In today’s SEO Scoop, Donna Fontenot laments being known only for Search Engine Optimization. In fact, she declares “I am no longer an SEO.”
The problem is, I don’t know what to call myself. I create sites, so I might be a coder or a programmer or a web developer. I design those sites, so I might be a web designer, but since I’m not terribly good at that part of it, I don’t think I should wear that label. I optimize those sites and market them, so I might be an SEO/SEM. I occasionally remember to throw in some usability (usually whenever I hear Kim ranting), so I might be a usability …. what word would one use after the word “usability” to describe the job position? “Usability person”? “Usability guru”?
Fontenot’s link to Cre8pc‘s Kim [Kraus Berg] and the comments that go with them are telling. Kim’s oh-so-subtle post, Search Engine Marketing is Bogus for Sites that Simply Don’t Function, sums up this common frustration like so:
[...] There are those few of us tied to the SEO industry whose skills work user centered design, usability, persuasive design (i.e., marketing), accessibility and site functionality (software testing) into web sites that are optimized for search engines. Our goal is to not only make web sites that are found and rank well, but when visitors click into them, they don’t run screaming, feeling betrayed by pages that aren’t designed to work for people.
With the growing number of “in-house” SEO/M’s, whose responsibilities are marketing their company’s web site interests to Internet users, it makes sense to also instruct them on making sure pages are built to meet requirements and how to track, test and implement changes based on human usage data analysis that goes beyond keywords and links.
It seems a lot of SEO’s go above and beyond the scope of optimization tactics, search engines, or both. A few weeks ago, Jeffrey questioned what makes SEO’s qualified to be marketing experts. Weeks before that, I stirred up some debate. Today, we don’t seem much closer to an answer.
So, is the term too narrow, or have the expectations of the individual SEO and/or firm become too broad? Would any SEO’s out there care to comment?