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#1 paradoxos

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Posted 07 September 2005 - 06:32 PM

This may sound crazy, but I think Search Engine Optimizaiton should have an additional classification: Search Engine Engineering.

Often when I work with clients to optimize their pages, I have many limitations to what I can change. BUT if a client brings me in from the beginning, prior to one line of code, we can sit down and build a site that is more than optimized, it is Engineered.

I charge two fees, one for optimization and another for engineering.

I'm sure many of you are as well... to me it is a real value add to be involved in how the page is built, how the site is structured and how the code is written so that it is search engine engineered.

#2 cre8pc

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Posted 08 September 2005 - 11:38 AM

I knew I'd made it in life when one place I worked called me a User Interface Engineer. It sounds almost as good as "lawyer" and "doctor". My parents seemed rather relieved as well. (Though I was in my 40's when I'd earned that title.)

So, what do we have to do get these forums on your site? (hint hint)

Welcome to the forums :wave:

#3 AbleReach

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Posted 08 September 2005 - 12:08 PM

Search engine engineering, I like it. Would that be abbreviated SEE? (Usability pun!)

Elizabeth

:wave: Welcome from me, too!

edited to add-- Seriously, I like SEE a lot. What would change if SEE took off as a general term?

#4 paradoxos

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Posted 08 September 2005 - 12:33 PM

The important thing is the ability to differentiate with clients. All too often a client will have been 'pitched' SEO services but they end up only editing meta data or other trival seo changes. Now professionals can say, "we're talking more than just seo, we are talking about engineering your pages from ground up to succeed on search engines." It's a totally different conversation.

"So, what do we have to do get these forums on your site? (hint hint)" I've added this forum. All I ask is that you promote the idea of SEE vs. SEO.

SEE (pun accepted!) is a different conversation that says, "ok do you want me to optimize what you've got or do you want to engineer these pages. Engineered pages will significantly outperform optimized pages. The choice is yours.)

#5 cre8pc

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Posted 08 September 2005 - 12:57 PM

I like SEE too. Even more, I like SEEU, to emphasize the value of usability and SEE, but no matter. I'm not going to mess up a good thing.

The premise behind SEE makes a lot of sense and presents the bigger picture on the type of work SEO/SEM professionals really put in for their clients.

Thanks for the link, by the way :wink:

#6 Ron Carnell

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Posted 08 September 2005 - 03:08 PM

Often when I work with clients to optimize their pages, I have many limitations to what I can change.

It's always good to make something better than it was, but that's not optimization. To optimize a site is to make it as good as it can be.

BUT if a client brings me in from the beginning, prior to one line of code, we can sit down and build a site that is more than optimized, it is Engineered.

Engineer, I think, is often an ambiguous noun. The definition pertinent to your use would be "To plan, manage, and put through by skillful acts or contrivance." It's applicable, of course, and I have no problem with someone wanting to use it to describe their SEO efforts . . . just as I have no problem when someone calls themselves a Domestic Engineer.

I guess what I'm saying is that what you call SEO, I would call doing a poor job, and what you call SEE, I would call standard SEO. It matters not at all to me whether I perform SEO at the beginning of a project, before the first line of code is written, or at the end of a project. It will be less expensive if planning is done early, but the final success is only determined by control, not by time frames.

An engineer -- domestic, railroad, genetic, or civil -- rarely has the opportunity to make something as good as it can possibly be. Personally, I wouldn't want to be demoted from an optimizer to a mere engineer. :)

#7 paradoxos

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Posted 08 September 2005 - 03:35 PM

optimize To make as perfect or effective as possible.

The point is the as possible) of optimize. Helping a client may mean NOT optimizing their existing website because 'to make it as perfect or effective as possible' is of little or no use. (flash, etc)

Engineer "To plan, manage, and put through by skillful acts or contrivance; maneuver." allows the full value of designing a site for search engines.

I guess what I'm saying is that what you call SEO, I would call doing a poor job,


I'm saying in some cases what is called SEO results in a poor job because all you are doing is optimizing from bad to slighlty bad.

and what you call SEE, I would call standard SEO.


Which begs the question, what do you call a 'excellent SEO job' if these efforts are standard?

#8 Ron Carnell

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Posted 08 September 2005 - 06:40 PM

I'm saying in some cases what is called SEO results in a poor job because all you are doing is optimizing from bad to slighlty bad.

I've yet to see a site, including those built entirely in Flash, that couldn't be optimized to rank well for even competitive terms. It's just harder and costs a lot more. Nonetheless, I will certainly agree talking the owner out of using Flash early in the project is the ideal solution for SEO. But what happens when Flash will be the best tool for the visitors? At that point, I submit it won't matter whether you consult with the owner early or late.

If Flash is the best tool, you don't talk the owner out of it for the benefit of SEO. If Flash is a poor choice for the visitors, you sell the owner on not using Flash. To do anything else (drum roll, please) is not optimum. :)

The only difference between being there early or late is how much money you can save the owner.

Which begs the question, what do you call a 'excellent SEO job' if these efforts are standard?

LOL. Great question! :)

Some adjectives, however, like unique and optimized simply don't have superlatives. You can't be more unique (one of a kind) or more optimized (the best possible).

Again, I have no problem with the word engineer. I just see it as a demotion. Indeed, your entire point seems to be that getting a foot in the door early is both easier and better. Getting there late is harder. I think we both agree with those premises, which is precisely why I would be unwilling to accept a title that connotes easier. The only point with which I don't agree is that getting there late necessarily means the job won't get done. I think optimizing a site, making it the best it can be, is a job independent of time.

#9 DianeV

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Posted 08 September 2005 - 07:33 PM

Hm. paradoxos, I take your point, but I think it leaves something out.

First of all, it rather redefines "SEO" as meaning "on-page optimization only". There are plenty of people who optimize the whole site from the ground up. There are others who do more. This is what, to me, has always been what was later named SEO.

Then, it takes SEO-redefined-as-on-page-only and contrasts it with whole-site-optimization, and calls the latter "engineering".

While the idea of whole-site optimization is sound, and it's helpful to differentiate between just *what* is done to optimize sites, I don't see that the new term covers anything new. Nothing particularly wrong with it, but so far as I can see, it's just another term.

#10 projectphp

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Posted 08 September 2005 - 11:59 PM

Which begs the question, what do you call a 'excellent SEO job' if these efforts are standard?

To optimize a site is to make it as good as it can be.

I often wonder if that has context. An excellent job is often the best it can be given the constraints. The best it can be for $1,000,000 is a lot better than the best it can be for $1,000.

This may sound crazy, but I think Search Engine Optimizaiton should have an additional classification: Search Engine Engineering.

And if you can pull off Branding yourself that, and make the term stick like the people at Gordotcom did with "Persuasive Architecture", you are onto a winner. No need for the rest of us to get a new word though (the French lanuage, for one, is already full, and they hung out the "No New Words" sign long ago).

Personally, I don't need a new word for this, but there are plenty of other things I would like a word for (what do you call the handle that winds down the window in old cars, for example).

#11 bragadocchio

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Posted 09 September 2005 - 12:16 AM

SEO vs. SEE?

In many ways, what you propose as SEE is what I see as SEO. :)

I don't mind your name for this as a label or an approach, but I think that the point behind your name illustrates that there are a number of different views of SEO held even by people who are practitioners of search engine optimization.

If the basic functions of a search engine are to crawl pages, return information about those pages to be indexed, and then serve the information that they have indexed, then the work of an SEO needs to, at the very least, address each of those.

To start, this would mean that an SEO should look to see how crawlable a site is, and what impediments exist in having a search engine visit the pages of a site and collecting information from that site from as many pages as possible. This may mean looking at the robots.txt file, the use of text-based links, the circulation of links through a site, the way data may be stored and served in dynamic sites, the depth of directory levels, the use of redirects internally, broken links, server errors, external styles and scripts, the nature of URLs, and more.

As for indexing, the SEO would need to look at the information architecture of a site, the inclusion of a mix of broad and less broad and narrower and more specific information on different pages, and other off-page factors within the domain itself, such as anchor text and page titles. On page factors would also need to be considered, such as the use of semantically correct html (headlines, alt attributes, title attributes), and accessible html on pages (table headings, text equivalents of visual information, labels in tables, etc.), how information is arranged and emphasized on pages, the use of semantically connected and similar words to capture and represent a range of meaning that could be indexed, and so on.

Off page factors would also include link building, submissions to appropriate directories and search engines, and incorporating into the page reasons for people to want and desire to link to the site such as content or applications that people might find useful, informative, interesting, and engaging. It also means possiblity setting up aspects of the site that can extend beyond its domain such as setting up means of easily generating and adding new content, and possibility a way for people to subscribe to newsletters, RSS feeds, and more.

Consideration to how information might be served by the search engines should also play a part in SEO, including an idea of how duplicate content across the domain, and across the web could be filtered, the possibility of optimizing snippets of words surrounding phrases being optimized for, knowing how to best write titles and meta descriptions and directory descriptions to describe each page when those appear outside the context of the site.

But that's just the start, and the basics of SEO, as Ron stated. Concepts of marketing, of usability, of persuasion, of design, of credibility, and more are important too. SEO shouldn't work at cross purposes to those needs. SEO isn't optimizing a site to get the most traffic to it, but rather to get the audience to the site that it aims at receiving, within the framework of the business objectives of the site owner, and then providing those visitors with the opportunity and desire to fulfill those objectives. It also looks and sees what others in competition with the site for rankings and visitors are doing.

Or, at least, that's what I call SEO.

what do you call the handle that winds down the window in old cars


A window crank handle or window crank or window handle. :)

#12 Black_Knight

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Posted 09 September 2005 - 01:11 AM

Now you see why I opted to call myself an Internet Marketing Consultant in the latter Nineties. :) Not just because SEO may or may not include wider aspects of marketing, and not just getting certain positions for certain phrases. The least that can be justifiably called SEO is so much less than what I was doing even then. Yet I had started with a much wider brief than just search traffic, and kept on with that.

I often say that SEO/SEM is only 10 percent of what I do, yet is maybe 80 percent of what I'm initially asked to do. :)

#13 bwelford

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Posted 09 September 2005 - 05:27 AM

Yes, it's the bigger picture that's important, Ammon.

After all the view of your web page as seen by a search engine brings you only X% of your visitors. A typical X could be 30% or it could be less. For only a fraction of websites would it be more.

The view of your web page as seen by a human visitor gives you 100% of the possibilities you have for converting that visitor to a prospect or to make a sale. So you've got to integrate all the other aspects that influence that sales conversion with the factors that give you search-engine visibility. That's much bigger than SEM or SEO or SEE.

#14 paradoxos

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Posted 09 September 2005 - 10:18 AM

I'm hearing what you're saying Ammon & bwelford. As I meet with clients the SEO (or SEE) is often the start of a much larger conversation of (1) how do we get more traffic and (2) how can we convert this traffic.

Appreciate the thoughts.

#15 AbleReach

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Posted 11 September 2005 - 06:07 PM

Some examples from a Mediapost article about Contemporary Search Phrase Research, by Jon Ostler:

US: 31 percent "search engine marketing," 25 percent "search engine submission," 20 percent "search engine optimization"
UK: 25 percent "search engine ranking," 19 percent "search engine optimisation," 13 percent "search engine optimization"
AU: 28 percent "search engine optimisation," 18 percent "search engine submission"
NZ: 40 percent "search engine optimisation," 20 percent "search engine registration"
SG: 52 percent "search engine optimisation," 24 percent search engine submission," 21 percent "search engine optimisation"


The longer I read about the O in SEO, the more the "s" creeps into my spelling. ;-)

Elizabeth



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