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Here's a Dozen Reasons Why The Term SEO (AKA Search Engine Optimization) Is Obsolete

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By Hector Cisneros

I often hear the term SEO in conversations. This happens when consulting with clients or just talking with friends or associates. Yet, few of the people I speak with have a handle on what SEO means to the average business owner. Sure, if you ask them what SEO means most will retort "Search Engine Optimization". However, if you take the question just one step further, you find that the person you're talking to gets stymied, and often resorts to a reply of "I don't know what's entailed". By the same token, I ask prospects what kind of marketing they are engaged in and they will say I have a guy who is doing SEO work for them. Again, when I ask specifically what their "SEO person" is doing, I get the reply, "I don't know"! The truth is - SEO is not just one thing. Twenty years ago SEO did mean on page Search Engine optimization, but today SEO involves hundreds of ranking factors and dozens of both on and off page elements that need to be optimized to maximize your results. In this episode of Working the Web to Win, we will cover a dozen factors that show the term SEO is vague at best at that we should be using a new term like Search Marketing or Content Marketing. So pull out your checklist and get ready to cross your T's and dot your i's as we pull back the curtain on the term SEO.





As a veteran Website builder from the early 90's, I cut my teeth on SEO work from the very beginning of the World Wide Web. As an internet marketer today, engaging in website optimization work is critical to any long term success. In 2015 I wrote, "What Exactly Does SEO Really Mean Today?". What still amazes me is the fact that businesses have made little progress in understanding what they are buying when they purchased so called SEO Work. Other articles we have published on this subject include; "Understanding the SEO Paradigm Shift in Business",  "The Tao of SEO Revisited and Revised", and "Is SEO Still Important Today or in the Future?" 

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We have also published other related articles on this subject that include; "Can DIY SEO Work For Your Business?", and "Team Tech - Your Secret SEO Ranking Weapon".  We have even published articles whose purpose were to help the reader how to spot "SEO scams. These articles include;  "How to Avoid Being Caught in an SEO Phishing Net" and "How to Spot Search Ranking Scams and Other Search Engine Enigmas". We have even provided numerous article on the tools a web master can use to improve their websites ranking. Here's a list of them.




Now lets take a look at the twelve reasons I believe SEO is too nebulous of a term to be used to help business owners succeed at internet marketing. And just so you know, there are even more reasons than these. I just like using an even dozen reasons to make my point.

  1. The term SEO (aka Search Engine Optimization) is obsolete because it doesn't have a coherent meaning.  A dozen or more years ago SEO, referred to on page optimization for metadata and content. Today SEO encompasses too many elements (both on and off the page as high rank factors). Google, for example, has stated that there are hundreds of ranking factors (and they are only specific about a few of them). If you can't coherently define what something is, then it is a useless nebulous term which conveys no meaning.
    Courtesy of Flickr
  2. Search Marketing is now segmented so there is no single optimization for a website. Your web page needs to be optimized dynamically for desktop, tablets, smart devices (like TV's) and mobile browsing on smartphones. It also needs to adapt to multiple brands of browsers (of which there are dozens). Then there is the matter of whether you're optimizing for local, regional, national or global markets (aka Geo Targeting).
  3. Search Engines aren't the only game in town - There is a multitude of marketing venues on the web. Any of the larger Social nets can act as its own search market with its own search capabilities and target audiences. For instance Facebook has over two billion subscribers. LinkedIn had 562 million subscribers and Twitter has 326 million active users, all of which can produce a targeted audience. On top of that is the fact that these are only the top social nets. There are dozens of other social networks with audiences in the tens of millions as well.
  4. The name of the game is change! - Google, Yahoo, Bing, Facebook and all of the main internet marketing venues are constantly monkeying around with their search algorithms, making them impossible to understand, define and plan for. You can get an idea of what works with some research and testing, but those results will change the next time the internet vendors change their algorithms again.
  5. Artificial Intelligence algorithms are changing the trends and search results on the fly. This is happening in real time, which means, unless you know what the current algorithm favors, and you also know what the current trends are, you can't have a clue of how to optimize  for today's organic listing.
    Courtesy of Flickr
  6. Being on page one organically is only half of the equation. Being found is step one. Optimizing for conversion is step two. Obviously, conversion is just as important as being found. Being found is great, but converting traffic is much better. Conversion has little to do with getting found. It is based on your message, your offer, how much of a fuzzy good feeling your webpage produces when the visitor lands there. These elements can overlap, but in most cases getting found and conversion are two different (but related) marketing elements all together.
  7. There is Pay Per Click on Search which will get you on page one today! Why worry about organic search optimization when you can just buy your way onto page one? Well first off, getting found is only the first step. Your message also needs to elicit a click or call. If it's a click, your landing page needs to be optimized for conversions. If it's a call, your sales reps need to be trained to convert callers to customers. Many a business has thrown away lots of money on pay per click because they ignored the importance of the conversion factors in the message and web pages.
  8. Blogs can have their own audience. The world is content hungry! This hunger is what produced the adage "Content is King". In fact, it's not just any old content, it's "high quality content", (meaning high quality prose providing, timely, relevant, useful, entertaining and authoritative content) that matters. If a business can provide "High Quality content" to a large social network  or pay per view audience, they will build their own following and will not need a search engine. 
  9. A Video channel can build their own audience as well. A video blog, web TV show, or educational channel can produce its own audience just like a written blog can. In fact, most prefer to watch a video about a subject than to read about that same subject. You can even get the best of both worlds because you can combine a blog and any multimedia channel. Blogs, videos and podcast are the top rated fodder for the social nets and the social nets have their own audience that is separate from search.
    Courtesy of Flickr
  10. Internet Radio and Podcast, can create their own audiences as well. In fact, you can simulcast a live internet radio show or podcast and a live video stream at the same time. We generally write an article (our blog) which in turn becomes the outline script for out internet radio shows and live Facebook video streams. In many instances, we then backlink all of this content on the blog, radio show and Facebook feeds and them we push out this content on our social nets so that our audience can consume it. This generates traffic and traffic creates ranking!
  11. Email marketing via e-newsletter and email blast are very effective in producing traffic, (especially if you have a double opt-in database of subscribers or customers) Email marketing is one of the oldest and most effective ways to create traffic to your website. Many of the larger internet marketing venues want you to ignore email marketing telling you that the return rate is low and there are spam problems etc. But if a company takes the time to setup email marketing properly, it is a low cost marketing alternative that can produce excellent traffic and sales results (including higher ranking).
    Courtesy of WorkingtheWebtoWin.com
  12. Search Directory profile marketing can produce traffic by itself, to and through the major search engines. By getting your company website listed in a large number of authoritative directories, you can take advantage of their own audience and traffic outside of Google, Yahoo and Bing. Search directory marketing is not separate from search marketing. Instead, it is part of the larger search marketing method. By placing your profile in a large number of search directories, you create authoritative high ranking factors that are backlinks to your website. Authoritative backlinks have always been a high ranking factor and help with search engine ranking. However, these third party search directories also produce traffic on their own because there are people who use these directories to look things up.

After more that 20 years of engaging in "SEO work" of varying kinds, it is my opinion that the TERM SEO Is miss leading business owners to think that Search Marketing is a single element that is low cost and can be handled by a single individual. It's true that a highly skilled professional can engage in many website optimization elements and techniques. However, a single person can't keep up with the constant changes of the dozens of elements that are constantly in flux or evolving into new methods or programs. My job at Working the Web to Win is two folds. I currently oversee and manage a team of professionals who implement our SEO strategies and I spend a good deal of time researching the constant changes taking place that affect internet marketing every day. 
Courtesy of Pexels

If you want to be successful with your efforts at internet marketing, make sure you vet your vendor/s carefully. Make sure you understand what you're buying. Ask for and talk to references, ask how "their SEO marketing" generally works, when can you expect to see results and can you terminate the agreement if it doesn't. In other words, do you receive any guarantees. 

At Working the Webt to Win, guarantees are one of our six unique selling propositions. We provide guarantees for our work and if we don't deliver, you don't pay for that element, period.  If the vendor doesn't address these minimal requirements, you should continue your search for a better vendor. You can always contact us and get a FREE web presence analysis, with no obligation as a second opinion. The officers of Working the Web to Win have more than 50 years of combined internet marketing experience that we can bring to bear to help your business grow. Make sure you choose a vendor with extensive experience and guarantees their work, otherwise you're just gambling with your money.


That's my opinion; I look forward to reading yours.

This article provides a dozen reasons why the term SEO is vague and miss leading for business owners and professionals alike. These twelve reasons will also provide insight as to what does work well in search marketing today and make it much easier for a business owner to avoid being scammed by so called SEO experts. Lastly, this article also provides links to many other articles including a link to the BlogTalkRadio show that goes with this article.


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If you found this article useful, please share it with friends, family, and co-workers. I recommend checking out the links on the blog, along with checking out other related articles on our Show Notes Page.  Also, don’t forget to listen to the BlogTalkRadio show on this subject. If you have a related useful comment or opinion about this article, leave it in the comment section of this blog. Also, don’t forget to plus us, on Google+ and share us on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn as well.


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Hector Cisneros is COO and Director of Social Media Marketing at Working the Web to Win, an award-winning Internet marketing company based in Jacksonville, Florida.  He is also co-host of the weekly Internet radio show, "Working the Web to Win" on BlogTalkRadio.com, which airs every Tuesday at 4 p.m. Eastern. Hector is a syndicated writer and published author of “60 Seconds to Success” and the co-author along with his business partner Carl Weiss of their hit book also called “Working the Web to Win.”

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