SEO ProposalI, like everyone else in the industry, am getting frustrated with the term SEO being synonymous for “give some money and I’ll make you number 1”.

I spent most of last week submitting proposals to prospective clients and it’s amazing how many I saw from other cheaper, overseas “SEO firms” who made this statement. Then, when you go on the SEO “firm”‘s website, look at their case studies and client testimonials, and see the backlinks that the “firm” achieved for the client, it’s almost laughable.

I’ve always followed the motto “quality over quantity” whenever I work on an SEO project, and believe that taking your time to learn more about the client’s product or service so that you can continue to create new and useful content and knowingly promote it is worth more than a half-assed link building campaign.

SEO Guru (who named the industry Search Traffic Optimization, not sure I’m running with that) shared a post by Marissa Myers this morning where she makes an argument that, with Google’s recent changes and penalties, SEO is dead. I’m not sure if I agree or disagree quite yet, and only time will tell.

This blog was named Baltimore SEO by Murph because SEO was the buzzword at the time. Now that anyone who considers themselves an SEO consultant or firm has to put up with the stereotypes of being snake oil salesmen thanks to a few bad apples in the industry, it seems like the time to rebrand and find a company description and offering that not only describes the good intentions and moral techniques, but also that people are actually searching for.

My opinion? Some SEO/whatever you want to call it techniques will never die. Keyword analysis has always been top of my list of important Internet marketing techniques, and I don’t see that ever changing. Why go after keywords that nobody is searching for? Baltimore SEO gets maybe 500 searches a month, and although this blog and my website get a decent amount of traffic, it continually dies down now that the SEO craze is dying off like Starter jackets and hypercolor shirts.

Good content development and, in some part, optimization, can never be replaced.

If it was easy, everyone would be doing it (and sometimes it feels like everyone does). Taking the time to develop a website and content which is fresh and meaningful is tedious, boring, and frustrating at times, but is worth it in the end.  A well developed website with less links should always rank higher than a half-assed website with 1,000 links, and it seems like Google is noticing that. And since I haven’t dropped a tip on here in a while: keywords in the URLs and titles seem to be more important lately as well, but we’ll see if that changes soon.

Online marketing, Internet marketing, lead generation, search engine marketing, search engine optimization, traffic generation…. brand it what you want in my opinion. Convincing good, patient prospective clients who see the value in taking the time to develop a strategy that you can help their business in the long run is where business relationships happen in this industry.

Most people I talk to in the industry said that they didn’t get their leads from their website or blog, or from mass e-mailing or whatever guerilla marketing techniques others use, but simply by referrals. Is taking an hour or two each day to update your blog, read and comment on recent blog posts by others in the industry, and other self-promotion methods such as social media important? Absolutely. But is it going to make you successful overnight? Probably not.

Networking and building relationships help bridge the gap between old-school grassroots business marketing and modern technology, and shows that no matter how fast the web 2.0 world and SEO/SEM/whatever seems to be moving, nothing will replace a good work ethic and a lot of patience. 

Coming soon: New BizPro site, stay tuned.

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