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# Speaking as an SEO...
I wouldn't have a job if web developers were perfect, but they rarely are.

I have written ASP code for professional ASP developers that could implement what I needed them to. Same with PHP.

I have written reg-ex based URL mappings for mod_rewrite when the Apache server 'expert' couldn't.

The same goes for CSS & HTML. A good SEO will have very deep knowledge of very narrow and specific aspects of web development; deeper than most web developers.

I have acted as intermediary between user experience people and the web development team - usually backing the devs side of the argument and getting the decision swayed in their favour.

In an ideal world, there would be no need for SEOs, but the world is far from ideal and web developers (as a whole, not individually) are far from perfect.

The world is also full of shite SEOs, just like it is full of shite 'web designers' who have done a distance learning course and have a 'webmaster' qualification. Just like it is full of people who think they know PHP because they read a book and can do a few basic things.

The main difference is that a professional organisation with an existing skill-base can pick out the shite developers because they are easy to spot. I can pick out a shite SEO, because I know the subject, but your average organisation wouldn't be able to; hence, the snake-oil salesmen manage to survive.

As the industry matures, it will be harder and harder for shite SEOs to make a living and they will drift away. Maybe one day, web developers will get enough background knowledge in SEO not to create god-awful sites that don't perform. Don't get me wrong, we already turn away business because a site is good and needs little doing to it, but these are in the far minority.

There are developers that have specialisms. There is the go-to guy for PHP if you are stuck, there is the CSS guru. In a similar vein, there will one day be the developer that knows SEO. It will become integrated into web development and there will be someone that knows more about SEO than your average dev to turn to. Until then, SEOs will be sticking around.
(, Tue 22 Jun 2010, 10:02, archived)
# .
"A good SEO will have very deep knowledge of very narrow and specific aspects of web development; deeper than most web developers."

Do you not think that most SEOs do not have this knowledge, and are therefore bad SEOs? Does that not annoy you?

Out of interest, do you include link building in your definition of SEO?
(, Tue 22 Jun 2010, 11:47, archived)
#
Yes, they are "bad" and it annoys the shit out of me. But every industry has them.

We do include link building as a service, but I would rather we did not. We get better results encouraging the client to product content that is naturally worth linking to, but the reality is that many don't want this, they just want link building; if we turned this business away, we would be poor as pure consultancy gigs are quite rare. We strive to not generate shit spam links that piss off other web users, and see it as an opportunity to educate the client in better ways of going about pushing their site's authority. This is often a slow and painful process though.
(, Tue 22 Jun 2010, 12:09, archived)
# .
"Yes, they are "bad" and it annoys the shit out of me. But every industry has them."

To such an extreme? It may be just who I've come across, but how many do you find have come from a relevant background, rather than a sales background seeking the gold?

edit: would be interesting if you could respond to pedandichrist's post SEO to SEO...
www.b3ta.com/board/10098813
(, Tue 22 Jun 2010, 12:14, archived)
# I'd say yes, to that extreme.
SEOs would not exist were developers not so often stuck in a rut and producing hakapu.
(, Tue 22 Jun 2010, 17:17, archived)
# I don't think I need to respond really.
It seems that we are in fair agreement with each other.

I know his work and would say he would be a safe choice if contracting an SEO.
(, Tue 22 Jun 2010, 20:17, archived)
# For some reason I'd misread his post
as saying you don't need an appropriate background skill base.

You are right.
(, Tue 22 Jun 2010, 22:11, archived)