Many people--not nearly enough, of course--know and pay attention to their credit score. It's an important number because we have learned that it impacts what you pay for loans, your ability to get credit for important purchases such as homes and cars. It can even impact your ability to get a job.
People who spend a great deal of time in social media likely also know there are other scores which matter too -Klout for example tracks your standing and influence on other social media platforms such as Twitter. And while your Klout score won't impact your life as much as your credit score, for most people, it's fun.
But it's also important to people who value or derive income from their social media footprint.
So, when you consider the number of people and businesses who rely on or derive their income from search engine traffic--SEO--it's a bit shocking. Balancing a user friendly website, content, and social media can be tricky, especially when Google updates their algorithms.
I know that because I'm one of those people in that business. I help businesses understand, refine and improve their web presence--through search engines mostly--so clients and customers can find them. It's a tricky, crowded and high-stakes arena. Literally millions of dollars of tens of thousands of jobs rest on getting search terms and tactics right.
Among the many problems that come from not having a standard way to count and score SEO, is that it practically invites scammers and fast-talkers to play in a game without many rules--the very environment that attracts them in the first place. Search "SEO score" and you'll likely be flooded with sites--including the one for my company--which promises to boost it.
Some do a great job, I am sure. I know mine does.
But, it is difficult for us to agree on what an SEO score is or how it's calculated. Or how, therefore, it can be boosted. Many of us speak different languages--both literally and when it comes to SEO scoring--and most of us are continually updating our methods in order to keep our clients on the top of the rankings.
Don't get me wrong--professionals in the business know how to get a page or a site pushed higher in searches and found more easily. What we do works, and it's very important for our clients.
At the same time, the SEO world (and the businesses which rely on SEO--which is to say, most of them), would be far better off if we could agree on a simple standard SEO scoring system. And I'm sure that will come, but one of the challenges is that the entire Internet-based commerce and search ecosystem is too new to have strong business or professional organizations which can set these standards.
I am well aware that the founders and leaders of the Internet economy are resistant to top-down regulations. And I understand that.
In the credit score world, the numbers were set by those doing the scoring. As a handful of companies emerged as leaders, their scores become the standards. Maybe that will happen here, too. But standard SEO scoring, whether set by outside forces or industry attrition, is one area where it could really help the professionals in the business and the clients we help.