Would SEO by any other name, still smell as sweet.

by Peter Young on November 17, 2008 · 0 comments

SEO in any ones book, seems to be in a purple patch. Certainly in the UK it appears to have gained traction into many mainstream organisations, and is now part of my FTSE 250 and Fortune 500 organisations marketing strategies. However it unfortunately is still tainted by a dark undercurrent of black hat SEO’s and link spammers which continue to create some negative association with the profession – whether that is justified or not justified is another question.

However it is a couple of posts that have been made that have got me thinking, namely Rand Fishkin’s 8 ways to buy links without ‘buying links’ and Chris Hart’s ‘What if SEO was spelled TSA’

Indeed Rand’s post is indicative of just what a different beast SEO has become. ‘Traditional’ forms of marketing such as Online PR play a far more important role in SEO than ever before – not just from a linkage perspective, but also in terms of branding and standalone traffic acquisition tools – with social media bringing a facet of marketing not previously available to marketeers (either online or offline) to the table.

Just look at metrics for measurment these days. Gone are the days when rankings were the only way to measure SEO success. Blended search has certainly created food for thought here – as well as new channels for savvy marketeers to exploit. ‘SEO’ is far more tactical than ever. Online Brand Reputation for example should have ‘SEO’ at its heart, with brand exposure and coverage more important and high profile than ever.

Surely we (as search marketeers) have evolved from merely optimising for search engine rankings alone. Is search engine optimisation therefore the best term to describe what we do?  The term ‘search engine optimisation’ appears to have been around for around 11 years or so now (one of the earliest references I can find is fom David Stoddard from Frontiernet in August 1997) – however Danny Sullivan gives a great breakdown of this on the Search Engine Watch Forums. I would suggest SEO has changed significantly since then – lets face it Google was nowhere near the beast it has become, search marketing industry still in its infancy and social media just a glimmer on the horizon.

In the absence of any suitable replacements, bar ‘digital asset optimisation’ (coined by Lee Odden in 2007) it appears it is still here for a while, however one can’t help thinking whether SEO 3.0 could see a new beginning, and potentially a new name?

[ This post from Peter Young's blog contains only his personal opinions. ]

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