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There was a time when Search Engine Optimization was all about three main practices: meta tag stuffing, title tag stuffing and keyword stuffing. Sensing a theme, are we? During the early development of SEO, these tactics coupled with a bit of hard coding were pretty much all that was necessary to pull decent rank and all fell into the general category of “Search Engine Optimization” as they composed the majority of the knowledge needed to do such. Build a search-friendly site and show up on searches; it was as easy as that.

However, more and more over the past few years, these once primary strategies for optimization have been thrown into the “onsite SEO” category for a new era of SEO. There has been much discussion of a new brand of SEO Specialists, cooler, slicker and more capable — having better “Networking” and “Social Media” skillz.

Yes, “Skillz” with a “Z” for the newer, cooler SEO specialists.

Unarguably, things are very different now. Sure, the number of tools and variety of skills required to launch and maintain a successful SEO Campaign have grown at an alarming rate in just the past year, let alone the previous decade, but too many are quick to dismiss the old practices for flashy theatrics — as if having years of experience was a bad thing?

Consider the following bit of “geek-related” history:
In the early 90’s there began a war. This was not a normal war however, and many were unaware of its existence. This was a video game console war between Nintendo and Sega. Essentially, these companies were in competition to be the leading Home Video Game Console System and each company had a distinctive advertising campaign. Nintendo took the straight forward approach, simply marketing their products for what they were, while Sega marketed their systems as being the cooler, optimal alternative to Nintendo — perhaps their strategy can be best summed up with a quote from one of their commercials: “Sega does what NintenDONT”.

So what’s my point? It’s simple. Sega, with all it’s glamor, flash and big words, died in 2006 with it’s final system, the Dreamcast, and prior to that, the company released some of the worst systems of all time. Meanwhile, Nintendo is still alive and strong, and its products are among the top searched items on Ebay today. Even in competition with such beasts as Microsoft and Sony, Nintendo maintains comparable results and an even higher demand.

Okay, so what’s my real point? Think of it like this: In this parable I’ve presented to you, Nintendo represents the traditional SEO Specialist — simple, solid, effective and of high quality, yet able to adapt and leave a lasting impression on the internet. Sega, on the other hand, represents this new brand of SEO Specialists — presented as more socially capable and better equipped to utilize the new era of Social Media oriented SEO Campaign Management.

I predict a very similar outcome for this bout.

The fact is, SEO has evolved over the years and, while many aspects have changed, it is important to remember to utilize traditional means as well as newer tools. A successful SEO campaign is all about managing a balance of incoming links and sources, networking with other sites sharing similar interests and building a search-friendly page tailored to the campaign’s keywords and targeting goals. One can perform Social Media Oriented SEO for a website all day long but without an appropriate architecture on-site, all this will be in vain.

Be careful when entrusting your online advertising efforts to a firm and before you sign on, ask yourself these questions: Are they a reputable firm? Do they have solid experience as the foundation for their strategy or are they built on outrageous claims and ineffective, over the top practices in less than the complete range of strategies? Can they work with me one on one to ensure than we build a custom tailored campaign? Will they charge outrageous fees or will I be paying them based on the Campaign Performance?

Believe it or not, many Internet Marketing Firms want to answer these question and concerns.

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