Towards a New Defintion of SEO


I promised you a redefinition of SEO when I started this blog. In fact it’s still the name of this blog. Until now I delivered only an upgrade, a new version of SEO. Yes, SEO 2.0 until now does not entirely redefine SEO.

I gave you only some hints what SEO 2.0 is all about. Thus many people more or less assume that SEO 2.0 is more a new set techniques. Some assume it is the place where the optimization takes place that has changed.

Most of you assume that

  • Social Media Optimization
  • Reputation Management
  • Universal Search Optimization

are key aspects of SEO in a social Web environment. This environment is not new anymore, it’s taken for granted. Thus this way, SEO 2.0 is late in a way. It appears years after the introduction of Web 2.0.

While all the assumptions above are not wrong, they are just part of the story. In fact SEO 2.0 as I perceive it – because I did not invent or introduce it – is more than that. It’s just that I watch how the web evolves and try to come to terms with it.

What else does is mean then?

While SEO as an acronym still stands for Search Engine Optimization let us take a look at the current stage or definition of search on the Web.

Search in the sense of search engines, robot driven data bases of information, works in a way many people can’t cope with.

You basically have to know already what you are looking for in order to find it. It works like a dictionary. You need a term you want to look up, without knowing the correct term you are lost.

What happens with people who don’t know how to express their needs yet? How do you know you need SEO for instance when you are not familiar with the term? You will probably attempt to circumscribe what your are seeking. Something like „How to appear on top of Google?“ would be a logical question to pose in a case like this.

Now what happened at Google for years was that it couldn’t answer questions. It just echoed your question and in case you were lucky it would find an instance of the same or similar questions others published on the web.

What do you do if you don’t even imagine that something like SEO can exist? Most people do not even know that you can influence search results, especially without manipulating them. People still tend to stare at me when I try to explain it to them or assume that I am a spammer.

Now let’s consider StumbleUpon. You probably do not think that SU is a search engine do you?

Well, let’s look at what SU does: It suggests you websites that might be of interest to you based on your preferences and what your peers like. They call it a discovery tool, some people might reflect on it as some kind of Internet TV (channel surfing) while the official term is rather social discovery.

Now let’s take a second look:

StumbleUpon is an engine. It’s a program using algorithms that attempt to sort and rate the relevance of websites.

The only difference to Google is the kind of input the engine gets. While at Google the input comes from spiders crawling the web which is then ranked based on a plethora of human induced factors like links, at SU you have humans submitting and rating websites and their contents.

Of course SU also ranks your submission based on how many people thumb it up and review, how fast as well. Moreover what people do like it or you is crucial. The more respected you are at SU the more influence you have. Similarly with Google where the search engine assumes that the older your website is and the more links it has among others the better it must be.

The main difference is that you do not have to know at StumbleUpon what you are seeking. A vague idea is enough to open up a whole sesame of precious jewels of the web. When you enter the category „Internet“ you might find a site about SEO even if you didn’t know it existed. So StumbleUpon might not be called a search engine but still technically explained it is one.

Of course this is no revolutionary insight I present here. So this is still not the redefinition of SEO I want to present to you. This is just an introduction. This is a post that will lead you towards the right direction: Towards a new definition of SEO.

What is most important is that you keep in mind that

SEO is about helping people to find the stuff they seek online while assisting others to be found.

While it does not make sense to come up with new acronyms that confuse people each time a new trend in SEO arises we can make use of this term and make it reflect the changes that happen around us on the current Web.

Stay with me and accompany me on the way to a new SEO.

Update August 1st, 2015: Consider the SEO vs SEO 2.0 comparison and the SEO has evolved article as well.


* Creative Commons image by Camdiluv