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The Mysterious and Magical World of SEO

Dan Cash

In June, a survey conducted by the Interactive Advertising Bureau, based in the US, found that search driven marketing is still mostly confined to specialists. According to their results, outside of the digital team, 60% didn’t have much idea of how search can build a business although 78% understood how PPC works, based, as it is, on an understandable marketing model which is basically “I show you pretty pictures, you like them and you click on them.”

In the New York Enterprise Report, Robert Levin states that “Image courtesy of

The Great Beast Shows Us His "SEO" Tools.

Not withstanding the implication that if you’re not directly involved in ebusiness a pretty website is nice but not really necessary, the study seems to suggest that there is a misconception among IT professionals and business leaders that SEO is purely down to the website and the website alone. That is to say, they perceive SEO being driven by content, code, tagging and metatags. It is not seen, it seems, as a part of the organic, natural search process. SEO consultants talk to their clients about fresh unique content, back links and PRs, the marketing people smile, nod, pretend they understand and then carry on as usual. This means that business growth, both in web presence and in fiscal terms, is stymied by misunderstanding and misapprehension of the SEO process.

Bottom line: It doesn’t matter who you are, if your customers can’t find you they’ll go with the guys they can.

Levin, in the same article, asks if SEO is overrated, saying: "[T]hat for most small businesses, SEO may not be as crucial to success as it's often implied.”  While other reporters state that marketing executives find the SEO process a complex “black box” technique since optimizing requires looking into the algorithms used by search engines. This attitude seems almost mediaeval, like the fear of witchcraft where those who didn’t understand something, those who were afraid of the unknown condemned it as The Dark Arts.

Of course we realise that search engine optimisation does what it says on the packet. It’s a method of optimising your presence on search engines, nothing more. There’s nothing magical or mysterious about it. Google may change their algorithmic methods from time to time, well up to 450 times in some years so nobody is absolutely certain how the latest changes work but good SEO, a conjunction of well written, targeted and structured websites, quality link buiding, twittering will always show quality results. Nothing magical about that, just hard, smart work.

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