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Markson: The Tin Handcuffs of SEO

When I stopped living in the problem and began living in the answer, the problem went away.
      -- Randy Treft

Mike Markson has a thought-provoking post on SEO.

I have a buddy who compares getting VC funding to getting hooked on heroin. He says that instead of optimizing the company to build the right product, the funding often optimizes the company to do whatever is necessary to close the next round.

SEO can be like that. It's such an easy way to get traffic. Certainly easier than making a great product that spreads worth-of-mouth all by itself.

Every month Google allots the web-sites in its index a certain amount of traffic. Some sites do better than others, but for the most part Each site takes its monthly Google traffic home and tries to do the best it can with it.


If you actually look at the recent successful sites over the past few years - YouTube, MySpace, Facebook, etc. - none of them got there by Google traffic. They created a product and figured out a way to get mass appeal outside the Google regulatory system.

There's more, it's worth reading the whole thing.

Comments (2)


It's an interesting article, but I think the VC vs. SEO traffic analogy is more pertinent than the "Google is an evil dictator" inference. Many SEO types certainly get carried away with Google, and the obsession with gaming it as the only way to build traffic. I'm not sure how many genuine high quality sites out there really care about SEO that much though. As has been said ad-nauseum, build it (a high quality site), and they'll come. You can easily tell when somebody has spent more time on SEO than web design, and it's not really surprising sites like that don't last long in the SERPs... :)

A great perspective but Mike makes the inference that organic search traffic is freely available, that other websites are savvy enough to go after it, and that it is in endless supply. Like spending dollars on advertising, businesses have to work at getting organic search traffic and while the "free" nature of it is addictive, search functions in such a way that it is only "to each his own" That is, sure, you can engage in black hat SEO tactics but for the majority, you can only get as much traffic as is seeking your business. Imagine the world if everyone, every site, was effectively optimized?.... Marketers would have to return to their traditional jobs of building awareness, advertising engaging opportunities, and attractive traffic. Google is just the channel through which they come; comparing your REQUIREMENT to ensuring that channel is open to receive that traffic to addiction is a disservice. SEO is more akin to the CHP working on the highways around town to make sure traffic can get to your business... it has to be done, now go give customers a reason to seek you.

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