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Tuesday, May 4, 2010

What makes SEO complicated

More often than not, when we are asked to provide a quote for our search engine optimization services, the prospective client is surprised at the amount of work we tell them must be done and the resulting cost.

Perhaps the expectation-reality gap is a result of the ease with which so many other technical tasks can be completed with automated tools. Buy a copy of Microsoft FrontPage and build a web site in an afternoon. So, SEO should be similarly simple, right?

Unfortunately, while technology tools can make a light work of a lot of tasks, building a well-optimized website is not one of them.

For the most part, the SEO implementation process relies on human judgment and know-how. A generic SEO tool can’t be expected to understand the complex terminology in an industrial or other business-to-business environment or how to differentiate those terms from the same ones in other uses.

Similarly, an automated tool won’t be able to write optimized copy that also makes a compelling case for your products and services to the prospects you’re targeting.
Most importantly, the search engines themselves prevent the SEO process from being easily automated.

Imagine you run Google. Your company derives its revenue by selling advertising in the form of textual ads on its search engine results pages. Also on those pages are free listings, ranked by your company. Knowing that those free listings are considered the more valuable real estate, will you allow businesses to capture those positions for the price of a $39.95 third-party software?

Or, will you make the system sufficiently complicated for businesses to attain a first-page position that most give up in frustration and instead buy into your AdWords pay-per-click program?

That’s the real reason why SEO is complicated.