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SEO is not a legitimate form of marketing

Oct 16, 2009   //   by FreshTraffic   //   seo, seo techniques, Web Design, web development  //  150 Comments

What is SEO
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. Borrowing a definition from wikipedia… “it is the process of improving the volume or quality of traffic to a web site from search engines via “natural” (“organic” or “algorithmic”) search results.” SEO is a process which requires a time investment in order to see results. For faster results, one might try PPC, which you can setup and turn on in the same day.

Is this still true? over the last few days a web designer called Derek caused a little flutter online with his comment “Search Engine Optimization is not a legitimate form of marketing. It should not be undertaken by people with brains or souls. If someone charges you for SEO, you have been conned”

In the words of Aaron Wall at seobook
Uh-huh.

Well, I’m sure some SEO is undertaken by people without either brains or soul, but the same could be said of web designers.

It is true to say some web designers are clueless about the web, seemingly only interested in crafting pretty pictures. In Flash. They charge clients a fortune for it, and have no idea whether their self-indulgent nonsense will add any value to the clients business. It’s barely even a consideration.

That’s rather misleading. It might be true, but it’s still misleading. Some web designers, just like some SEOs, are pointless. That doesn’t mean all SEOs or web designers are pointless. Unfortunately, Derek thinks the entire SEO industry is a con.

Judging an entire industry by what some bad actors do is wrong.

I have to agree with Aaron, but got around to thinking that SEO should have a new meaning, Search Educating Operative.

Any front-end developer worth working with should be familiar with the basic tenets of search engine optimization, there is nothing evil about charging for what is obvious, the entire service industry is based on it. If someone else built a page and didn’t follow the obvious parts of SEO, charging to clean it up is perfectly ethical and provides a clear benefit.

A little more educating these people on the proper proceedures would help.

Like advertising, the worse your product (website) is, the more (SEO) you will need.

If web designers used more common sense in web development and writing quality content the less seo would be required.

It’s about education. We teach them how to write for humans rather than using internal jargon – again it seems so simple but you would be amazed at how many people don’t think about it.

SEO can also really tie into usability and accessibility. It’s us that tells them to not to write their entire website in Flash, put text as images, or hide links with javascript, etc.

In an ideal world, people would write their websites with content, usability and accessibility in mind but as they often don’t, this is where SEO comes in.

It’s unfortunate that there are a lot of shonky used car salesmen in this industry but there are some brilliant, clever people working in SEO trying to make the web a better place. It’s about creating quality content and good experiences and this is what we get our clients to do.

I think of SEO like usability – yes it’s common sense, but sometimes clients need you to come in and educate you on the best practice way of doing things

Danny Sullivan at search engine land said …

These SEOs, by the way, struggle with web developers who “think” they know SEO but don’t. Web developers who think that despite what an SEO tells them, a 302 redirect is the way to go. And thus the International Herald Tribune loses thousands of links because who wants to trust the scummy in-house SEO, right? I’ve got story after story of web developers and designers who think they know SEO but don’t, who cause major problems for web sites, and yet NO ONE ever writes a blog post blasting them.

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