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The Mistake Too Many Search Engine Marketers Make

Far too many [tag]SEOs[/tag] take on a job without doing any detailed research on the client’s business and end up under-estimating the size of the challenge that lies ahead. Without understanding their clients’ expectations or the quality of the competition for their targeted keywords; they have no idea what the campaign will entail.

Frank Spencer

Ooh Betty via flickr

Simply optimising on site content is no longer enough; building up high quality links is the key to improving rankings, but many SEOs forget about the basics of what makes a successful website and business.

The first thing they should be doing is assessing the ‘[tag]marketability[/tag]’ of your site and business and understanding its potential to become a well connected and respected website. Without this opportunity, your search marketers face a tough challenge of getting the website good links, especially if it has nothing positive or unique to promote.

Nowadays the gulf between the online and offline world is getting smaller

You need to give people a reason to link to site. If your website is fundamentally flawed and you have no strong proposition, why would people link to you? If you have a poor looking site with no unique functionality or content even the most gifted search marketer will struggle to source high quality links.

And if you have a bad reputation as a result of providing low quality products and services then the process will be even harder. Your SEO firm needs good marketing collateral to work with and if no one in your sector wants to be associated with your company, the chances of them linking to you are slim.

The thing that most people don’t grasp is that nowadays the gulf between the online and offline world is getting smaller.

Back in 1997 it was possible for a small struggling business to be top of the search results just by adopting pure onsite SEO techniques and outsmarting their larger counterparts in this area.

Even in 2001 you could make yourself look more important than you were by swapping links with 1000’s of sites.

However now its 2007 and Google is far more savvy and the bottom line is – if you want to be do well online your business needs to be doing well offline also, – the cream always rises to the top and it’s no different with search engine rankings also.

So the role of an SEO has changed and has been different for some time now. However many SEOs skills still firmly lie in the ‘tech’ area. They talk about optimising source code, while these skills aren’t entirely redundant, most good SEOs will tell you that they only need to edit page titles, Meta descriptions and visible content. Fortunately most CMS systems allow you to do this, so the days of hand coding skills being a pre-requisite for an SEO are numbered .

I agree some sites are less ‘[tag]search friendly[/tag]’ than others and it’s essential to your success to solve these problems, but even before they start looking at the site, a good SEO should look at your business. They need to ‘get’ your marketing strategy, your goals and how you differentiate yourself from your competitors. This requires a marketing skills set and a great deal of research and analysis.

SEO is about being realistic and honest with yourself; you need to know where you stand in the market place today and where you can aim to be; and those goals have to be realistic. You need think about niches and customers and then think about keywords and content that give your target audience what they want.

These are the keys to long term SEO success. Yes short term tactics may get you an initial boost on the SERPS, but in the long term it’s likely that your business will still be in the same position in terms of growth as it was prior to the improved visibility.

As for me I don’t see myself as an SEO in the traditional sense, I like to see myself more as a ‘[tag]Search Business Analyst’[/tag] that brings together all the key skill required to help a website succeed online and in search engines.

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