Online marketing information can change quickly This article is 10 years and 25 days old, and the facts and opinions contained in it may be out of date.
We’ve already discussed SEO generations, how some folks entered the industry at different times and learned from others. Outside of the SEO sphere, however, SEO seems to elicit a much different response from folks based on their different (often negative) experiences with those claiming to be an SEO.
To me, SEO has been a very positive experience to which I ascribe a lot of appreciation and respect. When I call someone a “good SEO”, “veteran SEO” or even admit to them being “a SEO” I consider I am giving them a compliment, even if their knowledge and expertise reaches far past simple search engine optimization. It is a much different idea to me for someone to “be an SEO” than it is to many other folks. It seems in other circles that same respect doesn’t apply to someone “being a SEO”. It’s sometimes frustrating to have the industry shut off to its’ own little world, but as many have mentioned, it’s probably a good thing that most folks don’t “get it”. I tell most folks I am an “internet marketing consultant”, but in my heart I am an “SEO”.
I have a somewhat bad habit of encompassing all knowledge of the internet into “being an SEO”. I think being an SEO is being a “meta-webmaster”, project manager, or internet marketing engineer. It may even be more than that. It is a way of thinking. SEO’s are resourceful soldiers of fortune. It is fundamental understanding of all opportunities available and applying the best solution for a given situation, and prioritizing goals into an actionable plan that considers business principles of scaling cash flow and other important concepts. Perhaps my view is wrong and I give “SEO’s” too much credit. Perhaps someone with these qualities needs a new flashy moniker to seperate them from those who have just started to do meta tags and search engine submissions.
Part of the problem may be the fact that there is a definitive life cycle to SEO’s. Most folks will be drawn in at some point as part of a job our their own business. They will proceed to grow their understanding to use it to help others, grow their own business, or do consulting. Most of the stellar SEO folks will end up doing affiliate marketing or starting their own non-SEO business models. They grow increasingly frustrated with the information gap between themselves and the prospects seeking services. I truly enjoy the education process myself most the time, and have learned ways to filter folks that I can’t help in a reasonable amount of time, and try to provide them with some resources to educate themselves. Those starting to the game a bit later have the added benefit of an abundance of QUALITY information once they manage to find it.
This life cycle of SEO’s has caused a shortage and high demand for in-house SEO’s that are willing to be trained, as well as consultants who can help do so, or provide more value than in house resources. The increased demand only serves to drive many new folks to claim to provide SEO services (I was guilty of this myself about 4+ years ago). The new faces with little experience combined with hucksters trying to make a few quick bucks in a fledgling field has helped to sully the reputation associated with SEO in the eyes of many who still just view SEO as a one-dimensional discipline.
If the web as a whole can enter a second bubble with Web 2.0’s excessive gradients, nice round corners, mirror effects, and other nice graphics and social networking ideas, can’t SEO’s come up with a new way to market their services? I’ve already tried to disavow SEO once, but I was drawn back with it’s sauve siren-song seductiveness. Isn’t there some other way that we can differentiate ourselves and retain the positive history behind the title?
A Modest Proposal – SEO 2.0
I think it’s time to rebrand SEO a little bit as SEO 2.0. SEO 2.0 will never over-hype expectations, make false promises, or sell services without discussing risks or educating clients. SEO 2.0 will have a fundamental understanding of design, conversion, technology, webservers, business, psychology, PPC, shopping feeds, affiliate marketing, economics, and other broad principles to apply to more than just higher search rankings, but to making businesses better. SEO 2.0 will continue to learn beyond the normal realm of meta tags and on-page tweaks to understand social networking, marketing, business, and anything else that may impact the success of a website. SEO 2.0 will be pretty, shiny, maintain a stellar reputation and will be well funded. Step up your game and jump on for SEO 2.0. Your services and knowledgebase will evolve or you’ll be obsolete and your luck will run out when the bubble bursts.