Home Affiliate Marketing Blog 8 Signs You're Not a Professional Internet Marketer

8 Signs You're Not a Professional Internet Marketer

8 Signs You're Not a Professional Internet Marketer

This is a guest post from Rebecca Kelley, formally of SEOmoz and now director of social media marketing at 10e20.

Nowadays it seems like everyone's an expert, especially when it comes to the vast wasteland known as the Internetz. People are popping up like whack-a-moles and advertising their expertise as Internet marketers and SEO/social media experts, and oftentimes it's difficult to distinguish the experts from the fakers. Thankfully, there are a few obvious signs that identify you as either a noob, a hack, a fake, or all of the above, and I thought I'd highlight some of them in this post.

1. You have music on your site. Nothing like some auto-loaded windchime sounds to get you in the mood to hire an Internet marketer!

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The same goes for videos that automatically start as soon as you land on the page. You're not trying to sell me a used car, for crying out loud – enough with the hokey in-your-face sales pitches and tactics.


2. You use some stupid, unreadable font on your site and in your emails. Your website and email correspondence shouldn't look like they were designed by my 58 year old aunt. Stick with a default, professional looking font and avoid anything that's cursivey, flowing, or just plain hard on the eyes. Nothing says “I shouldn't be taken seriously” like an email composed in a size 16 Vivaldi font.


3. Your content is chock full of typos. Some people can get away with typo-laden blog posts, but if you're trying to market yourself as a professional who's selling consulting, first impressions are key, and if the first thing I see when I come to your site is “Unparalelled SEO Serivces” and you talk about how “We guarantee you're sites sucess in the SERPs,” I'll be hitting the “Back” button before checking to see how often you screw up “to,” “two” and “too.” Speaking of guarantee…

4. You “guarantee” #1 positions for keywords. If you have this claim on your site, it means that you'll either get top positions for bullshit long-tail search terms (“Good news! You now rank #1 for “monkey penis tears-free shampoo!”) or you'll do something seriously shady to get those top rankings and a penalty is right around the corner. Real SEO professionals don't “guarantee” #1 rankings because they don't want to promise something that might not happen, despite their best efforts (Wikipedia, anyone?). In the words of Tommy Boy, “Hey, if you want me to take a dump in a box and mark it guaranteed, I will. I got spare time.”

5. One(ish) word: Flash-tastic. I actually once came across an SEO's website that was entirely in Flash. That's kind of the ultimate “Do as I say, not as I do.” I know a lot of SEOs with less than stellar optimized websites, but if you're rocking the Flash like it's 1999, that's kind of ridiculous. 


6. You advertise that you can optimize a site for “hundreds of major search engines.” Oh really? All hundred of them? Wowser, so you must know of the other 996 top secret search engines that nobody else is optimizing for! Yeah, yeah, I know there are some local directories and vertical search engines that are important, but if you're trying to claim that there are hundreds and hundreds of search engines that you need to optimize your site for, you're just blowing steam up your client's ass and trying to seem like more of an expert than you actually are. 


7. You have a “Links” page on your site. Oh sheesh. If you're rocking the “Links” page as well as providing thorough instructions on how to engage in a link exchange and what anchor text to use when pointing to your site, I'm guessing you're a ticking time bomb of fail. You might as well greet Google with giant blinking text on your home page that says “I'm shady and ignorant! Please penalize me!” 


8. You hire someone to do your own site's SEO. A colleague of mine was checking out some SEO freelance forums and actually came across a posting from a guy who wanted to hire someone to rank his site for “SEO services,” “search engine optimization services” and similar keyphrases. Uh, dude, if you're a supposed SEO/Internet marketing expert and you need to hire someone to rank your site for the search engine optimization services you offer and supposedly excel at, something is seriously wrong.

26 Comments Add your comment
  • Reply Jason Dodd3444 days ago

    nice you could drop by rebecca, and a nice summary of signs that should set alarm bells ringing - unfortunately like plenty of other scams on the internet there'll always be those that don't get to read your post and sign up for their services for the super low price (never to be repeated) of $50,000 plus tax :)

    By the way your post only got us to number two for that phrase...

    Hope the triathalon training is going well - and youre giving those 'pros' a run for their money

  • Reply James Pruitt3444 days ago

    great post on what to do on my site, so everyone knows I am a noob. jk, great post always love the helpful advice on what to watch out for, especially being new into this myself.

  • Reply Rod Dagan3444 days ago

    "shouldn't look like they were designed by my 58 year old aunt"????

    Guess the young ones know better as they express themselves with the ubiquitous gutter language

    Is the a mark of professionalism?

  • Reply Jon Pastorizo3444 days ago

    Right on the spot...Enough said!

  • Reply Ryan • 3444 days ago

    I heard that monkey penis tears-free shampoo is a hot seller these days ;) I've seen a few SEO/SEM companies putting the google adwords qualified professional/company/individual stamp on their site and it doesn't link to the google page stating that they met all the requirements. Red flag right there in my opinion.

  • Reply Gary & Val • 3444 days ago

    Hi Rebecca,

    All points noted :-)

    What would you suggest as an optimum font type and size throughout a site (barring occasions when the use of bold and or Italics might well be relevant for emphasis) ?

    We are just starting out so will expect to make mistakes anyway but many "sites" we hit as landing pages (even from well known internet name product pitches) seem to use a whole mix of different font sizes, colours and images etc.


    Gary & Val

  • Reply Kang • 3443 days ago

    Gotta love the humor and truth in this post.

    Loved number 4.

    I went for an interview at a SEM company and was asked about my thoughts about companies which offered these sorts of guarantees.

    I said these were utter nonsense.

    Maybe that's why I didn't get the job.

    Which is just as well because I'm happy running my own company now.

    Thumbs up for the post!

  • Reply liamiam • 3443 days ago

    I am Soooooo glad that I could not find myself guilty of any of your suggested goofs.
    Very nice topic

  • Reply Mark Davies3442 days ago

    This is pretty funny..........
    nice long tail keyword!

  • Reply Corey Freeman @ Writer Seven • 3442 days ago

    This was a really great and informative post. Thanks for the really interesting tips and hilarious post. Sadly, I'm not so great at internet marketing.

  • Reply 3441 days ago

    "58 year old aunt"...?
    Are you really in a position to be that arrogant and ageist?
    Are you really that good?
    Are you taking your youth for granted?

    Are you really ready to alienate the buying legions of baby-boomers?
    & What the frak would you know about what it takes to survive much less
    thrive in this world at the age of 58.
    You discredit yourself.

  • Reply Chris Goddard3441 days ago

    Thanks Rebecca for your post - some great advice!

    @Karena I don't think Rebecca was intending to be offensive with the Aunt comment, and I think she was meaning it in a light hearted way. I think she was just highlighting some of the dated designs that you can see on some marketing websites - an easy mistake to make if you're not as familiar with the internet. But your point that we shouldn't necessarily discount people's ability because of their age is fair.

  • Reply Harry Kaye3441 days ago

    Yo Rebecca, I love your straight from the hips kind of talk, and I for one agree with most of what you pointed out. But I am a bit skeptical about your attitude in general, I mean the 58 year old aunt and all that, and the other thing, this world is full of all sorts of weirdos, or what we consider weirdos, and for the record, you and I think alike, but that said, the weirdos need attention too. I.e., they want to spend money as well. So, I am thinking, if it works, it works. Or not. Then change it.

  • Reply Marie Reynolds3440 days ago

    I turn 72 in a few days time, and do not feel as if what I do is dated. And in fact, in my head, I am 27.
    Some people are old at 30. It's just a matter of perception. Young people always talk about elderly 60 year olds. In a few short minutes, you will all be here, and you will realise it is not old at all.

  • Reply Ben • 3440 days ago

    Darn I only do 7 out of the 8!!

    So close yet so far!

    Great Post!

  • Reply carl • 3436 days ago

    Don't forget the animated gifs, red or blue text on a black background, and the all too famous 3 paragraph bio on the homepage.

  • Reply David Merrington3432 days ago

    Hmmm. I am fifty-three (uncle of nobody), and my affiliate marketing is looking after me rather well. I have blogs, and they have practically nothing to do with it.

    I mean, who ever really cares about inspecting some unknown old gaffer's blog? Or, for that matter, some unknown young trendoid's blog?

    Fashion, age and so-called personality are silly distractions (imo). So, yer, it's actually better to do your work online with minimal presence and no websites or blogs.

    Certainly better than compromising yourself instantly because someone, somewhere, out of the global online population, decides you're too old, too young, too loud and brazen, too pathetic for words, too gross, too mannered and urbane, too male, too female, too 'ethnic' or too 'non-ethnic', too American, too British, too 'weird and foreign' , too with-it, too without-it, etcetera.

  • Reply dennis • 3430 days ago

    Nice post, pretty blunt and to the point :-) which I like.

    Maybe that guy trying to rank for seo terms, was just trying to maximise his rankins to the fullest potential, by doing his own methods, and getting others to chip in to, nothing wrong with that in my opinion.

    Dennis@4 marketing p's

  • Reply Russ • 3429 days ago

    I agree with this article and think that some of what we do needs to be spoken about plainly and there is some great fodder for debate in here (as I see the message board already lighting up). I think its safe to say that there are a few 58-year-old Aunts our there who are tearing up SEO and SEM. Good for you, ladies!

  • Reply John Duncan • 3429 days ago


    As a "professional" do you use this kind of language with your clients?

    I'm far from being a prude, but as a parent, this is not the kind of approach that is appropriate for young entrepreneurial minds.

    Posting these tips was a good idea, but your execution was way off the mark.

  • Reply DCook • 3428 days ago

    What you say is true, but how you say it show's your not there yet. A pro would use fare more edifying
    words then your choose's. Don,t knock the 58 year old, She was on the net when it started way before you were a twinkle in your dads eye.

  • Reply peter johnson • 3425 days ago

    Why so abrasive?

  • Reply Judy Turner3425 days ago

    I agree with John D. May be this the type of language the younger crowd relates to. I sell antiques so I would not know.

  • Reply Mayden B • 3424 days ago

    Hilarious! I have tears in my eyes for laughing out loud. Thanks Rebecca. It's indeed satire. Esp the last point. But honestly I don't understand about the point #7. Do u mean, google will penalize for doing link exchange? Or because we use "Links" as our anchor text? Do u mind explaining this to me (thanks in advance).


  • Reply Cain Pendell3303 days ago

    Rebecca, Nice test! Peace

  • Reply Virginia Perl2913 days ago

    Hi Rebecca~
    I arrived at this post via Affilorama's tweet this morning. Although this post is almost two years old, it's new to me. I was reading along, really enjoying your funny and right-on post until your comment about the 58-year-old aunt. It was offensive to me. I am the aunt of 15 nieces and nephews. I graduated summa cum laude with a bachelor of fine arts degree when I was 57. I am now 69 and still "movin' and shakin' with the rest of you. I will never stop learning and keeping up-to-date on my interests. I hope you have widened your perspective of who has talent since your post in 2009.
    ~Virginia Perl

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