Search Engine Optimization. If you’re in the web industry and you haven’t heard this term, then you’re really not in the web industry. For those of us who are, it’s tossed around about as much as AJAX these days. For those who are out of the loop, this is a fancy acronym for work done to a website to make it friendlier to the search engines. It can be something as simple as reworking a few bits of the site, to a complete overhaul, to paying for the search results to be artificially altered in that site’s favor.
There is some legitimacy to this practice, but in reality, the hype is over the top. I go so far as to call it a sham because there are so many shysters running around saying that they can do it and maybe they can. Really though, it’s not that hard and this abbreviation is as misleading as SUV. It’s all a clever marketing ploy that people have latched on to and overuse.
Really, no site should ever need SEO work done to it. A site should be designed properly from the start and maintained properly after that point. Obviously the actual practice of this can fall apart due to committee decisions, time constraints, staff attrition, and a great many other things. But, a site should be like an informational pamphlet; to pull in a 20th century print reference in to it. It should be easy to read and if someone can’t stand back and see that it isn’t, then the people working on it need to be talked to or even replaced. Calling in an SEO expert is really a waste of money. I suppose that some firms can really use this due to extreme neglect to their sites over the years, but that’s the kind of neglect that a business should have learned not to do years ago when the dot-com first took of.
I’m on a rant about this because essentially I do SEO work without really doing SEO work. I don’t call myself a Search Engine Optimizer because I don’t need to. I do the job I set out to do and I feel that I do it well. Take this site for example. It is XHTML compliant, has a Google PageRank of 3 (not shabby for a personal site I do nothing to promote) and it is the number one search result out of 29,000 when you search for ‘hudin’. Okay, so it’s been around for a few years and that plays in to ranking to some degree. But, this site has somewhere around 1,000 pages now. It isn’t web friendly at that size without doing a few things. What are these things? Planning, paying attention, and doing my job. Another site that is a good example of doing my job is This domain didn’t even exist four months ago. Since purchasing it and building the site, it is now at number 8 or so in results when searching for ‘belden place’ on Yahoo and that is out of 645,000 results. This was done without spending a cent to promote it or fix rankings and even if I had, most of the places rigging search results take about 1-2 months to move a site.
It all comes down to building a site the right way and making it work. I feel this line of thinking neutralizes and makes SEO an obsolete a term. So, what do we call proper site development? How about WBS (pronounced ‘webs’) which quite simply stands for Well Built Sites. It’s a simple concept I know, but really, so is making a site that works.