Friday, September 4, 2009

SEO: The Way Of The Buffalo?

I've heard a lot of talk lately about search engine optimization as a profession being short lived or even a "fad." Not sure if that's because of the wealth of free (and sometimes erroneous) information out there on the subject or because of free tools and Google Analytics but I have to say I don't see it that way!

I've read in a number of articles that say SEO is moving in-house. As someone who worked in a corporate environment for quite a while as a designer and programmer, it ain't so bad! Consulting jobs are hard to find anyway. Another argument is that there is no real certification or even a test of skill. Don't worry, as the industry buckles down and marketers who can do it at a low price point overflow into the workforce, there will be standards that will need to be met. Not to mention, nobody will hire anyone unless they can get results. Oh, and I'm all for certification! (Gorbs Corp. is developing an excellence program as I write this!)

but, back to the argument that everything is available for free and anyone can do it.

As a parallel, let's look at the web design industry. There are tons of free and cheap templates out there to grab up, but you still need to know what to do with them. A person can go to a place like and lay out a site online with every option in it - for free! How do you compete with that? Try on for size. There are so many nicely designed templates that I even used one (the design anyway, not the code) for my corporate site. It saved me hours.

Web design for me has taken somewhat of a back door to SEM because of this. By that I mean that I do less ultra custom design work - you know, the stuff that pays the big bucks. Instead, I lead my customers to templates that are available to me as an affiliate. I just saved myself 20 hours of work and phone calls and made money before I even opened Photoshop. I pass that savings on to the client. Now I just need to customize a bit, optimize a bit and throw it up on a server. Easy money - especially for someone who has a background in it. I can do 4 times more sites, take advantage of some great design, make my clients happy and move on to the next one until it's time to update or they sign on for my SEO and SEM services!

Let's apply this to SEO. Sure there are a plethora of free tools (we will be offering them on our site if you can't find them) that can be used to do everything from picking the best keywords to writing dynamic pages as static html links. The learning curve is up there though. For the self motivated person, there is an amazing site that is packed with info and tools. They really have their stuff together. No, I don't work for them but I have to say, I definitely turned to more than a few times when I was stuck.

On top of that, SEO is just a small part of marketing. The search engines will ALWAYS be changing their algorithms, the Black Hats will always screw it up for those of us who try to do it the right way and most of all, most people just don't want to invest the time it takes to do it right or even to learn the basics.

Those who can do it quickly, with the free tools they can get - along with experience and knowledge - and those who can handle multiple clients at the same time will win. If you can take advantage of all those things that others may deem as the downfall of the profession, then you will shape your own future in the industry.

In conclusion, as long as you morph with the technology and change with the times, you'll have a career. SEO is no different. There will always be open spots for those who can help a company get more sales or higher profits at low or no cost to them. By the time the SEO industry is flooded with new people and less jobs, the industry will mutate and those who expand and change with it will always be successful.

By the way, although the buffalo died out we now have BEEFALO - know what I'm saying?

If you're considering a career in SEM, want to train your in-house web designers on the finer points of SEO or want to just boost your rankings, and you're in the NY area, come to a "Can You SEO?" seminar. - come and sign up for our newsletter and get updates on tools, tips and products or check out (after October 1st).

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