40 Fears That Keep Search Marketers Awake At Night

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40 Fears That Keep Search Marketers Awake At Night

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We asked 40 search marketers to name their greatest fear, the one that keeps them awake at night. (with the exception of babies, insomnia, and their favorite sports team losing) This is what they said…..

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Fear #1: Google is becoming a destination site “What scares me the most about where the industry is headed, is that Google is increasingly making itself a destination site, rather than just a directory of links.” Takeshi Young, SEO Team Lead at EntirelyPets.com Fear #2: Google is dominating our everyday lives “I think everyone should be concerned about the power that Google has over the internet and our daily lives in general. Look for Google Plus to grow and the new YouTube comment system to be expanded across the web.” Chuck Price, founder of Measurable SEO

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“SEO alone no longer works and all of these areas must be in play. The problem arises when you realize that all of these are just too vast for even a single person to be able to know and/or implement effectively. A team of individuals, each with expertise in a particular area of web marketing (SEO, content, social, etc.) is needed.” Fear #3: SEO alone is no longer enough Fear #4: SEO is now more difficult and expensive “In the SEO world, some items that keep me awake at night is that SEO is getting much more difficult, time consuming and expensive for small businesses.” Stoney deGeyter, President of Pole Position Marketing Jeff Shjarback, Internet Marketing Consultant

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Fear #5: Clients are disregarding SEO “Because of all the Google updates and misinformation out there I am finding that a lot of people are looking for partners to help with content, reputation management and social media and seem to want to disregard SEO.” Mike Wilton, Internet Marketer and Entrepreneur Fear #6: Google is becoming less transparent “The thing I am most concerned about is Google moving away from transparency in the data it allows organic search marketers to access.” Jeff Sauer, Founder, Jeffalytics

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Fear #7: Delivering quality results “Right now the only thing that really keeps me awake at night is how to scale my business. It’s about how to keep delivering quality while taking on the clients you really want.” AJ Kohn, Owner at Blind Five Year Old and Author of Ultimate Guide to Google+ SEO Fear #8: You’re guilty until proven innocent, according to Google “What keeps me awake at night? Google.I honestly believe that if nobody is scared by Google in SEO, they’re lying. Right now, we’re in an online world where it’s very much guilty until proven innocent with them.” Jason Dexter, Freelance SEO and Online Marketing Expert

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Fear #9: 100% Not Provided “I’m sure I probably worry about the same things as most search marketers. That being: What will we do when our analytics data hits 100% not-provided? How will we be able to show our clients exactly where we are adding value?” Ben Holbrook, Head of Content at Verve Search Fear #10: Preparing strategy pitches for clients “I still get super nervous before any strategy pitch. Anytime we’ve come up with a new plan for a client and are preparing to present it to them, I lose sleep over whether or not we’re making the right decision.” Rob Toledo, Works at Distilled

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Fear #11: Generating campaign ideas “The only thing that keeps me awake at night is campaign ideas. We market our clients using creative content; games, graphics, interactive graphics and kick-ass written content so we generally find we’re immune to any negative impacts from algorithm changes.” Nichola Stott, founder and managing director of theMediaFlow Fear #12: Keeping up with changes in AdWords “My biggest concern is how much Google is changing in respect to Adwords, and being able to keep up with the changes.” Diane Pease, Paid Search Director at Archology

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Fear #13: The SEO Industry’s Perceived Slimy Reputation “What really concerns me most is the state of the SEO industry. There is a plethora of bad advice – it’s coming out of people’s mouths on stages at conferences (“experts”!)” Laura Lippay, SEOgadget Fear #14: Keeping up with Google and competitors “The thing that keeps me awake at night is the never ending task of keeping up with Google and ahead of our competitors. SEO changes quickly and it always prudent to achieve a wide variety of signals rather than focusing too much on old school tactics.” Richard Falconer, Head of SEO at DigitasLBi

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Fear #15: Clients not adhering to your proposed strategy “To me, there is nothing worse than when a client decides to ignore the strategy and direction their search marketing agency has provided them with to implement. This is by far my biggest fear and it has kept me from getting a good nights rest of several occasions.” Michael Kovis, Search Marketing Director at jWeb Media Fear #16: Google’s Monopoly “I’m not afraid of the next Google update or algorithm rewrite. On the other hand I see that Google is continuously limiting the organic search as we know it.” Tadeusz Szewczyk, Blog, Social Media & Search Specialist at Onreact.com

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Fear #17: Google Rankings of Client Sites “It can be frustrating and draining when a site that you’ve taken care to market and promote in the most sanctioned ways possible is outperformed or outranked by an objectively – whether onpage, offpage or both – inferior site.” Dave Hellowell, Content Marketing Specialist at Blueclaw Fear #18: The battle between being creative and delivering results “One thing that worries me is the constant opportunity to learn new things, which can at sometimes be in direct tension with the ability to deliver consistent work.” Kelvin Newman, Search Engine Marketing at SiteVisibility

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Fear #19: Content “Shock” “What worries me most and has been a concern for a long time isn’t actually related to the work that we, or other successful agencies, conduct.” Mike Essex, Online Marketing Manager at Koozai Fear #20: Google relying less on algorithms “Honestly, nothing really worries or scares me with regards to the industry.Having said that, there are a number of things that frustrate me in the industry and the general direction Google are going.” Tim Grice, Head of Search at Branded3

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Fear #21: Losing perspective on life “I have no fears about Google changing or SEO dying. It is at the core of my personality to adapt … and Evolve :) I find it easy and enjoyable to switch paths, improvise or react to the needs of clients.” Dan Shure, Owner of Evolving SEO Fear #22: Adapting to change fast enough “The only thing that scares me about the future of search and Google is that people adapt to change fast enough. I thrive off of forward movement, so I love that we’re in an industry that’s constantly changing.” David Cohen, Marketer and Team Lead at SEER Interactive

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Fear #23: The SEO skill set might soon be void “At the moment search is changing at a crazy rate, and its this uncertainty that is the most scary (and most interesting) part of being an SEO today.” Andrew Isidoro, SEO Manager at GoCompare.com Fear #24: False Information Spread by SEO “experts” “You know what really keeps me up at night? False information. The SEO industry is plagued by false information more than most.” Paul Shapiro, Organic Search Manager at Catalyst/GroupM

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Fear #25: At the end of the day, it’s an algorithm judging us “To be honest, nothing SEO specific keeps me awake. One thing I do keep thinking about is the fact that Google is gathering a lot of data by receiving all the disavow files and reconsideration request. I’m really curious about how they process it, how they make use of that data to recalculate the outcome of their algorithms.” Jan-Willem Bobbink, Online marketing specialist at notprovided.eu Fear #26: It’s becoming harder to do SEO “It’s becoming harder to do my job as an SEO. Does this scare me? A little but for one thing, a little fear never hurt anyone, if anything it keeps me more alert and quicker to pivot when I need to get something done.” Yuriy Yarovoy, SEO Manager at Razorfish

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Fear #27: Becoming obsolete “What scares me the most is how specialized some of us are. That can be a good thing, because we end up being the very best at what we do, but it’s also scary because the chance of what we’re doing becoming obsolete is much higher, especially in the rapidly changing environment that we’re in.” Jon Cooper, CEO & Founder of Hyperlynx Media, Inc. Fear #28: What works today may not work tomorrow “What is kinda scary is what works and is legitimate today may not be tomorrow. At McKremie we have been providing a lot of penalty recovery services. Some of these tactics were once valid but now companies are forced to clean up their act for the ever changing rules.” Yuriy Yarovoy, SEO Manager at Razorfish

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Fear #29: Your job can easily become irrelevant “I think it’s important to be well-rounded and stay innovative. You can easily become irrelevant or obsolete otherwise.” Clayburn Griffin, Senior SEO Content Strategist at 360i Fear #30: Getting clients to listen to you “I think like many people who work in big brand SEO, the thing that keeps me up at night is the question “How do I get my clients to implement my recommendations?.” Simon Bennison, DigitasLBi

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Fear #31: Stubborn SEO’s sticking to old tactics “I’m a very deep sleeper so there are few things but my kids that keep me awake at night :). As a (search) marketer I do have something I am ’scared’ for though. It’s not Google, it’s not changes in products, but actually the lack of change.” Bas van den Beld, Owner of State of Digital Fear #32: Falling victim to collateral damage “The one thing I’m afraid from future Google algorithms is that one of my clients (or myself) will fall a victim of being part of collateral damage. There are always sites that fall in that category – so far I was quite lucky.” Krystian Szastok, Senior SEO Manager at Jellyfish UK

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Fear #33: SEO being considered a “separate thing” “My fear isn’t of Google or industry-wide crises. I’m worried that SEO will continue to be considered a separate ‘thing’ – something you ‘do’ and then move on, or something that lacks credibility.” Ian Lurie, Internet Marketer at Portent Interactive Fear #34: Finding talent “I don’t lose sleep that often, but when I do it’s generally when I’m up late pondering over recruitment! Finding the right people in this area is so, so difficult and at Tecmark, we invest a lot of effort into bringing the right people in.” Stacey Cavanagh, Head of Search at Tecmark

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Fear #35: SEO’s acting like snake oil salesmen “I think one of the things that still keeps me up at night when it comes to SEO is how many SEOs still act like complete snake oil salesmen when it comes to the work behind SEO. While some of them actually believe the BS that they’re slinging on their site and in trades, most of them just frame the work behind SEO as a type of dark art that no mere mortal can understand.” Jeff Ferguson, CEO at Fang Digital Marketing “I see the ever changing landscape of the industry as more of an opportunity than something to be afraid of.” Jess Champion, Head of PR at Distilled Fear #36: SEO is becoming more complex and diverse

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Fear #37: Search Marketing becoming useless “My biggest fear is that Google will completely succeed in its seeming mission to provide *answers* rather than *search results*. If search queries result one day in showing only the ever-increasing Knowledge Graph and not organic search results at all, then that will render (unpaid) search marketing essentially useless.” Samuel Scott, Director of SEO & Digital Marketing for The Cline Group Fear #38: Lack of Buy-In From Clients “What scares me the most is that we won’t get buy in to push our companies and brands to do really cool digital marketing initiatives. This is really on us as marketers to create better pitches that show the value of what we want to do.” Simon Bennison, DigitasLBi

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Fear #39: Google isn’t punishing enough people “My only worry/concern is that Google is not taking as much action as it should against poor quality/paid links – they need to work harder to algorithmically detect and devalue these links.” David Freeman, Head of SEO in Havas Media Fear #40: Creating value for clients “My biggest fears come about when Google makes a big change. It’s not so much a fear as a “how do we quickly pivot and create value for our client” feeling.” Adam Melson, SEER Interactive

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