Answers To Why is SEO Difficult - 2020

The SEO landscape is opaque and impenetrable. It’s deliberately secretive because no company wants to share the actual source of their success. This can make it difficult to approach as a student or as a client.

For those hoping to learn SEO, it can be difficult to know where to turn for trusted advice. And for those hoping to purchase SEO services, it can be difficult to know who really knows their stuff and who is selling the snake oil.

In this guide, we will explore four of the biggest challenges facing the SEO industry. These are perhaps the four biggest obstacles that make it difficult for marketing agencies to sell SEO and for brands and organisations to buy SEO. 

Finding professional SEO services can be a minefield, but when you understand the challenges facing the industry as a whole, it becomes a lot easier to navigate. In general, the UK SEO industry would benefit from more transparency between service providers and buyers. When you understand the struggles the other half is facing, it becomes much easier to find common ground. 

  1. The landscape is always changing

SEO is a form of marketing, but unlike social media marketing or email marketing, there aren’t rules about what is and isn’t expected. Instead, there are guidelines, and these guidelines are always changing.

It would be fair to say that Google leads and the rest of us follow. After all, Google controls around 91.75% of the global search market. When Google says jump, SEOs are left to guess how high. Google updates the search algorithm daily in an attempt to deliver the best possible experience for search users. But their guidance isn’t updated nearly as often. This leaves SEO professionals to fill in the gaps, and figure out what works through trial and error.

  1. It’s black, white and grey; and this is always evolving

In the beginning, we described SEO in terms of hats. There was white hat SEO, which did everything by the book. There was black hat SEO, which broke all of the rules for short-term gains. And then there was grey hat SEO, which toed the line of black hat SEO without completely breaking the rules.

This is very much the same today, but it has become increasingly murky. Google has outwardly stated that buying links is poor form, and yet we still see countless SEO agencies offering this as standard. In many ways, doing things “by the book” would put a business as a disadvantage. Google is really clever and keeps SEO consultants like Paul Gordon busy and on their toes. 

  1. The history is as important as the emerging trends

For those hoping to get up to speed with SEO, it’s not enough to just learn the current best-practice techniques. You also need an appreciation of where SEO has been, and where it is headed in the future. Understanding history and future trends are just as important.

This also makes it difficult for those with a rudimentary knowledge of SEO to feel that they can be part of the conversation. And it can be exhausting for SEO professionals to have to explain the history of SEO when answering a simple question. This leads to mistrust on both sides of the table.

  1. There is no shortage of cowboys

SEO is perhaps one of the most mis-sold marketing services, precisely because it is so opaque. Naturally, marketing agencies will want to keep their strategies secret, but this can lead to mistrust, particularly if a company has been burned by a cowboy SEO agency in the past.

With SEO, there are no guarantees or quick fixes. And anyone selling these is likely to be using black hat SEO techniques. But through slights of hand and misdirection, it’s all too common for companies to fall for these cowboys.

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