In the vast and intricate world of digital marketing, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a crucial element of success. However, with its complexities and ever-evolving nature, it’s sometimes difficult to understand, leaving room for less-than-credible individuals to offer SEO services without delivering results. Here are some signs to look out for to determine if your SEO specialist might be faking their expertise.

1. Vague Reporting and Lack of Transparency

A genuine SEO expert will provide clear, detailed reports showing what they’ve done and how it’s affecting your site. They should be transparent about strategies and results. If your SEO person is consistently vague about their methods or the reports don’t make sense, it might be a red flag.

2. Overpromising Rapid Results

SEO is a long-term strategy, and significant changes don’t happen overnight. If someone promises you the top spot on Google in a few weeks or claims to have a special relationship with Google, be skeptical. These are common tactics used by those who might not have the skills to deliver long-term growth.

3. One-size-fits-all Approach

Every website and business is unique, and a good SEO strategy should be tailored to the specific goals and needs of the business. If your SEO person uses a generic approach for all their clients or suggests cookie-cutter solutions, they might not be putting the necessary thought and analysis into your specific situation.

4. Using Outdated or Disapproved Tactics

SEO best practices change frequently. Techniques that were effective a few years ago might now be outdated or even penalized by search engines. If your SEO person insists on using tactics like keyword stuffing, buying links, or cloaking, they’re not keeping up with current standards. This not only shows a lack of real expertise but could also harm your site’s ranking.

5. Inability to Explain Concepts or Strategies

A knowledgeable SEO professional should be able to explain what they’re doing and why. If you’re finding it hard to get straight answers or the explanations are too technical without clear translation into layman’s terms, it’s possible they’re hiding their lack of knowledge behind jargon.

6. Lack of Focus on Conversion and User Experience

While rankings are an important aspect of SEO, the ultimate goal is to increase business through conversions. If your SEO person focuses solely on rankings without considering user experience or conversion optimization, they might not have a comprehensive understanding of how SEO fits into the broader picture of your business.

7. No Reference to Recent Changes or Trends in SEO

The SEO landscape is continually evolving with frequent updates to search engine algorithms and best practices. A competent SEO professional stays updated with these changes and knows how to adjust strategies accordingly. If your SEO person never mentions recent updates or how they affect your strategy, they might not be as immersed in the field as they should be.

8. They Are Not Providing Backlinks

Backlinks are a vital component of SEO. If your SEO person isn’t actively working to acquire quality backlinks from reputable sites, they’re neglecting a crucial part of your SEO strategy.

9. They Are Not Updating Content or Writing Articles

Fresh and relevant content is key to engaging users and improving SEO. If your SEO specialist isn’t updating your site’s content or adding new, valuable articles, they’re not fully optimizing your site.

10. They Cannot Tell You Which Pages They Are Targeting for What Keyword

SEO involves targeting specific pages for specific keywords. If your SEO person can’t specify what they’re targeting and why, they might not have a strategic approach to optimizing your site.

11. They Did Not Make Any Code Changes to Your Website

Many SEO improvements involve behind-the-scenes code changes to enhance site speed, mobile responsiveness, or schema markup. No changes might mean no real optimization is happening.



Knowing if your SEO person is genuinely helping or just going through the motions can significantly impact the success of your digital marketing efforts. By being aware of these warning signs, you can ensure that you’re partnering with someone who has the skills, knowledge, and commitment to genuinely improve your SEO and help your business grow.

Always remember, in SEO, as in many other fields, if something seems too good to be true, it probably is. Conduct thorough vetting, ask for references, and don’t shy away from asking detailed questions about their strategies and past successes. Your due diligence will pay off in finding a true expert who can deliver real results.

Marketing Magnitude has been in the SEO business for over 13 years and offers free consultations and analysis of your website. Contact Marketing Magnitude today for help with your search engine optimization at 702-482-8529.