Search Marketing

Not All SEO Professionals Are Created Equal

While I was at a content management platform I cofounded, I was often confronted by SEO professionals who liked to challenge every little thing across the application. At issue was that these folks were used to working on a set number of pages with a few keywords and then maximizing the impact of those select pages. They weren’t used to using a platform where they could target hundreds of terms and write limitless amounts of good content to build results.

Not all SEO professionals are created equal. I’d classify myself as an SEO jack of all trades. Thankfully, I’ve surrounded myself with other SEO professionals who have worked on a variety of challenges for clients. I’m constantly learning from them.

I’m not knocking any particular SEO expert – but there are some challenges that many clients face that require specific expertise:

  • Competitive – these sites are usually high-dollar sites and pump a lot of money into content and services to help sustain strong backlinks to the site and optimize every single page with every possible optimization technique.
  • Local – optimizing your site for local SEO demands some different techniques, incorporating regional terms, and building local, relevant links. Content has to be very targeted throughout!
  • Broad – building and optimizing your site for a broad array of keywords, sometimes thousands, can take some unique site structures to maximize the impact of the content on the site.
  • Blogs – blogs are a different animal than optimizing websites. The techniques utilized to publish and broadcast content, write compelling copy to draw attention, and integrate social media key. Building on a platform that fully leverages tools like pinging, sitemaps, metadata, and highly optimized themes are a foundation you must incorporate. You’re also not constrained by the number of pages.
  • New – pushing a new domain with no authority requires a very different strategy than working with a site that already has a ton of authority and ranks well.
  • Micro-Sites and Landing Pages – building discreet sites with a page or two to target very specific traffic with static content requires very, very tight control of keyword distribution and page construction.
  • High Authority – some SEO professionals who haven’t worked with established domains with great ranking take unnecessary risks. Some SEO guys like to tinker and tweak until they’ve broken what worked. Not good when you’ve got a reliable track record. Sometimes tinkering can take months to climb back from.
  • Real-time – many technology and celebrity sites require knowledge of how to take a trending topic and turn it into tons of traffic within minutes or hours using SEO effectively. These guys are amazing… it’s always interesting to see who lands a #1 rank when news breaks.
  • Farms – content farming is starting to take off as space and bandwidth costs have dropped dramatically. If I can put up an effective site that adds 500 articles a day and gets those pages indexed, I can throw some ads on them and profit considerably. Especially if I target the pages on keywords that drive expensive click-through rates and high search volumes.

As you shop for your next SEO professional, be alert to the size of the clients they’ve worked with, the strategies they had to deploy, and especially the results they were able to achieve. It seems every agency out there is now adding SEO to their list of services… be careful.

Ask for references, look up the experts online to see if they actually rank, and don’t be surprised when quotes come back all over the map. Great SEO help is worth the investment and may cost a lot. Poor SEO is simply money wasted.

Douglas Karr

Douglas Karr is the founder of the Martech Zone and a recognized expert on digital transformation. Douglas has helped start several successful MarTech startups, has assisted in the due diligence of over $5 bil in Martech acquisitions and investments, and continues to launch his own platforms and services. He's a co-founder of Highbridge, a digital transformation consulting firm. Douglas is also a published author of a Dummie's guide and a business leadership book.

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One Comment

  1. Doug,

    There was a time when the “Jack of all Trades” in his or her domain was a good thing. No finger pointing why your work was not working because of something someone else was supposed to do. I still think it is and I am often called a generalist and I am okay with this. They normally change their opinion when they use my services ;-).

    Your points are well taken and I hope those out there looking for SEO “experts”, like any other expert you search for, understand the points you make above to be able to confirm and validate the level of “expert” they need or want.

    Happy New Year and keep the great content coming! I enjoy your signal to noise ratio 😉

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