I will admit that I don’t know Erin Everhart extremely well. I sat beside her once at #EpicDinner and she seemed then super duper cool. She probably is still really cool, but unfortunately shes written a piece at SEL that has me a bit unnerved.
To sum up Erin’s post: SEO has changed so much that the role of an SEO now encompasses lots of things that haven’t been normally associated with SEO. The things that Erin list in her article are: Content Developer, UX Advocate, Digital Strategists, Creative Marketer. and Cheerleader.
To Erin’s credit, shes not 100% wrong. Because the reality is that, if executed correctly, all of the things that she mentions DO help with SEO. The problem however, is that too many people that don’t really understand SEO, are reading Erin’s article (and the 100s of others with the same message) and making the assumption that SEO is now just good marketing…. that SEO is now dead.
— Noreen Seebacher (@writenoreen) February 10, 2015
We hear it every couple of years, someone says that SEO is silly or dead because, what they understand SEO to be is just other forms of online marketing packaged with a trendy catch phrase. This is not only wrong, but very dangerous.
And yes I said dangerous….
Case Study #1: I once had a large eCommerce client who changed the URL structure of their site with out consulting a SEO first. As a result they lost tons of organic traffic from Google which equaled a loss of $7 million each month. I worked with them to develop a redirection strategy and implement it. As a result the client regained rankings, traffic, and revenue.
Case Study #2: I once had a small business client who lost around $500k in one month because of a rankings shift. They had to lay people off…. it was horrible. In around 3 months I was able to get them back to where they were before, and help them regain the revenue. They now rank #1 for the term in question and have also taken over several other niches.
Case Study #3: One time an eCommerce client decided they wanted a new “hip” web site. They spent thousands of dollars on a new design that used AJAX for everything. And when I say everything, I mean there were no URLs!! Every time you clicked a link anywhere on the site it would make a unique AJAX call, and load the content on top of the same HTML scaffolding. No title tags, no unique pages, nothing. This was a site that had a few thousand pages indexed. They called me in to give the design a “quick look” a few days before launch.
Case Study #4: I once had an eCommerce client that had lots of competitors, however he was the only one that actually manufactured what he sold. Because of that I started looking at his niche’s wholesale market and discovered that there was no one competing in that space. We setup a small SEO campaign around wholesale supplying and his business grew 400%.
Case Study #5: I honestly can’t even count how many clients I have worked with that have gotten hit by Panda/Penguin or manual penalty because they didn’t hire an SEO before making a change to their business/web site. This problem is so pervasive that some really smart SEOs have become specialist in helping businesses clean up their past mistakes.
All of the issues listed above were fixed by a SEO, not a: content developer, UX advocate, digital strategists, creative marketer. or cheerleader. All of those roles are very important to the SEO process, but they aren’t any more or less important than other things that we might find in a comprehensive marketing strategy.
And because all of the things that Erin mentioned in her article are important to SEO and marketing; SEOs should be working closely with folks that excel at those things, not trying to master them. One reason that SEO has a bad name is because too many SEOs try to do everything when they probably suck at some of those things. But it’s okay to suck at some things, because look at the amazing things (above) a SEO can do with out doing any of the things that Erin listed.
If you want to be a better SEO in 2015, then its time you start working along side other marketing professionals that truly excel at their jobs. In the end you will have more time to handle the things that only a SEO can, and will end up getting better results for your clients.