We Don't Need No Stinkin' SEO Standards

"Is it Time for Search Marketing Standards?" was the name of the panel that Jill Whelan attended at SMX West. It took her about a month to come up with a definitive answer. "Now that I've had a few weeks to think about it, I've come to the conclusion that not only would it be impossible to come up with standards that most would be happy with, I strongly believe that we don't need them at all," Whelan says.

There are a number of reasons why Whelan doesn't think standards would work, starting with the fact that no two search pros use the same exact tactics or tools to gain the rankings or results that they do. "Some of us may use similar SEO methods, but there's no one way of performing it, nor is there one special recipe for SEO success," she says.

Secondly, the industry can't even agree on a standard definition for SEO. There's also no need to develop standards as a way to protect potential customers from being scammed. "That's why there are laws regarding fraud, as well as laws about fulfilling the terms of signed contracts," Whelan says. "If the search marketing industry needs a special standard that says we have to do what we say we will do, then we're in a lot more trouble than I thought."

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