5 ways to improve the SEO industry

What are we leaving the next generation of SEOs?

SEO has never been more challenging, and the industry has never been more in disarray. A slew of Zoo animals have destroyed the business model of low-end SEO consultants and firms. Even a major agency like BlueGlass didn’t survive the carnage (though I don’t know if Panda/Penguin was a factor there).

So, what could we do to improve the SEO industry? Here’s just a few thoughts on how the industry as a whole could improve it’s current lot as a beaten down acronym.

Raise prices & salaries

You simply cannot position yourself as competing on price as a SEO firm (or individual consultant or employee) in 2013 and expect to be around (and not hated) in 2014. For too long small businesses have been burned by the low-end SEO providers that have mostly gotten crushed by the Panda and Penguin updates.

Talented SEOs looking to join companies…the good news is that if you really know what you are doing, and can execute. You are in high demand. Now, ask for a raise.

Create a open source SEO tactic disclosure

For SEO consultants and agencies, there are a limited number of tactics you can employ safely on a website. I’d love to see a simple 1-page standardized document that outlines what a firm will do upon entering an SEO engagement. Let the client choose how aggressive or not they wish to be tactic wise, but please disclose what exactly you are going to do for the client.

I think the biggest hurdle in SEO right now is a lack of transparency. Great SEO takes hard work, and a talent brain, there’s no need to hide any of that tactic work in 2013.

Sell specialties within SEO

There is a lot of room for specialization. You can’t be great at everything. One way to improve the industry would be to start recognizing sub disciplines like CRO or content marketing as specialties of the more broad umbrella of SEO.

Emphasize the value of an organic visitor over social

Social and SEO go together well, but I think the industry could use to remind people a little more of the incredible value of a search visitor vs a visitor from social media. In most cases, nearly every analytics will take a visitor from search over a visitor from social any day of the week. Avinash explains this recently talking about how powerful intent is, and how most social traffic doesn’t have that powerful intent element that search traffic does.

Lose the booth babes

There’s no reason hired “booth babes” should show up at search conference expo halls. SMX, Pubcon, SES…first conference that bans booth babes, email me and SERPs will buy a booth. It shouldn’t take an offer like this, but I’ll bet you would gain more advertisers than you lost with a policy change like this.

What do you think?

How could we improve the SEO industry today?