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The SEO Bubble is Expanding

While the world is experiencing an economic financial crisis, the SEO industry is experiencing a surprising increase in demand. From intensive training and SEO consultation to actual website changes and link building, the demand for expert SEO assistance is growing at an astonishing rate.

For those individuals or firms that are looking to grow and add new business, Michael Martinez has solid advice on how to position the SEO space to customers looking to maximize their marketing dollars.  Michael says:

    “Recession marketing for search optimization needs to sell the idea that SEO which pays for itself is essentially a zero-cost marketing effort — not exactly free SEO service, but just as good.”

But currently most established SEO professionals seem to have just the opposite need, they have too much business.  Many established SEO professionals are declining to take on new clients because they just cannot accept any additional work load right now.  Check out the post by Kelena Jordan covering an interesting project she had to turn down just last week.  And Kelena is not the only consultant who is being more selective in the work that they take on, in fact this seems to be a common problem amongst many of the most established SEO practitioners.

Rand Fishkin has a number of theories on why this is happening but I want to address the one that I feel has the most relevance to today’s internet marketing service providers and that is:

    SEO is Losing its Stigma
    Google is releasing SEO guides, Microsoft and Yahoo! both have in-house SEO departments and the “SEO is BS” crowd have lost a little of their swagger and a lot of their arguments. No surprise – solid evidence trumps wishful thinking, especially when times are tough.

But for every positive thing that happens, there is always a warning or lesson to keep in mind and Andrew Shotland, who read the same article by Rand that I did, has a warning to the wise:

    Just like any idiot (read “me”) could get into real estate a few years ago and make a buck, SEO is now going to start attracting a large number of people who previously had jobs at start-ups, banks, real estate agencies, possibly auto makers, etc.  Don’t be surprised if the guy who just turned you down for a loan offers to get you to page one of Google for your keyword.

Let me start by saying I don’t believe this is a bad thing, but for those of you looking to hire a professional to assist you with your SEO needs, remember not all professionals are made equal. It will be more important than ever to understand what a specific service provider can bring to the table in terms of skills, knowledge, and experience before making your final selection.

Finally I want to share some excellent advice from Rebecca Appleton.

    “…focus on a single core area, giving you a performance focused optimization strategy based on tried and tested market share. Good SEO during a bad economy should never be a dressed up attempt to crack a new market – if the bottom line is being closely scrutinized, it’s not the time for experiments. Instead, efforts should be built around increasing the online presence of one best selling product or service with its own proven track record.”

While her article may have been intended for companies reconsidering how they do their online marketing in a down economy, I think it also sends a strong message to those service providers who offer SEO as a service.  Just like all online marketing professionals are not created equal.  All clients are not created equal either and sometimes a client’s plan or expectations may not be in a position to succeed no matter how good the intention is and a client like that can just make work more difficult than it should be.

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