In Thailand’s open-air night markets and Bangkok’s sidewalks, knockoff handbags and various Western brand imitations are common. It’s amusing to stumble upon these creatively named counterfeits.
Instead of a North Face item, you might come across a “Mouth Face” backpack or jacket. And there’s no shortage of Louis Vuitton look-alikes either, all available at bargain prices.
Would you buy it?
You wouldn’t buy a designer handbag from a roadside stand and expect it to be genuine, would you? So, why do we treat SEO – a critical tool for online business success – differently?
SEO is not a one-size fits all
Now, if you’ve taken a stroll down my “drive-by SEO” lane, you’ll know what I’m about to say: SEO isn’t a one-size-fits-all deal.
I’ve been hoodwinked by drive-by SEO antics, too (don’t even get me started; just read this post or this Halloween post). But here’s the hard truth: only a handful of SEO providers, both agencies and individuals, deliver truly outstanding work that makes a difference.
What’s more, I’m noticing many good ones are beginning to shift from hands-on site optimization, taking on clients and going towards teaching or selling courses.
To some extent, I get it. While some clients are a joy to work with, others can be quite… challenging.
When Stone and I founded SEO Advantage, we began in a converted garage of a rented home in South Tampa. As things improved, we moved further south (any further and we’d end up in the Bay), bought a fixer-upper house, and transformed its garage into our office.
Yep, we’ve been hopping from one garage to another 🙂
Once, we had to return a check from a new client after realizing their crazy demands and desire to micromanage everything we did wasn’t the kind of relationship we were looking for.
Just the other day, a colleague from another marketing agency shared a similar sentiment. He mentioned turning down a large project because of a previous negative experience with one of the owners.
But getting back to the broader landscape of SEO, a significant chunk of the industry relies on overseas teams to tick off tasks from a basic SEO checklist. Those are the ones you should be wary of.
Need more convincing that SEO is not a commodity? Check these out.
1. Quality over quantity
Good SEO is about something other than stuffing your content with keywords and pumping out daily content. It’s about creating valuable content that answers queries, builds trust, and establishes authority. And that requires expertise, more than just a cut-and-paste, cookie cutter approach.
2. Staying in tune with Google
Anyone in the optimization game knows this: Google’s algorithms change—a lot. Good SEO don’t just react to these changes; they anticipate and pivot, ensuring their strategies are always a step ahead.
3. Custom strategy
Would you wear a suit straight off the rack without alterations? Unlikely. Just as we have different body types, businesses have unique needs. A cookie-cutter strategy won’t cut it. Each company deserves a plan tailored to its objectives, market, and challenges.
4. It’s not a factory line
SEO is not an assembly line of robotic tasks. Think less sweatshops and more artisanal workshops. Each task demands attention to detail, a deep understanding of the client’s industry, and a drive for excellence. Clocking in and out, just ticking boxes? That’s not how the SEO magic happens.
5. Experience is gold
SEO isn’t learned overnight. It culminates years of trials, errors, successes, and adaptations. The more seasoned an SEO professional is, the quicker they can diagnose and remedy a problem. They’ve seen it all and know how to tackle it.
Let’s lean on Bruce Clay for a moment. His words resonate not only with me but with many in the industry:
“You can’t make a pig fly.” “Cheap SEO is a near-death experience.” And the most evocative IMHO, “The best place to bury a body is the second page of Google.”
Bruce Clay isn’t merely an SEO expert; he’s an educator. I’ve learned so much from following him year after year. By the way, he doesn’t know me, so there’s no affiliate fee or hidden agenda here.
While brilliant young SEOs are emerging in the industry, the quality varies widely. I’ve come across many online (here in the US and overseas), and I’m often impressed by the innovative techniques they posted.
Occasionally, I’ll stumble upon tips that make me nod in agreement and think, “Ah, that approach is pure genius. I should do that. Thank you.”
However, for every legitimate and promising SEO expert out there, 1,000 or more drive-by and scammers are waiting, for cheap.
It’s hardly a surprise when disgruntled clients approach us after being burned by “SEO experts.” Again, this reminds me of Bruce Clay’s words of wisdom: “Cheap SEO is a near-death experience.”
The other day, an email pinged into my inbox, offering me the “opportunity” to place links on high DA websites for a mere $10. While I can quickly dismiss such offers, many business owners might get lured in, and that’s precisely how the narrative around good SEO gets distorted.
Misconceptions spread: SEO is straightforward, it’s cheap, it yields quick results… when in reality, it doesn’t.
Stone Reuning often likens the process of SEO to constructing a house—a comparison I wholeheartedly agree with.
Think about it: building a solid house requires investment. It’s about laying a solid foundation, ensuring the structure is sound, and creating a home that’s visually appealing and stands the test of time.
It could take a year or more to establish such a sturdy residence, which, with proper care, will serve you for decades.
On the other hand, if you skimp on costs, resort to inferior materials, and rush the building process, you might end up with a house that looks fine superficially but is fundamentally flawed.
The repercussions? Continuous repairs, mounting frustrations, and ultimately, an enormous drain on your wallet.
The same principles apply to SEO. You get what you pay for. Invest wisely, and your online presence will thank you for it. Settle for the bare minimum, and you might find yourself buried on the second page of Google alongside the bodies Bruce Clay talked about.
SEO is not about quick fixes or cheap tricks. Sustainable SEO is methodical and tailored to a brand’s unique needs.
While drive-by SEO and scams might be tempting, they’re fleeting solutions that might do more harm than good.
Good SEO is definitely not a commodity.
I was told that the future of SEO was cookie-cutter and commodified. “SEO is dead,” “It’s McDonald’s out there.”, “It’s a commodity.”
I doubted. I was afraid, too. Why were we customizing our SEO services, putting in hours to create valuable content, when potentially quicker (albeit inferior) options beckoned?
But there’s that gut feeling; my instinct tells me not to believe a word of it. You know that feeling when something seems off? Like someone’s trying to sell you a turd covered in gold leaf – don’t reach out and take it. Let that person keep it. (That’s a variation from one of the Buddhist sermons my friend sent me.) That’s precisely the sensation I got, and I trust that instinct.
Apologies for the crudeness. I’m trying to paint a picture with words. We all need to understand that a good appearance does not mean value. Sometimes it’s the complete opposite.
We’re not reshaping our SEO services into a commodity, compromising the very essence of what we’ve spent 25+ years nurturing. As we approach our three-decade mark, our commitment to quality remains unflinching. This is why our clients have stayed with us for over a decade and counting.
Yes, we’ve been in the game for a while. We do SEO, and we do it right.
Are you tired of a sucky website? Not going anywhere with your SEO agency? Your website is not ranking for any valuable terms. There’s no performance. No leads. Your brand is stagnant.
It’s time to engage with an SEO team that knows what they are doing—and we genuinely believe we’re that “team.”
This isn’t just us tooting our own horn; numerous clients echo these sentiments. They’ve witnessed firsthand how we transformed and grew their website.
Don’t take our word for it; reach out to them, hear their stories, and decide if SEO Advantage is the right fit for you.
If you’re looking for help with your search engine marketing, welcome to SEO Advantage. Let us know how we can help.
SEO is just one piece of a digital marketing puzzle. We understand the importance of a well-rounded approach to marketing and how search engine optimization fits into the bigger picture.
About Parichatra Reuning
Parichatra Reuning started in the SEO industry before Google was even a thing. Yes, she’s quite old.
At SEOA, Pat heads up a dedicated SEO team that’s like a close-knit family. They’ve been together for ages, working with clients across different fields.
What makes her proudest isn’t just the long years they’ve been around, but the rock-solid integrity they bring to their work, keeping (most) clients happy and coming back year after year.