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Thread: SEO is Crap Shoot: Seth Godin

  1. #1
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    SEO is Crap Shoot: Seth Godin

    In a recent blog post, Seth Godin seems to be comparing SEO to battling to rank for a one-word phrase and make profit and calls such a SEO move "a glorious crap shoot that usually fails but is wonderful when it works".

    He says that there are millions of sites and that you can't be #1 or #2.

    Which is where he's wrong on two points, however:
    - long tail phrases are easier to rank for, do bring traffic, which converts better and there are many more long tail phrases to aim for
    - you can rank #1 for fairly competitive *targeted* terms, if done right

    He does mention this:
    If you can give it a shot for the right set of keywords and not spend too much or count too much on winning, then go for it. But the other method is a lot more compelling (and, yes, you can do both at the same time).
    but compared with the overall slant of the story and his explanation of what SEO is, I am hereby calling Seth Godin clueless in SEO.


    I don't think Seth had the intent of Jason Calacanis to offend SEOs, but I think his lack of SEO experience shined through, so to speak. I'd forgive him, if he didn't shoot from the hip at SEOs and made a few more reservations regarding the actual goals of SEOs, who actually need to bring sales on a reasonable budget.

    On another hand, the other part of the post talks about building an exceptional product/service to get word of mouth and to own your brand online (like Shoemoney does). I sort of agree with it, but not every SEO client will agree to change his business model, operations and overall approach to customers and business, because you, as his SEO, says so. It's also a long-term approach, while most SEO clients need results now.

    What's your opinion on this?
    Last edited by A.N.Onym; 04-13-2009 at 07:11 AM.
    Yura

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    you're kiddin right???
    I love wine and beer

  3. #3
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    Yes, he's touched upon 2 of the 3 seo strategies imo.

    1) head terms - high volume, high competition, high traffic
    2) personal branding - unique terms (low competition) that you can *easily* get ranked, but low volume and relies on non SE awareness to drive queries
    3) long tail - we all know what it is

    I'm sure there are others, but these are the big 3 categories, from my point of view, that most seo strategies fall into.

    I think he oversimplified it into yellow vs white pages, which is not giving credit to the long tail and as some people have discovered, the long tail is where the money's at.

    When you really analyze keywords in the long tail, you soon come to realize that the long tail is actually a giant multi-pronged tail that can take you off into many different directions.
    Find your company listing on Manta.com and claim it for free - upload a logo, add detailed info, contact info and (seo friendly) links

  4. #4
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    Aaron Wall had a comment at his Seobook blog....and yours truly jumped in w/ some comments.

    (Geez (@skittz and Pops). I like singles, doubles, triples, walks, balks, stolen bases, etc.)

    Get some relevant traffic any way you can. Then get more.

  5. #5
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    Seth's article is not directed at SEOs. It is directed at mainstream people like... um... what's a good example...?

    Plumbers.

    These people are not savvy about online marketing - especially SEO - which is why they are at that site. If you want advice from pros for pros, seomoz may be a better bet. I don't agree with it from the perspective of someone who has won that fight. I do looking at it from my client's point of view which is why they hired me.
    |
    Clue in soon!

  6. #6
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    I reread Seth's post, reread the thread at Aaron Wall's blog and added a couple of comments.

    I interpret Seth's comments as referencing and highlighting "branding". As Reuben referenced, it is one of several strategies. I added some more commentary at the thread in Seobook (linked above).

    I have no problems w/ branding. In its own right it works. Just think though, you can get even more traffic if you work on all 3 strategies as Reuben referenced above. The big target topic might be unobtainable for all but the biggest hitting SEO's...but the other two areas can both be achieved.

  7. #7
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    I think he meant to say just make your brand first and then let people find you in google.

    But I think he does not know SEO is online promotion, It means you have to make your presence stronger using ethical SEO techniques and it can also help to make buzz of your service or your trademark.

    unless and until you are a very big company or somewhat, people are not going to talk about you (at least online).

    I guess he is totally confused on SEO..

  8. #8
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    I doubt Seth is confused about SEO. I'd say he's got it spot on. A baseball card collecting store should not target the [baseball] or even the phrase [baseball cards]. They just don't have the chops for it. Now if they want to $$$pay$$$ someone to get it for them, they can do that. Or if they want to $$$invest$$$ time to learn how to do it and then $$$invest$$$ more time to actually do it, that's fine too. Though that is a horrible strategy for a small business. They should focus their marketing on other things first. Like branding.
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  9. #9
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    Well, small business *are* the companies who can hugely benefit from ranking for long tail keyphrases, for a relatively small cost and timeframes at that. Seth somehow missed the long tail thing, the highest ROI SEO undertaking ever.
    Yura

  10. #10
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    Oh those high profile guys will say anything to stir up controversy. He may not even believe what he said. When I see stuff like that these days, I look for my [ctrl][alt][ignore] button.
    You'll never shine if you don't glow

    Donna Fontenot - eBusiness Coach / Consultant.

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