By Jeff Gilder

My journey into the world of SEO and web development has been both enlightening and humbling. Over the years, I’ve learned that the path to mastery often winds through the valley of failures. Fortunately, my most instructive SEO missteps occurred on my own web properties, sparing my clients from the fallout and affording me invaluable insights that have shaped my approach to SEO and business.

Learning Through Failure

In the early days, I was deeply immersed in learning about SEO, long before I ventured into offering web development and SEO services to clients. This period of exploration was critical, not just for acquiring technical knowledge, but for understanding the entrepreneurial spirit. I resonated with business owners’ desire for control over their digital presence, having experienced the frustration of feeling my websites were held hostage by web developers and SEO ‘experts.’

A Different Approach to Web Development and SEO

When I decided to expand my services to include web development and SEO, I was determined to approach it differently. It baffled me why SEO was often treated as an optional, additional service. Why wouldn’t proper SEO be integral to the construction of a website? To me, it seemed as fundamental as the foundation of a house. From day one, we’ve included comprehensive SEO in all our website builds, ensuring that our clients’ sites are not just visually appealing, but also primed for visibility and success in search engines.

Combating Misinformation and Misrepresentation

Throughout my career, I’ve witnessed the dark side of the SEO industry, including businesses being misled and exploited by individuals misrepresenting their SEO capabilities. I’ve fielded countless calls from those claiming they could guarantee top Google rankings, and while initially, I entertained these conversations, they eventually became a tiresome reminder of the pervasive scams in the industry.

The Essence of Good SEO

At its core, I believe good SEO stems from common sense, complemented by a deep understanding of Google’s algorithm changes and the reasons behind them. This knowledge is not just academic; it’s practical, equipping us to navigate the evolving digital landscape responsibly and effectively. True expertise in SEO isn’t about exploiting loopholes or deploying quick fixes. It’s about building a solid foundation, understanding the history and trajectory of search technology, and applying that knowledge to create websites that serve both clients and their audiences well.

Forward Together

In writing this, I am reminded by a call from a prospective client. He commented that “apparently” I was not into SEO, since I didn’t boast any SEO credentials on my website. My replay was to simply asked him how he found me. He got it.

As I reflect on my journey and the lessons learned from failures, I’m reminded of the resilience and adaptability required to succeed in SEO and digital marketing. My experiences have reinforced my commitment to transparency, education, and value-driven service. In every website we build and every SEO strategy we implement, we’re not just coding and optimizing; we’re laying down the tracks for our clients’ long-term success.

In the spirit of transparency, it’s important to note that this article was crafted with the assistance of ChatGPT. Through carefully structured prompts, we leveraged AI to articulate the insights and experiences that have shaped my approach to SEO. This collaboration underscores the evolving nature of content creation, the importance of adaptability, and the enduring value of human expertise in the digital age.