What is SEO? Is It Real?

To the SEO bashers, I present this argument: Some people hire a lawn service because they don’t have the time to mow their lawn; they don’t like to mow their lawn; they don’t like wasting their weekends mowing; they don’t have the tools for it; or they tried it and they ruined the lawn and killed all of the plants in the yard. For whatever reason, they pay to have the lawn mowed. How silly would a person look if they posted an article stating “anyone that pays to have their lawn mowed is an idiot”? They continue about how it’s easy to do, they have been mowing their own lawn for years and it looks great. They declare “Lawn men are con artists! I will even tell you how to trim your hedges, edge your sidewalk, weedeat, and prune your trees, and I will tell you for free.lawn man reading SEO book

Believe it or not, I started writing this because I just finished reading “It’s All About The Links” over at SEOWizz. Ahh, the mind is a terrible thing. How did I turn Tim’s great post about links into a discussion about lawn mowing?

SEO work can be fun and educational during the on-page process.  Onpage search optimization is the act of optimizing copy and HTML based on a set of known and  perceived search engine guidelines. It takes a certain skill set to evaluate key words and phrases and incorporate those into HTML elements and body copy so they satisfy your target audience and the search engines. You can change your page title, description, and copy and watch your SERP position and sales pitch change. Don’t let anyone tell you it can’t be done and there aren’t known factors. Then we get to link building, which is a whole different animal.

Sadly “Links! Links! Links!” is very true. I’m not sure we should be calling link building SEO, to me it’s more marketing and should be listed as SEM. Finding the links that are providing your competitors with an edge or finding quality links that will improve your search position is a different skill set than on-page SEO. New rules from Google and “juice” protection from websites is making SEO link building even more tedious and time consuming. It is also raising the cost of hiring an SEO/SEM that gets results. Specialists who can provide quality links that will hold their value don’t come cheap. You can get your site bot-spammed to hundreds of blogs cheap, but it’s not going to help.

The SEO community has been labeled con artists by some, but these people are blowing smoke when they tell you all you need to do is write good content. It’s just not true. You might not be capable of writing good content anyway. You need good content and you might have to pay for it, and then you need people to link to it. The content on its own does not get you traffic, and nobody knows you have good or even great content until someone links to it. Sure, it can go viral but first somebody needs to light the fuse. Some of the anti-SEO crowd are giving advice like “just tell people about your website” (so they will link to it?). Well, guess what; you just committed the “act” of link building. They tell you to have your friends and co-workers tweet about your site and mention it on Facebook or in email. Guess what; that too is link building. Sure, if you have the time and will to learn then you can do it yourself, but most business owners don’t sit at home blogging all day (or mowing their grass). They have a business to run and they need help promoting their website.

There are the basics that should be done when optimizing a website, and it will usually squeeze out some competition. Generally, the basic onpage optimization with no regard for links will not get you in the top 10 if you are in a market that is the least bit competitive. Don’t get me wrong; you need to study keywords and phrases, because they have to be used somewhere, either in content, titles, or link text, but that research is generally wasted without quality inbound links.

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One Response to “What is SEO? Is It Real?”

  1. Matthew C. Kriner says:

    Hi, I have been heavy into SEO lately particularly link building and every little bit on info that can help me get top rankings and traffic helps.