You’ll never find a lack of debate regarding what SEO is and what it has been and where it’s going. Pros and clients alike, as well as search engine corporations have their own versions, outlooks, opinions, results that can be mind boggling. To clear all this up we need to look at the past, present, and future of SEO to get a better idea what’s in store.
First of all, SEO is only about 20 years old. It had to be built from the ground floor up and then is now an ever changing landscape of techniques and technologies. Today’s SEO pro has a full knowledge of the history of SEO, what worked, works, and what to prepare for. At any given moment the search engines can throw a monkey wrench into the works and upend everything the SEO pro has worked for. It’s happened many times and is the SEO community’s own fault for being greedy and underhanded. They can’t help it. Getting those top rankings for some people around the world is a matter of life and death. Many work in sweatshops and have to succeed or meet some horrid fate. In the US, success means beating the competition but doing so through cunning, understanding and avoiding penalization.
It’s a dangerous and tough route with old tactics sometimes being a liability. In the old days keywords, keygroups, keyphrases stuffed all over a website worked. Then the search engines got wise and it all went to chaos and penalization. A new way of keyword research and application had to be created and any knowledge regarding the inside workings of the search engine algorithms became paramount.
Backlinking was once a major part of SEO but people abused it. They used Black Hat techniques to get as many sites possible to backlink. Some sites had entire series of pages of backlinks that were meaningless, fraudulent and the search engines clamped down on them. Disaster struck again.
SEO pros have to get their clients’ sites listed and in the top spots. It can take months to achieve this all to find out one day their rankings have plummeted to the floor with no apparent reason. The SEO pro has to do some detective work when this happens which is timely and costly. Most clients can’t afford the repair work needed. Some SEO companies have worked on a few thousand clients’ sites and suddenly they all drop off the face of the earth. Many an SEO company has ended up in trouble and in court because of this and the sheer number of sites that need repair is overwhelming with the costs being transferred to the client.
Only the wealthiest companies can afford to make it to the top spots unless the smaller company has an exclusive proprietary product or service. Clients also have unrealistic hopes and ideals about what hiring an SEO company will produce. Many believe they can just toss money at a problem and it will work. Not with SEO. If you want the best value for your dollar, you’re going to have to work for it in tandem with your SEO professional. This isn’t something that magic can achieve, it takes diligence, research, professional application and vigilance. SEO is not easy and that’s why SEO pros can charge upwards of several thousand dollars a month. Yes, several thousands of dollars.
When clients see the costs they then fall prey to the unscrupulous companies that make all sorts of claims like being able to get into the top 10 listings on Google overnight. They fork over a few hundred dollars and find out later they’ve been scammed. There’s no shortcuts to SEO so you had better be able to grasp this or you’ll go nowhere and fast.
What can we depend on? First, a solidly constructed professional website that includes a blog. Utilizing Local SEO, mobile friendliness and interaction with social media. Setting up a good foundation is essential as no matter what the search engines do, the fundamentals will remain the same. Don’t ever employ Black Hat techniques. Don’t. Stay honest and straightforward and let your SEO pro walk you though. Patience is a virtue here, and with patience and diligence, you’ll see results for the short and long term.
Image credit: Affordable SEO Tampa Company