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Friday, February 28, 2014

Why SEO is About Pull, Not Push

The best advice for executing SEO in 2014 is to always be open to new ways of thinking about the industry. Over the past few years, SEO has been forced to evolve and segment into several distinct practices: content marketing, public relations, reputation management, technical consulting and so on.

While these segments are often divisive – geeks shunning community managers, web analysts dismissing copywriters – their presence forces both generalists and specialists alike to be more introspective, to question the services they offer, and to push the industry to evolve at an excitingly disruptive pace.

Recently I've been contemplating whether SEO should be considered a marketing service at all – and I've been meditating on the fact that it is undeniably closer to being a "feature" of web development, rather than a way of marketing a brand to an audience.

Thinking about SEO in this way unlocks a new approach to search optimization. It distances the SEO folks from other marketing channels and allows them to adopt a vocabulary that imitates developers and designers.

When we start thinking about SEO as a feature of a product, instead of a marketing service, it aligns efforts with innovative methodologies found elsewhere in digital: lean/agile development, responsive operating systems and user-centric design.

Though SEO is admittedly still – at its heart – a way of optimizing a marketing channel, I've always found it productive to think about our service offering through alternative or unconventional lenses.

How to Improve Upon the Product

Historically, search optimization comes as an afterthought for many businesses.

Once the site has been built, the SEO team is usually brought on to "push" the website out into search engines, and execute tactics in hopes of bringing more visibility and traffic to the website.
 Many SEO professionals subscribe to this methodology. They encourage and educate clients to perceive search optimization as a way to better market their website within the search marketplace. They use marketing-speak, such as share of voice, to describe the hold or presence of a brand within a vertical.


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