Posted December 2, 2008 6:06 pm by with 35 comments

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While the world is experiencing an economic financial crisis, the SEO industry is experiencing a surprising increase in demand. From intensive training and SEO consultation to actual website changes and link building, the demand for expert SEO assistance is growing at an astonishing rate.

For those individuals or firms that are looking to grow and add new business, Michael Martinez has solid advice on how to position the SEO space to customers looking to maximize their marketing dollars.  Michael says:

    “Recession marketing for search optimization needs to sell the idea that SEO which pays for itself is essentially a zero-cost marketing effort — not exactly free SEO service, but just as good.”

But currently most established SEO professionals seem to have just the opposite need, they have too much business.  Many established SEO professionals are declining to take on new clients because they just cannot accept any additional work load right now.  Check out the post by Kelena Jordan covering an interesting project she had to turn down just last week.  And Kelena is not the only consultant who is being more selective in the work that they take on, in fact this seems to be a common problem amongst many of the most established SEO practitioners.

Rand Fishkin has a number of theories on why this is happening but I want to address the one that I feel has the most relevance to today’s internet marketing service providers and that is:

    SEO is Losing its Stigma
    Google is releasing SEO guides, Microsoft and Yahoo! both have in-house SEO departments and the “SEO is BS” crowd have lost a little of their swagger and a lot of their arguments. No surprise – solid evidence trumps wishful thinking, especially when times are tough.

But for every positive thing that happens, there is always a warning or lesson to keep in mind and Andrew Shotland, who read the same article by Rand that I did, has a warning to the wise:

    Just like any idiot (read “me”) could get into real estate a few years ago and make a buck, SEO is now going to start attracting a large number of people who previously had jobs at start-ups, banks, real estate agencies, possibly auto makers, etc.  Don’t be surprised if the guy who just turned you down for a loan offers to get you to page one of Google for your keyword.

Let me start by saying I don’t believe this is a bad thing, but for those of you looking to hire a professional to assist you with your SEO needs, remember not all professionals are made equal. It will be more important than ever to understand what a specific service provider can bring to the table in terms of skills, knowledge, and experience before making your final selection.

Finally I want to share some excellent advice from Rebecca Appleton.

    “…focus on a single core area, giving you a performance focused optimization strategy based on tried and tested market share. Good SEO during a bad economy should never be a dressed up attempt to crack a new market – if the bottom line is being closely scrutinized, it’s not the time for experiments. Instead, efforts should be built around increasing the online presence of one best selling product or service with its own proven track record.”

While her article may have been intended for companies reconsidering how they do their online marketing in a down economy, I think it also sends a strong message to those service providers who offer SEO as a service.  Just like all online marketing professionals are not created equal.  All clients are not created equal either and sometimes a client’s plan or expectations may not be in a position to succeed no matter how good the intention is and a client like that can just make work more difficult than it should be.

  • The optimist in me agrees with you Roederick – an influx of low quality SEOs will dramatically increase the awareness of SEO among potential clients and those who have solid reputations will continue to acquire clients who graduate up to the real thing. It already works this way and we’re not even in the real bubble yet.

    Andrew Shotland’s last blog post..I’m a Mortgage Broker, I Mean SEO

  • PS3

    Too many people expect a quick bang for their buck. SEO is a long term project though if it is to be done properly. If you pay peanuts, you will undoubtedly attract monkeys!

  • Anyone who thinks that true SEO is a get rich quick thing needs their head examined. I am always up front and make no promises or give no timelines. When you get to the point that you have to try and attract new clients in this game (with promises of 1st page ranks), you have already lost. If you are good enough – they will come to you.

  • Seems like I’ve been seeing more and more SEO consultants, and services lately and I couldn’t put my finger on why. Originally I thought I was just becoming more aware of SEO, but your article has me thinking about the ROI on dollars invested in SEO vs. other types of advertising and it makes sense that SEO is now seeing a boom as our economy is working through a rough patch.

    Thanks for connecting the dots for me.

    Matt’s last blog post..Is All Publicity Good Publicity?

  • Hey thanks for the link love Roderick. There does seem to be an increasing demand for SEO – I’ve had to turn down at least 10 jobs in the past few months. With the economic downturn, I think businesses are turning away from traditional offline advertising and towards online revenue streams. SEO/SEM are natural choices due to the ROI. Oh and by the way, my name is Kalena, not Kelena 🙂

    Kalena Jordan’s last blog post..Q and A: What is the estimated hourly rate for SEO/SEM services?

  • SEO, SEO and SEO again. I agree with PS3 : SEO is a long term project, and need more effort to make our page have high rank

    Busby SEO’s last blog post..By: Freddy Hernawan

  • Quite frankly, only a few search marketing consultants have any *real* notion of how their chosen medium works. Even those that have been around the block a few times are generally rehashing the same old, tired linking campaigns and “contextual” content rewrites. On the flip side, the infrastructure of many of the companies actively seeking search marketing consultants aren’t prepared to truly take advantage of the wealth of information that engaging internet campaigns can bring. A short-term increase in sales is seen as a success, but tragically the most valuable metrics slip through the cracks.

    When will more search marketing consultants step up to the plate and provide their clients with services that extend above and beyond simple SERP increases? There is so much more out there and it seems like many in the industry need to stop hitting the refresh button and start hitting the books.

    blackhatzen’s last blog post..Finding Top Commentator Blogs with Google

  • Oh dear – this is symptomatic of a knee-jerk reaction to the financial crisis. SEO is of some value, undoubtedly. However, most people visit web sites as a result of getting the domain name in other ways – such as links, seeing the domain name in traditional media, being told where to go etc. When people look at their analytics they find that many people have actually typed in their domain name into Google, indicating they already knew where to go i.e. they were not searching. Indeed, my own research shows that people now believe the way to get to a web site is via Google – they don’t know how to use a browser.

    Of course Google is publishing material on SEO because it wants us to think that search is important. Whilst search is valuable it is not as important as Google and the SEO industry would have us believe. Businesses should therefore consider SEO only as part of an overall web site promotion strategy – it is an element in the solution, not the solution itself.

  • I wish that I had listened to all the experts and had become an SEO Pro! What a way to live in these times!

    Nicole Price’s last blog post..Stylish Cookware

  • Who would have thought – the “SEO PRO” would become the person he/she is today! Talk about a cinderella story.

  • i definetely agree with this article. in the days of economic crisis, most of web sites are demanding to be more hitted and to have SEO. Especially commercing sites have to re-think for optimizing. But SEO is only a path for expanding. Not only the way of getting relaxed…

    Online-Marketer’s last blog post..Volkswagen GTI Review

  • I think company today is trying to reduce the budget for promotion using electronic media(tv, radio, banner, etc), they now choose to using search engine for increase their revenue. This is good news for SEO firm who can provide good service to their customer.

  • Seems like I’ve been seeing more and more SEO consultants, and services lately and I couldn’t put my finger on why. Originally I thought I was just becoming more aware of SEO, but your article has me thinking about the ROI on dollars invested in SEO vs. other types of advertising

  • It’ll become more and more important in the recession with pfrims looking for smarter ways to market themselves.

  • All i can say is it is not easy and a person or a company should be handling this rather than a webmaster or programmer. If this true then good for the SEOs.

    Diamonds’s last blog post..The Romantic History of Diamonds

  • Prospects are demanding more specific information related to their sites issues and detailed, actionable solutions are expected. Generic audits that look automated in any way are no longer welcome. Ex: Don’t just tell me I got a problem with my titles, but tell me exactly how are we going to fix them! That is the attitude of an average educated site owner looking for help. This will ultimately separate the amateurs from the experts.

  • What I took away from your article was not just the good points about opportunists jumping into the SEO arena, providing low quality services to unsuspecting customers, but rather how this situation is a piece of a much larger equation.

    Namely, with the economic situation worsening, more and more people are turning to the internet as their saving grace, driving the increased demand for these services, and for those qualified, now is the time to position ourselves as an expert in our respective fields to be able to provide quality services to the coming huddled masses of internet newbies. Either that, or we let them fall victim to the opportunistic wolves that lurk on the internet, waiting to take their money and run.

    I was so impressed by your article that I forwarded it to all my subscribers, and posted it on my blog (with your resource box intact, of course)

  • In the current financial climate it makes perfect sense for business owners to look for ways to cut their expenditure, for some months now we have experienced clients ditching their Yellow Pages ads which can be expensive for the meager returns they produce, and incresing their spending on SEO.

    These people seem to be realising that an ad in a telephone directory is static and relies on a person looking for and finding that small ad in a big book.

    With the help of SEO their website can have many more opportunities of getting noticed by potential customers and is a constantly evolving advert for their business.

    I share the concern of many others about the internet newbies attempting to start SEO businesses and jump on the bandwagon, i hope that anybody experiencing one of these newbies and getting poor results will not be put off from approaching a longer established and more reputable SEO company.

    My advice to anybody looking for an SEO company is to check out their history of work, testimonials and contact one or two of their clients for some feedback – Check them out!

  • Just as the explosion of the web turned bus drivers into web designers so it will be with the SEO industry. And in the same way the people who know will pick up the pieces when the dust settles.


    RedEvo’s last blog post..Safe Sex and SEO

  • My feeling about the comment “Recession marketing for search optimization needs to sell the idea that SEO which pays for itself is essentially a zero-cost marketing effort — not exactly free SEO service, but just as good” is well spoken.

    How many people need their Web site to turn a profit in this economy? There are plenty of folks who need help. After all, if a business Web site is costing money rather than making money, it cannot really be considered a business. Another interesting spin on things will be the effects to the SEO industry in the very near future because of things like personalization of search and localization. Ultimately as things continue to evolve, I think these things will be good for the industry and will tend to separate those who stay current with the changes from those who don’t.

    Also good advice from Tony..”anybody looking for an SEO company is to check out their history of work, testimonials and contact one or two of their clients for some feedback.” This is excellent advice to ensure you are working with someone with a good track record. Not just for rankings and visibility, but for helping to increase their profits. Excellent post!

  • There were many who try to sell SEO services even their own websites have lower page rank or lower search rankings.

    The SEO industry is experiencing a surprising increase in demand for…

    Proven SEO Results not just hype.

  • I am glad to see more and more people realized the power of internet, which can help to sell their products and services. But SEO is not a cure-all solution.

  • I have been a fan of SEO from the beginning. I like the challenge. Plus it is free traffic, has a built in credibility factor, and converts extremely well. I have mixed it with Wholesale traffic methods and affiliate marketing, but I LOVE SEO. I do. It’s fun.

  • It is bound to pop sooner or later though!

  • Pingback: Busy, busy, busy… « Denver Web Design & Denver SEO - The Katz Web Design Blog()

  • A few of you mentioned you wish you had learned more about SEO – it’s never too late. There are a number of free and fee-based programs that can teach you the basics and advanced tactics.

    SEMPO, the Search Engine Marketing Professional Organization, has courses through its site, and free topical webinars on its main org site:

    Please, avail yourself of our resources and send us ideas for resources we can add!

    Dana Todd
    Chair, SEMPO

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  • Certainly, it does seem the expansion of SEO in such recession. I think its a good way in such tough condition for marketing strategy. SEO has been keeping the holiday season busy in such critical time.

  • Too many people expect a quick bang for their buck. SEO is a long term project though if it is to be done properly. If you pay peanuts, you will undoubtedly attract monkeys!

    OSYM’s last blog post..KPSS Atamalarında Torpil Var mıdır ?

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  • Now a days seo is very important for the online shopping carts.

  • The problem I see coming up due to this is that the less professional SEO ‘experts’ will get a better chance to mix in with the market and will manage to get more clients. However, these people are NOT real SEO specialists, they are merely people who have just discovered for instance the auto commenting tool and seen that some sites they promoted with this ranked, and now extending this ‘SEO technique’ to be included in their services which they offer to their new clients. The clients who will pay for this will maybe see a spurt in the short run of things, but, not knowing their site actually only becomes damaged.

    Unfortunately, there are thousands of people who fall for the cheap way, and , as PS3 said so beautiful: If you pay peanuts you are likely to attract monkeys.

    Well said Sir!

    Now, let’s find a way to safe guard people who are NOT aware of this. How can we?

    Super Affiliate Traffic’s last blog post..Super Affiliate Traffic by Erick Rockefeller and Howie Schwartz

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  • seo is great. if we win in seo like google then we make passive income from advertising