However rather than spending time arguing with the haters every couple of weeks I spent some time soul searching trying to work out why some people [tag]hate SEOs[/tag] so much.
Nothing says “I Hate You” like an effigy – via flickr
[tag]SEO = SPAM[/tag] – to a lot of people they have trouble distinguishing the difference between parasitic spam and search engine marketing. To those in the industry that’s pretty frustrating. At Site Visibility we hate spam as much as the next guy, but I can certainly see their point.
Worryingly the email spam we get in the office seems an equal four-way split between Pills, Suspiciously Generous member of foreign royalty, dodgy stock tips and link requests.
Combine this with the comment spam that plague most blogs it’s not surprising people equate search engine marketing with spam. Although we’d never touch tactics like that with a barge poll, I can certainly see why people conflate the two.
In the sectors defence; most SEO firms are actually trying to make the internet better making it easier to find the valuable websites that for one reason or another aren’t getting the attention they deserve.
Clique-y – As an outsider the world of search marketing might seem a bit exclusive. The combination of in-jokes, jargon and mutual backslapping might seem an unappealing to a new comer. But it’s not any different to any other business community and those who make the effort to break into the inner circle of the business quickly realise quite how friendly and inclusive everyone is.
I’m not promising every search marketer would buy you a pint and invite you to sit at their table if you bumped into them at the pub but they certainly are more friendly than a lot of professions.
Secrecy – despite a lot search marketing agencies offering up plenty of transparency on their blogs & podcasts most keep their most valuable tactics to themselves. It’s competitive landscape for even the most innocuous keywords. Combine this with the seemingly enigmatic qualities looked for by the search engine algorithms it’s not surprising the search industry looks on a par with the freemasons or scientologists.
Jealousy – the tips and techniques used on a daily basis by search marketers seem like common sense to us, but too anyone else they are pretty desirable skills. The ability to take a website and help that business make a fortune is pretty valuable so I reckon it must be jealousy, that and we are just cooler than them!
Too Complicated – it’s estimated that over 200 factors are in play in algo used to determine the rankings in Google’s results. So it’s not surprising people think SEO is too complicated. But just because there is that many factors at play doesn’t mean they are all important. The real trick to SEO is knowing what factors require your time and attention and which require more resources than the improvement in visibility would justify.
There’s plenty of reasons why people mis-understand search marketing sometime out of ignorance & sometime their own personal agenda. But what I find rewarding about my job is not the perception of my career choice amongst other marketers or digital professionals, but what I appreciate the influence we can on making businesses a success.