For companies that do search engine optimisation for legitimate reasons (ie, marketing), having to counter negative opinions about SEO is frustrating. You have to sympathise, however, with some of the small business owners who believe the industry is full of carpet baggers selling placebos and useless elixirs.
Just this week I spoke to a client who had been told by another business owner that SEO is “a waste of time” because all SEO companies do is “take your money and then do nothing”.
One perfect example of why SEO gets a bad name is an email sent to our company from a person claiming to be an “SEO Export” (sic). This person believes our website is a perfect fit for one of his clients. We should link to his client, he says, because we are relevant to his online bingo client. In return, this person promises to put a link on one of his other entertainment brand websites linking to us.
The sender of the email claims to have visited and reviewed our site before believing we are ideal – although we have nothing to do with bingo. We are a content-driven search marketing company. This email has clearly been sent out as part of a mass campaign, hoping that fools will not know that he is wasting their time.
SEO is about more than just asking websites to link to each other (that’s so ten years ago!). Optimising your website for search is about ensuring the website matches what your target customers need; about giving Google all the right relevance signals so that it knows when to display your website; about doing lots of things to build authority on social networks. More than anything, SEO is only a part of your overall online marketing mix.