I was a SEO Neophyte, but now I'm alright!

By Greg Hudson on 2005/03/23

The world of SEO - Search Engine Optimisation - was at first glance, a black box. A mysterious internet marketing strategy cloaked in arcane terminology, where SEO experts tell clients "Madam, the spiders are hard at work crawling the web indexing your web pages with search engines called Yahoo! and Google".

It sounded intimidating at first, but stripping away the jargon and terminology left the realization that the Internet has the potential for serious business and SEO plays a key role in drawing customers to online products and services.

Getting down to the core of what SEO is all about, namely getting top rankings with search engines, made me realize that the scope for working as an SEO Copywriter is huge. The Net has become what author, Peter Russell calls "The Global Brain". The whole world is connected and the future of SEO and copywriting looks very promising.

Considering the growth of the Internet, I would like to speculate that the future growth of SEO lies in demystifying the subject.

Explaining what a copywriter does is hard enough. Most people think copywriters register trademarks. I have to tell them that copywriting is with a "wr" and not an "r" and since I've begun writing for the Internet I can now be called an SEO Copywriter. But with my own communication problems aside, what do you think the reasons for the following trends are?

A recent study of New Zealand's Top 100 Companies shows that most of these companies have websites that are in one way or another flawed from an SEO standpoint. A few of these flaws include absent Title Tags, unfriendly usability and dare I mention spamming techniques.

This obviously has the effect of limiting the amount of traffic to their sites, feedback from their customers and other valuable PR opportunities. Consumers have also been found to research their purchases online before spending their money. The Internet has become a more convenient way of shopping around.

So why are most of the top companies not taking advantage of the benefits of SEO?

It could be that they are not convinced of its effectiveness or they think they don't need to optimise or maybe they haven't heard of SEO yet. In my opinion the following trends may be the reason for this SEO apathy.

Trends in the past show that new technologies and ideas take time to establish themselves. It took ages before people would accept the Earth was round? SEO, which is still relatively new in S.A, may only now be slowly trickling into accepted business practices.

Get the hard work out of the way so you can focus on taking your SEO campaign to the next level. Your online success does not only depend on hard work. The next level requires a very special ingredient.

Another relevant trend is that large established companies are sometimes inflexible. They have established ways of doing things and change slower than watching paint dry. The American Army for instance stuck with bolt action rifles during WW2 when they could have chosen machine guns. After a few battles they realized their mistake through experience.

The Internet could be seen as the battle ground of public relations and any business who wants to win should take full advantage of the available technologies or lose out; it's as simple as that.

It is possible that SEO will soon be part of the budget of all companies wanting a strong online presence. There is no doubt that SEO is a technical subject with benefits that need to be clearly communicated, but businesses are still not even close to realizing the full potential of this technology.

The SEO industry seems set to boom as a result of the use of these techniques becoming more widespread. The brand with the top page ranking gets the attention of the consumer, which is half the battle of effective advertising. With the Internet offering a worldwide reach, there should be no misunderstandings as to the possibilities this opens up.