7 Things You Need to Know About SEO

By Xah Lee. Date:

So this SEO copywriter walks into a bar, grill, pub, public house, Irish bar, bartender, drinks, beer, wine, liquor, four loko. — Victor Haffling (lahaff) 2011-01-06

SEO is quite amazing. I am a programer working in web applications, but also consider myself a expert of SEO (what do i know!). I've read almost all Google has to say about SEO. (over hundreds of articles, videos, in the past 5 years) But SEO is actually mostly not about tech or web dev. It's more like 60% being knowledge of online marketing, and 40% knowledge of how to use ready-made online tools (such as WordPress, Blogger, Google Analytics, Twitter, Facebook, and some HTML/CSS and some JavaScript.) Yesterday, i thought why not add “#seo” hash in a Twitter tweet. Wham, immediately i got 3 retreats and followers, all from people whose profile claims to be kings and knights of SEO. And my blog got 10 more subscribers.

I always wondered how so many Twitters have 10k followers. [see 3 Twitter Facts You'll Never Forget] Their articles are often drivels. “10 Tips You Must know!”, “5 ways to make your life easier!”, “8 tricks to get more readers”. The type of articles you see in girl's mag such as Cosmopolitan, or gossip mags. The whole “SEO” shebang often are questionable. And i do know, in my study earlier this year (See: Popular Money Making Websites), it's a HUGE business, with thousands or perhaps tens of thousands businesses in the SEO market. And apparently, many average Joe are making a living writing blogs. (so-called professional bloggers) At first, you find it questionable of their claims about how much they make. But looking into it seriously, clearly quite a few of them make a average living out of it, and some are famous in making over 100k/year just by writing mundane non-academic articles. (such as how to write blogs, celebrity gossip, how to take good photos. You can read about them in Wikipedia articles on blogging, youtube, etc.)

In a word, the “SEO” is usually just about marketing. To illustrate, their ultimate quest, is about how to make a no-content website sell. “Make Money Fast!”, would be a good descriptive slogan.

Thinking about this, it does make some sense. If you look at magazines or newspapers, in many mags, there's a section of ads. There's always lots of ads. Lots of it is about making money quick. And their ads often look odd or questionable. This seems to be the norm. Millions of small businesses trying to make money seems to be the norm, and probably been so for hundreds or perhaps thousands of years.

Looking at this more positively, this trend is inevitable. Remember Batman? They've got watches that can talk to Robin, and in some science fiction, even video, and can also function as a camera for spies. Today, every $20 cellphone has all that, but also connecting to internet. Every laptop has a built-in microphone and camera. And then there's iPod amazon, iPad amazon, iPhone, Kindle amazon. Printed newspapers is becoming a historical artifact. And personally, i haven't bought a printed book since 2002. From a futurism perspective, all things going digital is a inevitability. Not in a flip-a-switch way, but gradually. And marketing, business, making money, flowed with tech progress to the web. Thus, “SEO” is simply a new name, for the whole sector of Marketing and advertising of our time. And what's “marketing”? That's the vein of capitalism, the blood of our prosperous USA!

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