Anyone working in Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) will tell you it has a bad rep. But does it have a bad rap? SEO is the process of trying to make a website as visible as possible in your search results. Love it or hate it, SEO is important and if you run a website or have a brand that you want noticed, you want good SEO.
Google is out to get black hat SEO practitioners and poor quality content, while every site is working hard to make sure that its SEO is good enough for the search engine giant.
Most people see SEO as an attempt to game search engines (or Google, to be exact). By using the right keywords and by securing backlinks from quality sites, a site-owner can effectively push their content to the front page of Google searches without actually providing the right content. And who cares about page two most users rarely go past the first search results page on Google, so getting a high ranking is critical.
Enter Rand Fishkin. Fishkin is famous in SEO circles and a founder of SEOmoz, a software development company that specialises in search engine optimisation. The SEO guru practices another kind of SEO: white hat SEO, namely the optimisation of sites through good quality content and legitimate practices.
The company was founded in 2004 and raised US$1.25-million in Series A funding in September 2007. Between 2008 and 2011 it grew from US$1.5 million to US$11.4 million in revenue. In June 2012, SEOmoz acquired Followerwonk, a tool for searching, filtering and managing Twitter bios with other Twitter management functions like analytics, after raising US$18-million in VC funds from the Foundry Group. Fishkin has been busy.
The man behind what is arguably the most respected search optimisation company in the world chatted to Memeburn about the future of SEO. Fishkin believes that Google isnt actually out to get SEOs. He reckons the search giant has been friendlier to SEO in the last few years, providing guides to SEO practitioners to help them do their job better.
The search marketing guru says that Googles actions against black hat attempts to game the search engine makes the illegal practice less attractive, which leads to better search results and better quality content for all. He also believes that the future of SEO lies in good quality marketing and good brands with good missions.
Memeburn: SEO has got such a bad reputation why do you think that is?
Rand Fishkin: I think a big part of it is because SEO spam happens at such a big scale. A lot of people get emails in their inboxes that say buy SEO from us. Its only a few bad apples were not talking about thousands of people, maybe a couple of dozen but they leave millions of spam comments on peoples blogs, they spam major articles on websites, hack websites, hack university sites and try to get the ranking for Viagra and porn. Those few bad apples give the whole industry a bad name.
I think another part of it too is that it strikes a lot of people initially as being manipulative. Not as a good activity that I should engage in to help search engines and people find my site, that makes the web a better place by providing the content that you, the searcher, needs. But instead, it is seen as oh, youre trying to manipulate things, and manipulation is bad.
Why SEO isnâ€™t evil by search guru Rand Fishkin