I was surprised after publishing my last post here about a mis-leading search marketing firm cold calling me offering me PPC disguised as SEO that this wasn’t an isolated incident and seems to be happening all over Europe. My comments about the industry being at risk of being seen as bad as estate agents and traffic wardens seems even more stark and real.
So what can we do stop this slight on our reputations; as this could be much worse that just dirty looks at dinner parties, this could really ruin our fledgling industry.
Explain to anyone who will listen what you do – to us, the experts, most of the tricks these conmen pull off are simple to spot, but we work in the industry, we know what a little bit of an exaggeration is and we know what is misleading.
Most companies might have no clue that Google’s natural results aren’t ordered based on how much you spend, it’s the type of thing that a offline listings directory would do, so why wouldn’t they think Google did the same?
It’s not surprising for most people don’t have the time or inclination to understand how search engines results work.
But you do and it’s your job to let people know, whenever you’re talking to people down the pub, at a party or even when someone sits next to you on a train tell them the difference between PPC and SEO and explain the most obvious ranking factors.
They might think you’re a little weird, but you work on the internet, so they probably think that already. So do you little bit everyday to make everyone a little more knowledgeable on SEO.
Don’t just take money from your clients, educate them.
A lot of your clients might not know how SEO works but they know what it can achieve, so hand over your fee and watch the money roll in! But even if they aren’t that interested in the process you should still try and educate them along the way.
I’ve met people spending huge sums on SEO who lack even the most basic understanding of search. Not everyone needs to be an expert, that’s what they pay you for, but someone spending money on search marketing should know enough to avoid being caught out by one of these scammers
Join or start a trade association
One of the most common suggestion in the Twitter conversation surrounding my last post was it was something a trade association should be dealing with. This doesn’t seem to be something I see trade associations sorting out currently, but they respond to their membership so make your feelings known.
And if they don’t respond think about starting your own group, if you’ve got the right intentions I don’t think you’d struggle for members.
Think about naming and shaming
I’ve never been one to name and shame, mainly because I’m a chicken! But if you’re the type of person who regularly calls people to task, I think this shouldn’t be any different. A company that’s bringing you profession into disrepute seems like fair game to me.
Anything else I’ve missed? what else should we be doing?