An article in today’s Sunday Times outlines how spending on SEO in the UK is on the increase as businesses vie for potentially lucrative organic search listings in Google.

According to the article SEO spending in Britain will reach £400 million this year, and the figure is growing 60% year on year.

The article also highlights another, less welcome trend: basically that newspapers really don’t get Search Marketing!

When it comes to describing SEO I found it simplistic. Keeping things simple for the sake of clarity is of course a good thing… but in this case the article manages to be simplistic and confusing.

For example, Author James Ashton describes SEO as:

Part crystal-ball watching, part trial and error, it is the practice of improving lacklustre internet commerce by getting a firm noticed on the results pages of search engines.

Hmm! Not sure that’s really it.

Summarising how companies go about SEO he adds:

Most companies achieve SEO by peppering their websites with keywords that Google’s technology can easily read.

While comparing SEO and PPC he ventures:

Of the two, SEO was invented first, with the concept of paying for positions in search results introduced only a decade ago by Goto.com, now part of Yahoo.

Strictly speaking the article isn’t inaccurate, and it has some interesting facts and figures in it, but overall I found it a tad misleading.

Perhaps my biggest problem with it though is the unwritten implication that SEO is about gaming  the engines — when of course (at least for legitimate businesses looking for long term rankings), that’s really not what it’s about at all.

Think I’ll stick with this SEO theory.

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