SEO Is So Boring

SEO is so boring, and you think so too which is why you're reading this post.  Let me validate your feelings, with my personal reasons gathered from being involved in the industry 8 years. 

The main problem is that the SEO blogosphere talks about the same things every two years, with the same conclusions. These are:

  1. Paid Links are evil/good.  Actually, Google wouldn't care either way if its algo could surface content without paid links, but until then they use FUD to make SEOs eat each other.  The newish link disavow tool crowdsources this in a marvellous manner.
  2. A website starting with M and ending with Z will publish a "revolutionary" SEO tactic that will "transform" the industry, to help justify its subscription to its users.  Those user's and other invested interests will post things like "Its fucking amazing!!". Other SEOs will point out that its crap. The publishers are happy just to be talked about whatever.  If they are lucky, Matt Cutts will comment pointing out what they say is indeed, crap.
  3. A Big Brand will be penalised for some SEO tactic.  They will come back again in a fairly short time, much shorter than if it happened to your website, for example. This will be due to them spending lots on AdWords, despite Google public denials. Outrage.  Google penalties are political, deal with it.
  4. SEO is dead.  People confuse an SEO tactic with SEO.  Google discount one method due to spammers taking the piss - see guest blogging, infographics, directories etc. Those SEO's and non-SEO's who relied on that tactic, mostly link building to paper over unoptimised websites, find they have no more ideas, and decry SEO's death.
  5. Rebranding of SEO. Every so often, SEO will have its name changed by industry leaders, to try and disassociate with the above.  There will be discussion on why, how and what anyone cares other than the company trying to own the new keyword space.

Another major problem is that every SEO blogger/consultant/agency will at some point decide to run a content campaign as "content is good for SEO".  This means a proliferation of half-arsed reheating of SEO content, which range's from paraphrasing Google help files to program manuals with "for SEO" tacked on the end - "Excel2012 for SEO", "Using Twitter for SEO" etc. etc.  or perhaps its just the old standard X number of ways to do Y.  Bite-sized content designed for amateurs, written by the unqualified, since those who have time to maintain a heavy schedule of SEO publishing, don't have enough time to do actual SEO.  The best SEO's I've met hardly had time to tweet once a week. 

Finally, for a lot of companies that need SEO help, even these days its still the fundamentals that need looking at - title tags, duplicate content etc., which for very large companies can be a nightmare to correct. A lot of SEO opinions on the web work fine if you're running a Wordpress blog, but once it gets to a certain level of SEO its mainly about prioritisation - what things should you concentrate on to get most impact to bottom line revenue? 99% of the time its not going to be some secret SEO tactic, but getting an SEO fundamental correct, and its very rare this prioritisation is talked about - there isn't much more to say.

Don't be so negative


There are some interesting developments fuelled by search engines, mainly Google, for which the SEO industry feeds off of for its food scraps, another source of resentment it seems to some SEO bloggers. 

SEO for non-Google is interesting.  Yandex and Baidu have different models and philosophies, and optimising for the new searches in say AppStores, LinkedIn or Facebook offers new avenues.  

Google's move away from top 10 result search page towards its mission to be the Star Trek computer is exciting, and services like Google Now, Google Glass, and semantic technology combining to become the Internet of Things sounds like SEO's will become more like data curators than data manipulators.  

Likewise the move towards treating SEO holistically as part of a user journey, rather than a last touch channel, holds interest from an analytics viewpoint.

I don't mean to change anything with this post, and am probably contributing to the problem putting it out there, but at least I will have something to point to in the future when asked about the latest SEO fad.

3 responses
Good article. My input would be how majority of SEO professionals are incapable of communicating a ROI with a client. Also they all seem to be bald, wear combat trousers and love to spend hours formatting tables in Excel sheets whilst pretending to be creative.
Hi Peter, it has been pointed out to me that this is more about the SEO blogosphere than SEO itself, but there are still probably just frustrations of an SEO doing it too long ;) It is amazing how the bigger the website, the more the basics (Title tags, redirects) have to be repeated, which are the same SEO principles for decades. It does get more interesting for websites small enough you can make an impact but big enough to have enough traffic, but I think thats the same for all marketing. Not sure where you are writing from, but in the UK the SEO uniform seems to be check shirts :) Yes, ROI is a tricky thing to communicate and as a proxy SEOs may give you a big fancy spreadsheet showing all the links/meta titles/content they have produced, which is removed from the bottom line - its actually pretty tricky to get the attribution of SEO correct, especially these days with (not provided), and its part of that why I started using the daily GWT downloads app, which I see you also commented on.
Thanks for this blog. i really appreciate it``