Tom Schmitz // Feb 11 2010
Recently, I’ve heard about startups that want to automate enterprise SEO for large websites. I suppose they theorize that if Google, Bing and the other search engines can gather Internet content, categorize it and rank it, then it’s possible to write software that will recast your content as a perfect website.
I do not believe enterprise SEO software can optimize a complex website without large amounts of critical thinking or decision making from real people who are familiar with your business and have a deep knowledge of SEO.
The research, evaluation, recommendations necessary for good SEO are fraught with endless permutations on the enterprise level. These have to be dealt with before anyone implements anything. For example, how will software handle relationships with partner, brand or subsidiary websites?
I concede that you can automate many tasks. Gathering data is relatively straightforward. Data manipulation is definitely doable. I even have a few homegrown formulas for SEO evaluation. Companies like SEOmoz and Majestic SEO have turned SEO tools into a thriving business model. But decision making is entirely different. Can you automate judgment?
Providing quality SEO counsel and decision making will never be an entry level job. Smart SEO planning requires complex analysis, judgment, intuition and chutzpa. Computers cannot make take educated risks or make confident leaps of faith. That takes training and experience.
What about execution? Don’t get me started.
If you make a decision engine, yes, you can tie it into your CMS. Tweaking title elements and H1 tags is one thing. I suppose one could even write code to adjust keyword density. I’m familiar enough with Markov chains and other forms of automating writing to realize that a talented math and language specialist could write a script to make minor changes to copy.
Forget about composing whole passages, though. Pure automated content may work fine for short-term Spam sites on disposable domains, but real websites require quality copyrighting. I especially doubt that a successful linkbait article will be conceived of and written by a software program any time soon. We’re a long way from achieving true artificial intelligence.
If you are working on automated enterprise SEO software, get in touch. Invite me to come over. I’d love to see what you are working on and for you to prove me wrong.
I’ll be here, behind mounds of data making the types of analysis and recommendations that only a human can.
This post first appeared on Portent Interactive’s blog. Portent is a Seattle company offering, among other things, SEO services.