Is SEO Creative?

If you've ever done research into search engine optimization (SEO) you're first thought was probably that it doesn't leave much room for creativity. Injecting keywords into copy, renaming URLs, updating meta descriptions, and pulling together ranking reports makes the task seem quite structured and robotic. Well, you were half right.

Project managers worry about providing status reports and managing resources, sales people track their quotas, and creative folks pump out graphics non-stop. But all of these people have the opportunity to be creative in how they get to their end goal. And that's just how SEO functions too. Sure, those in the SEO business review websites for obvious mistakes, do keyword research for thousands of terms, and generate ranking reports until they're blue in the face, but among all of that repetitive work is the chance to do some creative thinking of their own.

Take, for example, difficult clients that push back on every recommendation. The only way projects with such folks will be successful is if you're creative in your pitches as to why and how a particular recommendation will improve the bottom line. And you've probably heard the phrase “lies, damn lies, and statistics”. Well if you back off of the cynicism a bit, you'll realize that SEO-related reports need to tell a story and how you choose to tell that story can determine whether a client is happy or not. Again, this takes some creativity.

In addition, optimizing content isn't necessarily easy. Sure, you can throw in some keywords here and there, but you have to be really careful not to change the message of the page or reduce it's effectiveness. There's little point in attracting organic traffic if the copy of the page is such a poor read that it doesn't convert visitors. And for those that think writing search engine optimized copy while retaining a company's message can be done without creativity, think again.

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1 Comment

  1. I think search engine marketing is definitely an art form and there is a lot of creativity involved. This concept is hard to grasp by most people though.

    The people who optimize websites by the book and don't link out because they think they'll lose PR juice, and do a number of other silly things, are the ones who get very frustrated when they don't get results.

    Even worse, some agencies just do things by the book and constantly disappoint clients.

    SEO/SEM is hard but so is everything else in life. If you're into it it's great, if you're not it sucks.

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