Industry Regulation in the SEO industry – Impossible or essential?

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There has been debate over the years in the SEO industry on “Regulation must be implemented in the SEO industry or not?”

Every day we get to see a lot of emails regarding the SEO services and sales pitch sent by many companies. If anyone who does not have a basic understanding of SEO industry receives an email stating “you might lose thousands of dollars if your website is not optimized properly” the business owner might get panicked and immediately take the services from that agency.

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Most of the times, small businesses are vulnerable to such a trap. 70% of the emails being sent to random business owners are from spam agencies. They only try to sell spammy or directory links to the customers.

Though there are many legitimate SEO companies that are offering affordable local SEO packages, people tend to fall the emails sent by spam companies.

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In SEO, the term ‘legitimate’ varies from person to person and also from company to company. There is no minimum criteria for a person to say he is SEO qualified, unless and until they hold a good portfolio of websites with proper rankings, and positive client reviews.

To stop clients from approaching such wrong companies, it is necessary to set up regulation in the SEO industry. Here is how it can be done:

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Governing Body

One of the best ways to stop fake companies from promoting SEO services is by forming a governing body that oversees the registered members conduct. There must be a membership agreement that the companies registered with the governing body will abide by its rules.

However, there might be certain limitations, like not everyone agrees to rules under which SEO operates. It can be agreed on how to deal with the clients and reporting standards, but one cannot universally agree on the methods used to rank the client websites. The methods vary from client to client.

External Auditing

There should be proper auditing process in order to monitor the work of registered members. One of the ideal ways is to make a checklist of Google Webmaster guidelines and use this for checking the quality of process among the registered members.

Code of Practice

As mentioned earlier, SEO is such an industry where results are unpredictable. So, preparing a set of guidelines to agree upon would be difficult. However, a code of practice can be created, which ensures that no agency will try to mislead the clients, stating that they would bring the results within a given time frame.

Unrealistic claims done by any registered agency will lead to a ban from the industry.

Education

One should try to educate the clients on the SEO practices so that they can make informed decisions which help in bringing fruitful results at the end of the day.

Also, making informed decisions by the clients helps them stay confident about what results they can expect from the agency in the coming months.

Ethical Clauses

Both the clients and agency must form ethical clauses, and they need to stick to it before onboarding on any projects. This way, they can be assured of the results, failing which the client can claim for a refund or anything that was agreed upon in the clause.

Moreover, having a clause can help the client approach the governing body if the agency tries to manipulate anything.

Certification

Just like other fields, there must be certification tests for the agencies as well. Based on the certifications, an agency has the domain knowledge is measured. For example, if an agency has cleared all the certifications in SEO conducted by the governing body, the client feels confident about handling his project to the agency.

Continuous Professional Growth

Certifications alone are not sufficient to display the domain knowledge of an SEO agency. The employees of the agency must go through continuous professional growth in order to find new and working strategies which help to deliver the results in no time.

Just like continuous professional growth in Project management field, the governing bodies for the SEO industry must come up with some strategic plan that helps them to frequently test the professional growth of the employees in SEO agencies.

Only if there is continuous professional growth in any organization, it can succeed in the long run. If not, they cannot be confident about delivering results to the clients.

Conclusion

In short, the clients and the team members of the agency must be confident about the SEO they perform. They must ensure the client of how they are going to streamline the process for ranking and give proper reporting to the client from time to time.

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