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

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?

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