Michael Martinez is a lot smarter than I am, but he starts off with a premise that I’ve been saying for five years now, namely, that the SEO profession has been divided by two extremes – The “content is king” purists and the “link building is gold” extremists.
He goes on to say that most SEOs (about 80%-90%) fall somewhere in the middle of those two extremes.
He uses these premises as a springboard for a discussion on the evolution of SEO practices. Like I said, he’s a lot smarter than I am. So he takes this thought process into areas I would not have considered – mathematics and Darwinian natural selection. I’m not so sure there’s a causal connection between the natural selection process and SEO practices, but I’m not that smart.
I have noticed, however, that the practical aspects of his evolutionary theory, as it relates to SEO practices, are quite true. The two SEO extremes seem to exist in isolation. The purists have their forums and communities and the link builders have theirs. Furthermore, the White Hats gather under their banner and the Black Hats meet in the Forest of the Nevergreen.
I’m not much of a conference-goer. I prefer to just do my job. I create content for small businesses that need it to run their businesses. That’s what I do best.
Nevertheless, as Michael says,
You could say that a few search algorithmic storms have devastated both communities and the survivors have been forced to huddle together from time to time to protect each other.
One thing I’ve noticed is that any SEO who is good at what he does watches the search engines. It is pertinent to keep an eye on what Google and Bing are up to in order to discern the best methods for getting your web pages to rank. You may take a short-term approach or a long-term approach (I favor the long-term), but either way you are watching the moves the search engines make so that you can devise your strategy. That’s what SEO is all about.
Where we stand today, I think the Content vs. Links debate is dead. It’s no longer a matter of which one is more important. What matters today is how you are going to convince the search engines that your content and your links are of high enough quality to be counted.
Most small businesses don’t have the resources or the knowledge to make the necessary investigations nor to implement the right strategies in response to search engine policies. It’s become too much of a hassle to keep up with all the fragmentary information being passed around the Web. Today, one of the most important aspects of any search engine optimizer’s job is to sift through loads of philosophy, opinion, testing results, and news to separate the wheat from the chaff. The question is, who can a small business owner trust to ensure it is done right?