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It's a lot more complicated than you are letting on.

What you are saying is like saying architecture is just drawing diagrams or good journalism is just writing about stuff.

Like many industries, there's an art to SEO and plenty of nuances far beyond clean coding and user friendly design.

I think many SEO type people have done a terrible job of marketing their field, because the place they occupy in most people's minds is not a particularly nice one.

I think emphasizing statistics and analysis would make a bit better impression on some of us. It turns on a light that says "aha, there is something real there!".

the problem is there are so many hacky, cold-calling SEOs that the majority of people you're likely to run into in SEO suck. when you really get into it (obviously biased) i think the combination of statistics, data mining, creative content and competitive analysis of your position in a perpetually changing market is a fascinating blend and you can learn as much as you want and take your skills and strategies in a ton of different directions.

it'd be nice if we could be completely transparent with analytics while iterating a search strategy for a large site, because the learning experience would be great whether you're a big-name, experienced SEO, looking to get further into SEO, or an anti-SEO hacker looking to just call us all out for being full of shit :) it'd be cool. too bad the economic reality of releasing complete analytics data to the entire internet makes this an impossible dream.

It's not easy getting links. More importantly, if you have a great product where everyone else has great products, the marginal benefit of having the best product with the most amount of authoritative links is huge, because the # of clicks that come from the top result over #2 is monumental. So even if you get thousands upon thousands of links, like those that rank for "cheap flights", it's the site that gets thousands and thousands +1 that will win the day, and make millions more on a long enough timeline.

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