SEO: Art, Science and Luck

Sep 21, 2011   //   by Shannon Evans   //   Contests, Google, SEO, SEO Blog  //  11 Comments

This is a guest post from Shannon Evans. It is part of The 2nd annual “Bad Ass” SEO Guest Blogging Contest.

Being in the SEO business now for a couple of years, I have read many articles on SEO. Countless posts discuss how SEO is both an art and science. I agree on both these points, however I also think a little bit of luck also goes into the mix.

Science
Even though no one but a few people at Google (cough Matt Cutts cough) know exactly what the SERPs are going to generate, we can do enough experiments to figure out a few things.

We know how to search relevant keywords, links from high ranking sites give us juice and what worked last month may or may not work this month. We may not have white coats and work in a lab, but SEO specialists are scientists of the Internet. We do experiments constantly and try to get our sites on the coveted first page of Google.

Keeping strict records of all link building efforts and analyzing all of the data you keep is a must in the SEO industry. Are certain keywords not preforming like they used to? Did you do something different? If not, you need to move your strategy in a new direction. In the SEO world Excel and other tools are your best friend.

Art
There is also an art to SEO. Sometimes you know a keyword may not be highly searchable, but if you play around and think of similar words you could hit SEO gold. It takes a very analytical person to be a great scientist, but in SEO you need to be analytical and artistic.

Take guest posting for example. We know guest posts help with link building, yet if you can’t write a great article chances are you won’t get  your link on many blogs. Now not all SEO specialists write guest posts. However, when looking at all the data you collect on a monthly basis, you need to be able to think outside the SEO box. How can you take your efforts to the next level. That is something your tools or Excel won’t tell you.

Luck
Ok, I might be going out on a limb here, but I think some of SEO is luck. Maybe not all the time, but there are those rare occations you just figure out something on accident—or as I like to put it luck. It doesn’t happen all the time, but when it does its fantastic.

It’s not to say that you didn’t implement an idea without an educated guess. However, I am a believer in luck. Maybe it’s the optimist inside me, but I think sometimes you take a leap of faith and it works. Sometimes the word luck gets used negatively, but in this instance I think sometimes when you stumble upon something that works, it’s luck.

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Shannon Evans

Shannon Evans Suetos is an online marketer living is San Diego, and the owner of What's Your Two Cents?  WYTC is a blog dedicated to reporting the latest trending news topics to spark a conversation among readers. You can also follow Shannon on Twitter @ShannonEvansSM.

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  • Morgan says:

    Hey Shannon!

    Since this is an ever-changing industry, luck definitely plays its role! We can stumble onto things hat we never knew helped just by doing our everyday job!

    There definitely is a science to SEO and even social media; actually, with all marketing, really.

    Thanks for this!

  • Mark says:

    “…sometimes when you stumble upon something that works, it’s luck.”

    I agree with this. I sometimes get stuck on a certain keyword having exhausted all the standard onpage and off-page methods. The answer is usually in a little tweak in one or two of these methods but you’ll never know until you make that experimental ‘leap of faith.’ Thanks, Shannon.

  • Jeo Methew says:

    I agree with you Luck matters in one way linking SEO.

  • Ida Enger says:

    You are so right, if we didn’t have luck, I would never find all the creative, informative, instructions that I need to accomplish my original goal. Actually with luck I usually forget what that goal was…….but it’s so cool when you find something that may lead you to a more productive goal or just out right fun!!!!

  • Ileane says:

    Hi Shannon, I’ve been working on that SEO “science” thing for quite some time but I can’t seem to get it right. Whenever I have a keyword that I want to write about, it seems like no one else in the world is searching for it LOL! Then there are times people come to my blog searching for the strangest terms. Like for example, today someone was looking for “firesheep” ??
    Thanks for the post Shannon.

  • I definitely agree Shanon, Thanks for that article, SEO is both an art and science as well all know how to find as well as search relevant keywords that were used.

  • Keep sharing your ideas in order for us to apply Shanon. :)