I’m sensing there’s information fatigue due to last year’s overwhelming use of RSS feeds, blogs and tagging services. It’s not always clear which information source to trust.

For example, one of the complaints that I heard in 2005 was that search engine marketing forums are no place to get accurate information because it’s easy to join and start spouting off “what I know”. Coming to forums for advice should be used with caution. One of the reasons we allow links in signatures at Cre8asiteforums is so that readers can follow up and check the credibility of someone offering advice. “Sig lines” are assumed to be a marketing device and yes, this is so. However, that link to your web site is also as powerful as an “About Us” page to forum visitors.

SEO Mirror on the Wall. Who am I, Really?

Understanding you is apparently on your mind if you are in the search engine optimization and marketing field. The topic of “What is an SEO?” came up in a thread called The Future of SEO. The topic author starts off with,

“I’ve been thinking a lot about the future of SEO and its struggles and I don’t think it will be able to hold its own after a couple years. Instead I see it being swallowed up as concepts within larger online marketing programs.”

I was surprised to learn that there is growing concern and confusion over the role of an SEO. The industry is fluttering about like a bird that’s fallen out of the nest as we fly into 2006. Add to this, overall frustration for those just getting into this work, such as this comment:

“All very different SEO techniques. There are some guys still using 2003 methods and arguing it on 2005 forums, who get flamed to hell.

It’s very very hard to learn because of this.”

What Classifies as a Good Lesson and a Good Search Engine Teacher?

Sometimes someone has to ask tough questions. If a lesson on what not to do involves publicly exposing a company, is this ethical? Are you learning from this? Someone asked about it in What do you learn from Matt Cutts?, in reference to Matt’s blog. It was a disappointment that his blog won an SEO blog award (seemed a bit unfair since he’s not an SEO), but aside from that, it remains a popular resource and one of the few trusted information sources from the mysterious back rooms of Google.

Driven Mad by Search Engines

The reaction to Rand Fishkin’s SEOMoz exposure in a recent Newsweek article was an odd mix. For those in the industry, it was a chance to see their work explained to the general, clueless public. Unfortunately, public reaction was horror that anybody would want to “manipulate” search engine results. Obviously, those people don’t have a business that relies on search engine traffic for sales and traffic.

For most of the readers of this blog, what a search engine does is critical to your work. Usability oriented web designers care about how well a web page delivers once somebody finds it in a search engine. There’s a relationship between optimizing for search engines and optimizing for people that’s co-dependent, complimentary and intelligent.

This is the case even for “black hat” techniques. Of the 5 million drug sites, the one that’s designed for understandability, credibility, usability, functionality and ease of use is the one that gets the prize. If the top ranked Viagra sites are pathetic to use, that’s wasted money spent on forcing rank and a terrible brand name embarrassment.

The importance of how people use search engines is illustrated in a study called Using meaningful and stable categories to support exploratory web search: Two formative studies by Bill Kules and Ben Shneiderman, of the Department of Computer Science, Human-Computer Interaction Laboratory and Institute for Advanced Computer Studies, University of Maryland. What did they find?

“Categorizing search results using meaningful and stable categories is a promising way to alleviate information overload while supporting user exploration and understanding of large sets of search results.”

If you’re a web site optimizer, it’s going to be a wild year of keeping up with technologies and user behavior to maximize ROI. While you, or those who know you, haven’t a clue what it is that you do, really…rest assured that without you, the Internet would be boring as heck to use.

Case in Point…

Hot news for FLASH lovers and techno-geeks with miniature devices (i.e. “toys”). Adobe releases new Flash software for mobile devices<

An SEO Ancestor's View of A-List SEO Lists


Kim Krause Berg’s long background in web design, SEO and usability includes software application functional and user interface testing, accessibility, information architecture and persuasive design. She shared her passion for Usability and SEO through her site and private consulting at Cre8pc for 17 years. Kim founded Cre8asiteforums in 1998. In the fall of 2012 she sold her forums to Internet Marketing Ninjas and retired from private consulting to join their Executive Management team where she continues her work in usability testing, customer experience and conversions design.

My Online Course: Web Site Usability 101


American Society for Information Science and Technology (ASIS&T)

Information Architecture Institute

Usability Professionals Association (UPA)