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What Is Seo These Days?

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#1 tambre


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Posted 12 June 2008 - 11:31 AM

:offtopic: sorry, i really couldn't help myself... i read the post on the length of meta tags and saw Ammon make a recommendation for a new discussion thread... so i jumped on it as i am curious to see what his take on this subject is. thanks for humoring me :)

so, what SEO is these days, and how does PPC fit in and provide benefits to an organic campaign?

#2 cre8pc


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Posted 12 June 2008 - 11:47 AM

(great topic!)

Far from being "dead", I strongly believe that SEO has hit the mainstream population and is hot. Everywhere I go these days, someone has a web site at various skill levels and is trying to make heads or tails out of:

1. Getting pages crawled by SE's

2. Coming in search results (SERPS)

3. Coming up high in SERPS (not beating competition but being satisfied to be in top 10)

4. Persuading searchers to click into the site (still part of on page SEO)

5. Following up with a site that's usable, accessible and converts marketing traffic to completing the goals set forth by the site

To do this means understanding web design, programming, copywriting, persuasive architecture, user experience design, accessibility, target user demographics and user behavior.

The economic situation around the world is going to fuel the need for more SEO and sites that pass usability/accessibility standards. People are using sites to avoid driving their cars by not only ordering online, but searching inventories to be sure a product is in a store before wasting the gas to get there.

We save paper and trees by reading online.

As long as there's an Internet, there has to be SEO. The techniques change as people adapt and technology changes, but SEO will not die until we all become mind readers or learn how to manipulate the universe to get what we want without needing the Internet :)

Organic SEO is fairly easy and even helpful to pages. PPC is necessary to be competitive for some firms, but not for others. I never liked PPC myself, but some folks are really into it and good at it.

Ammon will have a better response of course. I just had to stick in my 2cents. :thankyou:

#3 Andrew.Williams


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Posted 12 June 2008 - 11:59 AM

Nice. I was reading this post by Dally Sullivan: http://searchenginel...0609-103200.php

and thought hmm, hope I can make use of this definition somewhere, perhaps cr8asite? Well as they say "be carefull what you wish" :)

"An SEO is someone who understands how people search for information (on the web and in other ways) and ensures that they or their clients are visible in the unpaid listings that are provided. A search marketer, by the way, is someone that ensures listing in both paid and unpaid listings."

#4 bwelford


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Posted 12 June 2008 - 12:20 PM

Well of course, Andrew, Danny Sullivan has a somewhat symbiotic relationship with search engines. That explains why he writes such definitions. But as Kim has pointed out search engine marketing is only a slice of the totality of what people want to achieve with their websites.

I still believe that Internet marketing is a better expression of what we should all be doing as we build websites that perform and achieve the objectives of their owners.

#5 BillSlawski


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Posted 12 June 2008 - 01:18 PM

The fun thing here is that my definition can be completely different than Kim's or Barry's or Danny's and still be right.

Here's the simple version, without the technical language:

As an SEO, I help make sites easier to find, and easier to use.

Funny thing is, as I've simplified the defintion of SEO (at least the language), I've been broadening the definition of what a search engine is beyond the major search engines and directories to include social search engines like Stumbleupon, Digg, Mixx, semantic search engines, search agents like a copernicus, and others.

The "easier to use" aspect of my definition encompasses usability, accessibility, increasing conversions, and other activities that help obtain the objectives of someone who has a site and wants to increase their visibility on the Web while fulfilling the purposes for which they put the site online in the first place.




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Posted 12 June 2008 - 02:17 PM

I wrote this about 2 1/2 years ago and think that it is coming true: Throwing Out the Book on SEO

#7 iamlost


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Posted 12 June 2008 - 04:40 PM

Like many I've tossed 'SEO' about rather loosely. :)

The difficulty is, of course, that optimisation for SEs can legitimately be viewed as a quite narrow focus or as a quite inclusive activity. Many webdev terms have this ambiguity.

What I practice is optimisation. One word. No zed. :)

I suspect my outlook is similar to Black_Knight - holistic optimisation.

Thus site architecture, page layout, various best practices, including what various SEs find tastey are all party to optimisation. I optimise flows: flow of traffic, flow of conversion, flow of information/content, flow of flows. Just as various medical treatments have beneficial or problematic affects upon each other so does site/page optimisation. Balancing the various human/bot, traffic/conversion optimisation treatments is a delicate dance.

Unfortunately if I just say 'optimisation' most folks say 'optimise what?', 'you mean SEO?'. As in medicine most view and treat symptoms individually often missing their interconnections and the underlying cause(s).

So it is easier to simply say 'SEO'. I know what I mean, they think they know what I mean and blank looks and head scratching is minimised. Ah, bliss...

#8 fisicx


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Posted 13 June 2008 - 04:13 AM

So it's not just me then. I've almost ignored the 'SEO' side of things. Whenever I deal with a client I tell them about great content, page titles, naviagtion, images blah blah blah. I never discuss that hoary old issue of '#1 in google'.

It really doesn't matter. In fact I'm certain that all this keyword analysis, link building and optimisation doesn't really do much these days. Here's why.

I wrote an article with three 'keywords' in the page title and main header. The article then discussed the subject matter. There are no external links to this page. This is now one of the most popular pages on the site. But almost nobody searches for 'my' keywords. They use all sorts of search phrases and the SE sorts out their bad spelling, grammatical errors and just plain cray requests and leads them to my page. If I had optimised the page for my keywords I may well have lost some potential visitors. But by writing an interesting and informative article and by writing a persuasive page title and desciption I get visitors. I am #1 but not because I have done any 'SEO'. I believe it's purely because of the quality of content.

Which is why I like Bil'ls definition and iamlost's summary. Just follow all the guidelines, carry out best practise and build an effective website and you don't actually need to do any 'SEO'

Forget about being #1 for 'your' keywords. You may be #1 for a 'round doodah' but I'm looking for a 'circular thingy'.

(great article BTW Egol)

#9 Black_Knight


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Posted 14 June 2008 - 01:35 PM

Really good answers already in this thread. Bravo.

There's a lot I'd lke to add, as this is of course a topic I could write volumes on. However, time's a little short right now, so for the moment, a top-line summary is all I have time for.

SEO today is about choices. Well, to an extent it was always about choices, because SEO has always been a matter of compromises. Of finding the optimal balance point between things that the engines can understand, and things that help you do business with people once on the site.

Once upon a time, most SEOs created additional doorway pages for that reason - an extra area just to please the search engines, that then funnelled people into the site that suited real people. Most SEOs have come a long way since those days. The industry itself certainly has.

SEO today has a lot more well-known and widely tested choices though. We even have the choice to not perform any SEO at all, and still draw traffic from search via PPC - that alone is a huge change, and for many businesses is a serious and sensible option.

Strangely, there is both greater and lesser knowledge at the same time. We know a lot more about what is possible, and a lot more people know enough of the basics to make SEO work. Yet at the same time, I think there is a lot less known of precisely how the algorithms work. The algorithms are now so complex, with layers upon layers upon layers of calculations of vectors.

I think SEO has found that other aspects of internet marketing have grown up enough to change where SEO fits within the overall mix. Its rare these days to find anyone who still thinks traffic and hits are all that matters. We have longer and more detailed discussions about targeting just the right level of traffic, of hitting the right spot in a shopping process, and about conversions.

SEO has matured enough to have factions, and to have diversified into specialised sub-sets. We have SEOs who specialise in link-building, or copywriting, or site structuring, etc. Above all of the subsets, SEO has reached upwards to embrace the overall marketing architecture too. Knowing where it fits and what it must achieve, beyond just 'more traffic'. Just as iamlost so rightly said, its grown to embrace holistic optimisation.

Is 'holistic optimisation' just a new term for the same old thing? Just a new buzz-word to make it sound like something new and clever? No. Holistic optimisation is the more mature state of play today. Where people actually may optimise for less traffic (less over-generic traffic) in favour of better pre-qusalified actual prospects and leads. These days we're smarter, and able to be less wasteful.

We don't need to promote more negative first impressions than positive ones. We don't need to blow huge amounts of data transfer when we could get the exact same sales from half of the bandwidth through better targetting the people who will buy, and not the people who never would.

That's not saying that all SEOs, everyone engaged in SEO at any level in the industry, have expanded and evolved. They don't need to, but someone has, and is using the specialists as part of a greater orchestration in many cases. Or for sure, the company at least has the option to do so.

SEO today is about choices.

Even the choice not to see how many more choices there are is a choice of sorts. <_<

I wrote a blog piece recently that touched on the same issues: "The Long Tail and the Big Head". You may have noted the same thing I did. There's a lot more people involved in campaigns most of the time now than there used to be.

Edited by Black_Knight, 14 June 2008 - 01:39 PM.

#10 A.N.Onym


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Posted 15 June 2008 - 09:20 PM

Now that's some summary :)

In my opinion, SEO itself is just a part of the greater picture, what I call Internet marketing and what Ammon referred to as "holistic optimization". For me, Internet marketing includes anything remotely connected to the people, who want my offer and the website, even if it is an offline ad for a one domain - one idea project (WillItBlind, for instance). So the job of an SEO is to connect the people with what they want or need, which probably and hopefully, is your product.

Whether call all this SEO (like I sometimes do) or consider SEO to be only the SE side of the picture is a matter of comprehension and isn't really that vital, though.

Edited by A.N.Onym, 15 June 2008 - 10:20 PM.

#11 cre8pc


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Posted 22 October 2008 - 10:47 AM


DD has chosen to highlight this discussion in her blog today and I think a periodic revisit of "What SEO is" in these fast changing times is a great idea!

For me, I'm finding that SEO is more and more vital when coupled with user testing and usability design in budging ROI. While so much attention is focused on "Being first in search engines", the second tier of an SEO's work keeps falling apart because they less experience with "keeping visitors on the site once they get there" or "making landing pages work as hard as homepages" in both boosting ROI and the long tail side of marketing.

What say you?

#12 A.N.Onym


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Posted 22 October 2008 - 09:35 PM

I say we keep calling SE friendliness SEO and focus on Internet marketing instead :) SEO as it were has long become just an addition to Internet marketing, where search marketing, usability, persuasion, etc have their places, too.

#13 stan_valchev


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Posted 10 November 2008 - 10:59 AM

What Is Seo These Days?

SEO (Search engine optimization or SEO marketing and etc.) is the most important thing for the new companies which ones trying to generate more revenues. Yes, SEO is very hard professional work and it's not for everyone. But Internet is going to be the best place for business. And maybe you'll ask me why? Because, Web Design + SEO = Money. But if you have good web design without any good SEO - it means that your website is invisible and your services "staying in shadow".

#14 Ruud


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Posted 11 November 2008 - 07:33 PM

Oh goody, oh joy; let me have a go at this too!

Search engine optimization is doing things to or for a site specifically for one or more search engines.

It's writing the title of an article in a certain way because you want to rank at a certain height in a certain search engine. It's spending time, energy and money at getting links just because of the search engine. Or mainly because of the search engine...

It's wondering about adding an off-site link to your page for not and, if you do so, how that link should be crafted. No follow or do follow?

SEO then is mainly those things we do because of the way that search engines work. It's different from marketing which talks directly to people and worries about the way people work.

Edited by Ruud, 11 November 2008 - 07:34 PM.

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