SEO Pros Community & Organization
SeoPros.org is a community and organization for search engines, search engine optimization consultants, internet marketers and developers of remote technology used by consultants and marketers.
The SEO Pros community was created in 2001 as a searchable database of SEO’s making it the first online SEO Directory. The directory was created as a resource for consumers to find and hire SEO consultants that were compliant with the “best practices” guidelines, provide free advice during the hiring process and education on how to choose an SEO.
In May 2004 The community decided to create the NFP Corporation Organization of Search Engine Optimization Professionals to try and set standards for the industry, however, that quickly was amended to be for the members in the directory.
More recently the peer reviewed SEO directory and RFPgenerator have been updated and services for Social Media and digital marketers added to the RFPgenerator to reflect the changing promotion channel and search ecosystem. Business websites of all sizes from enterprise sites to mom and pop stores marketing on Shopify require a combination of online services in order to be successful.
Search has evolved from matching words on the page to identifying and optimizing topics, answers and entities associated with keyword searches. To increase traffic and search visibility promotion on many platforms is required to find and gain full audience exposure.
In 2019 Terry Van Horne announced the first conference the community was to hold in Toronto Canada in August 2020. IMTO (Internet Marketing Toronto) was cancelled due to the COVID-19 global health emergency and the resulting lockdowns. The hope is that in August of 2021 IMTO will go forward barring unforeseen circumstances like a pandemic.
We are in the process of putting some virtual features together including webinars which will include training in several areas of SEO and digital marketing. Coaching and mentorship is important in developing a professional industry as a whole, more so, for individual consultants to learn about and understand the complex business of SEO.
The Goals & Mandate of the Community & Organization are:
SEO Pros Goal of Developing a Psuedo Apprenticeship
We use the term “pseudo” apprenticeship because a real apprenticeship involves some governmental organization providing oversight. SEO Pros has been reviewing and monitoring “serious” training programs for many years. A few programs stood out based on the training materials we were provided to review and people we’ve interviewed over the years that had nothing but good things to say about the course materials and trainers.
Michael Stebbins sold Market Motive and started OMCP (Online Marketing Certified Professionals) which has developed accreditation in several Search and digital marketing disciplines. OMCP provides and maintains the testing and ensures that the accreditation is maintained by attending accredited courses, conferences and training seminars.
It is important that testing and training standards are maintained by a “body” that includes:
OMCP have the infrastructure and ability to maintain accreditation testing and status of accredited professionals. The member firms would be bound to report and track hours and activities for use in accreditation.
The SEO Agency or consultants would also be accredited so it gives a student looking to start their career with familiar systems and techniques in the working environment . Other students may want to work in an Agency as a summer job to see if the industry suits them and/or a chance to experience the job.
We believe for the students starting out it provides an opportunity to implement in the real world what they learned in school. Anyone who has moved between agencies can tell you new systems are often the biggest hurdle to get over.
It is our belief that mentorship and professional career development with a plan emphasizing education before implementation is important in developing professional digital marketing and SEO consultants. In reviewing members for the program we will be giving those willing to be donors of the time and knowledge required to sponsor and mentor fledgling professionals.
Proposed Apprenticeship Training Program
Google Search has an enormous market share likely exceeding the 80 – 90% that is attributed to them. More so if you include YouTube. In the last 21/2 years ranking in Google search results has become less about building links to blog posts where phrases are repeated and html structure optimized with keywords to optimizing content for the extraction of entities and their associated information. Google used links as votes to measure Authority which links are easier for digital marketers to manipulate in ways Google does not condone.
For many SEO and digital agencies their blog could be a major driver of new business, but, in many cases it is under utilized due to staff ability to make regular well researched posts because their plate is full with client duties. From a training standpoint the blog is a perfect place for an apprentice to start because a blog can utilize all facets of online marketing. Blog content can also be used in traditional media.
Currently keyword research for SEO is more about prioritizing query phrases than identifying the keywords and repetitions to include in the page. Prioritization is based upon their importance to meeting the website or business goals of the organization. Keyword research is now far more important to paid search than SEO. Keywords are a search marketers sales inventory which they place ads on to draw an audience to a website where an specific actions are expected to be taken by users.
SEO has become more technical in nature as structured data plays a major role in the extraction of data used in most of the rich snippets that seem to be growing in numbers and types found in the search results. Another use of structured data is identifying the entities in a page which does help Google understand what a page is about, however, whether that is a ranking factor is still open for debate at writing.
Since announcing their Mobile First policy for ranking/indexing more and more search results contain features where AMP (a Google Mobile Platform) is a requirement or used as the only platform to introduce a SERP feature. Two examples are Top Stories and Web Stories.
Content marketing is a digital marketing activity that used to be thought of as an SEO activity known as content development or content strategy. SEO’s seldom used paid platforms to drive traffic and track the traffic for later conversion opportunities. Currently content marketing uses content to drive traffic and sales as the goal not to build links to pages to rank higher. Inbound links are viewed as a beneficial byproduct because the content marketers goal is to gain visibility in sites that send traffic and sales.
The COVID-19 pandemic accentuated the importance of the Search Marketing channel in an environment of lockdowns and quarantines. This marketing channel has come a long way in roughly 20 years!
SEO is “going back to the future” as page structure and composition in particular structured data are used by Technical SEOs to optimize extraction of the entities and their associations that Google and other search engines are crawling the web to find.