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October 13, 2009

SEO is Obvious… ly Vital

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Rodin's The Thinker
No thinking necessary?

There are some things in this world that need no explanation. These acts rely on one thing to get done. Good ol’ common sense. For example, all you need is common sense to:

Drive a car: Put your foot on the gas pedal to go. Press down on the brake pedal to stop. Move the wheel to turn. Follow all signs, signals and laws of the road.

Learn to play an instrument: Use just twelve notes that repeat in a cycle, each time an octave higher. Select the order, combination, speed and frequency of these notes to play a piece of music.

Do long division: Count how many times the divisor goes into the left-most digits of the dividend, write this number down as the first digit of the result, multiply it by the divisor and then subtract the product from the left-most digit of the dividend… It’s such common sense there’s no need to finish this little refresher course.

The accomplishment of these acts require little more than common sense, right? They’re all come so naturally a baby could do them.

Just like SEO. Make a good Web site. Obvious, right?

Or so the argument was made yesterday — once again — and long-time search marketing industry evangelist, reporter and analyst Danny Sullivan came to the rescueonce again.

So what brought Danny back to the debate this time around? Well, there was this little argument:

Look under the hood of any SEO plan and you’ll find advice like this: make sure to use keywords in the headline, use proper formatting, provide summaries of the content, include links to relevant information. All of this is a good idea, and none of it is a secret. It’s so obvious […]

Of course it is. Tell that to the owners of my favorite pizza place. [Dear Toppers, please get a real Web site. We’re begging you.–Susan] Or to my favorite jewelry designer with the all-Flash site. Or to my awesome masseuse whose business card I always end up giving away, yet whose spa I can never find online.

Sure, it’s obvious common sense. Once you know what, why and how.

Too bad few business owners know the what, why and how yet. Most business owners have never heard of SEO, or thought in-depth about the opportunity afforded in search, or considered how navigable their Web site is for people (let alone for the most important traffic referrer at their disposal: the search engine).

Oh! And let’s not get into the technical implementation and off-site visibility opportunities. Does the average Web designer or IT manager give much thought to local listings, blog implementation, long, dynamic URLs, and the duplicate content issues of content syndication. These are all pressing real-live issues, as you can read in Danny’s article.

There’s a reason those migrating online from the print industry are working as unpaid interns just to learn the SEO ropes. SEO is an important skill set for every online organization to have.

Driving search engine traffic. Improved spiderability. Better audience targeting. Remind me, what exactly about SEO is obvious?

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