Search Engine Optimization Legitimized

A few months ago I had the opportunity to hang out with Aaron Wall, and I can tell you first-hand that he’s everything that those that know him describe him as: knowledgeable, friendly, helpful, and an all-around good guy. His post yesterday about search engine optimization finally being legitimized really got me thinking about the incredibly bad wrap that those in our industry often get, whether we deserve it or not.

Just like any other profession, there are always the idiotic few that end up spoiling it for the rest of us. Car mechanics, sales professionals (car salesmen, insurance salesmen, etc.), lawyers, and now SEOs receive little to no credibility or respect as a profession just because some unethical individuals decided that earning a client’s money was more important than earning a client’s trust. It’s quite unfortunate, too, because if these same scammers realized the long term benefits of being legit vs. the short term gains of hustling, in my opinion they would opt to do the right thing.

So what can be done to seperate ourselves from the negative press and unsavory reputation that we as search engine optimization professionals have unfortunately gained? Not a whole lot, since it provides an entertaining story for the press. Everyone needs a scapegoat, and a report about how great an SEO company is and the rankings that they legitimately obtained for their clients would never make its’ way around the web. It’s just not interesting news. But reports of SEOs being worthless, shady criminals is a must-read…BUYER BEWARE kind of garbage that makes the media feel as if they’re protecting the masses from evil-doers (SEO = BAD).

Going forward, I’m sure more and more large corporations and other generally old-school businesses will finally come to the realization that traditional offline marketing can’t even come close to the immediate impact proper SEO can make to a company’s bottom line, not to mention the fact that results can easily be tracked and measured (unlike offline marketing). Those that just don’t “get it” now will continue to not “get it” in the future, and find ways to discredit search engine optimization consulting as a legitimate profession. And, those of us that are proud of our industry and love what we do have the option of staking our claim as to what we stand for.

Are you going to be an ethical, best-practices oriented SEO or a loser that adds fuel to the “Beware of SEO” fire and further perpetuates the negative majority opinion of the SEO industry as a whole?


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