SEO is so Postmodern

Oh, people love throwing this label around. Being called Postmodern is totally zeitgeist and will definitely increase your buzz on the street. It’s worked for architecture, business, novels, music, the arts, even specific human beings. You’re just not modern unless you’re Postmodern. Therefore, for a bit of Friday fun, I’ve ventured into theoretical territory to see if SEO (the Bruce Clay way) can proudly wear the postmodern jacket.


Postmodernism and Search Engine Optimisation are young in terms of their respective fields. No one is sure what either one really is, both have this mysterious appeal. You may feel you know what they are, but you’ll never be entirely sure. Moreover, as is the nature of them both, once you stop to reflect, you’ve fallen behind.

Both have a shady past. The Postmodernism grew out of the Modernist movement, which it thought of as an overprotective parent. Whereas SEO has it’s black sheep of the family (or is that hat).

However, to find any real similarities, you’ll need to look at the core of SEO, optimising websites. The first ranking goal of any website is to become equal among the ranking leaders, which means finding the best keywords for your target market and recording the finer details of the sites leading those rankings. This gives you an idea on how to match the highest ranked sites. Once the site is equal with the best, the design can then develop into a unique style.

Similarly, the Postmodernist examines the nuances of conventions. The conventions (the ways others are doing things) need to be learnt, experienced and aced. Only then can they create a unique style, something that sees through the conventions and challenges them to change.

SEO and PM emphasize the little things, taking time working through the nuances. Get prepared to hear lots of ‘nothing to report today’. However, if you’ve done things correctly, it’ll eventually come together.

Both take an unusual approach to spoken truths. PM is renowned for its mistrust of theories. They would rather experience and come to their own conclusions, living and dying by their own sword. SEOs on the other hand, as a colleague of mine stated, are better rewarded for taking a ‘do as we do not as we say‘ approach to search engines. SEOs have learnt over the years that search engines can intentionally set you off on the wrong path. The answer is to look for the finer details and understand their own language, commonly referred to as Googlespeak.

I think the similarities between to two are the result of something inherent in them both. Both are a never-ending process. PM doesn’t believe in finishing. In addition, technically SEO does have a definitive end, the algorithm; our goal is to be lest imperfect. What ‘imperfect’ is however, is what we dont know.
Have a good weekend everyone.

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