Blog Posts About SEO

Don’t Paint All SEOs With the Same Brush

SEO Paint Brush

By Ava Naves, Principal


A few weeks ago I came across an article on Search Engine Journal that irritated me.

While some of its content rang true, parts triggered one of my pet peeves: SEOs that author content with titles like “SEO is Dead”, “Why You Don’t Need SEO”, or in this case, “5 Things Your SEO Consultant Won’t Tell You” — that seem to be written  for no other purpose than to create controversy in our industry. Unless, of course, their ulterior motive is to attract links from other sites.

I wrote a lengthy comment presenting the cons and pros of that article, but I suspect that the number of words in it made it get caught in spam filters. So, instead, I’ll publish it here.

The article put forth five points about SEO and professionals in the field:

  1. SEO is not a dark art that only the technical mind can comprehend
  2. They’re probably violating Google’s guidelines
  3. They don’t really know how to go viral
  4. If they’re doing it without you, they’re setting you up for failure
  5. They haven’t tested the validity of anything they say

I agree with some points, but couldn’t disagree more with others. Let’s start with the positives:


“SEO is not a dark art that only the technical mind can comprehend”

My take: Absolutely. However, it is complex. You can say that drawing is not hard, either, but there’s a big difference between a Picasso line drawing and some piece of art that a child will bring home from kindergarten. Clients are best served when the agency or consultant helps them understand SEO best practices.


“If they’re doing it without you, they’re setting you up for failure”.

Correct. I can’t even fathom how an SEO consultant or agency can initiate work on a new account without getting the client really involved in the process. From a foundational step like keyword research, all the way to content strategy and SEO implementation, clients’ goals and processes have to be understood in order for SEO to be successful.


Now to the points that I respectfully and emphatically disagree with:

“They don’t really know how to go viral”

This may apply to “beginner SEO consultants”, but any good online marketing agency (like The Online Strategy House) or professional understands that search engine optimization doesn’t happen in a silo. Thus, they will have plenty of hands-on experience with online marketing and understand what makes content go viral.


“They’re probably violating Google’s guidelines”

Again, this applies to less-than-reputable SEO practitioners, especially those who have only been around for a short while. A pro won’t feel that it’s necessary to resort to black-hat or grey-hat methods to help a client. Better yet, a pro knows better than to even entertain that thought!


“They haven’t tested the validity of anything they say”

This may apply to someone who’s a novice or doesn’t take an interest in clients’ successes past the point where all deliverables are fulfilled and the final cheque is cashed in. From what I’ve witnessed in my 15 years of experience in this field, this is not how reputable agencies treat their clients. It’s certainly not how we treat ours.


Here’s the deal: competent, professional SEO agencies and consultants do exist. We’re one of them, and know of numerous others that are great examples of good ethics in our industry. They may be a small percentage of those who claim to be able to do the job, but they are out there. I’m glad that there are people who take the time to debunk some of the myths surrounding our field, just like the author did in that article. But these folks are doing themselves and others a disservice when they paint all SEOs with the same brush.

Search Engine Optimization: Much Better as a Team

By Ava Naves, Principal

SEO is a team sport

The Online Strategy House recently presented a search visibility workshop to the staff of the British Columbia Patient Safety and Quality Council (BCPSQC). That experience really drove home the importance of teaching search engine optimization basics to a team — in this case, to the people who will create any content for their site, or those who, by virtue of their responsibilities, frequently come across opportunities for link building.

Optimally, several people will contribute blog posts to an organization’s domain. At the same time, those companies often have partnerships with others in their vertical, aside of taking time to participate in or sponsor industry events. When a team learns the relevant principles of on-site search engine optimization, from that point forward they see their day-to-day activities as opportunities for SEO. Those SEO principles then become ingrained in their modus operandi. For example:

  • Next time a manager contributes a blog to the company site, she will know that this is a chance to write a post according to the content strategy delineated in the organization’s online marketing plan. She will also be cognizant of the importance of incorporating the keyphrases that the online strategy has specified as relevant to that post.
  • The event coordinator will be aware that, by sponsoring a conference, there’s a prime opportunity to ask the organizer for a link to his employer’s site. Once adopted as a routine, this practice will help the company amass a good number of on-topic, high quality inbound links — the sort that will help build their online visibility.

When a group understands that individual, small commitments to search engine optimization amount to a large victory for all involved, they get excited about search engine optimization. The Online Strategy House makes a point of presenting SEO and online marketing workshops that are fun, and that engage even those who are not tech-oriented.

Employees are thrilled when analytics show that their blog posts received visits because they followed SEO best practices. They see they have made a tangible difference. And then, the enthusiasm is contagious.

The Crossroads Between Social Media and SEO: Upcoming Presentation at IIMA

By Ava Naves, PrincipalCrossroads Social Media SEO

A couple of weeks ago I was invited by the folks at the International Internet Marketing Association (IIMA) to speak on the same topic that I presented at IMC Vancouver 2010: “The Crossroads between Social Media & SEO”. The event will be at 6:00 pm on this coming Wednesday, October 13th, at the 4th floor of the YWCA Vancouver (535 Hornby Street).

To say that I’m excited is really an  understatement. Having been to several talks at IIMA by respected professionals such as Darren Barefoot, Jason Billingsley, Warren Sukernek and Richard Goossen, I feel honoured that I’ve been chosen to join the roster of speakers at IIMA.

For those not familiar with IIMA, they’re an organization now in its twelfth year. Their goal is “to bring marketers, agencies and professionals together to discuss the capabilities and potential of Internet marketing”, and judging by past events I’ve attended, they have certainly been fulfilling this mandate.

Below is a sample of  what you can expect to learn from the presentation:

- How a well-planned social media presence can increase your search engine visibility.
– The steps you’re probably already applying to search engine optimization, and which can be transplanted to your social media outreach for a stronger presence  on Google and Bing.
– How strategic Twitter updates, blog posts, Facebook statuses and YouTube videos can help your search engine rankings.
– Facebook changes that affect search.

I owe a big thanks to Jose Uzcategui, John Hossack, Charity Robertson and all the folks at IIMA for promoting and making this event possible. I’m sure there are other names that I’m failing to mention.

If you’d like to join us, book your ticket online here.  The cost for this IIMA is quite reasonable (CAD$38.25 for IIMA member, and CAD$45 for non-members)

I’m sure that many of us will get together at a pub nearby to continue to network and “talk shop” after the event, so feel free to join us there as well, and allocate some extra time for a pint!