Yes, well, about that title…I’ll explain shortly how that relates to a raging SEO debate, which I will also get to later. But first, a quiz. How many of the following coding elements would you have known if you had not seen them here:
- The “abbr” tag
- The “acronym” tag
- The “address” tag
- The “base” tag
- The “bdo” tag
Exactly. These are all HTML 4 Elements that any good coder should know. Well, maybe. I wonder how many coders have ever run into some of these, and we are just at the Bs. However, a very respected SEO consultant, Edward Lewis, states:
Below is a listing of all HTML 4 Elements that you as an SEO Consultant will be involved with at some point during your tenure. You should be familiar with the various HTML Elements and HTML Attributes that are available to you for on page SEO techniques.
You should also know when to use what Elements and/or Attributes (also referred to as Best Practices for HTML Authoring) in any given circumstances.
Given that in my six years in SEO so far I have never even come across these tags, I must disagree with that statement. But the list is a handy one, just in case, so here is the link.
The Great SEO Debate
This touched off a very heated debate yesterday over at Sphinn, when Harith (another respected SEO consultant who resembles Fred Flintstone in at least one way) submitted the story under the title You’re not an SEO if you don’t know these by heart!
My comment there was as follows:
Perhaps someone can explain to all us fake SEOs who thought we were real SEOs how exactly we might ever even want to use abbr, never mind have to (considering I have never seen this before, I have a hard time believing that even a developer needs to know what that is).
The simple fact is that technical stuff is at the foundation of SEO just as it is at the foundation of baseball. So many factors go into the exact placement, velocity, spin, etc. of a pitch, but don’t expect the pitcher to waste his time learning the physics when he should be practicing his delivery.
(Yes, I’ll get to the cow tipping soon.)
This debate reveals a basic divide in the philosophy of SEO. Is SEO primarily a technical skill or a strategic skill? Given that SEO really is a sport, where the only way to get a berth in the rankings is to knock someone else off, and the only way to maintain one’s rankings is to keep other websites from knocking yours off, I maintain that it is primarily a strategic skill. A reasonably small amount of coding knowledge will get an SEO consultant a long way (and much better honing one’s strategic skills than becoming a champion coder).
Cow Tipping SEO
Which brings us to cow tipping, a sport I probably should know more about, given that I have cows for neighbors. Imagine two SEO consultants. The first thinks strategically, noting that it is indeed a cow, not a bull. He sees that there is nobody on the other side of the cow. He tips it.
The second SEO consultant thinks technically. He sees the cow and gets out his cow tipping diagram, and reviews it.
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