What’s the problem?
Some of our so-called “competition” have no idea what they’re getting themselves into. Many clients are coming to us unhappy with their current SEO services, and rightly so. Many agencies are getting a rough idea about SEO then offering it as a service despite having no real understanding of it let alone experience. This is something which seems to gathering pace. With the concept of SEO being relatively new to most business owners and decision makers they don’t know what to look out for in order to ensure they end up with a decent company, which often they don’t.
With no real institution in place to regulate the industry (Yes we have Bruce Clays Code of Ethics, Google’s Guidelines and SEMPO but these don’t check up on people to ensure they’re competent enough to offer the service), and with SEO now being realized as extremely important we’re facing a situation where anyone and everyone who has something to do with the web in a business sense is claiming the ability to do amazing SEO.
Who are they?
It seems that often these are people and companies who have, until recently, been web designers. Now, as SEO practitioners will know, it’s helpful to know all about web design but you also need to know about marketing. This is the thing. We suddenly have all of these SEO’s popping up all over the place, web designers who have read up a bit about SEO and believe they’ve mastered it after fiddling around with Google’s keyword tool and then chucking some results into META tags. They’re completely ignoring the fact that SEO requires marketing experience too.
These companies then believe that they are able to offer SEO as a service, despite having no real idea of what it is. Companies who use them will expect results that they simply cannot provide. They will implement the little bits of knowledge they have obtained from reading Learn SEO in 24 Hours and a few blogs, and then as the months go by their clients will begin to complain, applying pressure to see results, results that aren’t coming. Once the “SEO takes time” excuse has been exhausted and our web design company has realized that this same thing is happening with a number of their clients, and they are going to have to disappoint all of them, they’re going to look and feel very bad indeed.
Why are they making this mistake?
On the surface SEO seems simple, once you learn the basics it’s easy to think that’s all there is to it and you’ve mastered it in no time… big mistake!
SEO is not as simple as it appears, if it was then there would be no need for SEO specialists like us, we’d just have any web designer implementing it into their web design services. Oh wait, they are doing that!
The problem is that when one begins to look into SEO as a practice, all they initially see is these “techniques” and anyone who can build websites can implement such techniques. I did the same thing. When I was studying at Southampton Solent University I did my final year project on SEO. I did loads of research, and loads of work. The project went on for many months in which I put in many hours per day into studying. By the time I had finished the project I was convinced that I knew all there was to know about SEO. I didn’t know squat, I just thought I did. When I look back now I realize how little I knew, and that had I been given the opportunity to offer my SEO skills to a client at that point I would have been confident in my ability to get them some great results.
Since that time I have learned and learned, through experience and study. Still now I can see that there still is, and always will be much more to learn and study.
When you scratch that simple surface of SEO, you start to see more, and then more, and more, and more. The further you dig down, the more you will see that you’re going to have to keep digging, deeper and deeper, and in many different directions. SEO, far from being that “simple” thing it comes across as, is a very complex process covering a very broad range. Unfortunately this fact is invisible until that simple surface is scratched.
The surface dwelling SEO companies out there, of which there are many, are in for a hell of a shock when they realize things weren’t as simple as they first thought, or just a lot of confusion as to why their “techniques” weren’t having the effect they had read they would.
In any case, eventually word will spread and business owners will know what to look out for and what to avoid (through costly experience for some) and there will come a time when SEO specialists will be recognized as just that, and not confused with web designers who happen to have learnt a little on the surface.
There needs to be some kind of a badge that SEO’s wear to distinguish them from the amateurs, something that is acquired through testing and proof of knowledge.
Companies and individuals have a right to know if the agency they’re hiring have the ability to do the job, just like if you were hiring a car mechanic you’d want to know that he can actually fix your car, not just fiddle around underneath it and making excuses as to why it still doesn’t work, because he’s not really a car mechanic, he’s a baker!