Take a look at this post from yesterday’s Top Rank Online Marketing Blog. Lee Odden is one of the best-known and best-respected online marketing gurus around today, and he’s asked whether Search Engine Marketing (SEO) actually works, and whether it’s a good idea.

Well, Duh.

What’s great about this piece is that a bunch of people have chimed in, with all kinds of perspectives. And yes, many of Lee’s people are into the SEO thing, so the answers are predictably in favor of Search Engine Optimization and Search Engine Marketing (SEM).

I have a perspective, of course, and I shared it in the comments section of Lee’s piece. Here it is:

There’s a voluminous bunch of crap being posted in the name of Search Engine Optimization that exists purely because the phrase “publish or perish” really is true in the age of the Internet and search engines. If you want to be found by search engines you need to write often on the topics for which you seek prominence. Period. I outlined this phenomenon in a white paper on changes in Search Engine Optimization, last month.

So SEO is real. Search Engine Optimization is necessary. But there’s lot’s of bad SEO going on.

And the problem with bad SEO content is Search Engine Optimization practitioners who can’t write.

We have clients who wish for The Answer Guy to handle their off-page SEO elements (links back to their web sites, for example), but hold onto the responsibility of writing content on their web sites. Assuming I can get them to do the necessary SEO-focused writing, the problem still remains that they write in a way that doesn’t get the search engines’ attention.

On the other side, though, there are Search Engine Optimization specialists who think it’s OK to load up a piece with keywords, thereby attracting the search engines—literally doing search engine optimization at the expense of human reading optimization. This method, by the way, works only until Google catches on. Eventually, this kind of SEO fails, and that’s the best-case scenario. It can actually hurt you if Google decides you’ve been too aggressive in performing what amounts to Search Engine Optimization trickery.

Reality, of course, needs to lie somewhere in between. My current favorite example of correctly-executed SEO happens to be a piece of my own work. Look here and ask whether the folks at Nissan of Manhattan are soon going to forget The Answer Guy.

The piece loads up on the desired phrases, and it’s worked; it’s currently Google’s #1 for one important phrase and fluctuates from 9 to 11 for another. But it’s also fun to read. AND, while the target of my little diatribe might not like it, it’s completely on-point for the key phrases. It’s Search Engine Optimization done right, through good writing.

SEO doesn’t ruin content. In SEO, like any other kind of media, bad producers ruin content.

Take that to your Christmas Party. And in 2011, Let The Answer Guy Get Your Search Engine Optimization Efforts In Order.

Ho Ho Ho !

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