Monday 20th May 2013

Sitting in front of my works computer staring at my monitors at an abundance of article, blog, forum, review, content, directory… sites with my inbox stuffed full of email offers to create links on PR4, 5’s and 6’s… all that predominantly seem to be either over optimised, filled with spammy cannibalised keyword stuffed hyperlinks and text, which is either non-related, irrelevant or is just a repeat of something written thousands if not millions of times before, all of which is really starting to give me a headache, though better than the porn, gambling, pets… link-farms of the recent past, we are being squashed and bombarded from every corner, it seems, finding a reliable trusted place to generate interest, followers and awareness is certainly becoming harder to find for us all, or is it? Are we just looking in the wrong places, misguided, lazy in our search, not following the guidelines laid out for us by the likes of Google, or just simply, don’t have the time. Well if your answer is a resounding yes to one or more from my short list above I would highly recommend that you read on.

Other than algorithm updates and changes to the policies affecting what is required of us SEO’rs, nothing in retrospect has actually changed in relation to what SEO has and will continue to be, and that is good brand awareness and good PR, the link itself is simply a by-product of the whole processes with added benefits as long as the rest of the information left is worthy of its intent. The problems are not actually finding the places to link from but avoiding all those places certainly not worthy or reputable enough in getting a link from.

My real concern here however, is not for the abundance of SEO/Online Marketing companies out there, but rather their clients. We keep hearing about businesses being either penalised or being completely de-indexed from the search engine results altogether, after having paid for a service month on month, to then end up in a position that they have to spend more money to have these links removed, while losing valuable business, is it then their fault for being mislead by their SEO company, I think not, personally I believe more regulation is needed in the battle to combat what we all know as Black-Hat SEO, I am not saying that we are all perfect and that everything I have done in the past is right, but we have to start from somewhere!

To put things into a brief perspective; back in 1962 in the UK a chap by the name of Raymond Andrews formed what is known as the NAEA ((the National Association of Estate Agents) the US equivalent being the REB (Real Estate Brokers)), which today has become the leading body for estate agents and has a licensing scheme in place that offers consumers protection. Prior to the 60’s the housing market was rife with cowboy estate agents, though many of us don’t think much has probably changed since then you would be in actual fact rather surprised by the plethora of horror stories which would have people imprisoned today for the same practices, ripping off the uninformed, through lies and deception, pretty much like what is going on in the SEO arena today. Raymond wanted to put a stop to this by promoting unity and understanding among estate agents and to protect the general public against fraud, misrepresentation and malpractice, in so doing safeguarding its members and the public against restrictive practices within the profession, this in itself has encouraged a high ethical standard of competitive practice as well as providing, a high level of Knowledge, experience and ready available information for both consumer and estate agent alike.

Though there are many cowboys still out there, people can be reassured they are protected through the NAEA and the legislations they have passed through government to do just that. The association also has an approved members list for consumers to ensure they are choosing the right estate agent for the job, and any estate agency that is a member will have the NAEA logo posted on their website. Simple but effective the system has not only stood the test of time, adapted to society, brought justice to those who had been affected but also banned or closed down the perpetrators from trading within the industry again.

Okay, all sounds well and good but how does this fit into the SEO arena?

Personally I believe we need an equivalent association as the NAEA for our industry for exactly the same reasons, though we have seen a number of years of global recession our industry has been thriving, as the need to be found on the internet has escalated so have the number of internet based companies and individuals venturing out into SEO, and as there is no form of globally recognised qualification(s) within the field any Tom, Dick or Harry can set up and call themselves an SEO expert. This must be stopped!

We have some way to go in order to getting a recognised and accredited association underway but with enough of us we could certainly pave the way for the future of our industry by doing the best we can by eradicating the dodgy SEO companies and individuals, by giving people an informed choice, be it on a local, national and or international scale, and most importantly create a more transparent and even playing field for us all!

So for all of you in favour of and in agreement with this idea and would like to contribute and be part of something exciting and new please don’t be shy and get in touch. I have set up an email address: - for you all to send me your thoughts and ideas and together we can and will change our industry for the better.

Written by Nic Cohen - Head of Online Marketing -

Published on: 4:15PM on 20th May 2013