Professionalism in SEO: What Does it Mean?

Date Published: 6-Jun-2013 | By: Pete Dubaka

There are several business owners and executives scouting around for a good SEO provider. The ones who are serious about performance and generally run their business in a systematic manner look around for a professional SEO provider. They may search on the Internet using different types of keywords to find such providers like ‘professional SEO’, ‘professional SEO services’, ‘SEO professional’ or ‘SEO professionals’. While the intentions are correct, but most people have not figured out exactly what they mean by professionalism in SEO. This leads to confusion in choosing a provider and sometimes in making wrong choices. The key thing to get the decision right is to think through what does professionalism mean in the context of SEO?

Provided below is a detailed and comprehensive review in a systematic manner to help you understand how to make the right choice when finding a good SEO provider.

Specialist primarily in SEO, not cross-selling you SEO services after gaining a foothold with another service
The first thing you need to see is, does this person specialize primarily in this area? This may sound simple or odd, but the reality is, many professionals in related fields claim to have SEO expertise. The fact is that their primary expertise is in something else and then they try to get add-on business in SEO since they have already impressed the client with their other expertise. Many clients expect the professional to be good in SEO also. This is pretty much like calling a bank to talk about some issue with your account and they cross-sell you accidental insurance or identity protection service that they source from some other provider. Choose someone whose primary expertise is Search Engine Optimization.

Comprehensive skills on all aspects of SEOprofessionalism in seo
Search Engine Optimization has become complex over the years. Initially, it was only about off-page elements. Then it moved the other way round and became mostly about on-page. Somewhere content got important and then social media got added. Today, the algorithms are very comprehensive and cover many aspects. Unfortunately, a few SEO professionals have not been able to grow with the times and have only limited skills. Also to provide comprehensive SEO services they need to work as a team i.e., team of SEO experts, each specialist in one aspect of the SEO working under the directions of a consultant. Such expertise and teams are not common, but having a team is helpful.

Know how to work with other specialists
SEO is connected to the broader digital marketing goals of your company. Some people have in-depth understanding of SEO, but are not aware about how other marketing professionals work or cannot work with other professionals because of their limitations. This either hurts your overall marketing objectives or puts tremendous strain on you in coordinating the work of others.

In-depth expertise in SEO and understanding of the SEO ecosystem
Earlier, we have talked about comprehensive services. There is another aspect that is equally important and that is in-depth expertise in SEO. Almost anybody with a little time and some intelligence can read through some articles and some forum posts and get some idea of SEO to make an intelligent conversation. In-depth expertise involves a lot more than that. It involves deep understanding not only in SEO, but also of the SEO ecosystem so that they can execute on the ideas. Otherwise the so called SEO expert comes up with grand ideas that are not practically executable. SEO ecosystem includes the digital marketing environment, tools, and other specialized service providers serving the SEO industry.

Character – Not knowingly hurting a client’s prospects
While the technical aspects of SEO need mastering before someone becomes knowledgeable, there is another independent attribute that is essential for performance and more importantly to gain your trust. This attribute deals with the character element of the person. Handling the turbulent days when the rankings drop a little or not crumbling under pressure of expectations. At the same time, educating the clients as well as guiding them in what to expect. This character aspect of SEO is a different dimension and is a non-technical aspect. Occasionally even the best SEO person has moments where things don’t work as they expected. At such times, will they succumb to the pressure and do something foolish or do they have the character to stand up to the situation. For example, many black hat SEOs are short term focused and do not abide by the concept, unknowingly hurt the clients future. If they expect short term results and then constantly look for newer clients then they can practice black hat and not be accountable. By the time it gets discovered, they have stopped working on the clients many months back.

Speed of response
This is a more traditional measure of client servicing and professionalism which deals with the promptness of responding to queries. As a business owner or business executive you are already aware of this aspect, so I will not discuss this further.

Caring for client: Professionalism is technician who cares
You need a service provider who cares for your business and your success. Not someone who is working with you because you can write a check that can be encashed. When this person who cares is not proficient in his work, then it is not helpful. Just think how much your business would benefit if there was someone who is not only an expert in their area, but they genuinely care about your business. We have a separate blog on this aspect that will come up separately.

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