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SEO is a Business School of Thought – Not a Process

Online marketing information can change quickly This article is 14 years and 214 days old, and the facts and opinions contained in it may be out of date.

Search engine optimization is no longer a process – it is a business school of thought – a philosophy. SEO is a thought process of using specific search marketing tools and principles for creating a successful business. SEO is making specific business decisions based on previous knowledge that will ultimately impact bottom line profitability.

Many “SEO’s” have went through a fairly specific lifecycle of becoming successful entreprenuers. Stumble into the web. Learn SEO fundamentals. Apply SEO. Rinse. Repeat. Apply to personal or affiliate projects. Start a new business based on SEO principles. Re-apply SEO. It’s a shame we don’t have a cool fancy term for what many seasoned SEO’s turn into.

Fundamental philsophies of the SEO school of thought

  1. It’s all about the links
  2. It’s all about the traffic
  3. It’s all about the conversion

These principles are used when making nearly any business decision to someone from the SEO school of thought. These newly evolved thought processes directly conflict with some of the principles from previous marketing schools of thought.

I spend far too much time wondering why most the world views SEO as black magic, while so many within our industry (including myself) hold such high regard for the top level SEO practitioners. After a lot of pondering and discussion on why SEO’s are viewed as shady worthless criminals, I have come to the conclusion that search engine optimization may still be a process, – but I’m convinced SEO is a school of thought.

Most people view SEO is a mystical process (which it’s not) – what IS mystical is the creative ideas that come from some of the top minds in the field by applying the principles to business. THIS is magic – because no one with out the SEO school of thought would ever stop to think of them. SEO’s are the brains and inspiration behind many web 2.0 business models. Sometimes these innovators aren’t even aware that they are applying SEO principles.

Just as psychology has various schools of thought, business does as well. Marketing, advertising, and management all have their theorists. I’m sure SEO could be classified into the first two, but there are many areas where it is different.


…are not SEO’s at all. They are now successful entrepreneurs and businesspeople. Many of them that owe a large part of their success to organic rankings will always claim “to be an SEO”, or to “know SEO”. They are always looking for other folks who have the same philosphy – unfortunately it’s hard to hire them, or keep them for very long due to the entrepreneurial spirit it takes to learn the SEO philosophy. From Brian Provost at scoreboardmedia: The better I got at SEO, the less I did of it

“SEO’s are the new real estate developers. Our skillset gives us an amazing opportunity to develop an audience on the cheap.”

SEO has become a conduit to learn business

For our brief history of time – a window of opportunity opened. Over the last 10 years, the barrier to entry to learning business, and all it’s backroom antics has been opened up to a select group of people.

The nature of SEO requires that a business provide their SEO person with an abundance of important information for making decisions. The need for this transperancy has taught lots of SEO’s some of the finer points of business. I know I have learned a LOT about business from some of the great clients I’ve had over the years. Since I learned a majority of this through my understanding of SEO – I consider many of these business principles that I learned a PART of SEO.

Why SEO is blackmagic, and most folks will never “get it”

  • -The don’t abide by the principles above.
  • -They think links are solely for clickthrough.

  • -They have never tweaked a title tag.
  • -They’ve never performed a link request, or hunted for links.

  • -They have their own school of thought that they don’t want to stray from.
  • -Search is a threat to their business model.

    SEO is a noun, verb, and adjective

    I am an SEO.
    I need SEO services
    I need my site “SEO’d”
    It’s an seo site.
    The process of search engine optimization is straightforward and easy; the understanding of the SEO thought process is ongoing and exceedingly complex.

    Additional resources:
    This is sort of continuation from the “SEO is a catchphrase” series a while back.

    I was nearly finished with this post when I stumbled across the fact that Randall at 14th colony also thinks SEO is a school of thought. The power of the internet and having similar independant thoughts simultaneously is really strange and amazing sometimes. My apologies for the similar title – I have been thinking about this one for months, and was astonished to come across your great post.

    My previous claims about SEO: There is no such thing as SEO.

    Anybody else have examples of how SEO is more than just a process now?

    More information about Todd Malicoat aka stuntdubl.

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    • Seo Best Practices

      SEO is evolving continuously, in that sense is a continuous process, but is also a School of Thought. SEO needs to be thought having in mind a series of knowledge and experiences to make the right decisions.

    • Nomadishere

      Spoken from a true business man struggling with the same titles and labels I do…

      Nice to meet you :)

      Like you I’ve been in this “game” for a long time – but I have been a “business man” or “entrepreneur” (a leader) in-training my whole life.

      SEO may be a process, as you admit, I will as well. But like traditional marketers, business men, or successful people of any kind, it takes a commitment to excellence, creativity, follow-through, passion, leadership… well, we’re on the same page ;)

      I’d love to chat more Todd, drop me a line sometime.

      Keep up the great writing bro.

    • Wordpress SEO

      Awesome post. I’m likely going to read all of the best of posts you have left.

      I want to say that I couldn’t agree more with what you’ve said. SEO isn’t a quick fix, it’s a building process.


    • Pingback: 10 Significant SEO Quotes: Helping You Understand The Climb To The Top | SEO Horizon

    • Jhon Perker

      great post..enjoyed reading it..nice thought and taglines..

    • melina-touke

      This is a really good read for me. Must agree that you are one of the coolest blogger I ever saw.
      Thank you for this very interesting infographic ! I’m talking about Google Venice on my blog.
      دوربین مدار بستهکرکره برقیدرب اتوماتیک

    • lina

      wow , this is awesome articel todd, i wonder how you write this todd.
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    • Naser Hajari

      The process of search engine optimization is straightforward and easy;
      the understanding of the SEO thought process is ongoing and exceedingly
      complex.کرکره برقی

    • Hosein Safavi

      amazing free information wow thank you آموزش عکاسی

    • aliel

      Ok, these annoying posts will end, hopefully before my readership disappears. But we are extremely close. We’ve got three days left, and are within $25,000 of meeting our goal.

      کانال تلگرام
      کانال تلگرام+18

    • Ramazan Ahmadi

      کانال تلگرام را ایرانیان عزیز دنبال کنید