SEO: Part Science, Part Art, Part What?

Posted by on December 22, 2010 in SEO [ 13 Comments ]

SEOFor some, when thinking of SEO they get all wide eyed and dizzy. SEO can be overwhelming at times, and with Google and the other search engines changing their algorithm so often, it can become even more frustrating. Depending on whom you ask, they will say SEO is more science, while others think it is more of an art form. But is it more than just one or the other?

Part Science
SEO has many parts to the equation, and obviously when you are dealing with algorithms and formulas science is involved.  According to Search Engine Watch, “Obviously, data and analytics are essential pieces of the work, along with disciplined testing and analyses. While many times it’s the hunches a SEO has that allow her to discover things, the process cannot and will not stand up to a disorganized approach. You must have a formal structure and procedure with which to work through things, because SEO audits (especially for large enterprise-level sites) can be severelycomplicated affairs.”

For many of us, this is the part that makes our head spin. After all, isn’t that why we are in marketing? I doubt many of us double majored in chemistry and marketing. With that being said, a great attribute a marketer will have is the ability to adapt. SEO is such an intricate roll for your company’s website that we as marketers need to get over the math and science aspect of SEO and embrace it.

In science you need to observe and come up with a hypothesis and then test to see if your hypothesis is correct. The same goes for SEO, since we never know the exact algorithm, it’s hard to decide what will and won’t work with on page optimization.

Part Art
One of the few things we know for sure about SEO is that the more links pointing to your site the better. This makes writing an integral part of the process.

Getting on highly accredited blogs and publishing sites cannot be done without a great knowledge of your field and know the ability to write compelling content.

Taking writing out of the picture, you also need to be creative in your ideas and tactics. Being able to see the big picture and find new creative ways to get your site mentioned on other sites is a key part of SEO. Doing the same thing over and over again expecting the same results is the definition of insanity, so make sure you aren’t doing the same thing over and over again for SEO.

StuckOn, a SEO firm in the UK, believes, “Artistry makes something beautiful, but it needs purpose for it to work in the real world, and that’s where the heart of a philosopher comes in. The best SEOs know their Aeschylus from their Euripides, and can ‘think’ for their country.”

Part What?
Even with science and art, there is something else that is needed for a great SEO strategy to work. What is it? Well it’s education. Reading up on changes to Google’s algo and tools that are best to help your SEO efforts can really up your chances of having a great strategy.

Sites like Search Engine Land and SEO Book are great sites to utilize to stay up to date on the latest SEO tips and trends. There are also a slew of other great SEO consultants that put out fantastic content. This is a must for any industry, but with SEO it is even more important because of the constant change. What worked one day, might not the next.

The challenge SEO brings can be exciting and fun if you let it. The science might make your head hurt, but focus on the art and education too. There is more than one piece of the puzzle when it comes to SEO so make sure you are doing all you can on all sides.


13 thoughts on “SEO: Part Science, Part Art, Part What?


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  5. avataraaron wall

    the link which says “seo book” points at searchenginewatch. did you mean to link at the seobook website there? or did you mean to use search engine watch as the link anchor text?


  6. avatarMark

    Shannon, I feel that good SEO is truly a balance of science and art. There are tons of things you can do within lines of code to make the spiders crawl a site more efficiently, but there is also an art to networking and setting up backlinks, as well as making sure your existing site keeps its artistic style while being optimized!


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