For those thinking what the heck are the wonder pets and why are they in a SEO post?! Wait until you have kids, you’ll be surprised by how many different analogies pop up you didn’t expect. I promise you’ll enjoy this post.

My wife and I have a 16 month old, Preston. You might see his photo in the media box to the left. He is pretty cute, takes after his mom. One of his favorite shows is the ‘Wonder Pets’ and a verse in a song they sing goes, “We’re not too big, we’re not too tough, but when we work together we’ve got the right stuff.” Essentially teaching the kids that working together can solve any problem. Hearing this jingle while putting Preston to bed last night caused me to remember the first question Joe Larato was asked in an interview for the Search Engine Journal, “What are the most common mistakes newbie SEOs make?” The first part of Joe’s response, “Search Engine Optimization has changed over the years. I would say there are three distinct generations of SEOers: the meta taggers, the link builders, and the social media marketers. I have seen newbie SEOs try to choose one path for optimization. For long term success all areas and disciplines of Search Engine Optimization need to be addressed and made part of the ongoing strategy.”

When you finish this article go read the interview, it’s really good.

The three distinct generations of SEOers is what stood out to me. Focusing on one of many aspects of SEO alone is a mistake and can cause a big mess. Pagerank for instance, is one such area. With the announcement that PageRank has updated, the community was a buzz with what’s my new PageRank? How do I increase this? Why did it decrease? Has my rank been altered because of it? Loren Baker, Editor in Chief for the Search Engine Journal accurately stated, “A Site with a PageRank 2 can outrank a PageRank 8.” It isn’t just one particular area, some carry more weight but it’s takes more than one element to get a higher ranking.

Considering all of this I think I’ve figured out why so many people get into SEO that don’t know as much as they think they do. They either learn a few methods of SEO, or their company needs some online visibility and this person, very new to SEO, begins to use one of several methods. And while using that one particular method, lets say keywords in meta data and on page, this website suddenly appears on the first page of the search engines. So then this person thinks, “That was easy, I can do this full time.” When what has really happened is the site in question had strong backlinks but the site content was lacking the keywords. So then this person picks up a client and only optimizes for keywords when this new site already has strong keywords, but no backlinks. Then this new SEO is faced with a challenge he/she must face, either learn how the other areas of SEO or admit defeat. True practitioners of SEO will accept the challenge and rise to the occasion.

Back to the original point, all elements must work together. I think a lot of the ‘beginner guides for SEO’ should be updated to include the fact that many search engines are placing a lower value on the keyword meta data. While it plays a role, it isn’t as important as backlinks and site architecture. By all means mention the keywords, but also make strong mentions on the rest of SEO. SEOBook.com, SEOmoz.org are great resources among others that do just this. As a SEO to other SEOs reading this, when writing or explaining your craft to a client or someone wanting to get involved, take time to explain the method in its entirety. I realize when two different people hear/read something it can be taken in and used differently. But we can do our part to try and make sure later, there is no mess to clean up.