The roles of the SEO have changed over the years to include more "things". In fact, they have changed so much that I would argue, we should call ourselves what we are- Internet Marketers. Things may be different in the "corporate world" ; the world in which everything is departmentalized and there are actually floors of people who handle SEO exclusively but for those of us who are in the trenches and dealing with small businesses, the hats we have to wear as SEO's are numerous.
And sometimes, in the end, we may not be focusing on SEO at all. Here are some things SEO's should be mindful of when they are entering a new relationship with a small business client.
Most local businesses don't understand the web at all.
It is an SEO's job to help them understand how the web is relative to their business. This goes beyond ranking, by the way.
The role of the SEO is to get them tangible results that they can see. Quickly.
In most cases, education is a must.
Most small businesses not only don't understand why the internet is important, a lot of times, they don't understand the options to reach their customer base. A good SEO will explain to them other options that go beyond SEO, because the bottom line for the small business is revenue.
For example, a local yogurt company may initially want to rank for "yogurt stores in _____" but once the SEO explains the different options available, they may decide that creating a solid visible structure on a platform like Facebook may be better.
Usually, web marketing and real world marketing should be complementary of each other.
For many small businesses, they tend to think of the 2 as two separate entities with the same goal. For many, the thought of integrating the two into one harmonious relationship never comes to mind.
For example, this same local yogurt company figured out that giving discounts to customers who "checked-in" when they came to the restaurant was a good way to brand themselves on Facebook.
A food truck that is different places every day may find Twitter to be more useful than other platforms and can advertise the fact that they announce where they are at on twitter for customers who love their product.
The right links matter.
Most of the time, links used exclusively for SEO don't bring in the ROI because there isn't any foot traffic.
Example: In the real world, someone who is inquiring about a company for the first time will likely go to 3rd party review sources to see what others are saying. Because of this, things that rank well that are social in nature as well as brand whistleblowers (such as the BBB) need to be taken care of.
Bonus points if you can integrate a marketing strategy to get your existing customer base to want to post stellar reviews on these types of websites.
A good SEO will learn what the typical visitor is looking for when they arrive on the page and give it to them as quick as possible.
For local businesses, this usually is a phone number and address. For some, this could be a menu.
For the modern SEO, it all boils down to understanding the small business and their needs and then giving them the options to help them decide what strategy will work out best for them long term. While SEO in it's purest element is important, for most small businesses it all boils down to helping them make the most of the tools that are available.
Do you know of any other things that have changed for SEO's?