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While I normally use this column to discuss ways car dealers can improve their sites' SEO, this week I want to change it up and reach out to automotive digital marketers.
Recently I read a blog post on Moz.com that discussed the changing SEO landscape. The author, Ryan Stewart, was frustrated that most SEO clients simply don't understand that Google is evolving each and every day. He dislikes having to explain that their expectations need to change in order for him to help them.
One example he gave is keyword rankings. It's no longer easy to manipulate rankings, as Google has put penalties in place to discourage unnatural SEO tactics that were once common. Beyond that, with personalized and localized search, individual keyword rankings are becoming less and less important in the grand scheme of SEO.
But the problem here isn't client expectations. The problem is, we're not doing enough to educate clients in order to ensure their expectations adapt to the current SEO landscape. Because if we were, Ryan wouldn't be so frustrated. He'd simply be able to explain to clients how SEO has changed, what services he can offer, and how those services will provide great results.
I don't blame Ryan for his frustrations, though. I know he's doing all he can to provide quality service and educate clients. He's making a plea to anyone and everyone who sells SEO services to help further the industry by informing potential clients that they're looking at SEO in an outdated fashion. This is the same plea I'm making to you today.
Here's how I think we can work together to ensure our dealer clients better understand automotive SEO, but also shape expectations for an industry that's always evolving.
Change How You Market Your Services
The old "We'll get you to page 1" strategy is completely worthless in 2015. Not only because you can't make that guarantee, but because you're perpetuating the idea that rankings are the most important part of SEO.
In order to move forward and continue to grow, we all need to change how we market SEO services to clients. This means explaining on your website and in other marketing copy what exactly SEO is and isn't. It's easy to make claims, but when you can't back them up because they're outdated you don't just hurt yourself. You hurt the industry as a whole.
If this doesn't happen, Ryan's prediction could come true: we could run ourselves out of business.
Have a Plan for When Clients/Potentials Clients Bring Up Keyword Rankings
We all want to give the client what they want, but we need to draw the line when it's simply not possible to guarantee results. I don't care how good you think your company is at SEO; you can't guarantee keyword rankings in 2015. (And if you can, you're probably employing some risky tactics that could seriously harm your client's site should Google catch on.)
This is why you need a plan to explain the changing SEO landscape to clients and how you plan to get results using the most up-to-date and advanced tactics. For Wikimotive, our focus is on boosting organic traffic as a whole. We do this by identifying new opportunities and keeping a close eye on drop offs in previous results to ensure our clients see steady growth.
By focusing solely on keyword rankings, we'd be limiting our ability to both provide results and satisfy clients. So let's show car dealers our plan for helping them grow without relying on outdated tactics.
Show Examples of Your Success
The only thing that matters in SEO is results, so let those do the real convincing for you when clients question your tactics. Explain your strategy involved with each example and step them through exactly how it all worked to provide results.
Need I say more on that topic?
Where Do We Go From Here?
Ultimately, that's up to each of us as individual businesses. I know that I want to continue innovating and creating the best SEO service I can for car dealers in order to help them grow. It's never going to be easy, but did any of us get into this business because it was easy? It's challenging, always changing, and always interesting at the same time.
I'd love to hear how other digital marketers feel about this, so please leave any and all comments below!