I don’t like to talk about SEO as much as marketing because, frankly, marketing is more exciting.  That said, a recent post on Google + gave me pause….

A few years ago, SEO made a lot of sense. Google wasn’t social, and so returned searches based only on keywords. Because of this, you could realistically expect to keyword up a post and get it to the top of a search page. 

In 2012, SEO as a strategy doesn’t work anymore.

No amount of making no sense is going you get your work that makes no sense into the top search results.

There are too many measuring sticks on Google for you to game them with anything other than actually creating good work.

So why are you spending any more time than you have to practicing a strategy that doesn’t work anymore?

Are there really people paying you to do it for them? Are you only hanging out with people who reinforce the idea that what you’re creating is working?

SEO doesn’t work anymore.  What you’re writing doesn’t make sense.

The solution is to work on a project that’s interesting to people. The solution is to work on a project that’s too scary for other people to want to do. The solution is to work on something that demands more skill than other people have. The solution is to learn to communicate your experience in a way that lands for other people.

First of all, in a perfect world, we would all be doing things that are interesting to people.  But for most companies out there (or at least the businesses I have had a direct connection with),  the reason why they are online is to serve a need and to serve it well, and not necessarily be interesting or incredible enough to wow the crowds.  Let’s be real here-  A microscope business is not going to likely get a lot of social exchanges to build a business.

People like Seth Godin can talk about being incredible, remarkable, what-have-you, but most small businesses online aren’t there to tweet a gazillion times a day or go on a facebook like campaign because let’s face it…most businesses online are trying to service an immediate need….not save the world.

Secondly, most businesses aren’t national or international.  They’re local or regional.  Which means the pool is smaller and more direct.  A good SEO will develop a plan of action (and sometimes ranking isn’t the primary directive but tertiary) that will funnel traffic to the website.

Thirdly, the author of this quote obviously doesn’t really understand the parts of SEO that goes beyond link mining.  For example, most of SEO deals with on page factors….broken links, site architecture, crawlability, etc.  It rudimentary.  It’s tedious.  It’s usually pretty specific work.  So, when a company comes to an SEO looking to rank, the good SEO’s first look at the guts of the website and make changes there first.

Example:  A shelving business has 5,000 pages of content and is hoping to increase organic exposure.  A good SEO may first look and correct broken links, then check crawlability.  From there, they may take a look at the architecture itself in conjunction with analytics and webmaster tools to determine where the traffic is coming from.  And then start to hammer away from the inside out.

As you can see from this example, an SEO is a lot like an automobile mechanic.  We go in, we diagnose and then we fix the problem.  And for many businesses, there are a lot of things going on behind the scenes that are affecting their ranking.

Lastly, link mining is more about integrating into the market it serves, not randomly throwing links into places that won’t affect traffic on the whole.  I could go on about this but instead, you can check out this article that I wrote for searchenginepeople a while back.  As you will notice, the tips have very little to do with search rankings (although they will likely help) and everything to do with branding and getting traffic from sources of interest within the businesses’ community.

Now, this isn’t a knock on the author in the quote.  BUT….

obviously who he is talking about in regards to SEO and business is a very small percentage in relation to the thousands of local businesses who are online.

image attribution- http://www.flickr.com/photos/53513589@N00/3219627640/

What do you think?