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Seo: Inclusive Or Exclusive?


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#1 iamlost

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Posted 24 February 2008 - 10:00 PM

In comments on SEOmoz I encountered a contrary opinion (to mine! - believe it or not!) about SEO. Really a matter of definition. His was much more inclusive: that SEO was not just optimising for SE position but also for traffic flow, i.e. click paths, and conversions.

To me, while many/most SEOs actually consider/do all that 'stuff' it presupposes that (1) all traffic is SE traffic, (2) it never conflicts with the needs of direct, other site, or SM traffic, (3) that SEO is more than optimising pages for SE query results, i.e. SEO > SEO. Finally, that just because something is done by an 'SEO' does not include it in SEO.

Sadly what many/most mean by SEO is whatever works with Google. Am I alone in working my butt off (hmmm, cozy chair) to get Google (and SEs generally) traffic up absolutely and down relatively?

Further, while domain development, done well, is a holistic undertaking, it is convenient to isolate many components to simply address each and to see where they conflict with each other.

Thus, search engine (there are several) optimisation, social media (there are many) optimisation, traffic flow (eye and click path) optimisation, conversion (I believe in a cascade of conversion options when practicable) optimisation, etc. are, to me, individual components. Often with sub-components - rather like trying to comprehend atomic structure and behaviour and what happens when we spin that over there...

My reasoning is that what 'helps' any one of those might have a detrimental affect on another. That it is only by looking at each in isolation - and in interaction - that the friction points and bottlenecks can be ascertained.

So, what I want to know:
1. What do you think about the general thrust of my comments?
2. How ex- or inclusively do you define SEO?
3. And...?

#2 phaithful

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Posted 24 February 2008 - 10:25 PM

Although I agree that SEO is one tool in the overall view of Online Marketing with the primary focus of increasing search engine traffic, and there are many parts that bleed into each other.... I must agree with the below statement, but not in the same way you've stated it.

... that SEO was not just optimising for SE position but also for traffic flow, i.e. click paths, and conversions.

Generally when I perform SEO, I consider everything from the view point of traffic stemming from a user arriving from a search engine. This means, just as SEM marketers have landing pages for their PPC campaigns, I consider each of my well ranked webpages as landing pages that have the primary traffic from search engines. Therefore, I optimize these pages with that user in mind.

There are definitely ways to manipulate the user experience (Ux) of the page for each traffic source without violating search engine crawl rules. With that in mind, I track the life time value of each new customer, their click paths, the conversion, the eye tracking, etc. tagging them as a user who has arrived from a search engine.

In addition, there are other things to consider about the customer and how the structure the Ux as they arrive. Considering that ~10% of all queries are transactional, ~10% are navigational, and ~80% are informational, a SEO could identify the query of the customer and modify the Ux depending on the intent of the query. (A few generalizations...) An e-commerce site would definitely want to concentrate on the ~10% transactional queries as that user would probably be more likely to convert as opposed to the informational seeker. And the navigational user would probably be a return visitor and you wouldn't want to bombard that user with promotions for a new user.

So, for me SEO goes beyond just increasing your rankings in the search engine to drive more traffic, but at the same time I can see a person calling themselves an SEO specializing in just that ... because it takes a team of professionals to correctly do a good job of providing marketing and a great Ux to a customer.

Edited by phaithful, 24 February 2008 - 10:26 PM.


#3 EGOL

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Posted 24 February 2008 - 11:55 PM

I believe that SEO includes any activity that you believe will influence a search result.

Most SEOs have a very narrow range of what they believe will do that. Most think that it has to do almost exclusively with working the html markup code and stuffing a few keywords to optimize a page. Their other main area of work is going after backlinks.

I am much more broad in my thinking as I am firmly conviced :thumbs: that the behavior of visitors on your page has more opportunity to influence a search results page than a big load of backlinks.

Most SEOs will swear strong oaths that I am wrong... but ask them how much analytics they do. You will find that most of them do little to no analytics - so they have zero idea of what they are talking about. :) They are too busy submitting to directories, trading links, submitting articles, planning three way links, counting the occurrence of words on a page - activities that I spend zero time on - because they are not important to my visitors. Why should Google reward them?

Lots of people think that Google's algo is still about ranking webpages. It isn't. Instead the algo is more about arranging results pages, much like a good webmaster arranges the content on a page to get optimum visitor engagement - or income. Neither of these can be effectively done by ranking webpages. Arranging results is where visitor satisfaction is derived and where money is made. Google does this.

Google has every abililty to arrange adwords ads in an order that yields maximum income - even when their bid level is uneven. They can apply the same principles to the organic listings. Some sites bid very little but get clicked a lot and some sites bid a lot but get clicked very little, yet these are equally important to making money. Organic listings have the same relative importance to visitors. Google's investment in arranging the results of adwords is huge. They apply the same principles to organic listings.

Google has every ability to determine if visitors: backbutton out of your website, bookmark your website, subscribe to your feeds, click on your page, submit you as a reference to wikipedia, stumble your site, do navigational queries for your domain, click on adsense and much more. To think that the PhDs at Google ignore these things is simply irrational. Working on these things is SEO.

Writing great content, acquiring great images, presenting them well, each will stimulate the things that I mentioned above that will influence rankings. These ultimately have a greater influence on search results than the jobs done by the SEO. In comparison, SEO is a five minute job.

#4 Guest_Autocrat_*

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Posted 24 February 2008 - 11:57 PM

Hmmm... it's one of those "where do you see the line being" things.... which I hate :)

I think I tend to hold a simialr view to ...iamlost..., I like to break things down into component parts, work over each bit, and fit them together again.
Though they are all parts of the whole, they are often entities to themselves as well.

I believe so long as the reltationships are known, and at least partially understood, then things should be fine.
It's when people view them as completely seperate entities (seperate from the whole), that things go terribly wrong; such as not paying attention to the target audience when doing SEO, not coding for SE-Friendliness etc... these things make it so much harder to fit the next bit.


I tend to view it as the old social dynamic images...
In the past, for some clients I've drawn several nested big circles, then within those several smaller wones that overlap... and then in the smaller ones, I've drawn several tiny overlapping circles.
(I hope that made sense).
That way they can see that though something seems seperate, it can easily affect tthose parts nearest to it, and to a certain degree, affect the whole sites performance as well.

#5 EGOL

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Posted 25 February 2008 - 12:12 AM

In the past content writers have been paid by the piece or by the hour while SEOs often get a cut of the revenue. These compensation methods have been fixed that way because SEO was viewed as strategic and content creation as pedestrian.

Someday the content creators will realize that they have sold themselves short. The Hollywood writers strike was all about this concept - at least that is the way that I perceived it.

#6 SEOigloo

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Posted 25 February 2008 - 03:10 AM

Let's hear it for the copywriters, Egol!!! :kicking:

I have seen what EGOL is talking about in action, though doubtless on a smaller scale than what he has seen.

As for me, my feeling is do both. Create fabulous content and network for links. Networking for links feels so much different than scraping around for them. When you've got a totally awesome website to share with people, it gets them excited and feels the complete opposite of a struggle.

Great conversation, folks!
Miriam

#7 EGOL

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Posted 25 February 2008 - 11:01 AM

Which one will win in the long term?

* crap content with great SEO
* best in the world content with no SEO

Content will defeat SEO in the long run.

#8 Ruud

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Posted 25 February 2008 - 11:14 AM

Search engines define what it entails to do search engine optimization. For example, if they do not count the number of words on a page, freaking around with that variable is per definition not SEO.

Because of the above, SEO these days entails a lot more than it used to. SEO these days is like saying "car repair", knowing full well you can't "repair" a whole "car".

Optimizing the search engine results for a particular page on a site means:
  • using the right words in the right way
  • getting the right links with the right words
  • enticing visitors to come to the page and engage with it
  • encourage people to bookmark it
Of these perhaps only the first was considered SEO in the old days.

#9 Wit

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Posted 25 February 2008 - 11:22 AM

In my view, SEO is included in SEM and not the other way around.

On top of that SEM is included in making a successful website and that - in turn - is a part of making money online (unless you take a shortcut heheh)



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