Seth Godin has a nice link to an NY Times article on Google’s department for search rankings, and he states that the only future way to guarantee rankings is to rely on producing naturally popular content. After spending some months working at my non-profit doing my best to learn about how best to market our online services I tend to agree with Seth, but not entirely.
Most respectable SEOs will agree that links to websites are the major contributing factor, but design of content to best fit Google’s idea of well structured, is no different than employing marketing to design materials that are suited to a target audience.
I commented on the idea that SEO, Usability and Accessibility are converging to Bill Slawski, the SEO by the Sea, and his well articulated response in the comment section to his article on mindmapping audiences and tasks convinces me that we are right, and that there is indeed convergence.
Perhaps SEO has been filling a gap in the market for decent quality online marketers and pragmatic usability professionals. Certainly old media marketing companies have been slow to see the opportunities for Internet search advertising in organic results. And usability professionals are an exclusive bunch that have charged a lot of money for results that all too often unquantified by anything more than a few usability test results.
But maybe the gap is closing although I would say that SEO is so far ahead it will take some time marketing and usability professionals to catch up.