Are you a Google Analytics enthusiast?
More SEO Content
Is Seo An Extra Skill Or A Prerequisite?
Posted 27 September 2007 - 09:19 AM
Good question and one i feel quite strongly about. I run a Full Service Web Design Firm for Small Businesses and your question is one I am faced with on a daily basis.
Unfortunately, there is an old saying in the Selling environment "Sell and don't tell" i.e. if the customer does not ask the question, even though you think they should, then it is not your responsibility to tell them. This approach is adopted by the majority of the Sales profession whose main objective is to get the deal first, then make sure, when it is then passed on to development, they can prove they did not try and deceive the customer. They have targets to meet, afterall!
However, if you are a Small Business like us, then this approach will, most likely, come back to haunt you later on down the line. When people buy from us, there is a lot of trust involved. They expect us to have their best interest in mind and also expect to be guided through the mysteries of Web Design and SEO (which they are, in most cases, totally unaware of). Having a once happy customer that then points an accusing finger at you when they feel let down, is not particularly pleasant, especially, if you take a real interest in them and their Website.
It is with this in mind, we always make clients aware of the limitations of totally Flash based designs. In fact, I am speaking with one at the moment and have just persuaded them to adopt a Flash/HTML approach. Since we can easily demonstrate to customers, we have no preference and can quite easily do both, they tend to heed our advice.
Basically, it all comes down to how ethical you are as a business.
People trust us when we they use us to build their Websites. Abusing that trust is not something we would ever knowingly do.
However, many businesses do not share this philosophy and is one of the main reasons why our industry is not held in such high esteem and will remain so for the foreseeable future.
Posted 27 September 2007 - 12:01 PM
My question to throw in to the mix (before I forget the thought) is:
Why do we assume that the online world is so different from the offline world?
There is a vast difference between popping down to your local printer to get a business card or brochure designed and seeking out a smart marketing company that will build a campaign to benefit your business.
When interacting with any media there are people at all skill levels. A business does need to know what they want to acheive and seek out those that have a track record in the arena they wish to acheive in.
Totally agree with comments that boil down to truth in advertising...anyone claiming to offer services they cannot deliver should be shunned.
No, they should learn and become aware so they don't keep dealing with the wrong people - people who may be skilled in what they do, but may not be able to deliver on requests not spoken - everyone works at the level of their own knowledge base and skill level.
Why is online so different from traditional? Are expectations higher??
It would be extremely unusal to find someone you can hire who is proficient in all of these disciplines. Almost impossible really. However they do all play off of each other when it's done right. Unfortunately this Whole Package idea is what many customers seem to expect, and sadly what too many design firms or seo firms seem to advertise without any real concept of how to provide the whole package.
But there are some rare birds that do provide the total picture - whether well teamed or solo - they are usually in hiding...and hard to please (you would have to prove yourself to them before they considered you as a potential client)
Edited by excell, 27 September 2007 - 12:39 PM.
Posted 27 September 2007 - 01:07 PM
It was nice to see someone else say "ethical" - because I believe this is being a responsible professional.
IMO - If you have "knowledge" that can help your client/prospect out, then not sharing this information with them is not only dishomest (to a degree), but is also very unprofessional. How do you sit there and do your part of the job professionally (as you see it), while knowing (the entire process) that they should be implementing some SEO/SEM to actually reach their goals? Whether you can provide said service or not...? You are aware that the website needs this to "win" online (among other things - granted). So, is this withholding of information not NOW a part of your job? Didn't you make it this way?
I sold PC's for almost 20 years, and I know the sales end... DO NOT ADD FUDGE TO ANY SALE. Fudge being anything that could/ would/ or might confuse the consumer or add to in-decision... exactly what they (sales guy) does not want. Well (IMO), then they did not do a good job of selling anything (at least not anything that would meet the goals they failed to listen to when the client was speaking). Why wouldn't they just "add" the SEO to the sale? Even if they had to outsource it? It's because it adds doubt or fudge (an unknown), that they themselves really can't explain properly, so they do not approach it... they know they can get the sale/ contract/ client whatever - if they don't go there.
This in my mind is not ethical, and it is an opinion. If you can't do the seo or sell the seo/sem, does that mean your client does not need it to reach their goals online? Or maybe it's easier not to concern yourself with those things because you are just a programmer, artist, writer, etc. hired to do your job?
Yes, unfortunately this ends up being the client's problem, and they are the ones who lose or at least pay more down the road because the first time through (2nd, 3rd) they were not being told the truth by their TEAM of professionals who all knew that the website needed some sort of search engine exposure but nobody stepped-up because it wasn't their job... or business? That's just a guess.
Posted 27 September 2007 - 07:49 PM
I also will admit my bias to coming from a marketing rather then technical background.
I think we have a few main arguments:
All these I think come back to 2 things management of the process & expectations.
Businesses are used to hearing that online is cheap & easy. Proffessionals sell that to them because otherwise they probably wouldn't sell. Often though these professionals are element centric. They are SEO experts or coders etc. they approach every thing form that aspect. Often SEO is just not cost effective. It is expensive to do right, either in time or in hiring someone's time. Sometimes you hsould invest somewhere else (ppc?) first.
Online promotion/marketing may be more cost effective then traditional. Often because the giants haven't really got the hang of it yet. But it is not giv us 500 bucks and we'll replace your $200,000 print campaign. And regardless of who's fault that is, this expectation is false.
management of the process
Most IM strategies suitable for any business (excepting some but not all micro-businesses) is likely to have many elements and a few different channels of controlable marginal investment. (Randy gave a nice list of these). These need to be managed. They need to be fitted together Analytics needs to informppcwhich needs to inform SEO which needs to comminicate with copywriting which needs analytics to know if it is doing a good job and what to focus on....... You get my point. You aslo need to keep track of expenditure on various elements and ROI for scalable marginal investment..... ETC. ETC. ETC.
Mostly, small companies have no capacity to do this. The only way they have to evaluate their recent desicion to add 1000 p/m to their ppc budget is a hunch or some data given to them by the ppc company that they do not understand (or misunderstand).
You cannot expect a 'designer' to manage all this unless 'designing' is only a small part of what they do.
I don't think designers need to learn SEO or PPC (which also has web design requirements to work well) or analytics to work. They just need to stop working withend clients that do not understand their own needs.
Or, they need to become advertising/marketing companies.
This is I expect where alot of 'design' companies will go.
Posted 27 September 2007 - 08:57 PM
As the principal contractor, we take our honesty with client very seriously. We want them to feel confident in bringing any marcom requirement to us, with the implicit promise that we'll make sure that every project will be executed by peoplewho are competent to meet the client's objectives.
I believe anyone who takes on web development or internet marketing as a principal contractor has the same obligation: to recognize their own limitations and to be forthright about it with clients. None of knows everything, but we can know enough to know when we need help.
There's a huge difference between a Flash designer and web developer but, unfortunately, there are schools instructing graphic designers and Flash artists and telling them that there's nothing more they need to know. They put up a shingle when they graduate and, years later, they still think they're web developers.
I can't figure out how the correct that situation or who to blame but, meantime, I'm afraid it's "buyer beware." Because it's also the clients' job to know what they're buying!
Posted 27 September 2007 - 09:52 PM
That is a a model that makes sense. You are in the marketing business. A website is a marketing tool which you use.
You are geared for dealing direct with clients and dealing with their business needs. I am sure you charge a premium for say a website because you deal with the customer and take responsibility for the customers' needs.
The buyer beware part comes in often when they deal with suppliers which are not equipped to deal with customers. They can be a lot cheaper.
We have suppliers that create websites (though generally graphic design comes from someone else) They can able to produce excellent result if given correct specifications. They are geared for doing this for a good price. But they do not deal direct with end clients. They don't need to know about copy or SEO (though the site needs to be accessible).
I just had a search for 'website design' and 'cheap website'. The sponsored results show between $350-$1500 (Australian) for a 'website' they all mention SEO somehow (SEO tools). I am not saying these things are bad they are just not IM. Clients think they need a website when what they need is IM. What they get for this price is what they think they want - a website.
The fact that they don't know what they need is not the fault of the sellers of these products, which may be good, legit products. I don't think it is unethical for these companies to sell what they sell. They are not responsible for the clients' needs definition.
If they work with say ... Randy who as I understand is a proficient emarketer who can define his own bussiness & tech needs or lyn who is a consultant putting together packages for clients, then they may be the right company/product. Just like an building contactor can hire a bricklayer & a plumber but if I want a house then a hire a contrctor that will hire all the subcontractors nessecary. I pay for the management of the project which is a vital element.
Posted 27 September 2007 - 10:08 PM
Posted 28 September 2007 - 04:30 AM
Posted 28 September 2007 - 05:39 AM
Which would lead me to the conclusion that it's the clients responsibility to select a supplier that will fit their business requirements.
Posted 28 September 2007 - 06:22 AM
So why wouldn't the pitch be "We have some of the best SEO experts in the Industry available to us, and if that is what is required, we will be more than happy to quote you those services".
Naw, I'm the professional web development company, and if we say you don't need SEO then you don't need seo (or don't mention it at all). You are the professional (at least they belived you were)... you can't pass yourself off as an ethical professional if you are not even verbally sharing your knowledge with a client or prospect... This is lying to me? Am I all alone on this? Misleading your client is o.k? You have to answer these questions... it seems like every other title just wants to shirk the responsiblity for it never happening on their client's websites... wasn't my job, - sure, I knew we needed it, but - not my job, I was just hired to design. LOL- "We don't need no stinking SEO" - badges.
You can all turn and shake your heads at me, but - if you are a professional in the website building industry (in any capacity) - then you know by now that almost EVERY website needs to be at least SE friendly and most clients are (begging) asking for much more than that, they are just not being told the full story or are being BS'd into believing they are going to get all this great seo and sem stuff with their new website. I know all of these titles (firms) would like their business websites optimized to the max... why shouldn't every potential client know they are entitiled to the same thing and why?
If it is "cost", then the client gets to make the call, but at least they turned down the upgrade or upsell or SEO with the knowledge that they need this - it was not decided on their behalf by hired staff or outsourced temps who feel it's not their position to really tell the guy what he needs to get to where he (truly) wants online.
If clients knew all they needed to know about building a website, then why call you?
When they could just be checking the optimization and the popularity of YOUR website as an example of what they can expect when hiring you...? That would work right? You keep believing that, and I see huge success in your future (NOT).
Shame on this activity and practice - You are all at least aware of High Rankings right? - So you DO know someone who can help with SEO, why hide it from clients that you can't do it, when you know someone who can? (client statement) "Now there's the professional I hired... looking out for MY best interest and the succes of MY Internet project!" Business Model you say?
(enjoying his coffee with you)
Edited by Hyperformance, 28 September 2007 - 08:33 AM.
Posted 28 September 2007 - 08:03 AM
Perhaps that's what rolf's friend's designer was thinking when he/she told the client it would be visible in the search engines?
Posted 28 September 2007 - 05:42 PM
Who gets the biggest paycheck?
Traditionally, the guy in marketing always hauled in the big paychek but is the straight marketing guy sucking hind tit on the Internet?
The website techie who is good at SEO can singlehandedly get leads whether or not he knows anything about marketing or the product. Can the marketing guy do this?
So, if you could hire only one person to get you going on the Internet, would it be the marketing guy or the website/seo guy?
Edited by maleman, 28 September 2007 - 05:53 PM.
Posted 28 September 2007 - 10:34 PM
Getting 1,000 visitors sounds exciting for new webmasters, even if they're only making one sale. The only way the Traffic Matters marketing concept has ever worked is if you you can get 100,000 visitors per day.
On the other hand, getting 100 visitors and making 5 or 10 sales because somebody actually considered marketing and put some good systems into place is always going to be better. Heck, it'll even help pay the bill to hire someone to get you that 1,000 visitors per day.
Why do I say it's coming?
Partly because more webmasters are starting to realize what some of us have been saying for years -- that it's Conversions that matter, not traffic. And partly because a lot more of the medium and large ad agencies are getting more and more into internet marketing every year. In many ways the traditional marketing concepts they already excel at are the same ones they can use on the 'Net. Only with better metrics and (eventually) better tools to measure customer response.
Posted 29 September 2007 - 12:06 PM
I think they've already made the comeback. I'm on the web mulitple times weekly looking to buy. All of the big companies have everything in place for selling their lines.
Most (if not all) of the sites appear as cookie-cutter systems set up to lead you through a process of find, promote, research and buy. Each step of the process is intended to hold the visitor's interest through to the final step.
Posted 29 September 2007 - 07:55 PM
I've been having this very same argument with my own programmer for the last couple of years. I've had to go out and learn SEO for myself and then teach him how it should work. He now tells his new clients that there new sites will be SEO friendly which they will be as far as coding goes, so the client then assumes they will get high rankings, which isn't the case.
He still gets someone else to do the design - just the design and off they go. No SEO is mentioned in this part. I totally dissagree with this.
On 2 different occasions I have recommended him for 2 web jobs and after the clients get the new site back and going, they still aren't getting a lot of traffic or ranked very well because the site in only half SEO'd
The designer & the programmer must design & build the site with SEO in mind. With both of them doing SEO then the client may stand a chance.
SEO is essential to any website no matter what and the quicker programmers & desingers learn this the happier their clients will be with them.
Its a total shame universities are not teaching this yet either, what hope do we have!
0 user(s) are reading this topic
0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users