In Lee Odden’s recent post, The Lowdown on Web Designers and SEO, he does a nice job of pointing out the often-found real world conflicts that often arise between web designers and SEO professionals because of their respective areas of expertise. In response to a comment, Lee points out that it may not be reasonable to expect web designers to stay on top of both their trade AND the knowledge and expertise necessary for SEO. Although I agree with this, his post and subsequent response to comments is focused largely on the shortcomings of web designers with respect to SEO.
I’m not faulting Lee here; I’m sure this was merely the focus of the post. I’m sure, however, that he’d agree with me that the vast majority of SEOs are going to need to speak to shortcomings also. For years, SEOs have been focused largely on ranking: keyword research, attempting to decipher search engine algorithms to get and maintain rankings for key search terms, researching competitor sites, and mining analytics data. To be sure, this alone can be a challenging area in which to develop proven expertise. However, in order to flourish, today’s SEO professionals, are going to have to get much better at understanding the buyer, the sales cycle and how search changes over the buying cycle, desired actions of prospects and how to effect them…in short, getting inside the mind of the prospect and using SEO to create and drive business results and relationships with prospects. Some SEOs are good at this; others are simply too technically focused. The truly effective SEO professional will be just as much an expert at business and marketing as she is at the “traditional” SEO responsibilities.