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Confessions of an SEO

I am a professional SEO.  There I have said it and the whole world now knows it.  There were times in a social environment that someone asked me what I did and I found myself hesitant to tell them I was an SEO. Why I felt uneasy saying it in the past I cannot say but possibly it had to do with all the bad publicity our business suffered through for several years.  We were cast as blackhat, unethical and downright crooks by many.  Unfortunately there were many SEOs out there that were taking the fast track to getting results in the short term and beginning a few years ago the long term results of their actions began to spell death to many websites.  Penalties were handed out like candy and websites saw their ranking plummet to depths they never imagined.  For some businesses the loss was catastrophic and the image of the SEO also plummeted.    

It was at this time that I found myself having to explain what I do for a living and some of the comments I heard indicated that many people believed that we all engaged in shady practices.  I sometimes found myself describing my work as “internet marketing” rather than SEO to avoid having to defend myself.  I would discuss the tasks that I was performing such as cleaning up a backlink profile or correcting technical website errors.   I had never engaged in what were known as blackhat tactics and felt that my work was reputable.  I had seen my clients improve slowly without risking being hit by a penalty and slowly saw their traffic increasing and conversions began to slowly improve.  I focused my efforts on the long term, knowing that by doing things the right way might not produce instant results but a business should be focused on the long term rather than what they can get today.  I have found myself sometimes walking away from work when I encountered a client that wanted to be on page 1 in a month.

 The biggest problem that I faced was clients that wanted to see their rankings constantly improving and visitor and conversion increasing but did not want to do anything themselves.  This made the job much more difficult as they were supposed to be the expert in their field and were the ones with all the great information that could be passed along to readers.  They could have helped out by providing basic information that could have been turned into great content for their website or blog but wanted their SEO to do it all.  Well the fact of the matter is that without great content regularly being added to a website it will eventually stagnate.  Visitors will quit coming to a site that offers nothing new and for all their expertise there comes a point where an SEO cannot move your website ahead without help from the owner.  Long term success can only be achieved through the work of both parties.

 The SEO business requires that its practitioners keep abreast of changes in search engines and those factors that can help clients.  To be good at our work requires constant education.  Keeping in mind that everything they should be doing is geared toward making their client’s internet presence the very best it can be.  To do less for them is no more than stealing but the effort must include both parties.   

 Yes, I am an SEO and am proud of my profession and the work that I do.  I no longer am looking for an SEO Anonymous where I can pour out my heart.  I know that my work is good and my clients will see positive results.  Today I can look at a client that has been with me for some time and remember where they were months ago and be proud of where they are today.