SEO: Art or Science?
It’s an oft-repeated cliche: SEO is one part art and one part science. The Left Brain and Right Brain
delve a little deeper into two Eternal Truths:
The Left Brain Says,“SEO is a Science!
I originally learned SEO by using an experimental
approach: trying different strategies and observing how successful they were.There’s nothing
fancy or difficult about science.It just means asking questions and seeking answers:
keywords to my HTML comments tag help my rankings? Which of these two landing pages will bring
“A PPC campaign provides the best opportunity for testing hypotheses because PPC allows you a
great deal of control over your listings and your landing pages.And,most important, PPC has a
quick turnaround,so you won’t have to wait months for the results of your experiments. So give it
a try (we’ll help you do this in Part III)! Compare results for two ads with slightly different phras-
ing.Or build a page just for testing purposes,and see what happens when you triple the keyword
density. Science is
—hey, don’t look so surprised!”
The Right Brain Says,“SEO is an Art!
SEO can never truly be a science because you’ll never be
working in a vacuum.Your competition pulls a surprise move,the algorithm throws you a curve-
ball…you can’t control for these factors. Sure, your tests are fun,and they can even give you a lot of
helpful insight.But anyone doing SEO needs to be comfortable working in an environment that is
often more guesswork than empirical proof.Isn’t it better to focus on the
text, a thoughtful, user-friendly site design, and personal connections? In its purest form, SEO is the
art of persuasion!”
This is the approach that got us to where we are today; it helped us gain our SEO
knowledge and it keeps the clients coming. This is how we attacked almost every SEO
question or problem before SEO was a big industry with hundreds of books, e-books,
and websites devoted to it. And, more often than not, this is how we still approach
things. It can work for you too!
It goes something like this: You say to yourself, “I wonder why my Google list-
ing has that weird misspelling in it.” Then you spend a few minutes searching for the
misspelled word on your page. If it’s not there, you look for it in your meta tags. Still
not finding it? Browse through the directory listings. “
,” you say, “There’s a mis-
spelling in my Open Directory listing!” Now you’ve learned two things: one, that your
Open Directory listing is feeding into your Google listing, and two, that you’d better
get to work on getting that misspelling fixed.
Or, you say to yourself, “I wonder why my competitor has such good placement
in that shopping directory.” Then you click around until you find the “advertise with
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