Was reading a forum post called “SEO certification” which had gone a little off topic, drifted to how to show you are a good SEO consultant by showing your search engine ranking pages (SERPs).

Someone said to show you are a good SEO consultant make a site that ranks well for some SERPs. Another poster (a self proclaimed ethical SEO expert, nice clean white hat :-0) agreed rankings is the way to go giving an easy long tail keyword SERP as an example and that got me started.

If you want to look like an SEO expert and show off (so marketing an SEO business) he’s right. It’s quite easy to get SERPs that sound great on paper, Number one out of 2,000,000 sounds like you must be an expert at search engine optimization, but every website has SERPs like that and a lot are worthless because they have no traffic!

SEO Expert Proof : Long Tail Keyword SERPs

SEO ConsultantI think you’d all agree SERPs for

Phentermine : 201,000 monthly searches
Xanax : 673,000 monthly searches
Blackjack : 165,000 monthly searches
Viagra : 1,220,000 monthly searches

Are going to pull in a load of Google traffic, big SEO comment spammer keywords, lots of money involved. So this page of mine might get some serious hits for relevant high traffic SERPs:

Comment Spam: Phentermine, Xanax, Viagra and Blackjack

This site has a nice SERP, number one in Google for

Phentermine, Xanax and Blackjack

Number 1 out of over 13,000,000 pages, I must be rolling in the money.

But it’s worthless since no one will search for “Phentermine, Xanax and Blackjack” (with or without the quotes) other than the odd person reading this blog :-). But it would look good listed on an SEO companies website showing how good their consultants are!

Now the above SERP is so obviously no Google traffic that it’s not a good example to con a webmaster researching a prospective SEO guru, but it’s no different to this one-

web site promotion expert

Sounds like the sort of SERP that could convert, 203,000,000 pages listed in Google, that must be super competitive!

How many visitors does the “web site promotion expert” SERP get a month? Very low, according to the Google AdWords Keywords Research Tool not enough monthly visitors to register a number.

Web Site Promotion Expert

Do the same Google search. but with speech marks “web site promotion expert”, adding speech marks shows only pages using the exact phrase, all four keywords in the above order. Now our 203 million pages drops to 62,000, that’s the real SEO competition and many of these won’t be targeting the SERP per se: this article will be in the mix, but it’s not optimized for that phrase, title tag for example doesn’t use that phrase, no links to the page has anchor text using that phrase… so this page isn’t strong competition for another page that is specifically targeting the phrase.

One of the top 10 is about “gardening web site promotion expert”, what on Earth is that job/role?

Anyway, since it’s so low traffic how can it be honestly used to show off how good someone is as an expert or consultant?

Don’t get me wrong the web site promotion expert SERP isn’t a completely worthless SERP (like my comment SPAM example above) but it’s not the sort of rankings a real website owner looking to part with their hard earned cash wants to see as proof that, that SEO consultant is the real deal.

SEO Promotion

A better example is this list of low traffic SEO phrases found on another SEO consultants (cough) website to promote their SEO service-

SEO benefits : 390 monthly searches
SEO perspective : 30 monthly searches
SEO robots.txt : 320 monthly searches
SEO software reviews : 480 monthly searches
SEO spam : 260 monthly searches
SEO template : 480 monthly searches
SEO timescale : 0 monthly searches

As you can see they are not high traffic SERPs, these are 2014 traffic numbers, when I first wrote this (2006) it was MUCH lower (must have increased 10 fold!), some of these are worth targeting now (the amount of people searching for SEO information and services has grown significantly over the past 8 years). Still, how much money would you pay for these SERPs if you were hiring an SEO consultant?

Would those types of SERPs be worth $5,000 a month, $1,000 a month, $500 a month…?

For $1,000 you could easily buy that level of traffic (~2,000 monthly searches) from Google AdWords at no risk, it’s guaranteed traffic, not hard to find AdWords keywords for under 50 cents a click.

With search engine optimization even if you were Google number 1 for all the above SERPs you would not get all 2,000 visitors, the monthly searches is how many people search, not how many people click a specific link from Google web search (10 results plus all the AdSense ads: the SEO benefits SERP shows 8 ads for example). Even being overly generous (25% CTR) the above would result in under 500 visitors a month if you have Google number 1 for them all: when I first wrote this (2006) would have been closer to 50 visitors a month.

An SEO business using SERPs like the ones above to promote their SEO consultant services aren’t good at SEO, they are marketing experts however, but certainly not an ethical SEO expert.

BTW the SEO consultant site I got the above list from is not doing particularly well for those SERPs now, only top 10 for SEO perspective and SEO timescale the two lowest traffic SERPs: 30 monthly searches). With increased traffic comes increased competition.

Those types of unethical SEO SERPs lists can be used to con potential clients into thinking the SEO company or individual SEO expert is good at search engine optimization, I’ve lost count the number of times I’ve viewed self proclaimed ethical SEO firms sites with dishonest lists like those.

SEO Consultant Ranking

I just made one as the title of this post-

SEO Consultant Ranking : 0 monthly searches (in 2014 still 0)

If this page goes top 10 for the SEO Consultant Ranking SERPs does that make me an SEO Guru? Of course not, it’s not a money SERP.

My approach on this title was SEO Consultant plus as few words as possible for it to make sense. Think it’s about time I had another top 5 SERP for SEO Consultant (have had three sites in the top 5 over the past decade) and this page will be the next one :-).

SEO Expert Consultant

The real measure of success is targeted traffic that converts, but we’ll leave the converts out of this since most SEO’s don’t have full control over how the site uses the traffic, so we’ll just go with targeted traffic which SEO’s do have some control over.

Increase Targeted Traffic

There are niches where the only realistic way to gain a lot of targeted traffic is to gain the top hardest SERPS. These are areas where the majority of searches will tend to use a very small number of search phrases to find a web site.

These are a bitch to SEO since you tend to need high PR (lots of links) and adding lots of new content doesn’t help because there aren’t many new relevant SERPs to go after.

When I offered SEO services I tried to stay away from web sites that needed the hardest SERPs, but did have clients with sites like those and they are always a struggle to keep the relevant targeted traffic pouring in.

Then there are the sectors where there is so much traffic you can completely ignore the top SERPs, this is where smart SEO consultants should put their time and effort because if you do all the right SEO things you are guaranteed targeted traffic. Those are the types of sites I own, why waste time building a site that can’t pull in over 500 visitors per day without having to get it’s home page to PR6 when the same PR can be spread over half a dozen sites that can easily pull in over 500 visitors per day each.

How many readers (especially SEO consultants) see over-

10,000 targeted visitors per day from all their sites?
10,000 targeted visitors per day from one site?
10,000 targeted visitors per day from more than one site (so at least two sites with at least 10,000 targeted visitors per day each)?

I can say yes to all of those questions, oh and it’s free Google traffic as well, does that make me a good SEO consultant?

One of my 10,000+ visitors per day sites has a PR4 home page, doesn’t have the top SERPs, but does gain a lot of low traffic SERPs due to adding lots of varied content. The varied content is the key, the niche has so many SERPs add the right content and you gain the targeted traffic. Obviously you still need the content optimized and links/PR, but PR4 home page isn’t that hard.

My old SEO company site though sucks in comparison, averaging around 750 visitors per day with the odd 1,000 visitors per day yet has roughly the same amount of PR (probably a little more) as the site above. As a side note the traffic isn’t converting because I turned off the SEO quote forms because I’m not looking for new SEO clients (no longer offer SEO services).

The main reason the SEO site doesn’t do as well in traffic terms is because it’s not a high traffic sector. SEO isn’t what I’d call very low traffic either, but most SERPs tend to include a small number of keywords-

  • SEO
  • Search
  • Search Engine
  • Website
  • Optimization

This limits the content that will pull in targeted traffic, there’s only so many times you can mention search engine optimization before it goes spammy! With the increase in interest in SEO and SEM the above is no longer true, now (2014) there’s a lot more keywords that cover SEO: SEM (165,000 monthly searches) – Search engine Marketing, SMO (40,500 monthly searches) – Social Media Optimization (SMO didn’t exist when I wrote this in 2006 :-)).

Anyway, my point is it’s easy to make yourself look good as an SEO expert by selectively showing SEO SERPs with millions of pages listed, but those don’t pull in traffic and if you are looking for an ethical SEO consultant or company to optimize your sites try to avoid the unethical SEO companies that use lists of traffic free SERPs.

David Law

David Law > AKA SEO Dave
: 20+ Years Experience as a Freelance SEO Consultant, WordPress SEO Expert, Internet Marketer, Developer of Multiple WordPress SEO Plugins/SEO Themes Including the Stallion Responsive Theme.

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