What is *Real* SEO?

About four years ago, I took a job with the marketing department of a certain unnamed online company. On my first day, I sat down next to my new manager’s desk, eager to see how we were going to improve content of our clients’ web sites. Unfortunately, instead of bothering to inspect any sites at all, we headed straight for a dismal piece of software that monitored… search engine submissions.

“This is how it goes,” he intoned as he waved his mouse around, pointing to a screen that displayed a dizzying array of random search engine names. How would we ever get our clients included in them all? I watched as we checked different sites, pouncing on the “submit” button if we saw missing gaps in inclusion. I didn’t actually recognize any of these “important” search engines we were bulk submitting to. Now, four years later, I still can’t remember what their names were. That’s because the search engines themselves didn’t especially matter, and it also didn’t really matter if our clients’ sites were in them or not. That software was out-of-date and I knew it then.

I only lasted two weeks at that job, although I think it was the cold calling to grumpy automobile dealerships that eventually did me in (please don’t ask). Now, here I am, four years later, beginning a brand new job with Oneupweb. Don’t worry, it’s going a lot better than the other job. Before I started, I wondered to myself – what would it be like to finally work for a company that does *real* search engine optimization? How would the tactics be different and, hopefully, better? Would I (god forbid) soon be grimacing at my own self-taught work done on previous sites?

The answer? Both yes and no. In many ways, I’ve been introduced to a fascinating new world of Internet marketing. Oneupweb abounds with ingenious methodology, insight, and innovation. More than once during my training I’ve been overwhelmed by the malaise of “the more I learn, the more I learn I still have to learn”. But I’ve also learned that I’m also not such an SEO-dummy as I feared. Largely because I didn’t know any complicated premises, my work has always centered around a simple one: strong copy and relevant keywords. I thought that maybe someday, if I ever got lucky enough to get a job with a *real* SEO company, I’d learn the true tricks of the trade, but in the meantime, I’d keep plugging away.

Although I can’t divulge every one of Oneupweb’s delicious strategies, my new co-workers have definitely caused me to think about what *real* SEO is. I could start by telling you that it’s a combination of those bread-and-butter favorites – keywords and copy – combined with a gazillion methods of subtler reinforcement. But more importantly, real SEO is about dedication, a proactive attention to detail, and ultimately taking a holistic approach to the overall design of an entire site. It’s both simple and amazingly complex at the same time. I’m just glad to finally be at a place that’s truly dedicated to uncovering the real way, and the right way, to optimize a website.