The great robbery of the Vienna Bank in 1875 left many investors distraught. This was no ordinary robbery. There was no masked gunmen or runaway horse and buggy. The clever thief waltzed into the bank, sat down with dozens of customers and comfortably convinced them to give him all their money. Well, they didn’t know it was all their money, until a day or two later, when all their money was gone. Who was this mystery bank robber? He was a fellow who realized that people trust Bank Managers. He showed up one day at the bank, told the tellers he was there from their Swiss Branch, and got all sorts of customers to sign all sorts of paperwork, which enabled him to withdraw all their funds once the customers left.
When this great heist was discovered, there were many wealthy people who decided they no longer trust bank managers, and banks in general. After all, wasn’t it a bank employee who bilked them out of all their money.
Despite the bank insisting that they should not be afraid of Bank Employees, but rather Imposters of Bank Employees, many people closed their bank accounts and deposited their life savings in the much safer first bank of bob’s sleepnumber mattress.
This was a case of mistaken identity, of a fraud pretending to be something he was not.
I guess the question is, Would you no longer trust bank tellers if you were the victim here, or would you recognize that bank employees never did anything wrong, and you just need to be more prudent in identifying who is actually a bank employee and who is a slick shyster.
I bring this up because we have a TRUST DECAY problem in the online marketing space.
First it started with SEO. The skills and talents to execute well are quite valuable, but so many people have been taken in by Imposters dressing up as SEO’s hawking their fake rolexes and worthless wares. So much so that SEOmoz chose to drop the SEO from their name because it has too much of a negative connotation.
I happen to see where Rand Fishkin and the MOZ team are coming from. As much as I am not a fan of the rebranding, I think there is a trend here, and since the TRUST DECAY of the name SEO is dying as more and more bad SEOs and outright scam artists enter the space, the whole industry needs a real rebranding.
So, many SEO’s recognized that editing html tags is too easy for a third world teenager to do and too prone to scams so they try to offer a service that crappy SEOs can’t possibly replicate. High end link building. Who enters the stage? Comes along all the link-wheels, ads to buy thousands of EDU links, and link spam tools like Senuke and xrumer, and who knows whats a good linkbuilder and who’s a snake oil salesman? Of course, penguin updates crushing link networks and spammy link building tactics have many people afraid to spend any money on linkbuilding for fear of tanking their rankings.
Many SEO’s repositioned themselves as content marketers. After all, much of SEO is creating linkable content assets and pushing them out to the linkerati. Once again though, content marketing is undergoing a major TRUST DECAY due to article directories, outright spun content, and all around poor content that has no chance of being effective flood the marketplace. I actually had a client say to me, “I am open to trying anything but content. Because content just doesn’t work. I have been creating content and submitting it to article directories, and my rankings never improved.” There was no point in me explaining to him that CONTENT MARKETING has very little relation to article marketing which was something i never bothered with to begin with. Logically it just didn’t make sense to me. I didn’t and still don’t see what value you are creating.
Let’s not forget all the writers turned content marketers who write SEO content or website content and try to pass it off as real content marketing.
Sure, we can try to explain to people that the type of content we create is strategically developed based on who links to content in the industry, which site will publish it as a guest post, or which content we can seed through our social network, gets lots of traction and all the while be content at the top of the funnel that brings in prospects during their Research phase, so they convert further down the funnel.
Can’t talk about guest posting because Matt Cutts wants to target the low end of the industry, and there are still loose link networks of blogs driven by guest bloggers looking for links. A good guest post is meant to target an audience to bring them to your blog or website, not to get an irrelevant link.
But, the TRUST DECAY of the CONTENT and GUEST BLOGGING is slowly killing our industry.
Even Outreach, which is probably the most valuable linkbuilding skill today is being hijacked by third world imposters, willing to use fake american names to get you low quality guest posts and whatnot.
Sure, we can turn to social media marketing, but the TRUST DECAY there is even worse. Every college girl with a vine app or housewife with a recipe pin board is a social media marketer.
A prospect told me yesterday that he feels twitter is just a bunch of marketers ferociously marketing to each other.
So, a good search marketer, who can get a site to rank, who can create linkable assets, who can build a real and deeply engaged social audience. Who can do real outreach to generate strong backlinks that drive quality referral traffic, What can he call himself and not wonder if people think he is part of the dark side or not.
How can we let people know we are offering real value and aren’t just dressing up as Bank Managers?
What can we engage in that won’t be the next victim of TRUST DECAY.
How can we differentiate ourselves from everyone else. How can we package our offering that makes people go WOW,and not slink away protecting their wallets?
We can’t call ourselves SEO’s, We can’t call ourselves Linkbuilders, We can’t call ourselves Content Marketers…
SEO needs an overhaul a rebranding, a new awesome way to describe how awesome our work really is!
Who Can Answer The Call and Make SEO Sexy Again?!