I started my SEO career as an independent consultant about 15 years ago, working with small businesses expanding their local professional business online including widely varied clients – among them were attorneys, a plastic surgeon, industrial supplier and a designer handbag retailer. Since that time SEO has dramatically evolved as all businesses with an online presence came to realize the critical importance of search engine visibility.
For the past eight years I’ve worked as an in-house corporate SEO as an employee for three major enterprises – but have continued to take side consulting work, usually done on evenings and weekends for startups and small businesses. I love this work and how it can help a startup as much as the big corporate entity. I love the enthusiasm and drive of the little guy to grow, to become big.
Today I find myself questioning whether to switch focus fully to the startup and small business. What makes that idea attractive is the growth vs. corporate maintenance approach. I’ve found that incremental gains and protective maintenance seem to be the focus at corporate entities. Maintenance matters. It’s critical to protect current traffic and profitability – but it can become the primary focus. It can overshadow ideas and expansive possibilities.
My perspective is this: What should be at the core of an SEO strategy should be growth hacking, expansion into new territory, rapid adoption of new tools and testing innovation. SEO can support (or sometimes lead) R&D – research, testing and incorporating new technology to reach toward new audiences and potential new customers. However, it should be allowed failure beside that innovation, because innovation may bring spectacular success.
I’ve had the pleasure over the past three and a half years of building, sometimes re-building and optimizing major new projects and exploring growth opportunities on a dozen projects. Each re-build or new launch brought the ability to incorporate the latest evolution in technology and option to include newly important elements as Google adjusted their algorithm.
Startups do growth hacks, look for innovative approaches and seek out unique ideas endlessly to win big and have less to be protective of – less to maintain. I’m exploring incubators and newly emerging companies that adopt a growth focus. Corporations looking for growth and incorporating innovation are still very much on the radar and here’s to finding them – either for consulting or in-house SEO for a corporation focused on growth.