Matt Cutts On Whether Or Not SEO Should Be Called Something Else

    November 20, 2012
    Chris Crum
    Comments are off for this post.

Google put out a new Webmaster Help video today. This time, Matt talks about whether or not “search engine optimization” should be renamed.

“A lot of the times when you hear SEO, people get this very narrow blinder on, and they start thinking link building, and I think that limits the field and limits your imagination a little bit,” says Cutts. “It’s almost like anything you’re doing is making a great site – making sure it is accessible and crawlable, and then, almost marketing it – letting the world know about it.”

“So it’s a shame that search engine marketing historically refers to paid things like AdWords because otherwise, I think that would be a great way to view it,” he says. “You could also think about not search engine optimization, but search experience optimization. Would users like to see the snippet on the page? Do they land? Do they convert well? Are they happy? Do they want to bookmark it, tell their friends about it, come back to it? All those kinds of questions.”

“Unfortunately, SEO does have this kind of connotation for a lot of people, and we’ve seen it in media, like CSI type shows where somebody says they’re an SEO and people have this ‘worthless shady criminals’ kind of view – somebody called SEOs that, and I don’t know how to escape that, because there are a few people who are black hats, who hack sites and give the whole field a bad name, and there are a few people who sell snake oil, who give the field a bad name. And unless people drive those guys out of our midst, we’re gonna have this somewhat bad, shaky reputation for SEO,” he says.

“At the same time, if you change the name to something else, all the people will just come along, and a few of those will be bad actors as well,” says Cutts. “If you have a few bad apples then that will sort of change the reputation of whatever new name you pick, so in my personal opinion, the best way to tackle it would be, you know, think about it in broad terms, or maybe think about how can we differentiate the great stuff that people do making their site faster, more accessible, helping people with keyword research, all that sort of stuff – marketing in different ways.”

Do you think SEO should get a new name? What would you call it?

  • Tag A. Long

    WTF?! The guy is posting his brain farts now, step away from the camera Matt!

  • http://blissseo.com.au Bliss SEO

    I don’t think it needs a new name, it needs a collective effort to drive out the dodgy operators out there. And those that aren’t already, should be more transparent and straight-forward when talking to those interested in the service.

    Dodgy isn’t just being black hat, it’s showing business owners the broad match search volumes for keywords and then making guarantees on ranking those keywords.

    There’s too many companies out there, some well established, pulling this kind of crap and making the whole process of SEO appear worthless!

  • http://www.harendrasinghrajput.com harendra

    In My Mind Remember one name WPO – Web Presence Optimizer ?

  • http://www.rsystems.com Amit

    I Think The name of the SEO is fine but the Role of the candidate who is working with the SEO the name should be change.

    Software engineer like Search Engine Engineer


  • http://jasa-seo.web.id SEO

    Name is not important, whatever we call SEO, SEE, WPO all have one destination to be number one in first page.

  • Sammy G

    Link based search engines are dead….. G corrupted the WWW forcing artificial link building. Any entity that try to corrupt the WWW will not sustain including the banksters.

    Long live the new search engine.

  • carla

    These days it is way to hard to get past the learning curve of seo. With all the big time companies, and constant google updates, I looked for an easier solution. I finally found it. Now, I just visit http://seobattleplan.com/ for all my needs. They provide cheap, and effective seo services for any niche competition.

    Just my input.


  • http://www.socialbirbal.in Amol

    But mostly SEO is looked as some kind of trick and that’s why people see it suspiciously

  • Rohit Bhisey

    SEO is a magician who does not reveal his secrets :)

  • http://www.web-media.co.uk Rob Willox

    Probably to the consternation of many of the earlier contributors I think that he makes some very valid observations.

    I also agree that regardless of what you call it, it is how it is practiced that make the difference and how it has been practiced, by some, in the past is why we have an issue now.

    Google, of course, are not blameless in giving so much weighting to links, in the past almost any links, and perhaps are attempting to make amends of sorts, maybe!

    But, unlike SEO above, I don’t believe the only objective is a number 1 spot, desirable as that is. For me it is not only about getting onto page 1 but more about helping clients convert any visitors into paying customers.

    In the past SEO has been about rankings at all costs and by any methods. A short-term approach at least for my clients who prefer to see steady sustained growth of satisfied customers.

    And, in reality, SEO is just one face of a multi-sided coin! Maybe we should call it Inbound Marketing!

  • https://twitter.com/_Blue_Ninja The Little Blue Ninja

    Here at “Little Blue Ninja” we like the sound of Search Experience Optimisation…. but we also really like the idea of just making websites Awesome!!

    We like to do this with a bit of #NinjaStyle

    So really who cares what you call yourself just do a good job, be excellent to each other. And party on, dudes.

  • Tom A.

    Google talks about website should be a website for users and not for search engines, I would like that search engines is for users and not for google. I have over the last couple of week make many searches related to travel asia, and end up get no.1 blogs dated back in 2003 or worse, not very actually, wake up google

  • http://www.drycleaning.com.sg/ Stevenson

    Actually SEO this term is slowly growing to be like a spam word
    because too many so called SEO guru agency using blackhat tactic
    and promise to deliver your site to the first page of Google and when the Panda & Penguin came to you, you realised that you lost all your traffic out of a sudden.

    SEO can be very creative and fun if you do it in the right way.

  • Guy

    need to ban matt cutts here for personal stupidity. that guy don’t know what him talking about, but him doing the best destroying any google reputation.

  • http://www.landonmarketing.co.uk Steve Landon Marketing

    It doesn’t matter what you call SEO, people will interpret it based on their experience of it, in exactly the same way as people interpret the term ‘marketing’ based on their own experience and knowledge. The term ‘SEO’ has become a brand in its own right and people will interpret it as they wish.

  • http://www.tipsinablog.com Danny

    I think Matt gave a near perfect response, Chris.

    Changing the name from SEO to whatever you choose, won’t change the color of the leopards spots…(so to speak)….

    There will always be an element online aggressively gaming the system, and that should be the focus(not a name change)…

    Also, there could be side affects to changing the name..as it’s(SEO) is not a term(acronym) that popped out of the ground yesterday, it’s a well established and well searched term…

    It would take an extensive amount of time before realization of the name switch spread out and touched all quarters…

    Then you have all the site content updating to remove(swap) over to the new term… if it were considered of such importance(such a problem) that a complete “name and image” change were required, webmasters would have to cleanse their sites of all and any mention of the term SEO…….to keep their reputation intact…

  • http://www.bdmusicnetwork.com/ Bangladesh Music Network

    Nice Post bro.Keep it up :)

  • http://www.enkonversations.in/ elena

    All these things lead finally to seo

  • Alexander