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October 5, 2007

SEO Experts, Finding Optimization Clients & New Terms

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What Makes A ‘Search Engine Optimization Expert’?

There’s some discussion over at Search Engine Roundtable and the Cre8asite Forums over what qualifies someone has being a search engine optimization expert. It is the number of years in the field, training, field experience, the number of toes they have, what?

The easy answer is that it’s a combination of all those things (okay, not the toe one). I think most people know who the experts in this industry are. If you’re at all paying attention to this space, you know what voices you can trust, who is just tooting their own horn, and who just gets links by stirring up trouble. People know who the experts are and that inner knowledge is really all you need.

Jeremiah Owyang had a great post on Tuesday entitled Socialism doesn’t work…we still make authority lists that discussed our incessant need to create lists and assign people as being "top of the class". As Jeremiah mentioned in his post, TechMeme has its new Leaderboard, Technorati has its Top 100 blogs, there’s The Power 150 to highlight the top marketing blogs and the Ad Age top blogs that does virtually the same thing. Most of these lists say exactly the same thing, which is nothing at all.

No one has the same experts, not everyone reads the same blogs, we don’t all look up to the same people. Sure, there are some staples and maybe those are the "experts", but at the end of the day, does it really matter who the masses deem an expert?

If you want to know who’s a search engine optimization expert, dig in and do your own research. Don’t let the lists and clubs and the popular people make that decision for you. And here’s a hint, if someone is touting themselves as an expert in optimization, they’re probably not. The real deals don’t feel the need to brag, they let their actions do the talking.

Where do you find your search engine optimization clients?

Or perhaps a better question, how do they find you? Neil Patel says he finds his client by trash talking and telling them how horrible their Web sites are, Jim Boykin is challenging clients with guarantees, and I’m just sitting here wondering if all this really works.

What say you? Where do your clients come from? Ours come from lots of places – People we meet at search conferences, those familiar with our reputation, referrals, visitors from the search engines, etc.

A Sign We Should All Get Our Heads Examined

Jason Calacanis gives us his uninvited definition of what Web 3.0 is and the masses go crazy and send his warped definition to the top of TechMeme. Seriously, look at this.


Oy.

Here’s the revolutionary definition they’re all going crazy over:

Web 3.0 throttles the “wisdom of the crowds” from turning into the “madness of the mobs” we’ve seen all to often, by balancing it with a respect of experts. Web 3.0 leaves behind the cowardly anonymous contributors and the selfish blackhat SEOs that have polluted and diminished so many communities.

Web 3.0 is a return to what was great about media and technology before Web 2.0: recognizing talent and expertise, the ownership of ones words, and fairness. It’s time to evolve, shall we?
As many have pointed out, Jason’s definition perfectly describes his little Mahalo project. Coincidence? I’m sure. People, Jason Calacanis is no search engine optimization expert. Can we stop paying attention to him now? Thanks.
Fun Finds

Matt McGee highlights Which Google Products Should A Small Business Use.

Internet advertising revenue is soaring. Huzzah!

Performancing’s Ahmed Bilal gives us 21 Ways to Build a Better Blogger.

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3 responses to “SEO Experts, Finding Optimization Clients & New Terms”

  1. Asia writes:

    Any SEO who is actively seeking clients, isn’t delivering results.

    I am referral based only, I deliver results, I get referred. Referrals and new clients are only 10% of my annual income – results pay the rest.

  2. Mark writes:

    I find that comment silly. After all, you’re making a comment on a site hosted by a company that actively seeks clients AND also happens to deliver SEO results.
    The fact that you can afford to get all your business from referrals (by the way, where did that first customer come from who then referred you?) without any kind of outbound communications tells me that you are an extremely small shop with low overhead. Which is great, don’t get me wrong. But as businesses scale up, they need to scale the types and amount of marketing they do.
    It’s not a crime or an admission of incompetence to actively seek clients, through whatever means.

  3. Brian Gilley writes:

    Hmmm,
    I see your point Mark and kind of missed the point from Asia.

    To make reference more to this article and the qualifications to be an SEO expert though I feel it does come down to these few things.

    1) Years in the industry (not just years though but real involvement in learning every day)
    2) Diversity in SEO projects. To become a real SEO expert, you really need experience in lots of areas – direct marketing, server-side/on-page, and a gut instinct for what brings in traffic and converts.
    3) Who you know – This is perhaps the biggest one, but I’ve found that by knowing and talking to lots of top notch SEO’s each week via forums, IM, email, and face-to-face, that the knowledge transferred back and forth is like money in the bank.

    It’s one thing to be a “face person.” By this, I mean someone who is good at self promotion or self PR. There are lots of them that speak at conferences and yes, many of them are good at what they do.

    However, I don’t typically follow lists and the standards of the herd (so to speak) – whether it’s by popularity of the SEO expert’s site with readers or whatever else. There are lots of very talented marketers that aren’t good at or even like self-promotion tactics but rather are happy working on projects for themselves or a select few clients – like us ;-)

    So, I agree with a few people who have mentioned doing the research for yourself and don’t put so much emphasis on lists and what others have categorized as the “best” SEO’s.



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