Online marketing information can change quickly This article is 9 years and 215 days old, and the facts and opinions contained in it may be out of date.
What they do:
SEO consultants are generally project managers. They coordinate all aspects of website development and promotion for optimal search rankings. Clients look to an SEO consultant to provide input, and many times definitive answers on what the best methodology is to approach a web development problem for best overall results (combining user experience with search engine optimization). The best SEO consultants are actually Internet marketing consultants that can weigh the value of any potential marketing method versus another. They should be aware of business issues such as margins, return on investment, labor costs, time management, opportunity cost, and other related issues. They should also be able to understand user behavior (usability and conversion metrics), statistical tracking and analysis, and technical issues that impact all of the above listed concepts. SEO has been hugely successful to this point because there wasn’t a large NEED to measure a campaign. The opportunity cost of attaining high search engine rankings was far less for the relative value than any other method could hope to be. Most people could jump right in, learn 20% of what it takes to truly understand SEO and be successful (I am thankful to have been a part of that bubble myself), these folks were allowed the perk of being able to learn as they went. As has been demonstrated by web design and development, this is not a trend that is likely to continue much longer. As more people enter into search engine optimization, the opportunity costs rise and the relative value begins to fall into the range of other marketing methods.
A good SEO should know when when not to optimize as well. You can no longer just claim yourself as an SEO and make it so anymore by virtue of declaration. Ben Pfeiffer of Ranksmart has recently written a great article, “Why the Big SEO Company is Killing the True SEOÃ¢â‚¬Â on this subject, and how many folks in the industry are cashing in on non-existent services, taking on more than they can handle and under delivering, and many other unsavory techniques that give the industry as a whole a big black eye. While I agree with a good majority of what is said in the paper, and I think this is quite damaging to the industry as a whole. I think the fact that there is less value in large corporate SEO actually has the potential to HELP the smaller SEO consultants that provide high value in their services, and can demonstrate high ROI for their clients. SEO consulting is a tough service to scale, as it is only as good as a combination of the the human resources driving the development, and the tools that they use for tracking and performing campaings. Big companies main advantage is that they have the ability to develop and utilize effective tools much quicker by absorbing tool development costs more easily than do one and two man SEO shops. Small shops have the ability to change with algorithm shifts more quickly, making them more able to consistently offer high return on their services (some large SEO companies STILL promote SE submissions and meta-tag optimization). Many of the large companies also lock themselves into using the same tools and techniques for an extended period of time, making them outdated at some point in the process.
How it might change:
Everyone knows that the SEO game is getting harder. SEO consulting will further develop into project management. SEO is a catchphrase that has become a cool way of saying “I delegate website responsibility effectively for optimal resultsÃ¢â‚¬Â. SEO’s are responsible for understanding enough about all aspects of the web to make intelligent decisions. This means testing and implementing new techniques on a constant basis, and staying up to date with changes. As search moves closer towards personalization, and further from site based voting algorithms, the need to understand traditional marketing concepts will increase. SEO’s will be expected to understand personalized market segments in order to reach the customers that will convert best. It will essentially come full circle back to marketing to PEOPLE, rather than manipulating algorithms for maximum reach. If you can reach EVERYONE for the same price (as it is now), it is a good idea. As personalization increases, the cost to reach EVERYONE will increase as well, and it will be more important to target the RIGHT customers to remain profitable.
Favorite Resources on SEO Consulting and Web Project Management
- SEO – The missing business model
- SEO fade to black – cue full service multimedia marketing
- This is no cottage SEO firm
- What is the best use of an SEO’s time: SEO consulting vs. affiliate marketing
- Reviewing an SEO firm
- Advice on going freelance
- Why many people buy shitty SEO services
- SEO and internet marketing: land of the middle man
- Champagne tastes on a beer budget
- What SEO guarantees do you offer
- 10 things to ask your SEO clients
- How to start, and when you can charge for SEO
Coming soon Ã¢â‚¬“ The Last Segment on SEO Occupations:
- Web developers
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