• SEO Community Rebukes Google for Advising Free Site Audits

    Google published a video on how to hire a search marketing consultant. They made two reasonable recommendations. But the third one caused the search community to rebuke Google for that advice.

    Google’s advice lacked the nuance that comes with actual experience as a client-facing SEO.

    How to Hire an SEO

    The video lists three steps for hiring an SEO.

    The first two recommendations are:

    • Interview the SEO Consultant
    • Check References

    Those are reasonable recommendations.

    The third recommendation was to request a technical and search audit before the business hired the SEO.

    Google recommends obtaining a free site audit before hiring an SEO

    It has to be emphasized that these are three steps to take before hiring an SEO agency.

    There is no ambiguity that Google is recommending that businesses require a “free technical and search audit” before hiring the SEO.

    Google Recommends SEOs Work for Free

    The SEO community swiftly offered disapproval to Google for issuing that advice to business owners.

    This is what Bill Slawski tweeted:

    Bill Slawski ⚓@bill_slawski

    Google is offering questionable advice about SEO. A technical audit is a great way to start SEO. Expecting a good SEO to do one for you for free is what @google recommends? @JohnMu @methode @searchliaison this is really questionable. https://www.billhartzer.com/seo/google-tips-hire-seo-specialist/ 

    Google’s Tips for Hiring an SEO Specialist – Technical SEO Audits

    In Google’s video, they seem to suggest that companies looking to hire an SEO should ask them to provide a technical audit of the website. Even before they’re hired. Should an SEO provide a technical…

    billhartzer.com

    241

    1:15 AM – Mar 9, 2020 · Carlsbad, CA
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    Danny Sullivan was tagged in the discussion for his feedback.

    Danny said he didn’t produce the video and suggested that maybe the video was asking for a general overview of what was to be done.

    Bill Slawski ⚓@bill_slawski

    Google is offering questionable advice about SEO. A technical audit is a great way to start SEO. Expecting a good SEO to do one for you for free is what @google recommends? @JohnMu @methode @searchliaison this is really questionable. https://www.billhartzer.com/seo/google-tips-hire-seo-specialist/ 

    Google’s Tips for Hiring an SEO Specialist – Technical SEO Audits

    In Google’s video, they seem to suggest that companies looking to hire an SEO should ask them to provide a technical audit of the website. Even before they’re hired. Should an SEO provide a technical…

    billhartzer.com

    Danny Sullivan

    @dannysullivan

    I’m tagged into this but didn’t produce the video so will leave to @johnmu or others from that team to comment. But I wouldn’t have taken this to mean an extensive audit but rather a general reasonable overview/outline of work that might be done….

    14

    2:41 AM – Mar 9, 2020
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    Danny continued his thoughts in this tweet:

    Danny Sullivan

    @dannysullivan

    Replying to @bill_slawski and 4 others

    I’m tagged into this but didn’t produce the video so will leave to @johnmu or others from that team to comment. But I wouldn’t have taken this to mean an extensive audit but rather a general reasonable overview/outline of work that might be done….

    Danny Sullivan

    @dannysullivan

    It’s fair enough that even an light audit can be seen at valuable consulting that wouldn’t be given away. But it’s also fair enough you don’t just hire an SEO without getting some sense of what they’re going to do. So maybe the video could be updated to balance that more.

    20

    2:42 AM – Mar 9, 2020
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    Respected search marketer Bill Hartzer was among the first to notice this bad advice. He offered his insights in a blog post:

    “…asking for a technical audit of a website even before the SEO is hired, is flat out bad advice. Very bad advice…”

    He then pointed out that a superficial free site audit is the hallmark of a scammer.

    Bill said:

    “SEO consultants that provide a “technical audit” or even call it a “technical audit” for free before they’re even hired is misleading, sketchy, and not someone that you’d want to deal with in the first place. A good SEO consultant will explain to you that they won’t provide a technical SEO audit of your website for free.”

    Gary Illyes Tweets

    Gary Illyes tweeted what appeared to be a retcon of the meaning of technical and search audit to simply mean a look around.

    But taking a look around a site prior to giving a quote is not what the Google video recommends. The video explicitly advises businesses to request a technical and search audit before being hired. An audit is a formal document with actionable insights.

    If Google meant that an SEO should take a look at the site to understand the scope of the project then they should have said that.

    Takeaway

    Google’s video was poorly conceived. All of the advice is good except the part where they recommend a free site audit prior to hiring the SEO.

    A free site audit is a lead generation trick. This tactic is employed by disreputable email spammers.

    One can only speculate that the authors of Google’s video have received spam emails offering a free technical and search audit and they presumed this was a common way of doing business.

    The advice in this video demonstrates that lived first-hand experience is superior to second hand knowledge. Had an employee with actual client-facing SEO experience been on the Google team that produced this video, that person would have been able to point out the error, what Bill Slawski termed, “questionable advice. ”

    [“source=searchenginejournal”]

    Categories: SEO

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