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Is SEO “Stupid Easy”?

February 18th, 2008

stupid-easy-seo.jpgAs I was reading through some SEO-related articles earlier tonight, I ran across a post at Oilman.ca that covers an issue I have never really thought about before. Although I have never considered search engine optimization a particularly controversial subject (except for internal debates within the SEO industry itself), apparently there are some high-profile webmasters who have dismissed the whole field of SEO as “stupid easy” and seem to imply that it is not a valuable service or a legitimate area of study. Even some of the commenters on the post at Oilman.ca said that SEO was “a load of bull”, saw it as a “pyramid scam”, and even compared SEO experts to janitors whose jobs were easily replaceable and somehow not worthy of respect.

Fortunately, the Oilman article did a pretty good job of defending the industry as a whole, but I was still taken aback by the discovery that there are people who do not “believe in” SEO and actually seem hostile to the idea of people specializing in it as a profession. It makes me wonder if these folks believe in the forces of gravity or the concept of a round earth. Of course, there is also a major ignorance factor at work. Some people are simply lumping in SEO with web design and do not recognize its effectiveness, while others seem to equate it with black hat areas like link farms, gaming search engines, or manipulating the rankings. Then there are the truly clueless, like the owners of business websites who still have “Home” as their title tag or the “dumb blondes” of the world who think that organic search results can be obtained by using the right amount of fertilizer.

But even though we know that SEO is effective for generating targeted traffic to our websites, it is really just “stupid easy”? Well, I wouldn’t exactly call it stupid easy because the truly stupid probably wouldn’t see the lucrative potential of good SEO or have the inclination to implement it. The successful study and practice of SEO also requires a certain amount of prerequisite knowledge regarding the basic operations of websites, search engines, e-commerce, and the Internet, which are things that most of the stupid sheeple out there don’t fully understand. However, one could say that getting the basics of SEO right is moderately easy if one has already gone through the process of setting up a website and simply needs to optimize its content for the search engines. In other words, it’s not exactly rocket science, but you do need to understand what you’re doing.

As Todd Friesen article and some of its commentators point out, SEO is one of those skills that is important to learn how to do well if you’re serious about maximizing the potential of an Internet business, but it is also something that can be outsourced to other people if you do not yet understand it and could use your time more effectively in other areas. It does not work like a religion or even a political philosophy. It is not something that you “believe in” or “don’t believe in”. It is simply a body of applied knowledge that you would be far better off knowing than not knowing, and if you can manage to study it long enough to become an expert and make money from servicing clients, welcome to the wonders of free enterprise!

2 Responses to “Is SEO “Stupid Easy”?”

  1. comment number 1 by: King Tom

    I don’t think SEO is ’stupid easy’ at all. Admittedly, when I first got into it and didn’t really scratch the surface, it just looked like writing a bit of content, altering a few things on site and submitting a few articles.

    The real skill of SEO is in identifying where you can make gains in a particular project and building. Sure, anyone can do keyword research, article submission, press releases etc but can anyone do them well? I don’t think so.

    Personally, if you’re going to attack any method of website marketing it should be PPC and not SEO. Having worked in both fields I can tell you the former is a lot less informed market.

  2. comment number 2 by: ideasandmoney

    It depends what you are doing. Pay per click should work better if you are selling a particular product. I think that if you are “selling” information , SEO is a must. It is not that difficult to get a page, a post or a site featured on the first pages of search engines. All yo u need to do is optimize and repeat….If it is a blog, do it article at a time. It is not easy, but it takes time and effort.

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