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This week’s online content collective focuses on building on the conversation and fixing the misperceptions of what SEO is, where it’s going, and how we can keep it alive in the minds of our clients and our employees. Here is my favorite post of the day. It holds nothing back and saves nothing for later.

SEO Is Stone Soup

Don’t make me say it…Ok, SEO isn’t SEO anymore…or is it? In this very well written, witty, and somewhat opinionated post, by AJ Kohn from the “Blind Five Year Old” the notion that it doesn’t really matter what we call it, emerges from an old folk story teaching good persuasion tactics to the locals.

Somehow SEO changed right from under our feet. It’s funny because we all saw it coming but for some reason, no one let the clients know. As one would imagine, this created a rather large problem in both retaining clients as well as gaining new ones. What are we selling? Spam (not out of a can)? A large link portfolio bound to get you a manual action?? On-page optimization??? I’m not the first to say that these questions shouldn’t even be asked anymore. SEO has changed but it is still a need that needs fulfilling. There remains a large opportunity to answer the call of those in need of “more traffic”. Here’s the run down:

  • SEO is “stone soup” – there are so many options and opportunities to build a successful digital marketing campaign.
  • Use the term SEO to your advantage – objections are just the next opportunity for a solution.
  • Predictability can play in your favor – knowing what is coming, only makes for a stronger defense.
  • Become a marketer – SEO is now like digital marketing, with a twist. Face it.

Throwing in the Towel on SEO

Speaking of understanding what SEO is and how your organization can benefit from it…this internally battled spiel by Will Reynolds from SEER tells a tale of a rather large disconnect in the SEO world. As we already know SEO is still alive and thriving, especially in the minds of businesses in need of growing traffic, but is it dying in the mind of the SEOs themselves?

Think about it, Panda hit us all pretty hard. Higher ups walked the plank, clients jumped ship, and the cogs making the machine run (the SEOs themselves) were left to pick up the pieces. Things got a little scrambled and there was a gap between understanding the importance of SEO (and the language around it) and the movement toward providing more.

This piece gives one side of the story when sitting across from an interviewee, who, seems like a perfect match but is inquiring about another position due to one big misunderstanding. I think this is important information though because (since a lot of SEO companies are experiencing turnaround) we don’t want to let these perfect fits slip through the cracks just because SEO is getting a bad rap. If nothing else, it teaches us that we need to take charge and control the discourse to our advantage not only with potential clients but with potential employees.

5 Ways to Prove to the Client that the Traffic Will Come

Remembering we are (still) the experts in SEO can make all the difference. James Harrison of Clear Peach Marketing puts us in our place when he says:

“Yes, SEO is an investment; however, showing them that they are investing in your services and skills requires a little more than just performing SEO services…the client can’t really expect major increases in traffic until they reach the first page of the SERPs.”

Patience isn’t a virtue we can afford to go without. And unfortunately, we will have to teach our clients to obtain these same qualities somehow. Success never happens overnight and that also goes for those who have succeeded once, and then backpedaled. Being good at what we do now more than ever is calling for REALLY good communication skills. Good communication skills also entail utilizing the resources in front of you. In educating your clients on why you’re now focusing on quality content and social media, instead of just plain old link building and keyword research, be sure to use industry icons and their endless accounts of proven strategy as examples of success.

The run down here:

  • Keyword improvements and rankings – Let them see the line move up a bit (even if it isn’t traffic)
  • Keeping track of efforts – Make sure your time is compensated and valued on both ends
  • Reporting, reporting, reporting – They want to see results. In changing our strategies, we can’t break away from the older more solid efforts that keep the client satisfied till your next call.
  • Educate your clients – Make sure they are on the same page. Panda kicked everyone’s butts, not just the SEOs. Your clients need to know what they are in for and why you are the best for the job.

1 Spend Search Advice – 5 Questions for Lowe Campbell Ewald’s SEO Manager

And this last one is just for those interested in a thriving organizational culture. Coming in on the top of my list for good tips on how to implement strategy and planning, is by Amy Gesenhues, with MarketingLand.

I am a huge advocate in organizations who value the input and insight of their employees. In fact, that is a big reason why I’m looking forward to my future here at SEO.com. This piece gives the perspective of one of my peers (Hillary Glaser- Lowe Campbell Ewald) and her understanding of what role importance and whole involvement from top to bottom can do for a campaign. She actually provides a fresh outlook on “campaigning” and the rhetoric that surrounds terms like these with alternative terminology like goal focused optimization.

She sets the sights high and delves into getting her hands dirty and becoming more than just a client but a partner, a teacher, and a consultant. These are all aspects of SEO that need to be implemented on a daily basis. Our client relationships need to be cultivated and nurtured; trust absolutely has to thrive here for these to become long term investments.