SEO Has A Future: Rebutting ShoeMoney and Marketing Pilgrim

Ian Lurie May 8 2008

Today, ShoeMoney and Marketing Pilgrim provided great insights into why they think search engine optimization has no future.
I don’t agree. Times infinity. Nyah nyah phbltbltbltblt. So there.
Marketing Pilgrim says:
“Take my industry of health supplements. Do you think Google wants to reward the SEO contortions of unknown companies and affiliates with lots of free business? Of course not–they want to send their visitors to the top supplement sites in the industry.”
Very true, but only where it applies to affiliate sites offering no additional value. Why should an affiliate site rank higher than the manufacturers it represents? It shouldn’t.
But you can succeed as an affiliate. If you write a blog that’s a leading authority on supplements, you still have a legitimate shot at a top ranking for relevant phrases. If you then review products and include affiliate links, you’ll earn money.
So SEO isn’t dying. Twisting search rankings to favor affiliate marketers is dying. I love affiliate selling and seeing it get harder makes me cry. But it doesn’t signal the death of SEO.
ShoeMoney says that Matt Cutt’s definition of search engine spam is “SEO at its core”, and that, as search engines make spam harder, SEO will die as a practice.
I don’t buy that at all. There’s more to SEO than buying links and gray- or black-hat techniques.
Smart SEO:

  • Gets rid of stuff that makes search engines say “augh!” when they crawl your site.
  • Ensures the discoverability of all content on your site.
  • Creates a site structure that’s easily categorized.
  • Forms a long-term content strategy.
  • Brings in social media and other online channels to make sure the search engines know you exist.
  • Generally keeps good businesses out of trouble.

Developers will keep screwing up SEO for sites. Designers will keep doing the same. Agencies and clients will still insist on stuff that builds a brick wall between their brands and the search engines. SEOs will correct those problems. That kind of work will always offer value.
I think that both bloggers provide a 100% accurate picture of search engine advancements. But they assume that we’re all out there looking for loopholes. Then they assume that search for loopholes is all of SEO. I can’t agree with that.
SEO is a legitimate part of a smart marketing program. It’s about successfully navigating a very com
Let the flame war commence…

 

 

tags : conversation marketing

17 Comments

  1. i like the SEO technique you apply but it’s not SEO anymore on my point of view. It’s a good website strategy that take in account findability and best practice to include a website in the web ecosystem.
    As far what your describe is not SEO, i guess SEO is really death, at leat SEO 1.0 ;-)

  2. Fern

    Fern

    ShoeMoney says that Matt Cutt’s definition of search engine spam is “SEO at its core”, and that, as search engines make spam harder, SEO will die as a practice.
    I guess Matt is more optomistic than I am, because even assuming arguendo that SEO is spam, I don’t think we’ll ever see the death of spam, it’s too profitable. Thus it seems to me that by extension, we’ll never see the end of SEO.

  3. WeB

    WeB

    It’s just a link bait…

  4. “..they want to send their visitors to the top supplement sites in the industry”
    err… not. If google had their own way the results would be 100% filled with non commercial resource based websites with all commercial sites paying for adwords… this is already way too evident.
    *sigh*

  5. Hi, thanks for writing about my article. Just a quick note. The idea that an affiliate can write an authoritative blog and become successful is possible but there is a very low chance of success in competitive industries. People underestimate exactly how much content is needed to do that and what the level of quality has to be.
    I am convinced that there are far easier and more sure ways to build a business online.

  6. I’m wondering how that last sentence was supposed to end. Could it have been “SEO is a legitimate part of a smart marketing program. It’s about successfully navigating a very com…
    …fortable canoe through shark-infested waters.”
    …pound fracture (a site designed with tables and JavaScript) back into place (standards compliant).”
    …municative mime through the halls of Congress without getting slapped.”
    The mind wonders (and wanders).

  7. I’ll start by saying I work in search, both organic and paid. While I don’t completely agree with ShoeMoney, he does have a point.
    Many people have argued that web developers don’t know how to build a correct website. But what is going to happen when they start including engine visibility & basic SEO in web design classes?
    No, students wouldn’t graduate with the best SEO experience, but it may just be enough.

  8. Big Debate: Does Search Engine Optimization Have Long Term Viability?

    In the middle of the week, my good friend Jeremy Schoemaker, aka Shoemoney, blogged that SEO has no future. He believes that personalized data will be more important, especially from the toolbar, user history, and analytics data. Social voting is…

  9. Ian

    Ian

    @mark I understand your point but I can find an equal number of SEOs who’ll argue that Google will favor the mega-commercial sites with thousands of pages. As long as you guys all agree that it’s a jungle out there :)

  10. Ian

    Ian

    @Charlie You’re a funny guy :)
    Also a little too accurate. I’ve lost at least 2 limbs in the SEO Wars. And had the other 6 broken several times.
    Wait…

  11. Ian

    Ian

    @Brandon I remember the same concern (way back when I was a kid and had to walk both ways uphill to school) when tools like Dreamweaver came out, and folks thought web design would die as an industry because ‘any designer with a little training could do it’.
    The same was said of day trading. Cough.
    The requirements of sound SEO have been pretty well established for several years. Thankfully, there are plenty of people far too dense to let that information sink in, so I think we’re pretty safe.

  12. Ian

    Ian

    @Greg I totally agree. That gravy train has left the station. Like I said, I’m sad to see it go. But I do understand why, for search and the internet as a whole, it’s a good thing. And most of my clients will be happy about it, too…

  13. UndercoverSEO

    UndercoverSEO

    As long as there is a distinct business advantage to being #1 in search engine results, there will always be someone there pushing the limits to try to “game” the system into being #1.

  14. Hi, thanks for writing about this article. If google had their own way the results would be 100% filled with non commercial resource based websites with all commercial sites paying for ad words…

  15. It seems that Shoemoney is always looking for the path of least resistence or to find the easy way out so logic would dictate his myopic vision of what the internet and SEO should be.
    I’ve personally gone the quality content with organic SEO route and the thing most people don’t realize is that over time the traffic continues to grow exponentially.

  16. Ian

    Ian

    @Dave Shoemoney’s a sharp guy who likes to stir things up. His statement prompts a good discussion, but I think he understands, too, that SEO is here to stay.
    And yeah, quality content and organic SEO are the way to go.

  17. Dennis

    Dennis

    Dave,
    I agree with your comment on quality content. I started out with keyword stuffing and putting up crap posts. I know put a lot of time and thought into my posts and like you mentioned, the traffic just keeps coming. Quality always wins in the long haul.

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