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Warmest Greetings,

Dear Search Engine Industry News Reporters. Get Your Facts Straight.  

:: Monday, August 09, 2004 ::

According to a recent article, Search Engine Optimization is now akin to "hacking". Whoever came up with this wacked comparison has never been employed in the field or hasn't done their research for longer than it takes to visit the bathroom.

SEO is something many corporations develop entire departments for. An experienced SEO/SEM advises on the type of code necessary for web pages so that pages can be indexed by search engine bots. This is so vital to the survival of some Internet companies that even EBAY is hiring more SEO's to help them.

Organic SEO starts with the application of targeted, clearly written, theme oriented content. All this means is that if you write a page on how to skydive, and want it to appear in the top 20 listings when someone searches for "skydiving" or "learn how to skydive", you would be wise to hire an experienced search engine marketer, or learn the skill yourself. There are online courses and ebooks on the 'Net.

Even a Journalist could learn.

Search Engine Marketers help web site owners navigate keyword bidding and the ever-changing submission process. It's a big world, with hundreds of thousands of web pages all vying to come up in searches. Since so many Internet searchers are lazy and don't have the patience to read past the first page or two of search engine results, advertisers and marketing professionals are in a constant, often cut-throat attempt, to help web pages "be seen" or at the very least, be crawled at all by engine bots.

Hacking is a nightmare for any web site subjected to it. When someone takes control of your web site and disfigures it on purpose, this is hacking.

I know of no professional SEO who has ever disfigured a search engine.

Hacking is also a word for short-cuts, workarounds or modifications. At the bookstore this weekend I came across a book called Google Hacks. It's about how to get the most of Google, from a user perspective.

The debate for true representation of the SEO/SEM industry and its relationship with Search Engines still rages on in After SEMPO: Should We Start a Trade Association?

     "It's difficult calling that article news. It is more of an attack on Google, and the (possibly) impending IPO. SEM just happened to get in the way."

     "This article does illustrate the need for some organization to answer or counter spin the negative coverage."

I've found a welcome mat from most of the SEO/SEM community. Not because many of them know me from my days in the SEO profession, but because they know that getting their clients web sites into search engines and spending gobs of money on marketing sites is not going to pay the piper unless the web site is functional and user centered. I'm a web site usability consultant. I make sure my SEO Partner's client sites are ready for their visitors and customers.

The SEO/SEM industry is not a merry band of folks with magical spells and weapons of rank destruction. Sure, there are inexperienced people in the field. Sure, some are motivated by greed and wreak havoc on engine technology. But this isn't the vast majority.

How many SEO's talked their clients into shelling out the annual $299 fee to get into Yahoo!'s Directory? Yahoo! never once offered to reward any SEO for this. How many SEO's sell clients on the idea of buying Google Ads? And when Google's Orkut launched, nearly every freaking SEO/SEM on the planet joined it and invited their friends too.

I'm preaching to the choir here, I know. Most anyone reading this is in the biz or a usability oriented practioner also trained in the art of optimizing sites.

We're in the business of making the Internet grow. We're in the business of satisfying anyone who wants to find something in a search engine, or purchase something from a web site from a shopping cart that functions. We care about the user centered approach to web design.

If every SEO/SEM professional, especially those that add specialities to their services such as usability testing, traffic analysis, ROI conversions and Internet copywriting, stopped working today, what would the Internet be like?

I would hate to find out.

:: posted by Kim Krause Berg on 8/09/2004 10:24:42 AM

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