Selling SEO Services Doomed?

Interesting argument entitled “A Market for Lemons, a Nobel Prize, and Snake Oil SEO“.

I see mis-information as a core problem for the SEO industry. There is so much so-called SEO out there, mostly outdated, baseless, or downright wrong, that the accessible information is more wrong than right. A Google or Yahoo! search on SEO topics is ridiculous, for many reasons. Often accurate SEO information is considered trade secret by knowledge consultants, and thus is not very accessible. What appears in front of the inquisitive SEO consumer is mostly junk.

I already see that tech-savvy seekers of SEO skip right past the fluff and ask for short term or no term engagements, performance metrics, and accountability.

Growing pains.

Many SEO firms that traded on supposed “secret knowledge” have already been weeded out, and many more will follow. As clients get more accustomed to this area, they’ll be demanding traditional advertising and marketing metrics, which will help separate fact from fiction. The black hat/white hat debate is long dead – the only thing that really matters now is the value add.

Conversely, this is an area where search has a key advantage. Search is more measureable than most marketing channels. The agencies who offer measureable services should be better positioned to match their supply with client demand. Todd Friesen shows how.


That still leaves the problem, for smaller outfits, of finding a sustainable SEO business model.

Tough call.

  1. ukdazukdaz04-25-2007

    I don’t see selling SEO services as doomed for quite some time – in fact for me and my company its the opposite. Enter any room with business people in and 90% will not yet have had their sites optimised or targeted for keyword phrases. But word is getting around the SEO works but you need to speak with those with a portfolio rather than the snake oil sellers who seem to cold call and harass others for supposed SEO work.

    I’ve never held SEO to be a secret, instead I advise that anyone can do it but it’s like driving car, some can do SEO better than others – which where I come in.

    If there are any SEO secrets then I don’t know about them and don’t need them. I have many sites ranking for competitive terms and phrases based on my own skill and knowledge in ensuring a site is optimised.

    I think there is a market left for SEO – just a market where open honesty with clients is an absolute minimum.

    This approach is working for me. 🙂


  2. webinc03webinc0311-10-2008

    SEO does need a budget, and does need to be thought of within a sales/marketing framework in order to work well, but too often, SEO is perceived as a free quick fix. The common approach to SEO seems to be to throw tons of pages up on a website and hope that it will result in some random traffic.

  3. jeniferlopazjeniferlopaz11-10-2008

    Search Engine Optimization has become one of the biggest Internet buzz words recently. Everyone is talking about it. These days it seems there’s an expert around every corner promising all kinds of wonderful things to online business owners. Contrary to a very common belief, internet users searching the web are not the search engine’s customers. Many in the media are already calling on the demise of SOA and saying that it’s just a passing phase, or it’s really just a rebrand of the EAI space, or that it will be segmented only to certain integration type challenges.

Leave a Reply