Most average people have know idea what SEO is, and have probably never even heard the term before. Still, the industry is essential to running a popular and credible website. It is important enough that there are an inordinant amount of people writing about it every day online. That wide amount of people writing has lead to the spread of apparent misinformation, usually by well-meaning people who were never exactly explained what SEO is and what one does.
That type of misinformation, though well intentioned, seems to have lead to a bit of an identity crisis for the market. We can see it in a couple recent articles for Smashing Magazine. The first is called “The Inconvenient Truth About SEO” and the second is its rebuttal. The first simulataneously cites the spread of misinformation as a huge issue in the field, while also attributing numerous non-SEO practices to the industry. While trying to show that a lot of the practices offered by so-called “SEO experts” are can actually be wastes of money, Paul Boag also shows that his own idea of SEO has slipped askew from what SEO does.
The rebuttal, by Bill Slawski, on the other hand is aimed at resolving these questions about what an SEO does, and more importantly, doesn’t do. Summarizing it in short would not do justice to the full explanation he offers, so I suggest just diving in and reading what he has to say.
It is hard to say that Bill Slawski’s idea of what SEO does is exactly correct either, as the people working in the field are the ones who define it, and some SEOs have been using these practices. Instead, think of it as a way to get closer to a more traditional spin on current SEO practices, and what SEO really means.