This blog is about online marketing and SEO. It’s my opinions and that’s all. I marvel every day at the wackiness of the online world, but try and limit my blogging to SEO and online marketing. God knows I could go on and on otherwise.
I have spent a good deal of time in the past year reading SEO websites and blogs. Many years ago I got involved in SEO from a performance position. That was all about traffic. Then I got into it from a search engine rankings perspective.
That was all about targeted traffic. A few years ago I got into it from a content perspective. That was partly an extension of the search engine ranking aspect of SEO, and partly a commitment to quality for purposes of real estate development, branding, and community development. Nowadays it’s everything combined, plus some. Yet all I see are old-fashioned web sites and blogs in the SEO / search marketing world. Why is that?
One of the big SEO secrets is that many so-called “SEO” people are clinging to perseverance. They have properties from 199X, and are using those to generate the search engine “good will” they need for today’s web sites. They cling to those past properties like a child clings to mommy’s leg on the first day of pre school. They seem afraid to make changes or update their sites, even when it gets embarassing, for fear of losing the search rankings. Don’t rock the boat, because this boat may not be rightable. Is that SEO? Nah. But it does seem to be driving some of the web SEO efforts out there.
A recurring theme on SEO web sites is “why SEO for clients if you can just SEO for your own sites and make the same money, without the hassles?” It’s a decent question. But after looking at yet another hand-coded html website with photos from a conference, I have to accept that some of these people are really afraid of change. Flickr? Gallery? Lighbox? Photobucket? The seven others I won’t mention for competitive reasons? The advances in the presentation of images on the web have been incredible in the past 5 years. Can’t you work with them on an SEO basis yet?
I know, why give content to Flickr when you can hoard it for yourself. But really? At some point that selfishness comes back to bite you. Flickr and the other image serving databases really do add value these days. It’s not just about displaying images. It’s slideshows, commentary, navigation, and visual appeal. I was unwilling to spend even 5 minutes inside this one, because the navigation didn’t help me at all and I was not interested enough to invest my own efforts in browsing the images. That’s a fundamental of ecommerce, isn’t it? Adding sufficient value such that the user acts when otherwise they are not so inclined?
Yes, that section is labeled “raw photos” but heh, isn’t that further testiment to the fact that this is ancillary content and exactly what would benefit the most from something like Flickr? Flickr auto processes raw photos to thumbnails and presentation-quality images, doesn’t it?
Call me unique as an old hand at SEO if you like, but the fact is I used to go to those conferences and was looking to the images in consideration of going again in November. Instead, I’m writing this blog post. What do you think… was I encouraged to register by that website?
The particulars are really not the point. I’m sure there are
excuses arguments for why that particular page is the way it is. But that is just an example…of which there are too many. The SEO world has crumbled in my opinion, and is in a new, temporary insanity phase. Danny Sullivan at pubCon with people like Eric Ward and ShoeMoney. The paparazzi in me says “go! this will be a spectacle!” but without a press pass and camera mask I doubt it will be more fun that drudgery. I also doubt it will be innovative while trying to appeal to the Colgate-Palmolives of the world.
Why do SEO’s work for clients? Perhaps it’s because a client brings me a Flash site with embedded galleries that are beautiful and elegant and truly fun to navigate, yet the site has no search engine presence. No, I won’t tell them to build an HTML version of the site for “accessibility” so I can SEO that. I will SEO their beautiful site. Yes, it’s harder. But that’s what they pay me for. And guess what? It gets me wet, where otherwise I may have grown old, afraid to rock the boat for fear of getting wet.
If you are an SEO ask yourself, when is the last time you paid for training for yourself? If it was more than a year ago, I suspect you have a problem.
This summer I watched my ten year old son sail out from the dock in his Opti, tacking and jibing his way out through the harbor to the open bay. He had to get to the race Committee boat a mile out, in order to enter the race. As his former sailing instructor told me when I questioned the wisdom of sending a ten year old out to sea alone, “if he can’t sail out to the race, he’s not exactly fit for racing, is he?” I let him go. It was hard to do. It was awesome to watch. I will never forget it. Neither will he. Did I mention he took first place in his boat class?
And as my son reminded me later, the first thing they taught him in sailing class was how to right the boat when it capsized. On day one they took the young wannabe sailors out into the harbor and capsized them, again and again. By day two they were old salts at righting Optis. And the game they played at lunch time all season long? Pirates… where one kid, at the secret command of his Captain, would dive overboard and quickly “surprise attack” his “enemy” by capsizing his boat, righting it for himself, and sailing it away. Sounds too much like the way SEO should be, if you ask me.