Wednesday, 23 June 2010

The Problem with SEO from a Newbie Point Of View

Search Engine Optimisation has come a long way since it's early days. This was emphasised when I came across an infograph posted on SEOMoz by Gfiorelli which I just had to share because I was totally amazed by the level of information it captured. It shows the history of SEO and the evolution which has taken place (and is still happening). It is a must see, even though it stops in 2009. I think it is even more important for a newbie because you can't really know where you're going unless you know where you're coming from.

History of SEO 1994 - 2001
History of SEO 2002 - 2009

There's a lot of information to decipher from the infograph, but it is pretty much self explanatory. Something that struck me the most when I came across this was the fact that SEO has only been around for 16 years. That means it is still pretty much in its infant days, which can explain some of the issues associated with the industry. Here are some of the main problems faced by a newbie joining the SEO industry:

Too Much "Free Information"

The industry is new, hence, everyone is trying to make a name for themselves by providing 'free information'. However, there are a lot of people who can be vouched for, people like Matt Cutts, Rand Fishkin, Danny Sullivan and Bill Slawski, to name a few. These people have been in business for almost as long as the industry (if not longer), hence they have seen it all really. I read a couple of these blogs because they're pretty much know what they are talking about and its my way of staying on top of the industry. However, its sometimes better not to worry too much about what the experts have to say. That way, I can focus on my job and learn at steady pace, or else you just might have information overload!

No Certificates and Official Learning Materials

I think this was one of the hardest issues for me when I started. Its pretty hard for a newbie to find SEO certifications and courses; I've been trying to look out for SEO educational programs but haven't been able to find them. Even if I was able to find them, is it actually legitmate? Would people see it and say 'Wow! You've got this certificate, come on board!'? SEO is more into experience and skill than certifcates and exams. I also noticed a lot of people learn by going for SEO seminars and conferences like Search Marketing EXpo and PubCon. However, how do you know the seminars with the right speakers who know what they are talking about? Sadly, I don't know the answer to that. The only thing I can suggest is to do background checks on the speakers before going for the conference, that way, you don't get disappointed.

Constant Change of Methods and Techniques

As with new industries, SEO is still trying to find it's feet so things are always changing, as you can see from the infograph. The truth is people are always trying to cheat the system with black hat SEO techniques and in the process, various search engines like Google, Bing and Yahoo, end up changing their techniques and algorithms. As long as people continue to come up with black hat tricks, SEO will continue to change, it is something we will have to live with and get used to, and people will always try to manipulate the system.

These are some of the nagging problems I have noticed in the industry since joining it. What about you? what problems have you come across since you joined the industry? Or do you know solutions to some of the issues I've raised? I would love to get your feedback and thoughts.
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