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Advanced SEO: Manipulation or Marketing Savvy?
Monday, October 04, 2010
I find it somewhat amusing when people discuss advanced SEO.  First, from what I have seen out on the Web, many webmasters, site owners, and SEOs are still having difficulty with SEO fundamentals.   I cannot believe the number of well known brands and websites that are out there that are not leveraging proper SEO techniques.  Secondly, everyone seems to have a different perception of what advanced SEO really is.  Some will tell you, advanced SEO is all of the technical stuff, others will suggest that advance SEO involves detailed link enhancement and practices such as page rank sculpting.  Thirdly, people get confused with SEO and organic search marketing or with SEO and online marketing in general.  Contrary to popular belief, SEO and online marketing is not the same thing per se.

SEO stands for search engine optimization or search engine optimizer.  So while there is some truth that SEO means to optimize for search engines, there is a slight negative connotation associated with that.  This is the issue that I have with the term "SEO".  I personally do not like being referred to as an SEO for the simple reason that I am not trying to manipulate the search engines.  I am trying to deliver useful, relevant and important content to people who are searching for it.  I have had the pleasure of working with some of the largest brands in the world, and not once have I served up solutions to deceive or manipulate the search engines.  It is, always has been and always will be about relevancy and helping my clients finding the information that they are looking for via the mechanism of a search engine.

What is Advanced SEO Anyway?

Well as mentioned, this is part of the problem.  Advanced SEO means different things to different people.  Are we talking strategy or are we talking specific tactics?  Advanced SEO most likely comes in at the mid to later stages of the SEO maturity model, but advanced SEO can consist of a lot of different practices.  I would consider that advanced SEO has three dynamics:
  1. Advanced SEO is proactive in nature - advanced SEO is not necessarily mean reacting to a search engine algorithm update.  Employing advanced SEO means that algorithm updates should have very little impact on you, because your web properties are clean, well optimized and employing fundamentals but are optimized for the user first and search engines second. 
  2. Advanced SEO is more strategic in nature -while there are advanced SEO tactics out there, advanced SEO really focuses on the big picture and is aligned with your business objectives.
  3. Advanced SEO is constantly evolving - advanced SEO involves a process in which practices change into a different and usually more complex or improved practice.
How many times have you been to a search engine conference that features sessions labeled "Advanced" only to come out of it with a rehash of best practices and repetition of tactics that have been communicated previously? 

Advanced SEO:  Manipulation or Marketing Savvy?

For me, advanced SEO is not about manipulation of the search engines to try and artificially inflate your presence within the search results.  Again advanced SEO should be about being proactive and about optimizing for your users and your audience first.  The truth of it is, to some, advanced SEO may very well be manipulation, yet to others advanced SEO might be considered a marketing savvy practice.  To us, advanced SEO is really neither.  If we had to choose one, we might lean towards advanced SEO being a marketing savvy practice.  The reason?  We view advanced SEO as being proactive, strategic, and evolutionary and any time you have that type of combination, it takes experience, knowledge and may involves levels of complexity that are not a part of fundamental techniques.

Advanced SEO is about understanding your audience, planning how to provide great content to serve the needs of that audience and applying innovation and new technologies to your SEO practices.  It is not about page rank sculpting, buying links, or over optimization.
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posted by Jody @ Monday, October 04, 2010  
  • At 12:10 AM, Anonymous ReputationManagementConsultants.com said…

    I agree. SEO is really an ever-changing industry so there are no real experts. SEOs are all students...

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