SEO Is a Leap of Faith, Not a Commodity

Man taking a leap of faith.

In economics, the market treats a commodity (for example, coffee beans) exactly the same across the board, no matter who produced it. SEO, however, is not a commodity. And yes, choosing an SEO can be a leap of faith.

Cheap SEO vendors will say: “Every SEO only edits meta tags and gets links, so why pay more?” This implies that every SEO professional is the same. This could not be further from the truth.

There is no set of standards when it comes to the SEO industry. There are only experts, who charge a premium for their skills, knowledge and strategies, and amateurs, who charge low fees for ticking off items on an SEO checklist. A checklist exists as a guide to get you started — but that’s seldom all it takes.

We know where the latter choice gets us. I’ve explained in the past why cheap SEO is a near-death experience:

There’s a saying in the project management world: good, fast, cheap — pick two. You can usually get something that’s good and fast (like Chinese food delivered from UberEATS) or cheap and fast (a service on Fiverr). But good and cheap is harder to find.

Want good SEO, fast? Double up on your budget for more resources. Want cheap SEO, fast? That’s easy, but you get what you pay for. Want SEO that’s both good quality and cheap? Sorry, but that’s not an option. … Cheap SEO is a near-death experience. It’s an impending death of your website and your business. The way to avoid death is superior quality, and that comes at a price.

We all know that a high school basketball team cannot beat the Los Angeles Lakers. Experience, skill and quality count for a lot, most notably the ability to win. I’ve written about that before on what it takes to be an expert SEO:

Do a search for “how to become a pro basketball player” and you’ll get endless advice. Stay in the game for many years, hone your skills by training, work hard, and understand the commitment you need to succeed. Being an SEO is no different.

To be in the top three out of millions of results for hundreds of keywords takes expert skill that an amateur just cannot provide. Simply editing meta tags and getting links will not get you there.

I’ve said many times before that experience makes a difference:

Experience is what sets agencies apart. It allows us to solve the toughest SEO problems out there for our clients when no other solutions exist in-house. And that’s what’s needed now more than ever.

Still, in many ways, engaging in SEO is a leap of faith. Even when an SEO vendor has proven expertise and demonstrable results, businesses have to take that leap of faith for a chance to succeed in the search results. They simply cannot say, “It’s not worth the risk.”

Remember, in SEO, there are no guarantees:

SEO takes place in an environment where the search engines constantly change their rules and algorithms and where competitors continually adapt. It takes skill, effort and time to compete well. … What quality SEOs can guarantee is their best effort backed by years of experience and education. They can demonstrate achievement backed by a strong reputation, and show past results including references. Those results may include No. 1 rankings for their clients. But they cannot promise rankings. That is unethical.

To succeed, a business leader has to believe that the competitor at the top can be beaten, and that to beat them, they will do whatever it takes because they are worthy as an expert in their industry.

So, are you an expert? Will you do what it takes? Are you better than the people ranking at the top? Do you see that expert skills matter when it comes to SEO and pros usually crush amateurs? What’s it worth to you to get there?

My advice is to get into the game.

If your digital marketing could use an expert assist, here’s where you can contact us for a free consultation without delay.

Bruce Clay is founder and president of Bruce Clay, Inc., a global digital marketing firm providing search engine optimization, pay-per-click, social media marketing, SEO-friendly web architecture, and SEO tools and education. Connect with him on LinkedIn and other social networks from Bruce's author page.
Comments (21)
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21 Replies to “SEO Is a Leap of Faith, Not a Commodity”

Yeely

Useful practical tips

Its really challenging to keep self updated with latest information, but blogs as such help us to cope up with the pace. Thanks!

SEO is not an easy process. Every website needs a high rank in SERP result so, it’s necessary to be optimized your website in the natural ways. I hope people can understand the importance of SEO.

Seo is the most important parameter in rank up your website but the people living in Asia can not understand their value and efforts. It is not an easy process and it takes much time.

With level of availability, we are really talking about the ability of casino to handle vast amounts of internet traffic and a number of players at the same time. Time is money, especially here and the casino must have suitable technical performances to enable fast response from the gaming servers to the players as well as to provide the service of quick downloads.

This type of post actually conveys your consulting experience in the SEO field, Mr. Bruce. It is not always the fault of vendors because many times even clients don’t know exactly what they want from SEO.

Well, I agree ! Your points are valid but in India we do not find SEO experts that can truly deliver and if we choose someone from a different country

SEO is at-times, the most cost effective, yet most ignored and ill-educated subject to marketing chiefs. In absence of their lack of education and knowledge about SEO and what it can do to their business, then tend to ignore it. The CMOs who are forward-looking and understand the value of training and empowerment of their own teams, include SEO as the most powerful digital strategy. CMOs will always be under the pressure to spend more on Paid Media for getting instant results, but If paid media is combined with sustained SEO stratgey, it adds MULRIPLIER effect.

I agree, No website can stand without a strong backbone. And that backbone is technical SEO!

Totally Agreed, I myself have came across multiple SEO’s just starting the mark of any project with Metas and directly junping on cheap link building exercises promised with short lived results or nothing but waste of time and resources

SEO is an approach that helps a website achieve its highest possible search engine ranking in response to users’ relevant queries, or whenever they type in a combination of words or key phrase. Since its main role is to put websites on top of search engine results, businesses that rely on SEO must identify multiple factors that affect their visibility in the search engine results pages (SERPs). These include quality contents, mobile responsiveness, site speed, site security, among plenty of other things.

I think all local business owners should focus on online and SEO in this period. Everyone is at home during this period, everyone is searching and shopping on the internet. Why not start optimizing your site from an SEO point of view? SEO is important…

I would not prefer SEO for a new website. If your website age is of more than 2 years then you can opt for SEO.
It is time-consuming but gives you good results.
Also, I am thinking that in a country like India or in Asia people not prefer SEO they think that it is waste of time.

Mike Weiner

Well said! TY!

Well said Bruce, I am totally agree with your points.

Well, I agree ! Your points are valid but in India we do not find SEO experts that can truly deliver and if we choose someone from a different country, they charge a lot. It is tough for a beginner like me. Hence, I have to manage my own SEO. Thanks

This type of post actually conveys your consulting experience in the SEO field, Mr. Bruce. It is not always the fault of vendors because many times even clients don’t know exactly what they want from SEO. “Can you rank my website on page 1 for 15 keywords in 3 months” is a common query that lands in my email inbox regularly. It is important to educate clients properly. SEO is not just about ranking. There is a whole lot of processes going on like technical aspects of your website, content quality, link profile, UX, keyword strategy, and many more. A brand needs to focus on particular areas of SEO where it needs improvement to get good results.

Well said Bruce. The problem is that in Asia where we are at, SEO is not a well-understood technique so price becomes the centrepiece of the project becomes the price as clients don’t know enough to audit and cross-check many SEO agency claims.

If only there were an international competency certification to weed out the low-ballers.

SEO is at-times, the most cost effective, yet most ignored and ill-educated subject to marketing chiefs. In absence of their lack of education and knowledge about SEO and what it can do to their business, then tend to ignore it. The CMOs who are forward-looking and understand the value of training and empowerment of their own teams, include SEO as the most powerful digital strategy. CMOs will always be under the pressure to spend more on Paid Media for getting instant results, but If paid media is combined with sustained SEO stratgey, it adds MULRIPLIER effect.

Closing thought: The vendor has to be a thought leader as well as a trained specialist doctor else CMOs can fall prey to small time Quacks doing SEO.

I’ve found that more often then none that the problem lies in business owners not understanding the value that good seo brings. They stand “marketers” promising things that they aren’t sure they can provide. There is a lesson in knowing the value of your knowledge and the every changing market we utilize in. You’ve been around for years whats the biggest objection you’ve seen?

Again another phenomenal article! I can’t express how many times I’ve heard from potential clients that they want the world at their feet without having to pay the price for it. I also to tire of self proclaimed experts and empty promises to be on the front page. This article makes me want to scream from the top of thr mountains “THE PRICE IS IN THE RESULTS!” Thanks for this

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