Should Everyone Ignore SEO?

Belle and Adaline referred me to an article by someone on why everyone should ignore SEO now. I find it interesting but I’m not really surprised to hear such antagonism towards search engine optimization. I am sure many people share the same sentiment with this person. I have always read about how people practicing SEO are regarded as snake-oil salesmen who manage fly by night services that say empty promises and do nothing but empty clients’ wallets. That’s frustrating, not just to clients who have listened to broken promises but also to other search marketing professionals who are doing their jobs.

cheater

I agree with his article on some points. But I think he is missing something. His blog indicates that he knows the best trick to get your site on first page, but I am not sure about that.

The best trick to get your site on first page of search results is to ignore all the tricks.

Seems like he’s concocting a quote in hopes someone will pick and credit him in the future. In most cases, calls to ignore SEO can be derived from various reasons.

Clients with short-sighted vision
If you’re a business owner who thinks ranking on top of Google results spell success, then you need to revise your business vision. SEO success isn’t determined by how many page one rankings you have, but on how your business has grown or how much income it generated online from your search campaigns.

These clients may have been driven identify keyword ranking as goals simply because that’s what some people who claim as experts in this field tell them. For starters, here are a couple of notes on why Google ranking is no longer a reliable measurement:

  • Search ranking results vary from one region to another
  • Search results now include blogs, images, news, videos

I am not saying we ignore keyword ranking reports as they are helpful in the following cases:

  • Monitor progress of new sites (specially for baseline measurement reports)
  • Sites whose visibility for important keywords are leaning close to first page rankings
  • Monitor algorithm changes
  • Checking for search engine penalties

but at the same time, relying on search engine rankings all the time is just plain lame business proposition.

The blogger asks,

Okay, if SEO doesn’t mean anything, why do small business owners spend money on it?

marketing_spendingMy answer is maybe because they realize the importance of search marketing. For example, it is easier to sell our discounted air tickets to someone looking for “cheap air tickets” in Google than peddle our tickets to a group of first-class air travelers through a business magazine. Even if it means paying much more to advertise for these glossy pages. That is why if you refer to the eMarketer research that shows online marketers — particularly the matured markets — are now turning to search marketing even more by increasing budgets.

When expanding the web design business, many add SEO service
Many companies have expanded their businesses and have included SEO as part of their offering. Not a bad idea especially if you own a web design firm and want to see your client make progress after building his website (and continue the business relationship). The problem is that some web design firms offer SEO thinking that clients believe they are innovative even if nobody in the organization is willing to do the job. So they come up with their own definition of how SEO or online marketing is done.

This reality has put a black eye in the industry and people behind SEO are portrayed as crooks and liars. You can’t blame clients sometimes. They are promised too much and once their seemingly impossible expectations are not achieved they mark the whole campaign with a stamp of failure and blacklist SEO as an ineffective marketing medium.

Incorrect information all over the place
There are a lot of information circulating on the web. However, one can’t easily say which one is true until he finds out how credible is the author or trying it out and checking the results. That’s because information relevant today may be irrelevant tomorrow and whatever works today may not work tomorrow. In that regard, newbies may be tempted to grab every information they can get without verifying accuracy. That’s what makes someone with limited know-how dangerous.

Content is king, Usability is Queen?
One item the blogger emphasized is that content is everything. I agree with that, and by agreeing I don’t just say it I try to practice it. I have two blogs I update often: Living in Hong Kong and SEO Hong Kong. By updating them often I generate fresh content but I don’t think writing lots and lots of content is enough. I should also explore getting external links and craft page titles that contain important keywords. This ensures that when someone tries to look for “hong kong blog” or “seo hong kong” I hope both of my blogs will appear in the first page of search results.

So if you have good content, you’re just halfway through to your target. Next step should be the ability of your site to translate visitors into converting visitors. Achieving this step spells success.

Similar to marketing principles, SEO is just like packaging a product.

I kept scratching my head on this one. I guess to spare the blogger the embarrassment SEO people must have felt now with his article, he might as well remove SEO from his area of expertise. I haven’t come across someone who claims to be digital marketer yet openly dismisses the effectiveness of one of its channels.

Is this how someone differentiates “himself from other Digital Marketing experts by creating unique ideas and strategies for marketing campaigns”?

liars

Buzz off other SEO folks!
I’d be very very glad to hear what other SEO professionals have to say on whether we should stay and hang on to our jobs or just consider changing careers.

Photo credits: photophoria, Bob Duck