I generally don’t touch articles that attack our industry. One reason is that Danny does a good job of kickin ass on them (and has been for ages). And because I generally don’t give a crap about perceptions because I don’t believe anyone that has made up their mind (and doesn’t understand our industry) is gonna change it cause o’ me.
Today is gonna be a little different. It’s been one of those days already, then this guy really irked me. So let’s examine…
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For starters my brother, it’s not the The Tao of SEO, its the Art of War; SEO Style. Next up, I am sure this Ryan fellow is nice and all, but he’s hardly representative of our industry. Nor TechCrunch for that matter. (post is here in case you missed it)
“I have trouble getting past a certain initial bafflement”
Good. Accepting that you don’t understand is a great start. Let it out. Don’t it feel good?
“Let me be more specific. I have never, not once, read anything by an SEO expert in which the author spoke comprehensible English. ”
Charming. I’ll take the high road here and assume you mean we’re speaking in tongues with our own brand of gobble-d-goop. If that is what you meant, I am surely guilty of that at times. We do forget others outside the industry read us at times.
“It creates in me the strong impression that I’m listening to a guy who’s waving a handkerchief in the air with his right hand while he picks my pocket with his left. ”
Again, consider the source. He certainly isn’t in my RSS reader. That article reads as nothing more than a glorified advertisement which is something to take up with TC, not the SEO industry.
“(..) for all I know about SEO — which is, to repeat, nothing”
That’s it. Let the healing begin….
“It does nothing to burnish the shabby reputation of SEO and its magi when they can’t even introduce a slide deck without resorting to language that is flashy, imprecise and weak. ”
Dammit, back to group therapy for you. Did I mention that what you seem to be encountering is NOT representative of the SEO industry? Please don’t refer to HIM as THEY. It’s a huge leap. You will find nothing magical about the writings of respected industry types such as Bill Slawski, Aaron Wall, Rand Fishkin, Michael Martinez, Danny Sulivan and many, many others, (been known to get a little geeky now and again myself).
I would love to be your guide into the real world of search marketing. There really isn’t any mystery nor magic to it.
“But it doesn’t do anybody any good — except the peddlers themselves — when the guys who peddle SEO strategies use language to obscure and misdirect. ”
Again, consider the source. There are reams of SEO garbage out there being peddled by purveyors of poop. We can agree on that. But most industries do have the odd skeleton in their closet. There are no shortages of scammers and poor providers in any space. I can though assure you the best representatives of our world most certainly go to great lengths to educate clients and manage expectations.
I’ve dealt with authors at the Wall Street Journal and USA Today and did come away shaking my head at how they operate. Does that mean I slag off the entire industry?
“All it does is bolster the idea that SEO is a con, its practitioners hucksters, and its result a dumbing-down of online content to the point where editorial “success” is less about clarity than plain, dumb, unreasoning traffic. “
This is odd because many of us go to great lengths to research, develop, craft (yes, we use REAL copywriters) and otherwise bring the best content as we possibly can. Because THAT is what it is really about.
As for traffic? How do you think we get paid? Nothing is more common among professional SEOs than the ability to understand analytic data. This is all about understanding the users and delivering eve better content that not only is of use to them, but also turns them into customers and evangelists for our clients. Non engaged, non converting, non targeted traffic is not going to make the client money… when that happens, we’re not getting paid either.
Let me tell you what I mean
Right, enough of that. Back to the therapy. I can appreciate you have a cursory understanding of what we do. As I have for you and your comrades. Hold on… let me grab something..
Wise men don’t judge: they seek to understand”. – by Wei Wu Wei
I carry that around a lot. It helps keep me in line. By many accounts we (SEOs) are nothing more than hype merchants and link whores. And well, this is true. They exist. As do tabloid magazines. Should all authors and publications be painted with the same brush? Seems unreasonable.
To begin the healing process, let me throw some easy (to read) ones at you;
- We are a bridge from the website to the search engine
- We deal with how websites are structured
- We ensure technical issues aren’t a problem (crawling issues for the engine)
- We advise on (HTML) mark-up best practices
- We use analytics to get to know site visitors better
- We implement semantic code (like those author pics in Google results)
Also there are more strategic elements…
- We ensure keyword strategies target relevant market demographics
- We teach clients and staffers simple ways to ensure compatibility
- We monitor search engine evolution (technology is always changing)
- We collaborate on content strategy
- We help small businesses by implementing local strategy (cheaper than global)
And I tells ya’… so much more.
See? No magic. No huey. And my word!! Not a link whoring mention in sight. The actual nuts and bolts of it is actually somewhat more complicated, as is journalism I am sure. There are some writers that get upset with us because of our often data centric approach to the art of content creation. But we’re often geeks at heart, it can happen. But in that data, often lay wonderful insights into the people visiting your site. You might find it interesting.
And there we have it. I have a boiling cauldron to get back to and I am pretty sure the tarantula is loose. So we must adjourn. I’d be happy to get together and exchange potions from our respective corners at any time Bill, feel free to get in touch.
To the rest o’ ya mooks readin’? Get back to yer link spamming would ya? They ain’t gonna build themselves… sheeesh
… as you were.