In violent agreement!
Danny Sullivan at Search Engine Watch writes,
“Search marketing is more than buying ads -- SEO is the search world's equivalent to public relations. It also doesn't mean that you have to link spam, comment spam or content spam. Content-driven SEO -- I'm writing more about this next week -- is something anyone should be considering.
You can have all the great content you want. Neglect some basic things to make your site search engine friendly, and you aren't getting in. It's like saying that you need never reach out to the press, they'll just somehow magically discover you've launched a new product, done something interesting. Search engines are better at discover, but outreach still helps -- SEO is that type of outreach.”
While Danny might be surprised to hear this, I completely agree with him. I’m not a harsh critic of SEO, despite what you may have heard.
I want to clarify two things.
First, the entire Search Engine community is now more important than it was a year ago. By far. It’s now an “industry” the same way movies and TV media cabals have become an industry. No, there’s no Daily Variety and they don’t report hirings and firings in Entertainment Weekly, but the astonishing success of Google and of AdWords means that just about every organization is now concerned about what’s going on. It’s not just for geeks and tweakers. That’s a sea change from the old days.
Which leads to my second point. Just a short time ago, SEO was seen as a shortcut by marketers unwilling to do the hard work of actually making a product and a site that mattered. In that era, SEO was the quick way to get cheap traffic—cheap so you could afford to waste it.
Today, it’s different. The bar is higher. People have figured out how to make online offers that work. Once you’ve done that homework, it’s important (probably imperative) to streamline your site so that it works better with search engines. Why wouldn’t you?