I’ve been thinking for a while now that, as an industry, SEO agencies are really suffering because of the word “optimisation”. It’s just not the right word.
The Google algorithm is based around 2 things, the easy bit which is on-site optimisation and the hard bit which is link-building. Anybody can optimise a website but in most industries link-building is 90% of the algorithm.
There are of course some very complex SEO issues to consider when building a site and planning architecture but once there are done then most agencies have very little scope for changing things. Anybody who has worked with a large company understands that getting architecture and code changes is a 6-18 month timescale for all but the smallest sites.
When you think about optimisation you think of small tweaks and changes, you don’t think of 10-15 days per month researching quality link sources and phoning/emailing hundreds of link prospects in the hope of converting some into live links.
Reading a thread over at b3ta you can see how most people assume that SEO is something a good developer should get right at the build stage but not many people seem to understand the sheer amount of effort required to build enough good quality links to get rankings.
In an ideal world like the one Google thinks we live in you could rely on just creating good content and links would suddenly come flooding in. This simply isn’t the case, unless you have perhaps 10 years to wait before you get visitors.