The Inconvenient Truth about SEO

One fine day my online friends Patrick Altoft and AJ Kohn were mad at Smashing Magazine for not getting SEO. Why?

The popular Web design blog published an incisive piece misrepresenting search engine optimization under the ominous headline “the inconvenient truth about SEO”.

Are they right? Do the people over at Smashing Magazine have no clue about modern SEO? Should we – the real SEO practitioners – be angry?

Smashing Magazine’s Track Record on SEO Coverage

I simply couldn’t believe this. I have been reading Smashing Magazine for several years and even remembered vaguely that they do have good SEO resources as well.

Yeah, they covered it before the infamous anti-SEO rant they have published last week and not only Patrick and AJ are rightfully disappointed about.

Many people have already stepped in in the comment section and explained what modern SEO is about.

I went another way though. I just looked over at Smashing Magazine itself to find out what else they do write about Search Engine Optimization and adjacent disciplines.

I have found a few valuable resources. Well, they know what SEO is all about, even from different angles.

A recent great post by Brad Shorr from Straight North has explained it for example: How Content Creators Benefit From The New SEO

Due to big changes in the SEO landscape

  • designers
  • photographers
  • videographers
  • writers

have new opportunities to build their reputation, expand brand awareness and generate more leads.

When Smashing Magazine Writers Did Their Homework

Here are the other Smashing Magazine articles that explain many facets of search engine optimization quite aptly:

Content Strategy: Optimizing Your Efforts For Success

To maximize your SEO, visibility and more, and to ensure the audience is engaged and entertained, you have to give ’em some meat. Make them admire your concision, but also give them enough to chew on.

Improving The Online Shopping Experience, Part 1: Getting Customers To Your Products

Increase visibility in search engine results using SEO techniques, including picking the right keywords and creating keyword-rich and search-friendly page URLs, titles, headings, tags and content. SEO is not a dirty acronym if done the right way.

Make Your Content Make a Difference

I don’t think all SEO is bad. There are legitimate SEO concerns, techniques and advisors. Just remember that SEO tricks are not magic pills for your content ills.

The latest anti-SEO rant was just an exception IMHO. Do not throw out the baby with the bathwater.

We can not blame others for not understanding us. We have to explain SEO better to non-expert audiences. That’s the main issue here in my opinion.

Most people in the search industry write for other professionals. I’m guilty of that myself sometimes. I always tried to reach wider audiences though. I attempted to connect with the

  1. blogging
  2. social media
  3. web design
  4. content
  5. usability/UX
  6. conversion/CRO

people. They also know how the Web works but they focus on different aspects of it and often shy away from the SEO voodoo many don’t get.

Write for a Bigger but Web-savvy Audience

Make these highly-skilled people understand what SEO is about and how it differs from adjacent disciplines and the rest will follow.

As long as even similar Web-savvy individuals struggle to grasp what we really do we will have to deal with myths and low quality SEO taking center stage whenever someone encounters it.

Thus I urge you to write for the other 99,9%, not just the bunch of other experts.

First address the 10% who can understand it when they get an explanation from us, the only ones who know about SEO.

They can translate it to the broader public as well. Only we can represent SEO properly, not people from outside. They can only trust us and repeat what we say.