Every once and a while I like to get on my SEO soapbox and talk about what I think is wrong with the SEO industry. Keep in mind that I have been working in this industry for over 12 years and I really love doing it, but every industry has its faults and the world of SEO is no exception. This industry probably has one of the worst reputations out of any marketing-related field, mainly because most news regarding the SEO industry focuses on the black hat, the spammers and the SEO con men. It’s no wonder John Q Businessman doesn’t trust me when we first meet. Once bit, twice shy and I have to work that much harder to convince him that I truly want his business to succeed.
One of my biggest complaints with the SEO industry is that anyone can claim to be an SEO expert.
There really aren’t many schools offering Internet marketing degrees, but even after studying the industry, any professional with a few years under their belt will tell you that a degree doesn’t make you an expert, experience does. Yet anyone with a computer can set up shop and create an Internet marketing business, establishing themselves as an expert. What kind of experience do these “experts” really have? While SEO might seem like an easy enough industry to learn about and get involved in, it isn’t something you master overnight. While the basics can be picked up rather quickly, really understanding how the search engines work and how far reaching SEO is takes years of experience.
Website owners looking for SEO help have hundreds if not thousands of companies to choose from. This means that the good and bad SEO companies are constantly battling each other for business. SEO con men will offer an unbelievable amount of service for an unbelievably low rate. They win the client because website owners are looking for the biggest bang for their buck and don’t have a lot of extra money to spread around. These “experts” take the money, do a shoddy job and call it a day. Now that site owner has a bad taste in their mouth for SEO. They rant about their horrible experience and the SEO industry takes another hit.
When you call yourself an expert, you better be able to deliver.
Working as the in-house SEO manager for a large brand doesn’t necessarily mean you’re ready to take on the branding battles of smaller companies. Without the budget and brand clout to help you out, do you really know what it takes to help a business do well?
As I mentioned, I have been working in this industry for 12 years, and I still don’t consider myself an expert. The rules of SEO are always changing and once you master one thing, a whole new system is put into play. SEO is all about rolling with the punches and adapting. Personally, I think very people can call themselves SEO experts because of that. When the techniques, tactics and rules are constantly changing, how can you ever know enough to call yourself an expert?