It may not register with most people, but SEO is a huge and still growing industry, with thousands of people performing different jobs to make the whole thing work. There’s not much that’s universally known about SEO, other than it’s a marketing strategy for the Internet. This causes many industries to disagree on the effectiveness of SEO as a tool for growing a brand.
This situation continues to confuse observers to this day, even as the industry has become more common; there is SEO marketing for lawyers, dentists, real estate agents, etc. Measuring effectiveness can be objective: simply put the methods of SEO through a control test, and see whether they make a positive impact. The strange thing about SEO marketing, though, is that there’s as much control over it as possible, but there are still too many variables to make an objective conclusion.
The SEO industry is a man-made one, which means that everything about it can be tracked and monitored down to the most minute detail, in real time. Clinical trials can only dream of this kind of information accuracy. But, the final piece that tells whether a marketing strategy works or not—how many people actually click on a business’s website—is decidedly out of anyone’s control.
A Terrible Misunderstanding
Because of this lack of assurance, SEO sometimes gets dismissed as a modern gimmick that offers no real value. This argument is flawed, and betrays a lack of understanding not just for SEO, but also for marketing in general. There are no fundamental differences, other than the platform, between traditional advertising and SEO, as far as their intent or effectiveness is concerned.
Ranking first on a results page has about the same—if not a greater—chance of getting noticed than a ten-foot billboard. Why would it make sense to shun a digital strategy that would literally put a company’s brand on top of the competition, and invest in advertisement that doesn’t give any guarantees?
In fact, demanding results in the form of added business goes beyond what many people are willing to ask from traditional marketing strategies. What makes the digital counterpart untrustworthy that it can provide data driven ranking and exposure improvement and still get criticized? The answer to this question is quite simple.
People who mistrust SEO, even after seeing their results, simply don’t understand it, and have no intent of ever doing so. The industry isn’t rocket science, people can learn more about how it works; whether they’ll make the effort is another matter.