I joined the SEO industry in 2012 and like majority of my peers, I stumbled upon an industry that has been battered but whose members were resilient. They totally believed in themselves and in what they do. I guess if Google does not exist, these folks will still talk and write about optimizing a website.
I don’t know much about the pre-penguin etc days. I really didn’t live through it but from history (we SEO’s tend to write a lot), I got to know how it was practically easy to rank a website.
Fast forward to 2015 and the game has totally changed.
This change might be not due entirely to Google’s numerous changes. A lot will still be due to the fact that businesses come and go, but yet Google had a lot of stake in it also and they played their card very well.
Today, the fear of Google is the beginning of wisdom and as usual SEO’s continues to have a hard time.
I want to look at some threats we face as an industry and the first threat is from within the SEO experts.
I recently read about how you should not focus on ranking. How ranking is a dead metric and why you should focus on traffic instead. The first question that jumps to my head is “if you don’t rank a page for a keyword, what is the purpose of optimizing the page?
Granted there are many gray areas to it. You could absolutely rank your clients website with the wrong words. But if you chose your keyword carefully, optimize the page rightly and promote the page for more visibility which usually means a higher position in SERP then which is coming first. The ranking or the traffic?
Without higher ranking, there can be no visibility especially if you want to depend on organic traffic to the website.
I am not saying that SEO is all about ranking but seriously, why do we do what we do?
Half educating clients are wrong. You need ranking, but you need the kind of ranking that will give you targeted relevant traffic to your website so that conversion can be easier.
That is SEO and that is what we do.
The second real threat SEO faces is from social media or should I group them together (content promotion experts).
A percentage of this second group believe that content promotion (posting on social media platforms alone or sending emails to people) is the key to more ranking. They tell us to promote our content on social media and leave Google to figure out the rest.
There have been numerous studies that show getting more shares does not translate to more links. Here is one of them.
In fact contents with more shares usually do not have the same proportion of links.
How many times have you shared a post without even reading it? Honestly, I must confess I do it about 90% of the time. People share for various reasons but when it comes to giving a link, people carefully consider a lot of factors before they do.
Granted, links alone will not make you rank but when the chips are down, the type and kind of links you have might be the only thing to make the difference.
I recently read how an SEO expert I respected so much is transforming his link building agency into a content promotion agency and I ask myself “what is the difference between content promotion and targeted outreach”? Just because I don’t ask for links in my email doesn’t mean that is not my goal.
And taking a final stab at this is the purpose of promoting my article via any channel not to get it into the hands of my audience who will either share or link to it depending on the purpose of the article.
The third perceived threat to SEO is Google itself. It has been thrown up and around that Google hate SEO and I have always puzzled over this.
Before I go into what makes this funny, everyone should remember Google is a business.
If inbound marketing involved giving people just a piece of what they need in order to get them to trust us and subsequently buy from us, then Google SERP is a prototype of this marketing gimmick.
Imagine landing on an SERP full of page advert? Will you want to visit the page again or will you be pissed off such that you might not come back?
But imagine seeing an SERP where there are qualitative free results and the page ads are just positioned where you should see them? Which SERP model makes for a good business model?
And finally, remember the news about Google trying to hire an SEO consultant. I guess that day was one of the funniest days in my life as an SEO.
Google love SEO, they just needed to bring sanity into the industry for the sake of their business.
Real or perceived, there will always be threats to the SEO industry. It might come from within or from outside, but like the popular Tom and Jerry cartoon, we need Google as much as they need us.
After all no matter what happens, Tom and Jerry always find a way to come together and save themselves from external aggression.
Long Live the SEO industry!
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