I have been reading articles and listening to people discussing how SEO and SEO experts are no longer needed. I have read and heard, “once you have the SEO basics, that is really all you need.” My opinion? If you feel that way you either do not have a lot of experience in SEO or do not have a lot of experience working with multiple websites.
SEO is alive and well, experts are absolutely needed for many companies. Notice I wrote experts are needed for “many,” not “all” companies? This is a key point and why I stated only those with lack of experience would make such a bold statement as SEO is dead.
There are many factors in determining which sites need an SEO expert and which ones do not. Everything from helping find bot crawling issues, choosing the correct keywords for each page of the site, navigation, creating optimized tags, creating optimized content, generating quality backlinks, marketing objectives, and more. There is another factor in determining if an expert is needed, after you determine what the top keywords are, what is the demand for those top keywords and who is currently ranking for those terms?
Ok, so you think you have the basics, you know all of your site SEO technical issues, you know the correct keywords (based on your goals and objectives), you know and can get quality backlinks, you think you are all set. You may be right. Yes, you heard me, you may be right and you are all set. However, as noted above you have to determine what the competition is like for those top keywords.
If you are a small local company selling some niche product locally, SEO basics may be all you need. I would think if you sell and want to rank for “Bright Red Bananas” in Apex, North Carolina you can do so with just the basics. Now, if you want to sell something more broad and highly competitive like “laptops,” “womens shoes,” “Callaway golf clubs” etc.. to the U.S. or the world, this is a lot more complicated and not only may require more SEO strategies, but you may need to switch strategies based on competition and determine which one of the basics you should be focusing on more to improve your rankings. This doesn’t even include having an experienced SEO person continually conducting tests to maintain and improve results and keeping current. Let’s say you do the basics and you are #7 on page one of Google. Now what? Are you done? Why are there 6 sites ranking higher than you? They are not higher than you because of luck. Every time you move up a position, it can mean thousands of more clicks and thousands of more dollars every week.
What about redesigns and new products? When a site is redesigned, when is the proper time for SEO? What steps need to be taken with the old sites URL’s? Again, this is where an experienced SEO person comes in.
Some may disagree, but I feel SEO is made up of:
60% to 80% SEO Knowledge of the Basics
15% to 35% An SEO Experts Experience and Direction
And about 5% “Gut Feeling”
1. Yes, some sites may be fine with just the SEO basics based on competition and needs.
2. 15% to 35%, where an SEO Expert is needed, may create a huge increase in leads and revenue. Ranking for the right terms and ranking in the top 3 of page one will generate a lot more clicks and conversions than ranking on the wrong terms and in the bottom 3 of page one.
3. What the hell does “Gut Feeling” mean? “Gut Feeling” is this, there are times decisions need to be made that will affect site rankings. Will the change hurt or help SEO, no one can answer that for all scenarios. I do not care who you are, not even Google engineers would know all results for every possible scenario. So what are you left with? You are left with experience. You can present your thoughts based on similar changes you have previously made or sometimes it simply comes down to that “gut feeling” especially when it comes to those grey areas. Will the engines like/dislike this change? Will the engines feel this change is deceiving? There are always scenarios that are new and once a conclusion is drawn and change is implemented, an experienced SEO person will also come in to fix any issues quickly if they arise.
Oh yea, one more thing. The last problem with the statement, “SEO is dead” or “SEO experts are no longer needed” is that a lot, I mean A LOT, of people think they are SEO experts just because they know the basics and have optimized one or two sites before. There is not a clear definition of what an SEO expert is. Many people think they are experts because they have been involved in optimizing a site or two. Most non-experts will rattle off answers so fast without asking any additional questions, you know they have no idea what they are doing. These “experts” simply may not have enough information to give someone a correct answer, but feel they do because they think all sites are optimized the same way and all sites need the same things.
I think the person that thinks they know SEO but does not, is a very scary thing not just for the industry, but for their clients/companies. Now, I am not saying I am the end all be all of SEO, because I am not. There are a lot people that know SEO and are much smarter/better than me at it. All I am saying is whether you write about SEO or declare yourself and “SEO Expert” that you take the time to know your limits and are not afraid to say to your boss or to clients “I understand SEO but I need more information for this particular situation,” or “I do not know, but will find out,” instead of stating something that is incorrect or may not apply.