SEO is an acronym the means “Search Engine Optimization”. It is the process of increasing organic (un-paid) traffic to a website. SEO can also refer to an ever growing industry of ‘consultants’ or self-proclaimed “experts” (search engine optimizers).
I haven’t paid a dollar for an SEO service of any kind since first learning of the process in 2008, and since that time I’ve successfully increased the traffic to my blog and website exponentially.
A few weeks ago I was shown an article in Entrepreneur magazine titled “What You Don’t Know About SEO”, in which they quote Peter Kent, author of “Search Engine Optimization For Dummies” as saying “The SEO business is 80% scam”. This, unfortunately, is a statement I must sadly agree with.
Now I’m certainly not going to sit here and spout out a diatribe on why you shouldn’t hire an SEO to help you with your online searchability, but I will repeat the age-old adage of “Let the buyer beware.” At least three or four times a month I am solicited by self-proclaimed SEO companies that offer to charge me for services that are readily available for free. The internet is filled with the tools and information you need not only to understand how to drive traffic to your website, but to make it happen.
Am I saying that all SEOs are a scam? Absolutely not. If Mr. Kent’s statement is true, that means that at least 20% of them are the real deal, but finding them takes quite a bit of research, and often times they are well published and easy to find online. In most cases I’ve found them to be individuals and not companies. Beware of the SEO companies listed in Google’s “sponsored links” (the ones highlighted in yellow) as they didn’t earn their top Google ranking organically, they paid for it. Now ask yourself, if they couldn’t get themselves organically ranked, how the heck are they going to be able to do it for you?
On the other hand, only ten SEO experts are going to make the top 10, and there are plenty more legitimate ones out there than that. Many don’t even bother trying to compete for that term because it’s so ridiculously competitive. Should they spend their time trying to outdo all the other SEO experts? Or serving their clients?
What does make sense is that if they want to work with somebody local or with experience in a specific industry, look for that, e.g., “Philadelphia SEO” or “music SEO”.
Why blog about SEO on a DJ website? Well, simply because it’s important. For my company, it was the make or break for the 2008-2009 recession. Many of my industry colleagues have asked me how I can afford to invest the time, to which I simply respond “How could I afford not to?”
In the Philadelphia event industry, my website and blog are ranked amongst the most highly trafficked, if not THE most. I quote Scott Allen of ScottSocialMediaAllen.com, who within his quote quotes the late Will Rogers in saying…
That’s a bold claim, and I’m sure there are some who will doubt me on that. I’m perhaps not the most famous social media expert, but as Will Rogers said, “It ain’t braggin’ if you done it.”
Nice commentary, Craig. Especially true is the fact that you can’t tell the legitimacy of an SEO company by their website. Just as in that famous Peter Steiner cartoon, “On the Internet, nobody knows you’re a dog.”
Well written article Craig. I agree with the 80/20 ratio about SEO companies. Honest ones are hard to find.
I am happy to see your hard work on blogging and using it as an SEO method to increase traffic and ranking amongst your competitors has been so successful.
Kudos for the great blog. I’ve been lurking for some time and I enjoy your posts. I run a marketing company that does what you would call SEO, and I have both DJ and a wedding bloggers among my clients.
There’s a hidden danger in posts like yours: It makes it seem reasonable for business owners, who are rightly confused by SEO options and harassed by SEO salesmen, to do nothing.
In my broad view, SEO is just part of a commitment to listen to the customer and give them things that they want.
There are good SEO firms out there, and the tactics used are absolutely essential to the future success of small businesses. In this way a business has to make a classic choice: their time or their money. Or, in most cases, some of both.
Here’s an excellent overview of hiring for SEO:
Note the bit about business owners who want to outsource both the expertise (knowing what to do) and the content work (writing, editing, running the site). It’s that combination – outsourcing everything – that almost never works.
The big secret is that everything you ever wanted to know about SEO is sitting there waiting for you on Youtube. Great FREE content on keyword research, backlinking strategies and more…just gotta google it!