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As I came to–from what to me seems like the planet’s worst tooth surgery (not kidding)–I found this horrific story on American Express and its “SEO is a waste” comment. You can see the entire piece here (Actual pdf here; see page  29).

In a brief, American Express says, “Don’t waste money on so-called Search Engine Optimization (S.E.O.) specialists. Search engines are very quick to penalize sites that try to trick their filtering techniques, and once your site has been put on Google’s blacklist, it will take forever to get off.”

Clearly, the writers of this document do not understand the explicit and implicit work, value and results of a white-hat search engine optimization campaign done right. Was this a way to generate link bait for themselves, or just a naive entry onto the net, thinking we in the profession would not notice? Or just plain ol’ quality assurance issues of editorial content?

Who is running search engine marketing over there? It is most likely a qualified group, but it must not have coordinated on these marketing materials–perhaps an honest mistake? The document made it online though, which is a shame.

While the discussion of “SEO professionals” versus “Google spam team” has been an ongoing mention in the press, forums and search engine conferences, the *real truth* is that Google wants a relevant, quality web, providing the results for an overall top user experience. If professional SEO assistance can help attain this goal without spamming the search engines, SEO-ers have done their job.

SEO today is more about traffic and action tracking than pure ranking–something that American Express fails to discuss in this context. Good SEO firms can educate audiences, help steer clear of the landmines and provide more detail than clients ever knew about their site(s). Then, together, they can provide sound strategies and roadmaps for proper buildout of pages and designs.

None of us in this business is apologetic about providing great services and education to help webmasters create the best user experience and traffic generation for themselves.

This document (also from AMEX) is more on target, perhaps written by a SEM Team? You should read it: some valuable tips to consider there.


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Entrepreneur Magazine says Jon Rognerud is one of the most sought-after Digital Marketing Experts. His clients extend from high-end brands and middle-tier businesses in both B2B and B2C. His SEO website optimization book, "The Ultimate Guide to Optimizing Your Website" from Entrepreneur Press is in bookstores now.