Thursday, September 10, 2009

SEO: The most abused word in the tech world today

BY VJ Misra 
Mon Aug 31, 2009 at 7:21 PM

Yes, I said it! Search Engine Optimization or "SEO" for short is the most abused tech jargon today. A while back it was Web 2.0 and Consultant. Everyone and their brother was an IT consultant or a Web 2.0 expert. A couple years prior to that were the "Y2K experts" and specialists who cashed in at the right time.

Fixing the Y2K or the millennium bug (for those who remember) was a huge cash cow for IT consulting companies. Year 2000 Computing Crisis started off with the discovery of a two digit year in computer systems. Had the computer programmers initially programmed systems with a four digit year (19xx) we wouldn’t have a problem. But back then due to memory, space and resource constraints, computer programmers abbreviated the four digit year (1999) to two digits (99). The problem came when in the year 2000 the dates would move from 99 back to 00.

Millions, perhaps billions of dollars, were spent to fix the Y2K bug worldwide. Almost all industry sectors were hit. Among them the most prominent being banks & financial institutions, government, utility and healthcare. Smart IT companies and "Y2K consultants" cashed in on the spending spree.

History is repeating itself again. SEO has taken over Y2K now. "SEO Guru" is someone who is conning his way to happily cash in your bank roll. Okay, so before all SEOs get up in arms, and start writing hate mails, let me clarify: I am not talking about the genuine folks who would like to help tech-challenged clients for little or no money. But for people who are slightly above average in technical skills, this is a DIY. Optimizing a website for Google or other crawlers or bots for effective search indexing can be done relatively painlessly. The caveat here is that the person should be relatively tech savvy.

Most everyone thinks they are cool and knowledgeable enough to be SEO experts. Little do people know how easy it actually is to optimize your website for search engines? But then again, not everyone is a technology expert. For fear of backlash, I will not exactly spell out here how to optimize your website, but it is fairly easy.

On a similar note, branding and PR are two other things where people seem to be experts. I talked to a few "experts" and quickly realized they were clueless. They did not know the basic difference between Advertising and PR. Go figure!

Advertising is NOT PR and Public Relations is definitely not Advertising. Similarly, Branding is not Positioning and vice versa. I will let you intelligent folks discover it to your satisfaction using your favorite browsers and search engines.
Go out and enlighten yourself...and please stop getting duped.

This stright-talk should wake up the crowd from SEO-euphoria. SEO has been one of the Web 2.0 buzzwords these days which has been hot topic in marketing & technology conferences. In retrospect, I think what's important is to have clear objective & strategy in our digital initiatives from the first place. Given the clarity, all those things become the tools to reach the intended audience for the brands.

I was thinking that in near future, there will be new definition of Digital SOV, which is the first search page of given keywords in Google, Yahoo or Bing - and Nielsen will start selling the tracking data on it.