Is SEO just guesswork?

Posted on December 7, 2009

 

Detractors of SEO often refer to ‘search engine optimisation specialists’ as people who just take wild stabs in the dark with regards to SEO. If one thing doesn’t work, they can always try something else. They believe that nobody really knows what works for sure and Google isn’t about to tell anyone, so is SEO really just guesswork?

SEO Pure Guesswork?

Are SEO specialists just making blind stabs in the dark, unsure of what really works and what doesn’t?

In a sense, they are right. SEO isn’t a set of rules that exist in a textbook somewhere, with a hard and fast set of answers to questions. You can’t consult books, or even a group of people, and say ‘will this work?’ and expect to get a consistent or definitive answer. Nothing is written in stone and Google sure isn’t about to reveal how its algorithm works and why certain websites rank above others.

Even if Google did explain its algorithm, by the time it had finished explaining, it would have already changed. So not much help there then!

So are the SEO detractors right? Is SEO nothing more than pure guesswork?

SEO is pure guesswork in much the same way that poetry or art is guesswork. There are guidelines to how something should be done, there are so called experts who judge what they believe to be ‘correct’ and ‘proper’ and there are rules to be broken. Equally, the most successful artists or poets are constantly challenging those rules and the perceptions of what has gone before, using new techniques and styles to create a new form.

SEO is like this. There are general conventions (links = good, spam = bad, content = v.good) and there are hidden variants and techniques that aren’t made public. The best SEO professionals, like the best artists, devise their own way of working after spending years of experimenting, sampling, testing and practicing. They’re constantly honing their skills, adapting to new trends, new techniques and new movements, so that their work becomes fluid and evolving.

SEO isn’t guesswork; it’s based on a career’s worth of experience. That’s why the best SEOs have been in the industry for over a decade – are you looking to hire an SEO artist, or an SEO student?

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1 Comment »

  1. […] of SEO, as it stands today, is based on guesswork. That’s what it boils down to. Search engines want to promote the democratic nature of the […]

    Pingback by Why Learning SEO Is (Probably) Good For You - Simo Ahava's blog — June 18, 2013 @ 6:42 pm

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