Ok, we're not saying that all aspects of Search Engine Optimisation are of no value. That everything an SEO specialist does for you is useless and that they are all a bunch of money grabbing, propogandarist, untrustworthy liars. Neither are we saying that SEO should not be a component of your marketing campaign. What we are saying is that SEO should be given the same level of kudos as that of your IT network technician. SEO is really only a technical function, with a limited understanding of how business works, with some knowledge of e-marketing thrown in. SEO is no substitute for CEO's, marketing managers, PR experts, Brand Designers, ecommerce specialists, e-marketing gurus, business analysts, CI analysts, web producers etc etc.
As the Internet re-creates itself over and over in the mind of the consumer, so too do the messages sent out about various roles become distorted. These uncertain conditions have attracted subversive, corrupt and deficient influences within the SEO community - which are today known as Black Hat SEO's.
In SEO terms, the white hat is an ethical e-marketer who respects the policies conveyed by search engine vendors and the black hat is an unethical marketer, who only respects the results of his or her work - and couldn't care less about bending the rules.
At least when you hire a white hat, everything is ok because your brand is not placed at risk from having its e-reputation wiped out by some secret underhand SEO technique, played by a black hat marketing type that you hired.
Problem with white hat SEO is that it is more often than not ineffective, where with black hat SEO the results can be astounding, albeit not necessarily very long term and potentially disasterous when Google decides to boot you out of their index altogther.
Better to consider "ethical SEO" as a component of a well planned marketing campaign and don't listen to SEO's who tell you that search optimisation is the only road to success.
If you truly have what it takes to offer value to the Internet community, then start writing your messages, each and everyday. Start talking to people in forums about your ideas, join mailing lists, write articles for publishers, meet people at your local chamber of commerce, go and speak to potential clients, consider how best to use technology to get your message out.
Believe me when i say, if you truly know your stuff and you start talking to people about it -you will attract the best prospects of all - those with goodwill.
They will come - and the more you talk about your ideas, the more confidence people will have in you and the longer you are around - the more confidence both you and they have in your brand.
Speak out and network and they will come and keep coming. SEO is a technologists 'bag of tricks' which at best has only marginal significance and at worst can subvert your E-brand reputation for many years to come.
Take the time to know your product, identify your market - then speak out with a consistent, relavant message - and they will come.
Position your brand relative to YOUR marketplace. Don't rely on Google's and Yahoo's interpretation of you.