"Search Engine Optimization is not a legitimate form of marketing. It should not be planned by people with brains or souls.
Those are the first words in a recent article on the Powazek blog in which SEO practitioners are called con men, Faustian negotiators, cockroaches, third-world labor users, bastards, hackers, thieves, jerkwads, scammers, and spammers and anyone who buys their services a disreputable fool.
He's right. And he's wrong. Personally, I've never met anyone who fits that description, but I can imagine there are people like that out there. There are murderers and liars too and we just have to live with that. We certainly do not have to mix with them. Here's how I see SEO and where I agree with Powazek.
Marketing, for me, is "organizing ourselves to satisfy a need" and that makes helping an old lady across the road marketing. It makes it a powerful and beautiful force for good. If we, in our work, are helping others do what they need to do, that's fabulous. OK, it's even better if our clients are doing good things too.
So what does the SEO practitioner do?
- If they clarify the subject of an article so it's easier to find by the people they know they can help, that's a good thing.
- If they watch how people behave on their website and strip out the dross, that's a good thing.
- If they spot what people are interested in and write about it, that's a good thing.
- If they write stuff that's so interesting people bookmark it and pass it around their friends, that's a good thing.
And funnily enough, that's what Powazek has done. Written a great, noteworthy piece that I'm now commenting on. You may even seek out his original blog. And in the end you might buy his SEO services .. that's what he's selling.
One problem. Because writing articles raises your position in the Google search results more or less regardless of whether it's a good article or meaningless trash, and the slower takes less time to write, we are starting to get bogged down in trash.
It's for you to judge whether this article is good or trash. If any of you think it's good, maybe I'll be lucky enough to get bookmarked on something like Delicious.
And if that happens, Google will spot it. Social bookmarking tells Google which articles are good and which are trash.
Great articles will win in the end and trash will fail. It has to or the Internet will become a landfill containing a load of nothing very important hiding a few pearls.
So you know what to do. Use Delicious or any other social bookmarking tool. Vote for the content you like. Let the Internet know what you like. Let your votes build up the good stuff and leave the dross behind. Plus, you'll probably discover some pretty cool sites and not spend as much time sifting through trash yourself.