Search engine optimisation is a growing online marketing strategy that has proven results and return on investment yet it is still relatively unknown or worse still untrusted by the general public. When it comes to the internet in general people are often far more cynical than if they were shopping in their local shopping mall and this is understandable as there are fraudsters out there who use the internet as the hunting ground for their victims. So why is there a lack of trust and respect for the SEO industry?
Some people believe that SEO is about tricking Google into believing that your website is better than it really is and see it as a get rich quick opportunity which leads to distrust from legitimate businesses. This however is not the case; there are good reasons why Google is so secretive about what characteristics are needed for a website to rank highly in their search results.
I personally believe that Google’s ambiguity over their ranking factors and the algorithms they use to attribute importance and relevance to a website in their search results is a good thing. It keeps everyone on their toes and businesses to ensure that their websites are design with the user in mind. Google have made it clear numerous times that they don’t want websites to be designed with the goal of meeting their algorithmic goals, they want you to make it as relevant and easy to use as possible for internet users and that’s why they keep ‘moving the goalposts’ in relation to what they consider to be important ranking factors.
Black Hat Merchants
Like most industries SEO has its share of cowboys who want to make as much money as possible for doing as little work as possible and these frauds who employ ‘black hat’ SEO techniques give the whole industry a bad name. Black hat is the phrase attributed to seo techniques that are considered to be wrong or immoral by Google and other search engines. Some of these techniques may produce quick results and good ranking but they are always eventually recognised and duley punished by the website being removed from search engines which means that it becomes harder to find than a needle in a world of hay stacks. Black hat SEO’s don’t worry about these consequences as they pray on those who are not clued up on SEO and move from victim to victim.
Google is constantly working to improve the SEO process by punishing non legitimate link building strategies and rewarding genuine, original content. This advances in their algorithms along with the growing ‘white hat’ SEO industry i.e. moral and legitimate SEO, will ensure that black hat SEO becomes a thing of the past and this will bring more credibility to the industry.
Sticking To What You Know
Another factor in the distrust felt towards SEO and other online marketing strategies is that people like to stick to what they know and when it comes to marketing this means traditional above the line and below line media. Businesses still feel safer using newspaper, television, radio and even yellow pages advertisements even if they are not producing the required results as that is what they are familiar with.
Until SEO is accepted by the masses as being part of the mainstream marketing, advertising and public relations industry then it will continue to only benefit those who realise the real and lasting benefits that it can bring.