Monday, March 22, 2010

SEO "Best Practices" Are Bunk

In an article on Search Engine Land, Adam Audette describes how the Best Practices model is not worth using in search engine optimization (SEO). Audette gives a brief background as to how Best Practices was started in the mid 1990's, and then begins to discuss how the methodology fails when being used for SEOs. Audette claims specifically that the entire basis of Best Practices, which is based on using a specific rule set, used throughout an organization to follow a certain procedure to achieve the "best" practice, is incompatible with how SEO is currently being used.

Aduette then explains the negatives of Best Practices for SEOs;
"By their very nature, best practices are rule-sets that are standardized and formalized procedures. There is no competitive advantage in having best practices, at least in SEO. There is only a summation of basic webmastering (e.g., place relevant keywords in the title tag, make pages semantic and relevant, etc). That’s simply not cutting it anymore, because frankly, that stuff represents the basic price of admission. Best practices are neutered, stale and massively reproduced conventions that have been used (and sometimes abused) to the point of ubiquity. SEO and ubiquity don’t mix. By definition, a best practice:
1-Is a static rule-set
2-Is a standard to be followed has worked in the past (read: is old)
3-Has been popularized (read: is average)
4-Limits judgement, evaluation, and strategy (cornerstones of quality search marketing)."


Strengths:
  • Is a set of rules that can be taught
  • Can be employed throughout an organization to improve multiple areas
Weaknesses:
  • Not dynamic
  • Doesn't work in overly competitive constantly changing industries

7 comments:

  1. While I think the author makes a good point that in a fast moving technology driven environment constant changes should be implemented, his statement that best practices "represents the basic price of admission" means there is some value for best practices for those entering the arena. Additionally, if his definition of best practices comes from the mid-1990s, he may not be aware of developments in the implementation of the technique. Besides just the look of a website, application of best practice to processes such as innovation allows a company to improve search engine optimization by improving a company's ability to make constant innovation a company routine.

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