A fairly provocative (at least to an SEO professional), article written by Patricio Robles and published on econsultancy.com, raises the question that if SEO’s can’t predict where, when and how a page is going to rank, then is SEO just a waste of time?
The full article can be read here..
It references a survey conducted by Moz.com. The survey asked ‘a few 100 people’ to indicate which website (from an option of two), would rank higher than the other for a particular keyword, and how confident they felt with their answer.
The survey asked a number of these questions of the same format. I took the test, but unfortunately they weren’t able to send me the results.
Of the 100’s of people asked, some where laymen, some had less than 3 years SEO experience and some had more than 3 years SEO experience. Moz concludes that the results of accuracy where as likely as a coin flip as to which website would rank higher than another.
Whilst there are many empirical accuracy questions to ask for this kind of survey (population size, control group, and the mathematical randomness of coin flipping), it does highlight that even with many years experience working within the industry, it cannot be expected to know which page is likely to rank higher than another.
This definitely fits in with the changing landscape of SEO, increased competition online in the SERPS and Googles’ quicker, more agile algorithm.
However, there is still a major place for SEO and having professional advice about how to drive traffic to your website that results in ROI.
Patricio Robles sums it up well;
SEO is not sexy. It’s the regular hygiene appointment of online marketing. The ‘steady as she goes’ technique, but pays dividends if done well to avoid the pitfalls of ‘quick wins’, that can see a site penalised and never to be seen again on page one.