I am an SEO, I am not some illiterate pseudo marketer who talks about SEO, usually for declaring its death. I am an SEO but I can’t stand many things many SEOs usually do and think.
This is not a Black Hat vs. White Hat post. It is about something more serious, which – resumed in one phrase – is:
SEO is not the f$%&·$ng center of the Universe!
I think that SEOs unconsciously have a serious sense of inferiority problem.
Let’s be honest, SEOs never were really good in promoting themselves, and after almost 20 years the profession has been invented, still it has not been able to obtain a real recognition as other Marketing disciplines.
Somehow, it is the “nerd” brother sitting at the table of Internet Marketing. Everybody knows it exists, everybody knows it is important, but then none takes it into consideration when important decision must be taken.
I know, I know it well: there have been and there are still so many pseudo-SEOs in our “guild”, who were able to pollute the idea itself of what SEOs is and helped generating the concept of SEO as a snake oil invention. But that justification it is not enough for me. More over, I consider it an excuse in order to self-defend ourselves: Nobody understands me, I am not bad, it’s that they paint me so.
What if we have our dose of fault?
First of all, SEOs are an endogamic group.
They talk with other SEOs, share only things done by other SEOs, clap their hands only to successful SEO’s case histories, seriously believe all marketing is what they do, and if someone tries to talk to them about something that even slightly is about something else, their first reaction is:
Is that actionable? How can I use it for my SEO advantage?
I cannot deny that it is a normal reaction, but at the same time it seems quite myopic to me. A better reaction should be:
Great, now I can understand what a content/social/email/CRO/online marketer does and want to achieve, and now I can help him with my own perspective.
Just look at the SEO category at Inbound.org and then check the quantity of submissions in the other categories.
Or check the difference in social visibility of Search Engine Land and Marketing Land.
Open you perspectives. Be humble and learn from other discipline’s experts. Learn marketing, learn how really business companies works, and learn from the hatred Media Companies, because SEO is still a kid, who just ended to brilliantly attend Primary School confronted to other disciplines. Or do you think that the concept of Persona has been invented by an SEO, or that we are the first taking advantage from neuroscience and psychology in our campaigns?
Second: SEOs tend to think that they do everything, and that all other marketers are should simply execute what they – the SEOs – plan.
Marketing, not for that they have become Social Media Marketers and Content Marketers.
SEOs are at the same level of a Community Manager and of a Content Specialist in a ideal Internet Marketing organization chart. They cooperate with the others, don’t command them.
And if an SEO is really guiding the overall web marketing strategy of a business company, than he is not just an SEO anymore, he is something more: an inbound marketer – if you want to call it so – or an Internet Marketing manager/consultant or even a CMO.
On the contrary, we will see poor Social Media (give me all the Likes) and a Content Strategy that will be governed by the need of links and more links.
Third: SEOs love to cross gender so much that they forget who they really are. Well, obviously it’s a metaphor.
Social Media signals are the (supposed) new ranking Grail? We are the masters of all the networks.
Content is King? None creates better content than us.
Ah! How many “Inbound Marketers” I see who simply are SEOs who have changed their job description on Twitter and LinkedIn, but who have understood an heck of what Inbound Marketing really means.
SEOs, and I am an SEO, should learn what humbleness means.
They are great, they have a powerful knowledge of how Internet Marketing works, they have such a wonderful consciousness of what does really means data driven marketing and the technical skills to optimize things, but they are not what determines the success of a business marketing.
To be humble for me means that an SEO is ready to listen to his client and is ready to put himself apart if something can be better promoted using another marketing channel, being at the same time ready to offer his own perspective and so giving the opportunity to obtain an even greater success.
For example, a campaign has more opportunities to succeed using Pinterest? An SEOs won’t tell a Social Media Specialist how to create a community in Pinterest, that would sound arrogant, but would help optimizing the dashboard and pins for the internal search on Pinterest and for a more visible presence of the dashboard themselves in the search engine, and the web site for a better Pinterest sharing, In that sense, an SEO would contribute doing SEOcial, not mimicking the Social Media Expert.
If business companies don’t treat us as we – with all the reasons – think we deserve, if mass media never talk about our industry, if not for declaring us dead, even when SEO is at the base of their most consistent revenues, and if people never understood in 20 years what SEO is, the fault must be also ours.