This post is a response to a blog by Lyndon Antcliff, a well-known internet marketer from the uk. In a recent post Lyndon talks about how in speaking at LinkLove London earlier this year he failed to convince SEO’s of his view that digital marketing is about more than just messing around in excel spreadsheets and setting up network domains for circular link juice. You can find out more about Lyndon’s speech at LinkLove on his blog CornwallSEO. Lyndon’s blog is about how we need to do something to change the prevailing attitude of today’s SEO. We need to get out of the mind-set of thinking (and more importantly letting customers think) that working on one aspect of SEO or Digital Marketing alone will mean they hit the top of search rankings or that it will mean every person that visits a site will convert. A view which I completely agree with.
Anyone who is looking to hire an SEO Company has probably come at it from the angle of “getting to number 1 on google” or something similar and this is why most SEO’s have an obsession with it. Very few businesses will contact a Digital Marketing Agency such as RedStar asking “how can I convert more visitors” which is probably a more interesting and manageable task – after all not everyone can be in that number one spot, right!
Changing the SEO Industry
SEO is not like other industries. Let’s for a moment look at another industry, taxi driving. Over the past 3 to 5 years, as a taxi driver you will have used the same routes time and time again – its great nothing much is changing, maybe an additional road here or there, nothing hugely important.
Let’s compare that with the SEO as an industry. Over the past few years we’ve seen great changes in many areas which require SEO’s to stop focusing on putting all their eggs in one basket and look at a bigger picture. A few of these changes include the ever growing social media impact on search, social media as a means to gain traffic and of course updates to algorithms such as Penguin and Panda from Google. So, as you can see, the routes which were once highways are now token footpaths. The world has changed and SEO as an industry needs to change too and offer more than just search rankings help.
So why do I feel this is so important that I’ve written a blog about it?
The answer is simple, if as an industry we don’t adapt and change, we will die. Social Media is becoming a bigger and bigger part of our modern world and many people use it to find what they are looking for, asking friends for advice and reviews or finding the latest articles. Social Media isn’t just some “fad” that will disappear, it’s built into our everyday lives not least of which is through our smartphones. If we the “seo” industry don’t take on Social Media as something we can optimise and manage, we will cease to exist. We need to adapt and grow, the internet will always change and we always need to be there to help make the most of it for business. If we don’t someone else will – leaving us behind failing.
So let’s change today, lets stop thinking we are an “SEO Industry” and start believing we are a “Digital Marketing industry” which can offer more than just help in search rankings.
Managing Client Expectations
At RedStar all of our services are customer made to fit around each client. We, with each potential client, sit down and discuss the objectives of our Digital Marketing services. We explain the reality that not all website can rank at the top of Google and that what we do can take a while to have an effect. We also help the customer to look beyond the idea of “ranking is everything” and understand what it doesn’t matter if you rank 1st in google if your website doesn’t convert that user & how we can help this with conversion rate optimisation.
What the steps above show is that at RedStar we proactively look to manage the expectations of a potential client from the outset. Being open and honest about what the current situation is, how we can help them and how long things are likely to take. This is something, that at least in our experience, doesn’t happen in every agency offering Digital Marketing / SEO Services – but really should.
Further to this, once the client has signed up we don’t forget about them. We are always in contact with them, updating them and letting them know how they can help too. We also continue to proactively manage expectations, letting them know of any changes in the industry (such as search algorithm updates) and how this may affect their website going forward.
-- update 03 may 2013
Rand Fishkin of SEOMoz (a big wig in the SEO industry) has weighed in on this topic and agree's we need to move beyond the remit of "just seo" and look at the bigger picture. He also repeats that "it is ok" to move on and not to be scared of moving forward. You can read his post / see the video here.
This post is written by Andy Kinsey, our Head of Digital Marketing. We think he will probably fill this blog with everything Digital Marketing quite soon.