More Seth Godin Cluelessness On Search Marketing

Peter Da Vanzo pointed over to a blog post from Seth Godin:
Is there a “search engine industry”? That’s Godin’s lead in to mention a new search blog
that launched from Reprise Media that I mentioned yesterday. His comment:

If this is a brand new form of effective media, somebody ought to be telling us what’s new, what’s working and what’s absurd.

Peter’s shocked that Godin seems to have just discovered this. Well, so am I, Peter, so am I! It’s either an absurd post or one calculated to bring him some attention. If
the latter, it’s bad attention, in my book.

Absurd? Yeah, absurd. Search marketing has long been a form of effective media — even before we had paid listings. If Godin has only just realized this, then the people
who have been buying his New York Times bestselling books on marketing have been cheated out of an important chapter.

I dunno. Search spend by advertisers keeps increasing! We keep doing conferences with huge attendee growth! Ad agencies are buying up search marketing firms! Anyone one of
these alone ought to be proof that something’s going on.

Search is so obviously huge media outlet. Geez, search engines have been among the top web sites people have used since, well, back when Godin used to work for Yahoo! It’s
like saying millions of people watch TV each day — but do you think there’s a TV industry? Do you think TV might be some brand new form of effective media?

I’m usually pretty mild-mannered, try to see all sides, be level-headed. But this is the second ridiculous post from someone who is supposed to know about marketing. The
first was The problem with search engine optimization post last year when Godin dismissed
most SEO as not worth the money. Instead, you just need to buy AdWords and hope that luck ensures your good content taps into natural listings.

Search marketing is more than buying ads — SEO is the search world’s equivalent to public relations. It also doesn’t mean that you have to link spam, comment spam or
content spam. Content-driven SEO — I’m writing more about this next week — is something anyone should be considering.

You can have all the great content you want. Neglect some basic things to make your site search engine friendly, and you aren’t getting in. It’s like saying that you need
never reach out to the press, they’ll just somehow magically discover you’ve launched a new product, done something interesting. Search engines are better at discover, but
outreach still helps — SEO is that type of outreach.

Postscript: Seth’s since posted a In violent agreement! response to to some
of the comments above. But I’m afraid I’m still in violent disagreement over his comment, “The entire Search Engine community is now more important than it was a year ago.”

Nope — it is not. Yes, there is more awareness among some people that search is important, but it has been a huge traffic generation tool since search engines first
began. There has been an industry for years, and for years that industry has been getting smart companies online and visible through paid and natural search listings.

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