide behind SEO jargon and ‘fancy’ reports.

    For those in the SEO industry, acronyms like “CPC” and “CTR” are just part of our everyday language. But use these terms around a client and you might notice them scratching their head. Transparency is key when communicating with clients, as it helps to build equal and open relationships between the two parties. Avoiding industry jargon is also crucial in avoiding misunderstandings and frustration.

What are some of the worst practices you’ve seen occur in SEO? Share your horror stories in the comments below!