It’s Not an SEO’s ...


Search Engine Watch blasted out this headline and accompanying post last week.

It’s yet another piece of evidence for why we’re (and public relations) in a better position than SEO consultancies to implement organic search campaigns.

As discussed before, the SEO consulting industry sprung out of Google’s license to print money which goes by the acronym PPC (pay per click). Paid search puts a premium on technical acuity and clever messages, not narratives that prompt the reader to say “Check this out!”

Organic search has always been more of an afterthought for the SEO consultancies. And when they did have to futz with the organic side, it turned out that their technical approach could game the system.

But that’s no longer the case as content takes on increasing importance in what Google serves up when folks insert a word or phrase or question in the trusty Google box.

Demise of Technical Gamesmanship - organic search

Which brings me back to the Search Engine Watch piece and some vignettes worth highlighting:

– Creating content is freakin’ hard. Successful content doesn’t happen by accident – a lot of hard work, creativity, and planning goes into effective content marketing. 

Any time you can slip in a “Freakin’ hard,” you automatically lift to the narrative. There’s some irony in there somewhere.

– Moreover, the skills necessary for content creation aren’t naturally found within an SEO. Some SEOs may have those skills, but they traditionally aren’t there.

True. On the other hand, need to sync your washing machine with the air conditioning, look up your local SEO.

– Content creation takes time — time that SEOs typically do not have. If we were to focus all our time on content creation, it wouldn’t leave much time to do actual optimization work.

Now this is deep. I think what he’s saying is “the journey is the reward.” That works when you’re backpacking across the Czech Republic, but not so much when the client expects increased traffic from organic search.

– Let’s be honest, SEO as an industry hasn’t always been portrayed in the most flattering light to the general public …

Right. Buying from link farms in Bangalore and Krasnoyarsk aren’t exactly brand-building moments.

– SEO has its own merit and value, and it is not dependent on content.

I’m lost. Not dependent on content? That’s like saying a stand-up comedian is not dependent on humor.

By repeating the Search Engine Watch headline in this post, I have doomed my post to a subservient position in future searches.

And don’t say I should optimize the hell — I can play the cuss game too — out of the content.

It won’t work.


  • Frank Strong

    “Organic search has always been more of an afterthought for the SEO consultancies.” — I love you like a brother Lou, but that is just not true.

    Good SEO consultancies focused on organic first — in fact I think organic and paid, or SEM, are really two very distinct disciplines.

    The good PPC folks I know are more closely aligned with ecommerce (think A/B testing), while the SEOs are closer to web developers.

    • hoffman


      You make a persuasive argument, but this hasn’t been our experience. I don’t think the TAM for link farms would be so large if that was the case.

  • DudeStro

    This topic, and the peeps you referenced, brings to mind a famous quote:

    “Ideas are more powerful than guns. We would not let our enemies have guns, why should we let them have ideas.”
    Joseph Stalin

    The SEO dudes would be happy if they, and only they, had the bag full of ideas (i.e, content). Instead of ideas, they’ve got a bag full of pixie dust that nobody can figure out (“Our [secret] method for getting SEO results!”). And Google decided the pixie dust wasn’t enough for how, when, where and why people search. People search for insight, not loaded pages,

    The great sage, Chris Farley, summed it up best in the classic, thinking-person’s movie, Tommy Boy. “. . . They [SEO companies] give you a fancy guarantee to make you feel all warm inside. Pretty soon, money is missing off your dresser and your daughter’s knocked up. I’ve seen a hundred times. All they’ve sold you is a guaranteed POS.”

    Ishmael counters with, “For now for your customer’s sake and for your daughter’s sake, you might want to think about buying a quality product from me . . . ”

    Rightly so.

    Content is tough. It requires thinking and vigilence. And a journalistic mind. One video does not equate to a digital library. Neither does one piece of content.

    Content is king. Long live the King.

    OH – one more thing: if your name is Scooby, you’d better be a Scooby-Doo, not a Scooby-Don’t. But that’s another story.

    • hoffman


      Well done.

      Very clever to mash up Stalin and Google.

      I’ve always thought the dirty little secret of content is it’s very expensive to scale.

      P.S. You had me at Chris Farley. The Farley TV ads for ESPN March Madness were classics.


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