The reputation of the industry I have worked in for over 11 years now has always had it’s doubters and critics. Cowboys and fly by nights don’t help, ripping off businesses and leaving them with sites penalised by Google for poor links and tactics.
The reality of the matter is that the industry is full of genuine professionals who have helped countless online businesses using ethical SEO and digital marketing tactics.
Enter Mark Wright, the winner of the 2014 series of the UK Apprentice. A digital marketing “sales guy” who’s business plan was to set up a digital marketing agency. Lord Sugar chose Wright and entered the world of SEO.
Cue some serious issues.
You see the problem is the second Mark Wright outlined his plans for his agency alarm bells rang all around the industry. His sales pitch to Lord Sugar was dated, dangerously dated. Lord Sugar of course has no previous knowledge of the industry or it’s tactics and made his decision to delve into search.
Now, I have no problem with anyone wanting to get into search or starting up their own agency. Word is the market is saturated, I would question that, there are more than enough clients available for everyone with more and more businesses going online.
My problem is with Mark Wright and Climb Online becoming the public face of Search.
As I stated at the start, this industry is full of fly by nights looking to prey on businesses trying to improve their online presence. Using old hat and black hat tactics to provide them with quick and unethical rankings before running with the cash in their back pocket.
Now I am not saying that Wright is the same – he just doesn’t know what he is talking about and the things he is talking about are dated. In an environment that has changed so much over the last year with a number of Google updates, having someone so out of touch becoming such a public figure for the industry is scary.
Potentially Mark Wright and Climb Online could become the very public face of Search. Backed by Lord Sugar we can possibly expect some very public exposure as they kick off the agency. But if what they are practicing and preaching is out of date or harmful to their potential clients – this is what people are going to believe search is all about.
You only have to look at his Tweet above and the claim already being made. They are going to change the way SEO is done. Really Mark? You are going to change the way SEO is done. That is one hell of a claim. Are we all ready? Are Google ready?
The industry of course won’t be giving them an easy ride and you can be sure that every move they make will be monitored. Every client they work with will be reviewed. Anything remotely out of date will be blogged about or tweeted and rightly so, this is our profession we are talking about here.
Climb Online are trading and don’t even have a live site at the time of writing this post. Wright himself only started using Twitter a few weeks ago. He even went with a company name who’s domain name was already taken by a rock climbing website.
Comments such as “outsourcing” have even been banded about. Queue the sound of severe sucking of the teeth. It’s been a terrible start.
Such has been the online outcry that the community have even been tweeting Sugar asking what the hell is going on.
Will Climb Online and Mark Wright be the death of SEO. OK that might be drastic but this could potentially be damaging for our industry.
All we can hope is that they hire some professionals who know what they are doing and sort this out.