The Trouble with SEO is….

Welcome to the first in a series of specialist guest blog posts on our site. Happy reading!


The SEO industry is full of cowboys. It’s a black art. It’s a scam!

Before I go on, I should introduce myself in the interests of full disclosure. I’m Stacey Cavanagh and I’m the Digital Marketing Manager for an agency called Tecmark. Yes, I ‘do SEO’. So it probably goes without saying that I disagree with the above statements, but they’re all things I’ve heard more than once since I began working in the industry.

There’s a widespread mistrust of SEO. And while I say I disagree with the above statements, I only disagree when they’re related to the industry as a whole. I concur that there are some cowboys in the industry, that some agencies and SEOs deliberately try and make it look like the work they do is a big mystery, that some will take your money and do nothing, that some will implement underhand tactics. But I’ve met far more great SEOs than cowboys. Yet we, within the SEO industry, seem to suffer as a whole for what really is a minority, I believe, of poor quality and deliberately underhand tactics and service.

It seems many not in the industry regard all those within it with suspicion.

I’ve written before on why some businesses hate SEO and I won’t go through all of those reasons again here. But I do want to cover one point on there again: communication.

The trouble with SEO is that it can be difficult to communicate expectations and activity. 

There are 3 things that make SEO difficult to sell:

It Takes Months to See Results

If you walked into Tesco, paid for a loaf of bread and were told you’d get it in 3 months, you wouldn’t be happy. And yes, yes, buying a loaf of bread is a world away from investing in SEO. But nonetheless, you can see why businesses are nervous about the investment.

You Can Guarantee Nothing

SEO is an industry in which nobody can guarantee anything, really. In fact, Google actively advises businesses to be wary of guarantees.

Many People Outside the Industry Do Not Understand it

There’s still this perception from those with no experience of SEO that Google simply puts the best result at the top.  So when SEOs start talking about anchor text distribution, about link building and robots.txt files, it can be difficult for people to follow.

So, effectively, you’re trying to sell someone something they’ll see no benefit of for months, that they don’t really understand and that comes with no guarantees!


And this is where communication comes in. I think that even great SEOs can be guilty of not communicating what they’re doing properly. I’m not saying all SEOs, of course, but I think as an industry, it can be a weak point for us. Anything short of awesome communication for something as complex as SEO and businesses you’re working with can and will become suspicious and worried.

I’ve found clear, consistent and proactive communication of the following makes relationships with clients much better:

  • Objectives
  • Expectations
  • Activity

The Trouble with SEO is…

….that not everybody understands it, so those of delivering a good service need to work harder to communicate it properly.