Last week I saw this interesting whiteboard Friday which talked about ‘Why We Can’t Just Be SEOs Anymore’ by Rand. Though he has raised some valid points, like ‘perception of SEO is hard to change’, I have to disagree with him overall. Sorry Rand, you are missing the complete picture.
SEO is not bigger than SEO
SEO is all about generating relevant organic traffic to the website through search engines. That’s it. SEO is not about email, CRO, UX, Social Media, Branding, PR, Reputation Management, Coding, Advertising, Customer Service …
You may argue that there are 200+ ranking signals so I need total control on everything which influences SEO. While it is true that they are 200+ ranking signals, don’t forget the 80/20 rulei.e. 80% of your output comes from 20% of the input. If you have worked in the SEO industry long enough, you already know what that 20% is that will generate 80% of the SEO results.
That 20% consists of basic on-page optimization, keyword research, content development and above all link building. We can tweak brand signals, social signals, authorship, Page Rank, markups and other weak ranking signals all day long but they won’t generate any considerable amount of organic traffic on our website. What really drives traffic is that 20% I am talking about.
If we talk about the real world (which could be very different from the blogging world) there could be unlimited ranking signals. For a start, your client is a very strong ranking signal for you. Without his support and cooperation you can’t make any change on his website. No amount of SEO is going to help, if the client is not responsive to your needs and demands. Poor product, bad reputation, poor customer service all are sort of ranking signals which are beyond our control.
Just because something may impact your SEO so you must develop expertise in it or take total control of it is a wrong mindset. Here is why. When someone works as a marketing generalist who knows little bit of everything (well sorry but this is what specialists really think about him) he is eager to give suggestions to specialists (like CRO consultant, PR consultant, Community Managers etc) on how they can do their job better.
Since he is not a specialist, his suggestions may not be well received or align well with the recommendations of specialists. This creates disruption in digital strategies and work environment. So instead of creating synergy the marketing generalist could inevitably end up creating stress and chaos.
Why we can’t just be SEOs: A reply to Rand Fishkin of SEOMoz.