Search engine optimization: snake oil or science?
When someone registers a web domain or signs up for site hosting they are often asked about SEO (Search engine optimization) services.
The person being asked the question looks to their technology adviser and asks, what is SEO, and do I need it? Of course they want the thirty second answer.
Like many tasks where technology used as a tool, the technical side of how the technology works complicates the much simpler topic of what is the task that the technology performs.
SEO as science
Search engines like Google use mathematical formulas called algorithms, with cute names like Panda and Penguin to determine how your web site will be ranked based on search terms used by web surfers.
Search engine optimization as a science is the study of how search engines analyze and categorize your website. The hope is that by understanding the technology you will be able to build a website that is favorably ranked by a search engine, hopefully higher than your competition.
SEO as snake oil
While SEO is a study of mathematical formulas and databases, unfortunately there are many service providers who sell SEO services as a mystical potion that when sprinkled on your website will magically have you at the top of the search engine rankings.
There are potentially millions of websites and web pages just like yours on the web. Not every site will be listed in the top hits on Google. If everyone is buying the same magical potion from their web hosting company, how can you make sure that your website will stand out from your competition?
The concept of snake oil has been associated over the years with cures and remedies that promise to cure all your aches and ailments. The term snake oil salesman is used to describe someone who sells fraudulent goods. While the concepts behind SEO are not necessarily snake oil, when they are packaged as an add on service to web hosting by a technology provider, it is easy to see how the associate takes place.
Separate technology from marketing
Don't become so worried about the technology of SEO that you neglect the task of internet marketing.
Let content be the reason that people use your site, and let good design the reason that people keep coming back.
Stay tuned for more!
As they say about the show Law and Order, the plot of the show was often "ripped from the headlines." Well in my world of headlines I hear SEO promises and sales pitches all the time, and the topic of the latest Google algorithm shows up in webmaster forums across the internet
There are so many SEO experts out there, and I really am impressed by experts as you can see by this article: Talk is Cheap, Wisdom is Priceless
I wanted to take a moment to address the topic of SEO in TheGuru's blog to stir up a little conversation, as I will develop this topic in more detail on SmartTechnology.Info.