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Derek Powazek recently posted an article with the confrontational title "Spammers, Evildoers, and Opportunists" (http://powazek.com/posts/2090) claiming that anyone who has ever paid for SEO work has been conned. In the post, Powazek maintains that:
- the information you need to present a site well is available online
- most of this information is common sense
- a site is only as good or as bad as the idea behind it
Perhaps most damningly, he declares that Search Engine Optimisation is not a legitimate form of marketing.
If you have the best product in the world but package it in a way that would never attract any attention, and you display it at floor level in a shop that no one would ever visit, you're not doing yourself, your product or the world any favours. Good Search Engine Optimisation is about presenting a product, a service or an idea in an inclusive, user-friendly way to its target audience, creating a buzz, and putting it in front of key decision makers. In the offline world that means journalists and reviewers - people who will be able to assess your product and advise potential users about it. In the online world, this is Google.
Simple Effective Organisation
Search engine optimisation is not gaming Google. SEO consultants are not the car salesmen of the online world. Search engine optimisers are the people you turn to if you find that the Internet has overlooked your great idea. This is not usually because of a problem with the service or product your site provides, but because of previously-made bad marketing decisions. If it were common sense, there would be no online marketing industry at all (or a marketing industry, for that matter). SEO consultants are not running an extortion scam; people turn to SEO and continue to use it because it provides results.
While I agree that the key practises performed by SEO consultants should be common sense, perhaps it's only common sense to someone who regularly writes for an online audience and understands accessibility and usability on the Internet. Powazek's site has contentious articles that will attract user links, has masses of informative, usable content and links out to other aspects of the blogger's online presence. It also makes intelligent use of tags and has good structure and presentation. Take out these features his article would have 180 less comments.
Good sites are accessible for all. Good sites provide useful information. Good sites deserve visitors.