John Dvorak recently joined the ranks of the so called experts who periodically attack the SEO profession after they FAIL on their first attempt. The reality is that search engine optimization offers tremendous ROI when done correctly, with long term goals and a solid strategy. The reality is also that SEO, at least competent, professional SEO, is an iterative process involving a lot of measurements and refinements along the way.
I have been involved with hundreds of SEO projects over the last 12 years. In the last three years, the difference between success and failure has gone from good keyword research, keyword mapping, site architecture, taxonomy and on page content with solid backlinks to good keyword research/mapping, information architecture, taxonomy, content, social components, a solid backlink structure PLUS execution, a nuanced approach to obtaining viral traction, and solid strategy. Even this doesn’t guarantee results.
Despite all of my experience and some very solid content, not all of my projects produce top rankings for the most competitive keywords. No SEO expert can promise you will rank #1 for “Credit Cards” . What does all this have to do with John Dvorak and his experience with SEO? Anyone can read a few pop-science medical articles and tell you what drugs to take to treat an illness. Thanks to the miracle of the internet, anyone can also get those drugs delivered to their door without real medical expertise. The results will vary: some patients will live, some will die and others will actually improve.
Likewise, anyone can read some SEO advice on on the web, modify their taxonomy and title tags and think they have optimized their site. Some sites will live, some will get banned and others will see an increase in traffic. None of these results, however, should be mistaken for a professional diagnosis along with a prescription for a successful SEO approach.
Finally, good SEO is like physical fitness. It takes a while to get in shape, it requires a regular commitment to diet and exercise to maintain and the more you do it, the easier becomes.