Semantics of SEO

Warning :: This is a Useless Rant

Every now and then the topic of defining SEO comes up. Many an SEO will tell you that SEO encompases the entire spectrum of Internet marketing. PPC management, organic SEO, link building, brand management, naming, public relations, publicity and redefining business models – supposedly this is all the job of the SEO.

I have two major compliant here, maybe three.

One, SEO happens to be an abbreviation of search engine optimization. Not Internet marketing. Not brand management. If you want to change careers, go ahead and change careers, but don’t try to rebrand SEO as one of the more respectable professions. We all know what SEO really is.

Two, while many an SEO attempts to claims to be an Internet marketing professional, they do not in fact offer those marketing services. Their sole concern is search engine rankings. Or, err, no. Their sole concern is rankings on Google.

SEO has a place in marketing and SEO has merits, but let’s keep the terminology meaningful. If you focus on search engine rankings and search engine based traffic generation, you are an SEO (yeah, I use the term lightly). If you do more than SEO – marketing, brand building, publicity, design enhancements that increase conversions – then you are doing Internet marketing.

An analogy would be in order. Say you are building a house. The roofing contractor helps build the house. He does the roofing. But he’s not a builder. A roof alone does not make a building. SEO alone is not Internet marketing.

I know, I know. Nobody cares about the semantics, but I do. And it does matter when we discuss priorities. An Internet marketing professional will not have the same set of priorities as an SEO where web design elements are involved.

And my main gripe is when SEO’s present their services as the end all, be all of Internet marketing. There’s so much more than just search engine rankings to be had.

End rant.

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