Updated May 16, 2011Doc Sheldon
I’d like to run a little crowd-sourcing exercise here, and would really appreciate all the input I can get.
What makes a person an SEO?
Many things have various definitions, depending upon who you ask. SEO is no different in this regard. Does it include only on-page and linkbuilding? Does it also involve social media? What about conversion rate optimization? Or maybe a little light coding?
Ask ten people and you’ll likely get ten slightly different answers.
If we can’t agree upon what tasks are to be considered part of SEO, then I suppose it’s no surprise that we don’t all agree on what justifies a person referring to himself or herself as an SEO, either.
To some, apparently, a person isn’t really an SEO unless that’s their principle means of making a living. Whether independent, working for an agency or shop or laboring as an in-house optimizer, if SEO is their main source of income, then that makes them an SEO.
Whether they’re good at it or not? That’s open to debate, I suppose.
On the other hand, what about an affiliate marketer, pulling in 7 or 8 figures a year, after successfully ranking their own site(s) for competitive terms? Are they an SEO? If they’ve demonstrated a good working knowledge of the techniques and strategies, are their abilities to be discounted simply because they make their money selling widgets made by others?
Hardly seems right, does it? Take it a step further, then. What if they’re simply a mommy blogger, hoping to make enough to pay their hosting bill and maybe pick up the odd theme now and then? And in an effort to accomplish that, they study SEO until they can consistently pull in enough traffic to rival well-established “professional” sites? Is their accomplishment any less simply because they didn’t get to invoice their time for doing so?
If such logic held water, then my engineering degree and MBA would now be meaningless, simply because I make my living as a content strategist. And most of the US Congress could no longer call themselves attorneys, because they make their livings… well, I’m not sure exactly what they do.Thank God they’re not SEOs, at least!
So, I’m curious… what do YOU all think justifies calling a person an SEO? I thought about putting together a poll, but decided that makes it too easy to guide responses. I’d really like to hear your opinions. Please elaborate in the comments.