John Andrews is a Competitive Webmaster and Search Engine Optimization Consultant in Seattle, Washington. This is John Andrews blog on issues of interest to the SEO community and competitive webmasters. Want to know more?

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Is it really Search Engine Optimization if ….

There is so much debate about SEO today, I kind of wonder why so many SEO thinkers are not busier with their SEO. It might be because they are comfortably at the top of the SERPs, unchallenged and therefore idle. It may also be because they are SEO Salespeople, and their SEO staffs are full-up with work so they have nothing better to do than blog about SEO. Or, it could be something else.

Anyway reading some of this stuff I got to thinking there is an aweful lot of mis-understanding about what is and is not SEO these days. As I wondered, I wrote down some of my wonderings….

Is it SEO if …. everybody is doing it? I mean, titles are important, and SEOs optimize titles, but doesn’t everyone know that and isn’t every good webmaster writing good page titles?

Is it SEO if …. every web design firm offers it in their service bundles? You’d be hard pressed to find a web design firm today that doesn’t list SEO as one of their offerings. Doesn’t that make SEO an aspect of web design?

Is it SEO if …. just a wee bit gets you to the top of an otherwise non-competitive SERP? Like, if someone named Antwon Jinderspoolster makes a few links and pops to the top of Google for his own name, is that SEO? (gotta love that phentermine spam)

Is it SEO if …. you paid for traffic? I don’t mean paid for SEO services, I mean paid for links, or paid for PPC traffic. Tough call here, because beer can be used as currency in some local markets. I’m just sayin’s all…

Is it SEO if …. it yields top rankings for keywords that nobody cares about? Consider the case of an SEO “firm” signing a client to a contract that guaranteed a first place showing in Google. After the contract was signed, they set out to determine what phrase would be the guarantee phrase, and it was something along the lines of “rust under the left side bumper bolt“. And that was a one year contract for SEO services. Yes, they met the contracted requirements. No the year is not up yet.

Is it SEO if …. someone says it is? Or isn’t?

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4 Responses to “Is it really Search Engine Optimization if ….”

  1. scoreboard Says:

    It’s only SEO if Jason Calacanis or Dave Pasternack has done it before and found it to be trivial.

  2. IncrediBILL Says:

    John john john…

    You have to take bold statements about SEO with a grain of salt for people that don’t even rank #1 for their own name(s).

    The issue really isn’t that all SEO/SEM is overly complicated, or that everyone can doing it, as it really isn’t rocket science and many people do some SEO at a basic fundamental level.

    The real issue is that not everyone has the same SKILL levels and the majority of people can’t take it to the next level.

    Some people simply have true talent and skills that get incredible results at their jobs, which is why they get paid the big bucks, while other people grind away day after day producing only modest results.

    If you’re a big company that needs spectacular results who do YOU hire?

    Some in-house web designer that muddles in SEO or someone that is an SEO specialist with an impressive portfolio of clients and visible results?

    We both know the answer but that won’t calm down the bloviating windbags from making more breeze.

  3. Natasha Robinson Says:

    All good questions… which is leading me more and more to start taking up your term of “Competitive Webmastering”. In trying to explain to an engineer why knowing what to do with the pages that you already have indexed in Google is more important than having all of the pages to the site indexed in Google I started to explain to him that there is basic SEO which everyone can learn from any forum, Google’s webmaster guidelines, etc and there there is Strategic SEO. Every Tom, Dave and Jason can do basic SEO because it is just that, basic. But of course it took SEOs to figure out what the basics were so that now everyone can claim that it is easy. But not everyone gets the Strategy of SEO, because that’s not something you can learn being an Armchair SEO (ie: those who write articles and or read forums and think they know SEO), it’s not something you can learn from selling SEO, it’s not something you can learn from being the Project Manager of an SEO team, it’s not something you can learn from, it’s something you can only learn by actually doing SEO. Which few people actually do…. There you go making a post that sends me off into a rant again!!!

  4. johnon.com - John Andrews - » The Secret Side of SEO Says:

    [...] So when Natasha comments, I read it for all the wrong reasons. Anyway, Natasha commented yesterday : In trying to explain to an engineer why knowing what to do with the pages that you already have indexed in Google is more important than having all of the pages to the site indexed in Google I started to explain to him that there is basic SEO which everyone can learn from any forum, Google’s webmaster guidelines, etc and there there is Strategic SEO. [...]