Sorry this site requires JavaScript to be enabled in your browser. See the following guide on How to enable JavaScript in Internet Explorer, Netscape, Firefox and Safari. Alternatively you may be blocking JavaScript with an advert-related or developer plugin. Please check your browser plugins.

SEO industry has a bad rep - sure. So What?
Which industry doesn’t have a bad success rate?

Why should SEO be any different? Are we held to a higher standard?
Comments15 Comments  

Comments

Avatar Administrator
from MattMcGee 3721 Days ago #
Votes: 5

I do think we should hold ourselves to the highest standard possible. That said, you’re right that we’re not the only industry with a bad rep -- lawyers, real estate agents, car dealers, etc.

Avatar
from TimDineen 3721 Days ago #
Votes: 2

I wish we would ALL hold ourselves to a higher standard -- but since that isn’ likely to ever happen we’ll always have to defend ourselves.

Avatar
from qwerty 3721 Days ago #
Votes: 4

Part of the problem is that, as an industry, we’re new. People don’t actually know what we do, so they’re not in a good position to judge which of us are doing the right thing. Secondly, there’s no easy way to demonstrate that we’re good or reliable. We’re not licensed; there’s no board that determines our qualifications or an accredited educational program.The best we can do is show them results and client testimonials, and even those can’t be proven as true indications of what we do or how we do it.

Avatar Moderator
from toddmintz 3721 Days ago #
Votes: 6

All the more reason why we should stick together instead of fight with each other...

Avatar
from pittfall 3721 Days ago #
Votes: 1

We will not be able to combat those who look at us like a MLM unless we start! Outsiders look to resources like Wired Magazine, and even they don’t understand us as seen here.The only way to not be looked at like a bunch of politicians is to hold ourselves and our industry to a higher standard.Qwerty, just because we are new, doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t address this issue. How much do we add to our employer’s bottom lines? If we are looked at as professionals, we will have to start acting like professionals. This includes giving realistic expectations to our clients and then following through with it and being held accountable.

Avatar
from qwerty 3721 Days ago #
Votes: 1

"Qwerty, just because we are new, doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t address this issue."And some of us have been, for years. There are educators like Jill, there are organizations that have carefully set standards and vetted SEOs, like SeoPros and SEO Consultants, there are groups like SEMPO that work to improve the image of search marketing among marketers, but it seems none of that speaks as loudly to the general public as a story of somebody getting ripped off.

Avatar
from TimDineen 3721 Days ago #
Votes: 2

@Qwerty - agreed.  So isn’t the question really about why does a story about someone getting ripped off (or someone else calling this BS) really bother us so much?Isn’t that particular story really just about one individuals experience, or more appropriately isn’t it about one so-called SEO ripping someone off, by doing a poor job, rather than about SEO in general?Unfortunately, I know the answer is no - but how can we change that?  Maybe we can’t.  We could just ignore it and continue to do the things that we know are good for the industry - those things that Jill and Danny and SEMPO and many of us do every day.  I think the best way that we as a community could affect our own industry’s reputation would be to stop pointing fingers at each other, here and elsewhere, so the media won’t have as much meat to bite into when some story idea comes up. I, for one, am going to make a conscious effort to attend to bashing external forces that would seek to harm or belittle us rather than argue semantics with people within our industry with whom I might disagree slightly.

Avatar
from localbiz 3721 Days ago #
Votes: 2

I agree with Qwerty and Jill, education, taking the time to explain what is involved, testimonials, past results, etc are what we need to do right now. Not sure that will ever change like you said Tim, since not everyone is going to play nice

Avatar
from g1smd 3721 Days ago #
Votes: 1

Heh, Larry, ya could have been so famous if Danny hadn’t gotten there first!

Avatar
from MattC 3721 Days ago #
Votes: 0

The credibility issue exists in all aspects of life. All we can do is do the best we can one client at a time. Like you said Tim, there are a lot of industries that have good and bad people performing. Perhaps our industry isn’t much different, I think a lot of us would like to believe we are special and new but really, we aren’t.  Experienced business owners realize that in every aspect of doing business you are going to encounter people who will offer you the world, whether it be group insurance plans or buying a yellow page listing, and its the job of the owner to use their instincts to judge whether that company or individual is one that will provide them good service. Any pay service should be taken serious. Obviously a lot of mom and pop shops get taken advantage of, as well as, seasoned businesses. That isn’t our fault. They may be the same people who buy a subscription from a door-to-door encyclopedia salesperson or buy beachfront property in Florida and it winds up being a bag of sand. You can’t stop that.There are people who will mature and realize the web should be taken as serious as everything else and not buy services on a whim. Then again, there is a sucker born everyday.

Avatar
from MattC 3721 Days ago #
Votes: 0

We know how to party :) .. Actually this industry is cool in that we help each other out despite being somewhat competitors

Avatar
from planetc1 3720 Days ago #
Votes: 0

@qwerty: You described perfectly an industry that developed in the 1900’s, and faced many of the same issues the SEO industry faces today.@Jill: "I do think if you looked at almost any industry you’d find something similar." I agree, and I believe you’ll find answers by studying some of their histories.@TimDineen: Bashing external forces may not be as effective as determining what the perceptions are towards the industry, and seeking to understand and clarify them.@all: Partying can be a good thing, and getting together at events to let off steam, mastermind, and celebrate can work wonders for industry moral.IMO, the industry is young, very young. There is a blending of personalities and people moving in from a number of outside industries.Make no mistake, there are SEO/SEM enemies, you may just not have identified them yet. As the industry demonstrates increasingly larger gains, in talent and in profit, your enemies will increase their attacks and become more recognizable.Discussions like this one help to identify issues and move things forward in a positive direction.

Avatar
from TimDineen 3720 Days ago #
Votes: 0

To clarify, I don’t really propose "bashing" external forces... poor choice of words on my part.  I just would rather we not bash each other as much and instead focus on dispelling the claims make by those outside our industry as said better elsewhere.

Avatar
from SEPTom 3718 Days ago #
Votes: 0

I came into this industry after 10+ years with the Yellow Pages Group in Canada.  My first observation was how fragmented the industry is.  As it stands, the lack of standards (approach & reporting) and a single common voice, holds us all back.  We need to support a strong industry association, common voice and approach.  I’d like to get to a point where, in addition to their PR and Ad Agency. a VP Marketing will ask, who is our SEO of record.

Avatar
from bristolseo 3677 Days ago #
Votes: 0

Just before the .com bubble burst in 2000, every Tom, Dick and Harry thought they could do web design/development. Not every Tom, Dick and Harry feel the same about SEO, but due to the high growth and visibility of the main service we use - Search Engines - many believe they know exactly what we are talking about by their nodding heads before we even start our sentences. Many industries feel misunderstood - imagine how the music industry must feel now music is globally so cheap in every degree. Openness is essential in breading trust, and this can be difficult for many of our clients to understand as we prefer not to give our ’trade secrets’ away. SEPTom, an industry association would be a reasonable solution, yet defining the metrics so that each company/individual would fall in would be a massive problem. A good reputation within our own locality I believe is the safest solutions. The other problem is globalisation. Meaning we all has the ability to tender for the same job - wherever you live in the world. This in turn brings a lot of low calibre SEO’ers making a pitch and cheapening our services. I don’t believe there is any one solution to this problem. The best solution is work hard. The Cause and Effect is only positive.

Upcoming Conferences

Search Marketing ExpoSearch Engine Land produces SMX, the Search Marketing Expo conference series. SMX events deliver the most comprehensive educational and networking experiences - whether you're just starting in search marketing or you're a seasoned expert.



Join us at an upcoming SMX event: